Olympus SP-550 UZ: 18x ultra zoom

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by Ken, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. I haven't even considered alkalines.
    Please don't assume that I am unaware of the changes, simply that for me
    by taking one spare battery with me, battery life on my own cameras has
    ceased to be an issue.
    I was not aware I was defensively (or otherwise) debating anything.

    My preference remains for a single battery against multiple cells. Yes,
    if you have to change batteries less often it's less of an issue, but my
    preference remains. Both AA-powered and Li-ion powered cameras will
    benefit from lower power consumption.

    In a way, battery life is now like the megapixel count. For me, 5MP is
    enough for most of my photography, so whether the next camera has 7.2MP
    rather than 6.1MP doesn't really matter any more, unless it produces
    poorer qulaity pictures.

    I do like the improvements which are promised by the Olympus SP-550 UZ, as
    lack of wide angle is a drawback to the Panasonic FZ5 I use a lot of the
    time. Of course, the Olympus doesn't do as wide as my Nikon 8400 (24mm),
    and that remains my camera of choice for wide shots.

    I would like to see a significant improvement in EVFs, though, up towards
    SLR quality.

    David J Taylor, Jan 29, 2007
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  2. Battery life is only one aspect, though. My major complaint
    I've always preferred AA for cost and convenience.

    On Holiday, it has happened that my NiMH AA rechargeables had
    worn down and I was able to hop into a local shop, purchase 4 AA
    Alkalines and continue shooting. I could then recharge my NiMH's
    at the hotel later and not miss a beat. :)
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 29, 2007
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  3. Ken

    ASAAR Guest

    Yes. They're all described by the manufacturers as being NiMH
    batteries that can be charged in any standard NiMH charger. They
    all seem to have the same drawback in that their capacities are
    about 25% lower than the highest capacity NiMH cells currently
    available, 2,000 to 2,100 mAh. They were mentioned a number of
    times in this newsgroup almost a year ago, and all we knew for some
    time was that Sanyo made them, called them Eneloop batteries, and
    that they were being sold (I think) in Japan. Within the last
    several months they've been selling in a number of stores here.
    Circuit City, Ritz, Walmart, Radio Shack and probably others.
    Besides the Eneloops, RayOVac calls them Hybrid batteries and Radio
    Shack has no special name for them. What they all have in common,
    besides the lower capacity, is that unlike normal NiMH or NiCD
    batteries, they don't have to be charged before using them. They
    all are described as being pre-charged, and some of them indicate on
    the packaging that they'll retain about 85% of their initial
    capacity if they sit on the store shelf for two years. That's an
    *extremely* low self-discharge rate. In effect it means that I can
    use them in a camera, then put the camera in a drawer for a couple
    of months and when I get back to using it, the batteries won't have
    to be immediately recharged as would traditional NiMH or NiCD
    batteries. Traditional NiMH batteries continue to be sold in the
    greatest numbers, and for some (such as very heavy use) they're the
    preferred type. But for virtually all of *my* uses, even with their
    lower capacity, this new type of NiMH seems much more practical and
    desirable. Right now they're harder to find and cost about 40% to
    50% more than regular NiMH batteries (Radio Shack's are 100% higher,
    and I don't know Walmart's prices), but they should eventually drop.
    ASAAR, Jan 29, 2007
  4. Ken

    J. Clarke Guest

    The Eneloops are designed for low self-discharge. However I have seen
    no evidence that they have "*much* lower self-discharge rates than
    Li-Ion". Than conventional NiMH, yes, but ASAAR is the only person
    I've ever seen assert that they were better than Li ion in that
    J. Clarke, Jan 29, 2007
  5. Ken

    J. Clarke Guest

    You had only one set of NiMH? Or did you run down all your spares
    J. Clarke, Jan 29, 2007
  6. Somewhere there should be a purchase specification or manufacturers data
    sheet where this is specified, and the test conditions. URL?

    David J Taylor, Jan 29, 2007
  7. Ken

    Cgiorgio Guest

    While it is true that there are no rechargeable Lithium AAs, some cameras
    can also use CR V2 Lithium battery packs (which are about the size of 2 AA
    cells). There are now rechargeable CR V2 lithium batteries on the market.
    Cgiorgio, Jan 29, 2007
  8. On Holiday, it has happened that my NiMH AA rechargeables had
    Had two sets, but took so many pics (I have two 512meg cards in
    my Oly C5050 - on xD and one CF) with flash and LCD on when
    touring indoor museum areas that I simply ran them down.

    It was quite a long day.

    But it was GREAT that I could just buy a 4 pack of regular AA
    batteries and just continue straight on.

    My Oly C5050 came with 1700mAh NiMH's, so that is what I have
    stuck with.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 29, 2007
  9. Ken

    J. Clarke Guest

    Sanyo may have that somewhere on their site, but it's hard to find.
    They're claiming that the batteries lose 10 percent of their charge in
    6 months and 15 percent in a year vs 25 and 100 for conventional NiMH.

    The main site is <http://www.eneloop.info>.

    I'm finding a repeated assertion that lithium ion loses 5 percent in
    the first 24 hours and 1-2 percent per month after that, with
    addtional losses due to the protective circuit. At the 1 percent rate
    it's down 11 percent in 6 months and 17 percent in a year, so perhaps,
    if the eneloops perform as claimed, they actually are in the same
    ballpark as lithium ion.

    Radio Shack does seem to be selling NiMH batteries for which they are
    making somewhat comparable claims to Sanyo--they're claiming that
    theirs lose 20 percent in a year vs 15 for Sanyo. The local Rat Shack
    has them in stock--might pick up a set and give them a try and see how
    they really do. Be nice to be able to grab the old Coolpix on the
    rare occasions that I still use it and not have the batteries be dead.
    J. Clarke, Jan 29, 2007
  10. Ken

    J. Clarke Guest

    I now have a set of 4 disposable Lithium AAs in the bottom of my camera
    bag. They have a very long shelf life (2021!) and should survive
    occasional emergency use very well. They're not cheap, but having good
    capacity batteries ready and waiting is worth every penny.[/QUOTE]

    Just a comment, but you might wnat to get a Sharpie or other permanent
    marker and write the expiration date on those batteries. They'll
    still be usable long after that date but you really should get some
    spares around then, and by 2021 you'll likely long since have
    forgotten when you got them.
    J. Clarke, Jan 29, 2007
  11. J. Clarke wrote:
    That would, indeed, be nice.

    David J Taylor, Jan 29, 2007
  12. Ken

    ASAAR Guest

    I'm not the only one. Several Li-Ion manufacturers implicitly
    agree. One states on the accompanying instructions that to prevent
    damage to their Li-Ion batteries they should be charged at least
    once every 3 months. They do say that this periodic charge need
    only be for a few minutes. The other manufacturer ups the period to
    once every 6 months. There have also been several users here who
    have posted messages complaining about their dead Li-Ion batteries
    that could no longer be charged even though they hadn't received
    very much use. When asked, they admitted that their cameras had
    been stored in a drawer for many months without being charged.
    Contrast that with Eneloops (and the other brands) that leave the
    factory fully charged, and have "sell by" dates and information on
    the package indicating that the batteries can sit in a warehouse or
    on a store shelf for two years, and at that point they'll not only
    *not* have died, but will still be usable out of the package,
    retaining about 85% of the initial charge.

    Losing 15% of their charge over 24 months is clearly an extremely
    low self-discharge rate, well below 1% per month. Li-Ion also has a
    low self-discharge rate, and I've seen some claims but don't recall
    what they were, but I'm fairly sure that they were much greater than
    1% per month, probably somewhere in the 2% to 4% range. It's also
    hard to pin down Li-Ion self-discharge rates since unlike NiMH
    technology, Li-Ion is apparently a generic label covering a number
    of different Li-Ion chemistries. Some probably have better
    discharge rates than others, better low temperature performance than
    others, etc. But of all of these types, I've never seen any that,
    like the new Eneloop type batteries, have been sold pre-charged. If
    they could be, without dying on a store's shelf, they would be. But
    every one I've seen so far requires a long initial charge before
    being used for the first time.

    And not for the first time either. I believe that I was the first
    (about 2 years ago) to assert in this ng that alkaline batteries
    weren't virtually worthless for use in digital cameras. The general
    consensus was that NiMH batteries were a "must", and even they
    didn't provide exceptionally long life. But after hearing all of
    the battery horror stories and noting that my camera's manual
    predicted very good battery life from alkalines and double that life
    from NiMH cells, I decided to duplicate the CIPA test procedure
    specified in the manual, using the alkaline AA batteries that were
    packaged with the camera. I found that they were good for slightly
    more than the estimated 200 shots, and what's more, that by not
    using the flash any more, the batteries were good for more than
    another 400 flash-free shots. For nearly the next year or so many
    people routinely continued to insist that alkaline batteries were
    worthless, not realizing that this was no longer true for some of
    the new cameras being sold. I don't see much of this any more.
    ASAAR, Jan 29, 2007
  13. Ken

    ASAAR Guest

    They're probably just as good as those from Sanyo or RayOVac, but
    Radio Shack's price is significantly higher, $20 for 4.
    ASAAR, Jan 29, 2007
  14. Ken

    ASAAR Guest

    Self-discharge has nothing to do with the currents drawn by
    devices, whether they're very small currents or not. The amount
    drawn by devices that are powered off varies tremendously, and if
    large enough can damage any rechargeable battery after several
    months if care isn't taken. This has virtually nothing to do with
    their self-discharge rates.
    ASAAR, Jan 29, 2007
  15. Ken

    John Turco Guest

    Hello, Just D:

    That's hardly a revelation. <g> Sony is widely known to be the
    industry's top provider of "small" sensors (i.e., the type used in P&S
    digicams), and also some of the larger ones, contained in DSLR's.

    However, even Sony doesn't make the whole cameras, either for itself or
    other companies. That gritty job is mainly handled by a certain number
    of OEM firms, such as Sanyo and Flextronics, among others.

    John Turco <>
    John Turco, Jan 31, 2007
  16. Ken

    John Turco Guest

    Hello, Paul:

    It's a fact of modern life, alas. The world's industrial base has been
    constantly shifting, and not only away from the United States and

    Even Japan has felt the dour effects of rising labor costs, and like
    the Western nations, has moved much of its manufacturing muscle to
    Southeast Asia, China, and the Pacific Rim.
    Well, I own six Kodak digicams, and they're all made in either Japan, or
    China. The build quality is the same (i.e., quite high), in each case,
    pun intended.
    No problem!

    John Turco <>
    John Turco, Jan 31, 2007
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