Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question

Started May 24, 2012 | Discussions
dark13star
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Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
May 24, 2012

Hello,

I'm a longtime Nikon shooter and occasional Nex-5 shooter who just ordered a Nex-7 for a trip to Africa. My main reason to go with the Nex is weight, and lack of EVF on my 5 is a bit of a non-starter for shooting in very bright conditions. I want to have a regular zoom, a wide angle, and a fish eye with me and I did a test hike with my Nikon and all those lenses and it was painful at 12,000' here in Colorado, never mind 19,340'.

I'm planning on carrying my Nex-7, 16mm, 17-55mm, wide angle adapter, fish eye adapter, and batteries. The question is how many batteries? The climb is 9 days and I won't have any power along the way. The summit is on the morning of day 8 and then powering down for two days with less shooting, but definitely want to get the celebration shots at the end.

I've read all the pointers about turning off between shots, etc. I'll set the camera to EVF only and won't do much chomping, except to check exposure. I do figure on shooting 100-200 shots a day though.

Any thoughts from current owners on how many batteries to carry. I have two right now and am thinking of buying four more. They are out of stock in most places, so I figure I need to decide soon and that is why I'm looking to those with experience.

Many thanks
Rich

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dark13star
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dark13star, May 24, 2012

I forgot to mention that I'll be shooting Raw and a little bit of video.

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David McGaughey
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dark13star, May 24, 2012

If you turn the camera off after you are done shooting (very important - so you don't accidentally start shooting a video or have it on indefinitely because of the viewfinder sensor) I'd expect a battery to last about 2 days. So, at least four.

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sean lancaster
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to David McGaughey, May 24, 2012

David McGaughey wrote:

If you turn the camera off after you are done shooting (very important - so you don't accidentally start shooting a video or have it on indefinitely because of the viewfinder sensor) I'd expect a battery to last about 2 days. So, at least four.

I think that's a good estimate and allows a little wiggle room in case you forget here or there.

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dark13star
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to sean lancaster, May 24, 2012

Thanks to both replies above. I was thinking 5, to be careful and your guidance makes me comfortable with that. I'm also assuming that they will hold their charge fairly well, since they currently do, when not in use. Cold will affect them, but I'll keep the ones for summit day in my pocket.

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swixtwix
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dark13star, May 24, 2012

I'd go with 5... keep them close to the body for warmth, the cold will eat through them.

A typical day outing for me is about 300 pics with the LCD on and no review time. At the end of the day I'm usually at 15 to 20%. So 2 days per battery would be a good estimate, but the cold is the unknown... too bad its not winter, you could go for a hike and check out how the cold temps would affect battery life.

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dpdog
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to David McGaughey, May 24, 2012

4-5 does sound about right. I took my NEX-7 to a practice round at Augusta National for this year's Masters. I brought 2 batteries and 2 16gb memory cards. I shot about 800 pictures (raw+jpg) and maybe 10 minutes of video. I had the camera on quite a bit but did power down between the majority of the shots. At the end of the day battery #2 still had about 50% power and memory card #2 was about 50% full. I was surprised how well matched the battery consumption was to the 16gb cards.... A perfect pair.

Take my experience with a grain of salt though. I did a lot of speed priority bursts to capture players swinging. Firing off 10 fps racks up the count quickly and there was no focusing or anything like that going on between them (obviously) so I would imagine that's pretty efficient shot per shot battery consumption. Also, I understand the EVF actually consumes more juice than the LCD... but I don't know that for sure but I used the LCD mostly.

Enjoy your climb!

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dark13star
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dpdog, May 24, 2012

Thanks. Our shooting styles will be quite different, but I appreciate the data. You are correct that EVF uses more power than the LCD. LCD is pretty useless to me in bright light though, so I will need the EVF.

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JimJ46
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dpdog, May 24, 2012

Page 48 of the manual says

LCD monitor mode --- approximatiel 430 images
Viewfinder mode ---- approximately 350 images

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dark13star
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to swixtwix, May 24, 2012

Thanks. I'll need to do some research on this, but I thought the cold only diminished the battery while it's cold and the capacity comes back when it warms up.

If not, I'll have some new problems. My plan was to keep my current batteries with me and keep the rest in the duffle carried by the porters.

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dark13star
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to JimJ46, May 24, 2012

I've read 300 is a good estimate for the EVF based on reviewers and that manuals are usually on the high side. I think I could stick to 150 shots per day.

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Lng0004
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dark13star, May 24, 2012

Buy a bunch of cheap Chinese knock-offs Battery life also depends on how you shoot. Do you just whip the camera out and click? Or do you take your time to compose, then shoot, then check exposure and reshoot?

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dark13star
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dark13star, May 24, 2012

Just a note. I did some research to check my memory of college chemistry. Letting the batteries get cold is not a problem, but warming them before use is important. The cold batteries will actually degrade more slowly and hold more charge, but using them when cold is problematic.

It is common to keep a battery in a pocket for summit photos and I plan to have a warm one at the top. The good news is the cold shouldn't hurt them on the days before that. Here is a link: http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthingsworkfaqs/f/coldbattery.htm

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dark13star
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to Lng0004, May 24, 2012

I'm in the latter category. I compose and check exposure and then reshoot, if necessary.

I've read some bad reviews of the knock-off batteries. What is your experience?

A trip like this costs tens of thousands of dollars, so I'm not going to skimp on a few hundred. Every bit of weight does count though, and the point of going with the Nex is to save weight. I don't want it to get back up to DSLR weight with all the batteries.

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dssdmd
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dark13star, May 24, 2012

Just be sure to test the aftermarket batteries to see if they will recharge in the Sony charger. The well known Sterlingtek and Lenmar batteries do not work in the Sony Nex-7 recharger. I just today got the E-bay Dayven 1600 batteries. They recharge, but I don't know how long they last yet.

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Ronbeau
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dark13star, May 24, 2012

I did a ten day trek in Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains (longer, but not quite as high as Kili) with three batteries okay. I wasn't doing 100-200 pics per day though. That's a lot of pics.

Be careful on keeping the battery warm (inside your jacket) for the summit though. You don't want the lens warm or it may fog up as soon as you expose it to the cold. I always keep my camera external to my body when trekking in the cold. I'd rather take fewer photos with a clear lens than more photos with a potentially fogged lens.

Enjoy the trip!

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dark13star
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to Ronbeau, May 24, 2012

Thanks. Awesome trip and I'm impressed on the three batteries.

You are right about camera outside. In cold conditions, I like to have a battery in a pocket to swap, but not the whole camera. Put the warm one in and put the cold one in the pocket to warm up.

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eths
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to dark13star, May 24, 2012

Based on my experience, and depending on how much of the time camera is on (and in use), I would think one battery per day should be enough. Also remember that at low temperatures the batteries will have less capacity than they do at room temperature.

OTOH, if you use the camera only for a few minutes each day, then one or two will be OK.

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EdZim
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to eths, May 24, 2012

Despite the higher price and the possibility that the "knock off" battery may be just as good as the original battery I would stick to the Sony battery. Why take a chance. From my experience, after a good day of shooting I have not diminished a fully charged battery. I would think a battery for every 300 pictures would be a good estimate. Now if you had a way of charging the battery daily 2 would do. What are you going to do with all the extra batteries when you get home?

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MBRuss
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Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro with Nex-7: battery question
In reply to EdZim, May 24, 2012

The batteries are Lithium Ion batteries, so will actually degrade LESS in the cold. In fact, they're best refrigerated when being stored. Heat makes them discharge much faster. Also, having them fully charged makes them degrade quicker. That's why batteries are usually stored at around 40% charge before sale. Still, for the purposes of your trip, they'll need to be fully charged.

Let them get cold, but make sure you thoroughly warm them up before use.

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