AA batteries no longer the trend?

Started Oct 31, 2011 | Discussions thread
Joseph S Wisniewski Forum Pro • Posts: 34,141
Yes, for several years now...

myst-vearn wrote:

I have a Canon S3 IS which is very good considering its an ultra zoom, takes good pictures, has a stereo mic. Only problem it has a lower res video setting. I spend more of my time using the camera as a makeshift video camera and taking pics on the fly. I wanted to upgrade to the newest canon SX40 HS but it does not use AA batteries instead some Li-on battery.

So, you don't want to upgrade because they substantially improved the camera?

I've used the camera search function on dpreview's website and it seems that there is no camera with fully articulated LCD, single lens which uses AA.

This is true. For much the same reason that there are no commercial automobiles that use steam engines.

Are cameras using AA batteries dying or manufactures are keen to get us to spend more on some proprietary battery?

You are begging the question, phrasing those two things ass if they were opposites.

The lithium and battery included with most modern cameras are high margin items. That means that it's an area where the manufacturer can deliberately take a hit: give up profit to gain an advantageous sales price.

Or are proprietary batteries better compared to AA?

Yes, in virtually every way possible to imagine. Doug mentioned that they're "much" smaller and lighter. He didn't put a number on it, but it's a factor of about 2.3 at the state of the art for both Li-Ion and NiMH.

  • poor power to weight ratio, resulting in either having more than twice the weight in batteries or less than half the shots (and viewfinder "on" time, for P&S and EVIL cameras) for a camera with the same weight target.

  • poor power to size ratio: larger cameras or less shots per charge.

  • inability to have an accurate battery charge meter (which requires a monitor chip inside the battery pack).

  • poor cold weather performance (neither Alkaline, disposable lithium, or NiMH can match rechargeable lithium).

  • failure modes such as cell reversal due to mismatch between cells.

  • shorter lives of rechargeables due to cell mismatch, unless you use expensive "conditioning" chargers and apply a lot of discipline to maintaining your batteries.

  • 8 dirt and corrosion accumulating "pressure contacts" for 4 AA batteries, vs. 3 dirt and corrosion resistant "self wiping" contacts for a battery pack. That's why AA powered devices that actually need to work reliably in the field, like walkie talkies, have their AA batteries welded together into a battery pack.

At least if I'm not using my camera with my rechargeable eneloop's could be used in a range of other devices if they are not used in the camera.

And does it bother you that you can't use the rest of the parts of the camera system for other purposes when not taking pictures.

I use eneloops, too. Here's something else I wrote a while back...

something that AA "conspiracy theory" crowd misses is what it takes to keep AA batteries going.

I use AA NiMH in my speedlights. To keep them reasonably reliable, I have 3 La Crosse BC-900 chargers, at $47 each. That's not even powering cameras, just flashes.

Because AA NiMH cells have failure modes including reversal (an annoying failure mode that can lead to a cell venting inside the camera), the AA cells need to be periodically conditioned, and sorted into matched sets. The Sanyo eneloop cells have made this simpler and less frequent, but they're a fairly new development. I've been using AA NiMH and Nicads for decades, and know the incredible headaches and grief that they entail.

When I think about all the gear I've seen over the years get an accidental AA "christening" with caustic glop. Even one of my own, an SB-800 needed $120 in repairs from a "fwoosh" incident. I wish more speedlights had a rechargeable lithium option.

The reason I don't use a proper dSLR, is because:
a) my workplace has good dSLR's but...

b). I hate carrying a huge beg full of lenses. Already I see my smartphone replacing a lot of my candid photo takes.

That's not a difference in the DSLR and P&S, that's a difference in how you're using them, in you own discipline.

A smartphone is a single, slow prime lens. Stick one of those on a DSLR, and it's pretty light, but a lot better, image-wise than a smart phone. Even the worst kit-zoom outperforms the phone, and...

it's a zoom.

A "huge beg full of lenses" does "huge beg" of lenses jobs. If you're carrying the huge beg when you're not on a huge beg job, you've failed the planning part of your activity. There's an old saying "Plan the shoot. Shoot the plan."

And if you're taking the phone on what really was a huge beg of lenses job, then you're not delivering value to your customer.

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Rahon Klavanian 1912-2008.

Armenian genocide survivor, amazing cook, scrabble master, and loving grandmother. You will be missed.

Ciao! Joseph


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