How To Improve The Battery Life of Your Camera

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Getting the most from your camera’s battery life is amazingly simple if you just do some thinking. Though many modern camera batteries are pretty damned good, they could always be better.

Here are some tips on improving the output.

Choose a Specific Focusing Point Vs Making the Camera Hunt For One

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A77 Mk II first impressions images (9 of 9)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 2.2

When you tell your camera to autofocus on a scene and you haven’t chosen a specific point, then it is doing extra work and will take longer to choose one based on the composition. This can result in you focusing, and refocusing and refocusing which drains lots of battery life.

Instead, we strongly recommend choosing a focusing point beforehand. When you choose a point then you’re giving your camera some extra help and it will know what to focus on. Nailing that focusing though is its job.

Dimming the Screen


This is a tip that has been known for years but that still effectively works. Some cameras have an automatic dimming function which is great. But otherwise we recommend turning down the brightness. Sure, a brighter screen looks beautiful but it will also drain lots of battery power.

This goes double for a camera with an EVF that you end up using a lot.

Use a Faster Memory Card

SD Card Port

Here’s one that you probably didn’t think of: if your camera is using a slower and older SD or CF card, it is making the processor take a lot longer to write the images. In effect, the longer it takes the more energy it requires. If you’re shooting in continuous bursts then you’ll also be draining the battery even more.

Upgrade to a new super fast card and you’ll notice a major difference.

Turn off the LCD Screen

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon Rebel SL1 product photos review (5 of 9)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.5

One of the biggest drains of battery life is the LCD screen, which is why we recommend dimming it. But lots of folks like using it to change settings. In all truthfulness, many DSLRs and cameras are designed for you to change the settings without removing it from your eye–which means that you can see it all in the viewfinder.

Turn off the LCD if you’re not using it.

Try to Shoot at Lower ISOs

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phase One IQ250 more with Nat (2 of 2)ISO 1001-100 sec at f - 5.0

When you shoot at higher ISOs you’re making more power go to the imaging sensor: which ones again drains more power over a period of time. Though it has reduced as time and technology has progressed, it still takes more power. We encourage you to shoot at the lowest ISO that you possibly can for each particular photo.

Practice Getting the Shot Right the First Time

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lulu's Shoot Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens photos (3 of 9)ISO 1001-60 sec at f - 5.0

There are photographers I see in this line of work that when they need to shoot one photo, they actually shoot multiple. When asked why, they always say “because one is bound to not have camera shake.” This is very sad and the more that the shutter is clicking the more depleted the battery will become. It is commonplace in the professional journalism and paparazzi world for batteries to die because of machine gun shooting.

We understand that sometimes you need to, but if you can keep it down then do so.

Don’t Use a Powerzoom Lens

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony NEX 3N product photo (1 of 1)ISO 1601-200 sec at f - 2.0

Very recently, companies have started to make powerzoom lenses. While these give lots of folks more of the feeling of a point and shoot and are a great idea for video shooting, they can kill your battery. When a lens requires power to zoom, it will be pulling that extra power from the camera. Because of this, you have two units units the battery life of one camera: the camera and the lens.

The best way to save battery life is to honestly just get a manual focus lens of some sort–but we know that that idea is a bit too extreme for everyone.

Let it Go to Sleep

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Imagine this: you try to go to sleep and someone or something just keeps waking you up. Eventually, what’s going to happen is that you’re going to run out of energy. But unlike your body, too much sleep isn’t really a bad thing. I’ve had my cameras in my bag on sleep mode after I accidentally turned them on. After I woke them up, they were just fine and ready to start shooting.

Many folks don’t like letting their cameras sleep, but you really should do so.

Delete Images Only When You Need To

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax K3 first impressions product photos (8 of 8)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

Lastly, we recommend that you delete images when you need to. Instead, if you’re going to get rid of anything you should format the card. This will not only improve the write speed but also free up as much space as you’d possibly need on the card.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.