Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Olympus

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 6, 2011, 1:58 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bonney Lake
Posts: 51
Default XZ-1 battery life or lack thereof

Well, I've had my XZ-1 for about a month and taken a few thousand shots, wanting to give it the benefit of the doubt and time to 'break-in' the batteries, if such a thing is even needed for lithium-ion.

In my first XZ-1 post I reported that battery life for me was coming nowhere near the rated 320 shots. I'm sorry to say this is still the case and the situation has not improved in the slightest. And more disturbing is that my own use should in theory be far less stressful than the CIPA testing protocol. That protocol mandates that fully 50% of shots use the flash, and that the lens is moved from full zoom to full wide or the reverse, with every shot. I estimate no more than 3% of my shots are using flash, and I'm only changing the zoom perhaps 20-30% of time time. And yet, I'm only averaging 100-160 shots per full charge. On a recent two day outing, taking roughly 560 shots, I went through five batteries!!

The only question mark I can see in my use compared to CIPA testing is that the official test says to power cycle the camera every 10th shot. So for 320 shots, that would be 32 power cycles. In my own use, I tend to power on the camera and take a few shots, then immediately power it off. However, it could easily be 20-30 shots that I take instead of three, so I would expect it to even out over time to be closer to the 10 shot average. I don't let the camera 'sleep' for the most part, and in fact, the CIPA testing says that the LCD monitor (or EVF) must be lit whenever the camera is powered on - so that means no sleep mode is allowed.

I've sent an email to Olympus to see if they think my camera may be defective or if they have any thoughts as to how I can obtain reasonable battery life. They were quick to respond in the past, so no reason to think I won't hear back soon. I'll report back.

I love that the batteries are so lightweight and compact, and aftermarket ones are inexpensive. But 100-150 shots is absurd in 2011. I don't want to take 10 batteries with me if I go on a four day hike. If anyone else has their own experience to report on XZ-1 battery life, I'd be happy to hear it.


Cheers!
aaroncgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Sep 8, 2011, 2:28 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bonney Lake
Posts: 51
Default

I performed a little test tonight with my external timer. I set it up to take pictures every three seconds, intending to go until the battery was run down. Image preview was off for this test - normally I have preview on. Naturally, I also was not zooming, flash was not used, power was never switched off, and focus point never changed. This could be considered a best case scenario, though obviously not close to actual usage. I did this same test last week and only got to just under 600 shots, which I thought was ok.

I guess the gods were smiling on Olympus tonight, and the camera reached 1268 shots and still shows 2/3 battery life. !! That's quite a step up from 320, and who knows how much longer it would go.

It's no surprise that extending and retracting the lens quickly as most compacts do, seems to really take a lot of power, and the Olympus' is very fast. So far my best performing compact digicam in battery usage is the Konica Minolta Z10. Due to body design, the lens was permanently extended, and with a 1.5" LCD, it was rated at 500 shots on alkalines. I routinely achieved significantly greater, using NIMH. But it's 4xAA had more than double the capacity of the LI-50B in the XZ-1. I wish I could tell the XZ-1 to never retract or extend the lens, as I have my Lensmate adapter tube permanently affixed.

No reply from Olympus yet.
aaroncgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 13, 2011, 12:55 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bonney Lake
Posts: 51
Default Update.

I heard from Olympus tech support a few days ago. At first, they suspected there may be an issue with the circuit board inside the camera (thinking I was charging the battery in-camera). They thought it was odd that my batteries all measure 4.2V when fully charged - we both thought nominal voltage was 3.7V. When I informed them I was using an external aftermarket charger, they then suggested that the aftermarket chargers do not perform nearly as well as their own Olympus LI-50C external charger. To this I replied what external charger?? There is none listed for the XZ-1 as an optional accessory. Sure enough though, it's listed as an accessory for some other cameras which use the LI-50B battery. They also said to make sure there's no debris in the battery compartment, which there isn't.

So I have the genuine Olympus LI-50C charger on order and will see how it does. I had to order from eBay, because neither Olympus nor any official camera store had the LI-50C in stock, and there's no ETA.

I still think this is all odd though - plenty of people have reported no issues using the aftermarket chargers for the LI-50B, even the exact one I have. Not to mention, my aftermarket batteries are rated at 30-50% more capacity than the Olympus battery. Even if the charger only charges half full, I still should be getting many more shots than I am.
aaroncgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 28, 2011, 9:38 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bonney Lake
Posts: 51
Default

So far my tests are inconclusive with the LI-50C. I got my best battery life yet on a recent trip, 429 shots on the original Olympus battery. That's more about what I would expect with no flash and almost no zoom usage. However, my aftermarket batteries are still not getting over 200 shots under the same conditions. And oddly, though I swear I charged the it fully the night before, a final day's shoot gave me only about 40 shots life on the Olympus battery. ???

Now I certainly expect the aftermarket batteries may not be as high quality. How can they be, when four of them with AC/DC chargers sell for less than the price of a single Olympus battery sans charger. I found a similar situation with aftermarket batteries for my Panasonic camera. If I can get 200 shots out of them, I guess that's worth it for the price differential.

But what really bugs me is why the Olympus battery life is so horribly inconsistent. So far I've only had two lives above 200 shots from it, out of more than a dozen exhaustions. I can deal with my four spare batteries having 150-200 shots each (less pleased when they die after 100). But if I don't have at least one battery that gets into the 300-400 range, that's just not acceptable at all.

I think once I get past a couple more days of shooting some fall colors, I'm going to send the camera in to Olympus. There's not much point of a light small camera for hiking if it has horrible battery life.
aaroncgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 12, 2011, 3:38 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bonney Lake
Posts: 51
Default Keeping it for now...

So it's been suggested on another Olympus forum that excessive power cycling (ie turning the unit off and back on) may be largely responsible for reduced battery life in Olympus cameras. While the XZ-1 manual doesn't specifically point out that using sleep mode saves more power than turning the unit off, it does say that sleep mode is to be used for conserving power between shots.

The engineers, almost certainly with reason, decided that the camera should 'sleep' for a full 12 minutes before shutting down completely. So my assumption is that if you're going to be taking more shots within 12 minutes, that you will likely use less power than turning it on and off.

If my assumption is correct, the explanation would perfectly fit with how I primarily use my cameras, hiking and sightseeing. I often will take a few shots, shut the camera down, then take a few more shots 3-5 minutes later. So I'm going to experiment with just leaving the camera in sleep mode unless I know I'm not going to take more shots within the next 15 minutes.

This all seems counterintuitive to me - usually the least power is used by shutting a device off completely. But perhaps the XZ-1 just uses a unusually high current motor to extend and retract the lens, or maybe the tiny battery can't keep up with those power spikes nearly as well as a much larger battery? Or maybe the sleep mode is just so insanely power conserving that 15 minutes of sleeping is the same as one power cycle.
aaroncgi is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:16 PM.