Imagine you’re out in the forest, tracking wildlife and just at the moment a family of deer rushes past, your camera’s battery dies. It’s a nightmare scenario that no photographer would wish on anyone.
But sometimes we forget, or lose, our back-up camera battery. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to extend the life of your battery.
These menu tweaks and techniques won’t make your camera’s battery last forever, but they can buy you extra time. What’s more, it’s always useful to know which of your camera’s functions use the most battery power!
01 Turn off all extras
A simple way to save a lot of energy is to not use your camera’s the pop-up flash or Live View functions. And also to focus manually rather than use your camera’s autofocus system.
We often rely on these fundamental features on a camera, but the reality is they do suck up a lot of power. And if your battery life is fading, turning these off is simply the most effective thing you can do to claw back some power in a pinch.
Another great way of extending your battery’s life is to turn off the image review feature. This is the feature where the image you just took displays on your LCD for a few seconds. after capture.
This is of course handy to see if you captured your image correctly, but it’s not necessary to – and can even slow down – your workflow. So we suggest you try shooting without it enabled one day. Do you notice it?
You might miss it at first, but if you ever shot film you’ll realise that you can live without it! And your battery will last far longer.
02 Auto Power Off
Another useful trick to extend your camera battery’s life is to enable your camera’s Auto Power Off feature. This is essentially like your computer’s sleep mode.
If you set your Auto Power Off feature to its minimum time allotment, your camera will simply hibernate in its energy-saving mode until you half-press the shutter button.
Your camera will then spring to life once again, just where you left off.
03 Turn off any sounds
The sounds associated with navigating through your menu system don’t really add anything to the experience. We leave them on because they don’t hurt anything, but if you’re out in the field and you camera’s battery is low, this is another feature you don’t need that can extend its life.
You can also even turn off the focus confirmation beep, which might even be a benefit to your workflow if you’re shooting street photography and aiming for candid images.
This won’t save you tons of power, but when your camera’s battery is low, every little bit helps.
04 Turn off image stabilisation
Again, this won’t save you much juice, but turning off a lot of little power draining features like this can add up to a lot of savings.
If you’re using a tripod, your camera’s image stabilisation becomes pretty much redundant anyway. So switch it off and add some life back to your camera battery.
05 A few riskier methods
Now let us just preface this last one by saying, these methods we’re about to describe can save a lot of battery power… but they come with some risk. So using these techniques really depends on how desperate you are to get those last shots before your camera’s battery dies.
You can save a lot of battery power by reducing the brightness of your camera’s LCD screen; however, doing this could mean that your images look under-exposed when they actually are fine.
What’s more, shooting JPEGs rather than raw files and reducing resolution will save your camera’s battery powe. But doing this could result in less than stellar images.
And, lastly, avoiding longer shutter speeds will also save battery life. But if you need them to get the shot you want, there’s probably no point in avoiding them just for the sake of your camera’s battery life.