Making The Most Of Camera Battery Life

Since I have arrived on the Zuiderdam, I have been getting quite a few questions about battery issues with digital cameras. Therefore, I thought I would dedicate this blog to all of those camera owners out there that seem to run down their batteries before their Shore Excursions even begin! So here are some tips to prolonging your battery life so that you do not miss an opportunity to capture a picture!


The most battery life is used when your screen in turned on. Every time you open up your camera to review or delete pictures, or even navigate through your settings/menu, you are using up power. Try to avoid doing this when you are away from your charger or if you forgot spare batteries.


Since digital cameras allow us to take multiple photos as well as store them, it is a smarter idea to wait until you can plug your camera into an AC adapter before you manage the pictures. That way you won’t drain the battery by looking through or editing your pictures through your camera. It may seem easier to delete, crop, or view your pictures in your camera, but it will leave you with a lot less power then if you waited to do so with an adapter.


This tip goes hand in hand with the others, but just to keep in mind, anytime you are accessing your memory card, meaning, previewing photos or videos in your camera just to look through them, you are draining your battery as well.


Keeping the same types of batteries can help conserve power in digital cameras and other devices as well. This is because the performance of older batteries will not be as good as the new ones and will deplete much faster.


Letting batteries completely run out of power before recharging them can actually help them last longer and increase their performance. Sometimes people forget that just because your batteries are holding enough energy to run your camera, it doesn’t mean they are completely out of power. Sometimes when your camera says to “check your battery power” and then shuts off, sometimes means you still could turn your camera on a few more times and squeeze two or three more photos out of your camera before it is permanently dead.

Hopefully this can help add some battery life to your camera. This is kind of a strange thing to blog about but I know that the worse thing ever is when you are about to take a picture and you see that the battery is on its last leg. I recommend that you follow this few helpful tips so that your battery power works to its full potential!

Keep on snapping those pics!

Battery Powered Cameras Or Wired Cameras?

One thing that tends to divide camera based security systems, and their users, is how the cameras are powered.

So what are the pros and cons of battery powered security cameras compared to those that need plugging in, are there situations where one makes sense over the other and are there any real pitfalls to look out for?

The majority of higher resolution IP type security cameras on the market today need to be plugged into mains power. In contrast there are some systems that give you the option of using battery powered cameras.

Let’s take a closer look at the features of both types of cameras

Mains powered security cameras

These generally run on DC electricity at lower voltage, normally 5, 12 or 48 Volts, and so come with a transformer. The most common transformer type is a wall plug, kind of like the ones that you may use to charge your smart phone.

Although cameras will come with a set length of cable attached to the transformer, cable extensions can be used, with one proviso. As the cameras use DC power, voltage drop can rapidly become a problem with the issue being worse at the lower voltages.

Assuming you are using extension cables with suitable thickness wire (thinner wire will have higher losses), then you should be able to extend 5V camera cables to 5 – 8m, 12V cameras cables to 30 – 50m, and 48V camera cables to 100m+.

Another option that almost all mains powered cameras have is to use “power over ethernet” or PoE. This can be particularly useful for outdoor cameras, where your WiFi signal may be too weak to give a reliable data connection. You can run ethernet cable (Cat5 or Cat6) from your router to the camera, and also power the camera down the same cable.

Battery powered security cameras

Obviously these cameras take batteries, but the types of batteries they use can vary.

Regardless of the type of battery that a camera takes, you should have the option of using rechargeable batteries. Keep in mind that the rechargeable versions of batteries are often lower voltage than the non-rechargeable equivalent, resulting in the rechargeable batteries not lasting quite as long. It’s also worth noting that the manufacturers of some battery powered cameras don’t recommend using rechargeable batteries and using them can cause warranty issues.

Pros and cons of battery power

The obvious benefit of having a battery powered camera is that it is truly wireless, or what some may call ‘cable-free’. With batteries and a WiFi connection, you don’t need any cables running to the camera at all.

This lack of wires makes the cameras easier to place (you don’t need to have a power point near by), and you can change their location relatively simply.

This freedom from wires does have a downside though. The batteries will power the camera wherever you place it, but, particularly when it comes to outdoor cameras, your WiFi signal may not be good enough to give a solid data connection. Also, the weaker the WiFi signal, the more power the camera uses to maintain a connection.

To get round this, battery powered cameras tend to use a motion detection system, where the camera only turns on and collects footage when a built-in sensor detects movement.

Also, it’s not possible to do continuous footage recording with video security systems that rely on battery powered cameras. With battery powered cameras that use motion sensors to turn the camera recording on and off, they may do approximately 5 minutes or so of recording per day. So let’s say that a battery lasts between 2 to 5 months in a camera, which seems to be what most users find depending on make and model of camera, this means you’d only get the equivalent of 5 to 13 hours of continuous recording. Certainly not enough if you are in a residential or business setting where you want alert footage and continuously stored CCTV footage.

5 Reasons For An Extra Camera Battery

I’m a worrier. I know it and I admit it. Most non-worriers probably think this is a bad thing. Well, I’m here to tell you that worrying has it’s advantages. Yes, advantages. We worriers prepare, plan, then prepare some more. We anticipate the problem before it’s a problem and usually head it off. The end result often is – there was nothing to worry about in the first place. But, we are the people that have the solution when the problem does occur.

I can’t tell you how many friends of mine are running around with one set of camera batteries. As a worrier, this makes me nervous. I even have a friend who was doing wedding shoots with one, yes ONE battery! Guess what? His battery died during a shoot. He stopped playing the “one-battery” game after that.

For the rest of you who may or may not be worriers that are running around with one battery or one set of batteries, it’s time to prepare.

Here are five reasons why you should consider a second (or in my case a third, or fourth) battery:

  • You will take more photos, capture more shots, and potentially create more “keeper” images
  • Peace of Mind – Stress Less about the battery going dead
  • Be Prepared if your current battery malfunctions, fails, or wasn’t charged
  • Minimal cost compared to potentially getting NO photos
  • Batteries become weaker (especially in cold weather) over time and will slowly take less and less images

Photography should be a fun, exciting, adventurous experience. Watching an amazing shot unfold in front of your eyes, while you hold a dead digital camera in your hands can be one of the most grueling, gut-wrenching, feelings ever.