Batteries: how many... and tips for making them go further

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Re: Batteries: how many... and tips for making them go furth

Post by fishmonger » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:24 am

I don't really overthink my battery use. I know my my camera can do at least 800 shots per battery if I don't do too many half minute night sky exposures. I looked into mirrorless cameras briefly and when I saw that the weight benefit was only applicable on shorter hikes, I lost interest. The ergonomics of a DSRL are far more pleasing to me, too. I like the battery grip on it so I can carry it around my neck and shoulder and it forms a rather flat back side to stay level. That way I have it handy at all times.

To keep it powered on my typical 2-3 week treks, I only need to bring two batteries at the start of a hike, and about mid hike I add a third in a resupply may be 7-10 days in, mostly to make sure I have one if my little usb powered charger should fail or my schedule doesn't allow recharging of both batteries at that time (takes hours what the little charger).

There is also a small two 18650 cell battery bank in my pack that may get me one charge for one battery, but I've never needed it to keep the camera going. In a pinch, I think two batteries will get me through a typical hike. I never turn off the power on that camera, as it doesn't drain much at all when in sleep mode. The only thing I do to save some battery power over normal use is turning off LCD image review after every shot and switch the camera to "silent mode," which is supposed to be its least power demanding mode.

I briefly considered going light with my daughter's Sony Next-6 one summer, but I keep grabbing the camera with the best sensor from my gear shelf, and so far that's always been a DSLR (or film SLR years earlier). Seems from the battery weight you are carrying, I am not even that far off the weight of a mirrorless, or you take 5000 frames between resupplies.

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Re: Batteries: how many... and tips for making them go furth

Post by BayHiker » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:18 am

SSSdave wrote:I don't use image stabilization motorized lenses and never the LCD (only EVF). However the majority of my shots use spot auto focus that does motor a lens. Low power mode is after 2 minutes. Tend to turn the camera off every time I finish shots for subjects if I don't expect to immediately shoot. Don't review images or bother deleting images until I return home unless have a good reason to. And most importantly rarely use flash while backpacking. Different batteries lose capacity with use at different rates. Some of my batteries seem to be discharging quickly so I need to set up a metered discharge test again.
I'll +1 some of what SSSdave said here: I turn off the camera after every shot unless I expect to shoot again in the next minute or two, and that's made the biggest difference in not ripping through batteries. I almost never review images until I get home - memory cards are way lighter than batteries, so I'd rather be miserly about juice than storage. No flash, wifi off, no burst mode unless I need it. The lens I take backpacking doesn't have in-lens image stabilization, so that's not an issue for me, but I do use spot auto-focus most of the time.

If I know I'll be doing astrophotography or other long-exposure shots, I might take a full battery for every one of those sessions just to be safe. Otherwise one battery for every two days seems to be plenty for my shooting habits, and I could probably stretch it further. YMMV based on your camera's make and model; the camera I take is an Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mk II, and the lens is an Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8.

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Re: Batteries: how many... and tips for making them go further

Post by JWreno » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:35 pm

When we are out for more than a week we have been bringing a solar panel that velcro to the top of my pack. It works great when above the tree line or when setup during a break and pointed to the sun.

We charge our 3 Steripens, my iPhone, camera batteries and GPS if we are bringing one. At 7 oz the Suntactics S5 works quite well. Our Steripens last about 5 days so I don't bother carrying it on shorter trips.

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