Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Batteries, or, I wish I owned a piece of Sterlingtek

Get some extra batteries that are the right size for your camera. Batteries are the fuel for your digital camera. If they die, and you have no spares, you are done shooting for the day. If your luck is like mine, the batteries will die 5 minutes before the best light or the hottest action starts. I like to have 2 extra sets for the photographic suspenders and belt world I live in.

If I know I'm going to be shooting a bunch of photos tomorrow, I make sure all 3 batteries are charged up the night before by charging them and keeping watch, changing the known charged batteries out with the other batteries as soon as the status light goes from charging to charged.
None of the batteries are nickel cadmium anymore, so the worries about the batteries developing memories are unfounded. If you have an older camera with nicad batteries, it's time to look into lithium ion batteries, or better yet, a new camera!

I have a camera bag that has multiple zipper pockets. I keep fresh memory cards and batteries in one section, and the used ones in another zipper pocket. When the batteries are most of the way discharged, I switch out a charged battery with the dead one, and put the dead one in the dead battery/full memory card section. No confusion, no fuss, no muss. I don't wait till the battery is totally dead before changing it. I guarantee that if you do wait till it croaks, the croakage (now i'm a wordsmith!) will happen at the least convenient time. I change it out when the battery indicator gets down to one section left, and there's a lull in the action. Thats why I have 2 spares. If I ever head out of the country, where I have any doubts about power, I'll have even more spares all fully charged. Batteries are cheap. missed photos on a once in a lifetime trip will haunt you.

I know what you're thinking "But, Dave, they're expensive!"

If you're talking factory batteries, you're right. Instead, get some from I've had great luck with the generic batteries they carry. Sterlingtek claims they are higher capacity in milliamphours (mah) than the factory batteries. I don't have any way to test them, but, they do last longer than the factory batteries that have come with my cameras., so I'll accept the claims. The Sterlingtek batteries cost about 1/3 the factory cost. You can get 2 higher capacity spares for less than the price of a single factory lower capacity battery. More power, less cost. Sounds like a winner to me.

Some folks only feel comfortable using the factory batteries. The factories have used fears, uncertainties and doubts (FUDs) to try to convince the world that failure to use factory original batteries at 3 times the cost of gernerics can lead to explosions, halitosis, rotting body parts falling off and other maladies. On the forums I've seen, no one has ever complained about a failure of the Sterlingtek product leading to anything bad happening. So, for what it's worth, I recommend them.

There's some nonsense going on with new regulations by the federal government about taking batteries containing lithium onto airplanes. I haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet. I'll report back on that later.

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