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Make your camera battery last twice as long in the outdoors



Portable chargers are very popular these days with hikers. In the absence of charging facilities in wilderness, one of the biggest concerns is how to conserve your camera (or phone) battery last as long as it possibly can. Irrespective of what kind of charge backup you're carrying it makes sense to be 
prudent with your camera's batteries - whether regular AA cells, or in-built Lithium-ion units. Here are a few tried and tested tips that I can guarantee will increase your camera battery's life twofold if not more. Remember that in extreme cold conditions batteries discharge even faster than usual. 


1. Turn off the auto-flash. Use the flash judiciously and only when you need it. Carry an external flash if you must—those have independent batteries and don't draw power from the camera.

2. Avoid the 'Auto mode,' as much as possible. Learn to focus and shoot in manual mode or in the aperture / shutter-priority program modes.

4. Turn off the light-beam aided focus feature in a DSLR. The camera would still focus in auto-focus mode unless the subject is really dark or indefinite.

5. Turn off LCD review screen. You've probably got a big memory card, so keep shooting instead of needing to review each shot.

6. Turn off all features that make a beep or an audio sound (like for auto-focus etc).

7. Do not start reviewing, editing or deleting the pictures from your camera while on the move. Most modern DSLR or compact cameras have versatile editing features and it is tempting to start editing when you are resting at night but don't do it.

8. Don't switch on or off your camera frequently. Switch it off only when you are sure that you are not going to take a picture for a duration of 30 minutes or more.

9. Minimize using the auto zoom function. Zoom manually if needed. 

10. Keep the camera out of cold, snow; water etc anything that can make it go cold when not in use.

11. If your camera comes with 'Auto Power Saving' mode, always use it when not taking pictures


12. Don't use red eye compensation feature. Red eyes can be photoshopped later.

13. Select the picture resolution (raw/NEF/large/medium/small/fine/high/low) judiciously according to your requirement. The higher the resolution, the higher the battery consumption and for most regular pictures you really don't need the highest resolution of your camera.

14. Use viewfinder to focus and stop using the LCD screen for focusing.

15. Don't use the multiple-shot feature unless you are shooting wildlife. Use single shot mode.

16. At night remove the battery from the body and keep it inside your clothing or sleeping bag.

17. Don't fiddle with your shutter button unless you really want to take a picture. While composing a shot just view the scenery through your view finder without pressing the shutter half way down.

18. Use faster memory cards which can capture and store your images in less time.

19. If there are two or more of you and need to use the flash then use only one of the camera flashes while the other synchronizes and shoots within that flash.

20. Always format memory card before starting to shoot new pictures. This will keep the memory card fast.


Goes without saying that you should carry several sets of fully charged extra batteries. Keep them warm, dry and out of the weather in a safe place till you need them. Keeping batteries near an open fire or cooking gas is not a good idea to warm or dry them up. Basic rule of thumb is to simply turn off all features that you are not going to use. You will be amazed at the number of features all modern cameras offer and even more amazed to learn how few of those we really use.
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