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Old Oct 13, 2009, 5:54 AM   #1
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Default Batteries

hey guys, I hope this does not sound like a silly question. Why is a proprietory battery considered to be superior to rechargable AA's? To me one of pentax's biggest selling points is that several of their DSLRs use AA's. One of the biggest let downs for me about the K7 was that it uses a proprietory battery. Rechargable AA's are so much cheaper it's rediculous.
To answer my own question i understand that for the most part you get more images per charge with a proprietory battery. This should equal less down time or interuptions while shooting an important event or while in the field. I see it the other way. If you are not making your living with photography you are likely going to only have one proprietory battery, maybe two. If these poop out on you you are done for. NO ONE is going to have a pentax battery lying around to get you through the crisis. On the other hand even if you were doing a wedding with AA's you could borrow the best man's batteries out of his point and shoot if you had to.
AA's just make so much more sense to me. That is why I was thrilled with the news of the Kx!! I will be getting one of those puppies in the next few months. It is a bit less capable than the K7 but it is light years ahead of my ist DL.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 7:20 AM   #2
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I thought the same thing when I upgraded from my *ist DL to the K20D. But the rechargeable battery that comes with the K20D is very good, lasting for 600-700 shots easily. I would say that most hobbyists don't shoot that much in one day so it's not that bad of an idea, you come home, pop it back on the charger and your ready the next day. When I bought my K20D I also bought a 2nd battery just to have a backup, and it was only about $15. I have the battery grip also and having both batteries housed in the camera for use I rarely run out of juice unless I'm at some event where I'm shooting a lot like an airshow or something, but I've found that I only really just use up one battery and the other one is still fully charged. I thought I would never get used to the rechargables when I used CRV3 batteries with the DL and they lasted forever for me. But I feel like the rechargables are probably just as good. I much prefer to have a couple of these rechargables in my pocket than a bunch of AA batteries.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 10:38 AM   #3
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Another point is that the lithium batteries retain their charge for a much longer time, while the NMH AAs bleed out over a comparatively short time, so if you don't use a camera every day, you are liable to have dead or low batteries when you pick it up again, whereas the lithium will still be useable.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 10:58 AM   #4
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The proprietory battery really does make more sense than AA batteries.

I found with the DL2 I had around 6 sets of 4 AA batteries for the camera and the flash, and unless charged the night before I would still run out of juice during the day. I switched to Lithium for the flash and sold the DL2 for the K10D and an extra battery and can now shoot all day.

I can also leave the camera for a couple of weeks, then pick it up and know the battery is still charged.

I now have the K20D with grip and 4 batteries so running out is not an issue.

If I was shooting a wedding and ran out of juice, I shouldn't be there

Using AA batteries does not always give the camera the correct voltage anyway, leading the metering problems. Alkaline are 1.5v high discharge while rechargeables are 1.3v and lower discharge for a longer time. By using the battery designed for the camera, you can be sure everything works.

I would not go back to AA batteries, and wish my Sigma flashgun used a special battery as well

Just my little opinion.....


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Old Oct 13, 2009, 1:26 PM   #5
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Hi bock,

I prefer the proprietary battery. It's smaller and lighter than NiMH, more powerful in that it provides more voltage for higher performance, more reliable since it doesn't have the potential of one weak cell bringing the others down, is quicker and less fiddly to replace in the camera on a shoot and to place in the recharger, and the rechargers are smaller and lighter to pack and carry.

The downsides are no easy replacement in the field if you don't have an extra, they're more expensive, harder to find, have the potential to be discontinued with no replacement, and aren't interchangeable with batteries for other photo accessories.

When Pentax decided to go with a proprietary battery for the K10, there was an outcry from a large number of D series users. When they changed the battery for the K-7 from the K10/20, there was a lot less objection from owners of those models, even tho the new OEM battery was considerably more expensive and the generic spares were harder to find and a bit more expensive. I now have Pentax DSLR bodies that use all three types, and have to consciously choose what spares to take along, and also have to work out a recharging drill to make sure that I have enough juice in each. It sounds like a PIA, but it's really not that big a deal. . .

I really don't think that battery type should be high on the list of reasons to purchase a certain camera -- features, performance, and ergonomics are much more important, IMO.

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Old Oct 13, 2009, 2:17 PM   #6
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I also prefer the proprietary battery - it lasts much longer, is more stable and for the longest time, I didn't bother with a second battery, where I was always keeping 2 or 3 sets of rechargeable AA. The rechargeable batteries I had eventually lost their ability to keep a charge after a year or so (though the Rayovac hybrids I have now seem to be still going strong and they are closer to 2 years old now). But I'm like Scott, either type works and I certainly wouldn't buy or not buy a camera because of the type of battery.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 6:44 PM   #7
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Add me to the list of those who prefer the proprietary battery. I have two sets of two and two chargers for the K20 and battery grip. I use a pair for a while, then switch both batteries to the charger and put in two fresh. I've taken a little different tack with the K-7. I only have three batteries, so I have set the camera up to use the one in the grip first and change it every time I go out, then change the one in the camera once in a while.

Of course, the K-7 grip gives you additional flexibility since it has a separate tray that will take AA's. I always have a supply of them in my camera case for my flash and could use them in the K-7 in an emergency.


Add-on: I traded my son my K10 for his K100 since I didn't anticipate using the K10 that often and the K100 is great as a third body backup, so I guess I'll be back in the AA business with it.

Last edited by Trojansoc; Oct 13, 2009 at 6:46 PM.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 7:54 PM   #8
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I also used to love the option of using AA instead of proprietary. We bought my first digital p&s because it used AA's. I loved the fact that the K100 used them. Always knew I could stop at the corner store and have batteries if they ran out. Although, discovered that I did better with CRV3's after sending it in for repair and being advised to switch batteries. Didn't have problems after that.

Now with the K20 I was afraid of the prop. battery. But, have come to love it. I have two spares. I have yet to run out of juice when out. The batteries (and two of the sets are the Minolta ones) are always charged when needed. They hold a charge for a long time.

I agree with others, I wouldn't worry about the battery options now that I've experienced prop. batteries that hold for up to 800 images sometimes.

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Old Oct 13, 2009, 8:50 PM   #9
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I have (7) sets of Eneloops (4) per set to power my (2) Ist DS & (2) flashes-never have let me down and hold a charge for a long time. Like everyone else I wouldn't let a battery make my decision but these are my weapons of choice. Usually go through (4)sets per wedding.
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Old Oct 14, 2009, 4:35 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the comments. The things being said about the proprietary batteries make sense to me. Longer life, holds charge longer etc. It just seems to me how much easier things would be to have a universal battery type. Admittedly I am more of a casual shooter than a shoots hundreds of shots a day type. I think that it is an unfair characterization to "look down" on some pentax models because they use AA's. Its as if using AA's somehow taints the camera in way that will make photos produced by it glaringly amateurish. Maybe a DSLR that uses AA's should wear this logo. AA LOL I think though, seriously, that what really is going on is that the use of AA's is one of the things that is used by marketing teams to separate in the minds of camera buyers consumer/ basic level cameras and advanced/semipro/pro level cameras.
Thanks again Bock
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