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Old Nov 25, 2003, 11:28 AM   #1
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Default Power switch and battery consumption

My wife and I are both new to digital photography. She has a Canon A70, and is wondering which is more likely to deplete the batteries: keeping the camera switched on or constantly switching it on and off.

She likes to switch the camera off in between shots because this covers and protects the lens. But she doesn't want to do that frequently if it's likely to eat up the batteries faster.

This camera powers down automatically after 3 minutes if nothing is done with it. But she would hit the power switch more often than that if doing so didn't have any major effect on the batteries.

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Old Nov 25, 2003, 11:44 AM   #2
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The Canon A70 has the best battery life available in a compact camera.

However, you do need to buy high capacity NiMH Rechargeable batteries and a charger (around $25.00 for a charger and 4 batteries at many discount stores). You don't want to use Alkaline Batteries (they don't last long, and NiMH batteries will pay for themselves many times over during the camera's lifespan).

The LCD is usually the biggest power user in a Digital Camera. So, shooting with it turned off can increase battery life.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about it much (given the excellent battery life in this model).

Just make sure you are not using AA Alkalines (buy rechargeable NiMH Batteries).

Here are Phil Askey's battery tests for this model (using 1600 mAh NiMH Rechargeble batteries). Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see it (since it's battery life was the best out of all cameras in it's class):

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canona70/page9.asp
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 12:55 PM   #3
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Thanks, Jim.

Fortunately, we did a lot of research before buying cameras, so we both have Maha 2200 mAh batteries and chargers. Also, we knew about the LCD using a lot of power, so my wife keeps that switched off except when it's needed.

The question we'd still like to find an answer to is whether it would be conserve power better to switch off the camera after every shot, even though it might be switched on again in a minute or less.

In other words, is there some comparatively big power drain the instant the camera goes on, analogous to what happens when you switch on a computer monitor, though of course much smaller.

You're right that this isn't much to worry about, but when we are traveling and doing a lot of shooting it might possibly make a difference.

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Old Nov 25, 2003, 12:56 PM   #4
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Concur with Jim about the rechargeable batteries. I have three set NiMh that are two years old and have been charged numemerous times. They paid for themselves in the first 6 months of shooting.
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 1:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cu Roi
The question we'd still like to find an answer to is whether it would be conserve power better to switch off the camera after every shot, even though it might be switched on again in a minute or less.

In other words, is there some comparatively big power drain the instant the camera goes on, analogous to what happens when you switch on a computer monitor, though of course much smaller.
I don't know the answer. There is probably some power drain used by the startup cycle, but about the only way you could tell, would be to measure the current used during this process, inline with an A/C Adapter as the power source, then compare it to power drain from the LCD if you left the camera on.

Again, I wouldn't worry about it. With battery life as good as the A70, with high capacity NiMH batteries, it should be a non-issue.
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 5:27 PM   #6
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I think the answer I've felt comfortable with, is to keep switching the camera on and off. A continuous high current drain on any battery will cause it to heat up and lower its internal resistance (ability to sustain high current). Yes I know power gets used for extending the zoom and initialisation.

If I keep my thirsty Dimage on until the bat. low warning comes on close to shutdown, the batts are so hot they are heating up the compact flash! Now if I switch the camera off, let the batts stand idle and go cold, then switch the camera on - I can easy get about 10 - 20 more shots.

Since I know the lcd takes as much juice as the camera, I toggle it on and of as needed. I set the camera shutdown to 2 minutes unless I'm taking a lot of shots - say of wedding parties, or if I might need flash in a hurry. VOX
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Old Nov 27, 2003, 10:47 PM   #7
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Unless you're standing at a sports event, or some other occasion where the difference of 5-10 seconds may mean you lose a shot, I'd just turn the camera on and off to conserve battery life.
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Old Nov 28, 2003, 11:29 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone.

Looks like a consensus: it's not a problem to switch the camera on and off continually (in appropriate circumstances), especially because with the A-70's modest battery usage it's less vulnerable than most to power exhaustion. (And the advice to get good rechargeable batteries we had already taken.)

That's just what we wanted to hear (though of course I'd still be grateful even if it wasn't).

Cu Roi
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Old Nov 28, 2003, 12:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cu Roi
... (And the advice to get good rechargeable batteries we had already taken.) ...
It is a good idea to have a set of disposable Lithium AAs on hand as well for emergency use - ~$12/set of four. They have about a ten year shelf life so are very handy to have at hand. They also work much better than NiMH in the cold.
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Old Nov 29, 2003, 7:46 AM   #10
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The Lithiums are also a good idea if you're storing the camera for long periods, as they don't have the high self discharge of NiMh's - and can keep your cameras setup memory settings alive. VOX
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