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Friday, January 12, 2007

Portable Power

What to know about camera batteries for maximum performance


AnsmannThese days, all digital SLR cameras, high-end zooms and many compact cameras use dedicated Li-Ion batteries. These cells are typically black or neutral gray and shaped like either a flat matchbox or something that resembles two short, chubby AA cells fused together. Li-Ion is the battery technology of choice for several reasons. It's environmentally friendly, has no performance-robbing memory (capable of enduring repeated recharging cycles without diminishing its rated capacity) and can deliver hundreds of shots on a single charge. Li-Ion charges to full power quickly and retains its charge for extended periods. Lithium is the lightest metal known to man, and lithium batteries are correspondingly compact and light in weight.

If your camera uses lithium-ion, buy at least one backup cell and keep it charged. Nothing is more maddening than a shooting session that's interrupted by a dead battery. Carry an extra charged battery in your gadget bag and you'll never have to deal with that aggravation. When not in the camera, keep extra cells in their original containers or a plastic bag to protect the electrical contacts.

When shopping for additional proprietary batteries, keep in mind that you don't have to buy a battery with the same brand as your camera. Most camera manufacturers aren't Li-Ion battery manufacturers, which means that they buy their batteries from a third party. In many cases, these third-party, OEM suppliers are also fabricating batteries for the private-label brands. This is one of the few product categories in which you can save money and still get top quality at the same time. Brands like Lenmar and Delkin have been providing rechargeable alternatives for manufacturers' prime digital camera and camcorder batteries for years.

Some major retailers, including Adorama, offer their own line of replacement batteries. The cost savings can be substantial-sometimes enough that you can own two private-label batteries for the price of one of the camera maker's cells. For example, if you own a Canon EOS 10D, you can buy an Adorama replacement battery (BP-511) for just $19.95, while the original Canon version has a street price of $50.

If you're not sure which Li-Ion battery your camera requires, check out Delkin's website (www.delkin.com). Delkin provides a terrific "battery finder" database as well as a full line of reasonably priced lithium-ion replacement batteries and eFilm rechargeable cells in various sizes.


Resources
Adorama (800) 223-2500www.adorama.com
Ansmann (HP Marketing Corp.) (800) 735-4373www.hpmarketingcorp.com
Delkin (800) 637-8087www.delkin.com
Energizer (800) 383-7323www.energizer.com
Kodak (800) 235-6325www.kodak.com
Lenmar (800) 424-2703www.lenmar.com
Maha Energy (800) 376-9992www.mahaenergy.com
Panasonic (800) 211-PANAwww.panasonic.com
Quest (800) 798-7740www.questbatteries.com
Sunpak (ToCAD) (973) 627-9600www.sunpak.com
  

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