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Old Aug 10, 2005, 9:15 PM   #1
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Just purchased myfirst camera ever & have a few starter questions.

1. Is it better after the battera is charged for the first time to fully deplete it before recharging again, or can it be recharged at any time to bring it up to full power. Just wondering if either way will extend its life.

2. Is the quick start guide to taking pictures & the small book that comes with it sufficient to start playing around or is it a good idea to read the complete PDF version of the manual on the CD.

3. Once the battery is fully charged, how long can it sit before it has to be recharged again.

4. There is a big meteor shower that is going to be visible early here in SE Ontario Canada around 3 - 5 am EST on Friday. Any ideas to my settings & how to capture any pics of this, tips etc. I will have a tripod by tomorrow.
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 11:23 PM   #2
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JTF! Welcome to the club!

1) Depends on what kind of battery you are using. A NiMH (nickle-metal-hydride) needs a few recharge/discharge cycles to perform to full capacity. They do need to be periodically discharged fully for best service. They can be charged when not fully discharged with less memory effects than a Nicad. (Memory effects are largely influenced by the charge rate.) These will self-discharge at a higher rate than Nicads.

LiON (lithium ion) batteries don't seem to need more than one charge to work at capacity or darn tootin' close, they can be recharged anytime and have a very low self-discharge rate.

For more on batteries than you ever wanted to know, check out the Battery University at www.batteryuniversity.com

2) The quick start guide will be good enough to get you going on point&shoot mode. I like to read the full manual of any new piece of equipment before I start using it -- but that's just me.
I think that you are going to want a printout of the full users guide. My uncle took such a CD to Kinko's and had them print and bind it cheaper than he could have printed it for himself on his inkjet.

3) Please check out Battery University. Info' overload awaits.

4) Can't say much about this. Does your camera have a "Bulb" setting? That's where the shutter stays open as long as your finger is on the shutter release button. Maybe use that and the largest aperture (smallest f/number) that you can.
There may be other sections on this forum where you could find better information, or try a few astronomy sites. They would likely have generic advice on astrophotography.
Above all, have fun!
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Old Aug 10, 2005, 11:32 PM   #3
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Lithium batteries don't have a memory. There is no need to deplete the battery before charging.

It is always a good idea to read the full manual. You can take pictures with the quick start guide, but there are things it doesn't cover.

Lithium batteries don't have a large self-discharge rate like NiMH. It is around 2%/month after the first day. If you fully charge the camera you can pick it up a month later and have almost a full charge. Most of the loss is in the first day – up to 5%.

Get the camera out Thursday night and take pictures of stars to prepare for the shower. You want to be in manual mode with maybe 8 seconds and full aperture. Experiment with different shutter times – you can go all the way to 15 seconds. The meteors will just make streaks across the image. It will likely take a lot of shots to get a big one. You want to be in the widest zoom setting. Use the self timer or you might get some blur from pushing the shutter. That isn't as big a problem with very long exposures though.

Remember the pictures are free. It is hard to shake the memory of film at first. Keep filling the card and use different settings and modes.

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Old Aug 11, 2005, 6:57 AM   #4
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Thanks for the greatinfo on the battery, I have a Li-ion. Good link for batteries. The meteor shower was a fluke as the camera was purchased for outdoor/landscape. Thanks again.
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