Rebel XT battery grip and AA battery life

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by G.T., Aug 17, 2006.

  1. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    I'm heading to China for a 2 1/2 week trip and recntly bought a battery grip
    for my Rebel XT. It's the only electronic item I'll be bringing so in order
    to leave my adapters and charger home I was thinking about using AA
    batteries in the grip.

    Does anyone have any practical experince on how long regular AAs will last
    in the Rebel XT? Based on recent vacations I'll shoot 40-50 photos a day.
    If I shoot more I'll be using the display a lot to delete throwaways. We're
    just backpacking it so we're keeping it as minimal as possible.

    If AAs in the grip don't last long I'll probably leave the grip home and
    bring adapters, charger, and an extra battery.

    G.T., Aug 17, 2006
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  2. G.T.

    default Guest

    Regular AA batteries (as opposed to alkaline cells) do terrible. If you
    don't want rechargables, then use alkalines. I tried loading six super
    heavy duty AA carbon batteries into the grip and managed one shot before
    they appeared dead to the camera. After that You could turn the camera on
    and even view the display a bit, but as soon as the shutter release was
    pressed, the camera would die.

    According to the Canon manual for the grip, 6 AA alkaline cells can take up
    to 300 pictures without flash and 220 with 50% flash at 20C but none at 0C.
    Apparently when it is that cold, AA cells cannot manage a single shot. On
    the other hand, two full NB-2LH batteries installed in the other battery
    magazine in the grip will give 1200 without flash and 800 with 50% flash at
    20C. (900 and 700 at 0C respectively) according to CIPA testing critera from
    the camera manual.

    2.5 weeks is about 17-18 days. 18 days x 50 shots per day = 900. It looks
    like you can just fit that in one charge on a pair of lithiums if you don't
    spend too much time with the LCD, holding the shutter halfway, too much
    flash, letting the IS on the lens run for long periods, endless
    autofocussing and all the other power hungry activities.

    Maybe bring both battery inserts for the BG-E3 and the two NB-2LH batteries
    installed in one of them. Then bring a pack of a dozen alkalines just in
    case you need them since you may end up taking more pictures than intended.
    default, Aug 18, 2006
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  3. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    That's not a very good testimonial.
    I hadn't had a chance to look at the manual yet but that's pretty poor.
    I think I'll leave the grip home, bring the charger and adapters.
    Charge the batteries when I have the opportunity. I don't have any IS
    lenses but do spend too much chimping.
    Yeah, that was the other option. But I think the battery inserts are a
    little fragile so in order to protect the one that's not being used I'd
    probably overpack it.

    G.T., Aug 18, 2006
  4. G.T.

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    On the other hand, two full NB-2LH batteries installed in the other
    That's probably pretty conservative. I can easily shoot 1,000 shots
    without flash on the Canon battery with my XT, and still not be in trouble
    yet. I carry around a spare battery in my bag, but so far, have never had
    to use it. I don't spend all day looking at my pictures, but do peruse them
    for obvious throw-aways.

    Personally, in the OP's situation, I would just carry an extra NB-2LH or
    two. That would be far less hastle than a bunch of AAs, and without the
    grip, that's even less bulk and weight. Keep in mind that the 1,000 RAW
    shots that I can take on a single battery represent 7-8 gigs of storage, so
    bring your CF cards. Even if you normally shoot JPG, if you're taking the
    time and spending the money to go to China, shoot RAW (or RAW+JPG if you
    must), it's not like you can jaunt back there any time you want.

    Of course, the OP may want to verify how many shots *he* can get on his
    batteries. Blindly trusting somebody on the Internet is a good way to get
    into trouble. =)

    Steve Wolfe, Aug 18, 2006
  5. G.T.

    default Guest

    Don't use non-alkaline regular AA cells. You risk leakage from them too.
    Alkalines are so cheap now too, it is silly to use carbon batteries no
    matter how "heavy duty" they say they are. I tried it since I had some
    fresh carbon batteries around. Clearly they do not work. I have read
    reports that some people have used NiMH AA batteries in the grip
    successfully. You would need to recharge them pretty often though since the
    self discharge rates tend to be pretty high. I remember reading a review
    somewhere where the reviewer didn't have good luck with NiCad though since
    the output impedance of a NiCad is a bit high and with six in series it is
    too much. You could try it for yourself. Canon's manual only talks about
    alkaline cells for AA's.

    It's not that bad, a single NB-2LH is expected to get 600 without flash and
    400 with 50% flash. Alkalines will get almost half as long as it is warm
    enough. I can tell you that the NB-2LH battery works very well at cold
    temperatures. The alkalines will definitely not.

    This is probably best. The camera will also be smaller, lighter and less
    noticeable on you. Since the lithium ion cells can be part charged safely,
    you can top them up when it is convenient but do bring a spare battery or
    two. It really sucks when they suddenly go dead and the Rebel XT doesn't
    really warn you in advance that it is getting close.

    Have a great trip and take lots of pictures. Bring lots of compact flash
    too. If you don't use RAW for all of your images, then at lease use it for
    any with questionable exposure or odd lighting.
    default, Aug 18, 2006
  6. G.T.

    default Guest

    The grip makes the camera much bigger and a I think it looks a bit
    ostentatious. Removing the grip may discourage the avaricious as well which
    is important when traveling. The Rebel XT is nice and small enough without
    the grip and with a small lens to not really attract attention. Without the
    grip, it also fits nicely in a small triangular camera bag for when your
    going out and don't want to carry much.

    Absolutely. Don't trust me or anyone else. Get familiar with your camera
    and its quirks before you go using your own experience.
    default, Aug 18, 2006
  7. G.T.

    mark_yh Guest

    The output impedance of NiCds is very low, much lower than alkalines,
    and IIRC, lower than NiMh also. The voltage of both NiMh and NiCd are a
    bit lower than fresh alkalines, but most electronic kit seems to be
    able to operate OK with both. These days though, NiCd doesn't make
    sense since it's old technology and their capacity has been bettered so
    much by NiMh (4x). I would agree not to put zinc carbon batteries in
    any equipment I value, because of low capacity and risk of leakage.

    Self discharge of NiMh isn't that bad either, unless you're talking
    about leaving kit unused for months.
    mark_yh, Aug 18, 2006
  8. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    Hmmm, I generally only get 600 shots without flash.
    Oh yeah, definitely RAW. I've got 5 GB of storage so I'll probably keep
    it to RAW with no JPG. I may pick up another battery before the trip
    and just be a little conservative with power.

    G.T., Aug 18, 2006
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