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Old Oct 21, 2003, 9:53 PM   #1
pwc
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Default A plea to Panasonic (via Bob) for AA batteries in DMC-LC1

I want to start the discussion of this in the hope that it is not too late! My bias: I am an old Fujica GS645 mechanical rangefinder guy (amongst other manual cameras). Even digitally I do all exposures manually and like to focus manually too.
I think that the DMC-LC1 was designed for manual "mechanical" guys like me. Obviously the camera need batteries but the special public it will appeal to (and I assume that it will be expensive) want a mechanical-style camera. That means whether we are going up North for the weeknd, hiking for the day or trekking Nepal, we want that mechanical reliability. Taking along a few sets of spare AAs in case our one or two sets of rechargables (NiMh) expire, is how we get it.
I have searched the LC1 threads at Phil's etc. and I am not alone in this wish for the LC1. The Olympus C5050 has a following because of its AA power. But I want the LC1 (and boy do I want it!!!) and I am not alone.
Please Panasonic Bob and others there. I hope that Panasonic will understand the needs of the market for this special camera. Lighter weight and more power, the argument for L-ion will not cut it with this crowd. Make it "mechanical" and we wil pay for it.
L-ion powered mega-zooms have their market. But please address ours. HORSES FOR COURSES!
Much thanks!!!!!!
pwc
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Old Oct 21, 2003, 10:52 PM   #2
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For those unfamiliar with the DMC-LC1, there is a good summary of the camera at http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/news...story_440.html
You can also download a ZIP file of some of the best pics of the prototype that I have seen on the web by going to http://www.dcex.net/modules/mydownloads/
and then clicking on the button marked popular after scrolling down to the DMC-LC1 green box.
If you like manual photography, this camera is exciting: aperature ring, shutter dial, 28-90 Leica zoom (looks to be mechanical) and manual focus on a lens ring with a distance scale.
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Old Oct 22, 2003, 9:37 AM   #3
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I know very little about this camera, and what little I do know, I'm unable to discuss at this time. I can say this much. In high end cameras that require more current, "AA" batteries are a very poor choice. Recently, I tested several cameras including the Oly C750. All used "AA" batteries. In short, the battery life was unacceptable.

In the small pocket size cameras "AA" cells are suitable, primarily for their cost vs the cost of the camera. The new Ni-Mh packs that run at 7.2V offer much better performance.

For the techies out there, consider this.

Most digital cameras consume about 12W of power. Use the formula P=I x E, where P= Power in Watts, I = Current in Amps, and E = Voltage

Derrived from the above, I = P / E

Therefor, if a camera consumes 12W and uses (4) AA cells (each 1.2V) 12 / 4.8 = 2.5A Just how long do you expect "AA" cells to be able to deliver 2.5 amps?

Now, increase the voltage to 7.2V and we see that the current decreases to 1.66 amps. That lower consumption added to the improved ability of a dedicated baattery pack to deliver more current on demand easily shows why "AA" cells are being used less and less. Using more than 4 "AA" cells adds too much size and weight.

I believe it would be a fairly safe conclusion that you won't see "AA" batteries in any of our high end cameras.
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Old Oct 23, 2003, 12:15 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. I hope that you can give us information on this interesting camera as such becomes available and less confidential.
Best regards,
pwc
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Old Oct 23, 2003, 2:27 PM   #5
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One last link for anyone interested in the DMC-LC1:
In addition to the two links above (my second post), here is a good rear shot of the camera.
http://converse.ru/images/f4ad21f2e6...e64e4bbbf544d8
The LCD appears to be huge.
Best regards,
pwc
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Old Oct 23, 2003, 3:20 PM   #6
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Default not too much big

pwc wrote

One last link for anyone interested in the DMC-LC1:
In addition to the two links above (my second post), here is a good rear shot of the camera.
http://converse.ru/images/f4ad21f2e6...e64e4bbbf544d8
The LCD appears to be huge.

... and the camera not too much big if it's a 2" LCD. Very portable, like the FZ1
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Old Oct 23, 2003, 4:01 PM   #7
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Default AA Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
I can say this much. In high end cameras that require more current, "AA" batteries are a very poor choice. Recently, I tested several cameras including the Oly C750. All used "AA" batteries. In short, the battery life was unacceptable.

In the small pocket size cameras "AA" cells are suitable, primarily for their cost vs the cost of the camera. The new Ni-Mh packs that run at 7.2V offer much better performance.

For the techies out there, consider this.

Most digital cameras consume about 12W of power. Use the formula P=I x E, where P= Power in Watts, I = Current in Amps, and E = Voltage

Derrived from the above, I = P / E

Therefor, if a camera consumes 12W and uses (4) AA cells (each 1.2V) 12 / 4.8 = 2.5A Just how long do you expect "AA" cells to be able to deliver 2.5 amps?

Now, increase the voltage to 7.2V and we see that the current decreases to 1.66 amps. That lower consumption added to the improved ability of a dedicated baattery pack to deliver more current on demand easily shows why "AA" cells are being used less and less. Using more than 4 "AA" cells adds too much size and weight.

I believe it would be a fairly safe conclusion that you won't see "AA" batteries in any of our high end cameras.
Bob, which kind of "AA" batteries did you use for your test? Alkalines? The reason that I am asking is because there are rechargeable NiMH "AA" size batteries which perform a lot better.

Now, I recently bought a digicam for my brother so I did some research to find which camera will suit his needs best. One of the parameters was battery life. I am going to reproduce that info here:

Phil published battery life charts for Compact / Ultra compact and for Prosumer / SLR-Like cameras (scroll to the bottom of the pages).

However, that is not all. In the tests, Phil used were mid-range 1600mAh AA batteries.
Dave (from Imaging Resource) did a Battery Shootout and his results indicate that some 2100mAh and 2200mAh batteries perform significantly better than 1600mAh ones (and way better than alcalines). Here are some of the results:

Powerex 2200: 10.10 Watt-hours (4 cells), 2069 mAh, 134.1 min
Sanyo 2100: 9.66 Watt-hours (4 cells), 2013 mAh, 131.8 min

... other >1600mAh batteries here ...
Sanyo 1600: 7.67 Watt-hours (4 cells), 1564 mAh, 103.1 min
... other 1600mAh batteries here ...
Sunpak 1600: 6.53 Watt-hours (4 cells), 1330 mAh, 87.4 min
Panasonic (Alkaline cells): 3.66 Watt-hours (4 cells), 774 mAh, 56.0 min
Duracell Ultra (Alkaline cells): 3.66 Watt-hours (4 cells), 781 mAh, 57.0 min
Energizer (Alkaline cells): 3.55 Watt-hours (4 cells), 756 mAh, 55.0min


Now, if you take the Olympus C-5050 Zoom data from Phil's and adjust for better batteries (say, multiply by 1.3 according to Dave's results) you can get almost 500 shots with a set of 4 AAs. The Canon PowerShot A70, according to the same calculation, will last for an amazing 670 shots.

Now, metodologies differ so also check how Dave ranks the A70 or the C-5050 battery life with 4x1600mAh batteries. Incidently, he also tested the C-750 that you mentioned and the results, while not earth-shattering, are in no way "unacceptable".
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Old Oct 23, 2003, 6:08 PM   #8
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Default AA batterias and DMC-LC1 size

I agree with the previus post. I own a Oly C750UZ and I get 4 or more hours with Sanyo 2100 nmh batteries. For me this is "very acceptable".

For Anyone interested in the size of DMC-LC1 we discuss this point here:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...essage=6436457

The DMC-LC1 seems to be something like 130 mm x 100 mm , more or less.

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Old Oct 26, 2003, 11:49 AM   #9
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Default AA batteries

I have no arguments with Bob's data, but I think this is much more a marketing decision than an engineering decision. A camera that uses a proprietary battery (included) that charges in the camera will enjoy a price-point advantage over a camera that comes with an external charger.

On the other hand, a camera that requires an external charger that's not included will be perceived as incomplete, a "ripoff". And I believe there are some good engineering reasons for not using in-camera charging with AAs. (I'm willing to be corrected if wrong!)

So there's a good chance that you'll sell more cameras if you use a proprietary battery than if you use AAs.

While I have no argument with Bob's data, I do not think it's as significant as he suggests.

Bob states:

> Most digital cameras consume about 12W of power.

Just what does this mean? WHEN do they consume 12 watts? While taking a picture and writing it to memory? While doing nothing but refreshing the LCD display? Or is this an average, assuming something like one shot every thirty seconds, with the LCD on the rest of the time? The information isn't specific enough to support further calculation.

And then Bob asks:

> Therefor, if a camera consumes 12W and uses (4) AA cells (each 1.2V) 12 / 4.8 = 2.5A Just how long do you expect "AA" cells to be able to deliver 2.5 amps?

If the AA cells are rated at 2000 mAH (and some are now rated higher than that), I would expect them to deliver 2.5 amps approximately 2 / 2.5 = 0.8 hour, or about 48 minutes. I realize the calculation may be more involved than that, but I'll be very surprised if it's far off.

> Now, increase the voltage to 7.2V and we see that the current decreases to 1.66 amps.

But what is the current capacity over time of the proprietary batteries? The last time I checked, the battery available for my DMC-LC5 was rated at 1400 mAH, giving it a range of 1.4 / 1.6 = 0.84 hour, or a big two minutes more than if it used AAs.

In practical terms, I use both the DMC-LC5 (a wonderful camera, despite its quirks) and an Olympus C4000Z, which uses 4 AA batteries. When I use AAs rated at 1950 or 2000 mAH, I see NO MEASURABLE DIFFERENCE in the performance of these two cameras. (I'm speaking here ONLY of how long I can shoot without changing batteries or recharging, of course.)

The only difference is that when I drain the Oly's batteries, I've got a reserve set, fully charged and ready to go. And another reserve set after that. And if I get really desperate, I can always use alkalines and get a few shots.

But when the LC5's battery is drained, I've got to switch to AC power or just stop shooting until it recharges!

And I don't see any engineering advantage in that!
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 2:05 PM   #10
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Default Actually, Panasonic, evidence weighs against your argument

The new Pentax *ist D has just reached production. Digital SLR with 6 Megapixels. Priuced at USD$1700. Which batteries do they use??? 4 * AA NiMH!
How about the Sigma SD10, another expensive professional digital SLR? Guess which batteries? 4 * AA NiMH!
These are cameras designed for serious photographers. In theory, the DMC-LC1 is also so aimed. I hope that Panasonic rethinks this Lithium Ion battery nonsense before they lose sales to manufacturers who take serious photographers seriously.
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