Batteries and power consumption

14 replies [Last post]
Bill S
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Joined: Aug 14 2000

Henry,

“Maybe to start a thread going could anybody give a good reason why most digi cams eat batteries so rapidly”

Rather than replying to the question in the Welcome thread I have started a new thread.

Battery lifetime is a problem with all digital cameras; a good description can be found on: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/glossary/default.asp?key=Batteries

The LCD(tft) is not the main offender. CCD, autofocus, zoom, writing to memory and all the high speed processing require plenty of power. Feel how hot fast processors get!

I’ve seen measurements taken on a Canon S10 – 340mA for the LCD, 1200mA when writing to memory! The Sony Mavica only uses 750mA when recording MPEG movie to its CD-R, less than many cameras use when writing to memory stick etc. Switching off its larger LCD only saves 220mA; the viewfinder LCD using 110mA

The cost of high definition is a need for high speed and that means high power consumption.

Gordon Briggs
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Joined: May 10 1999

Hi Bill,

I have a Fuji FinePix 4700 which came with two Nichol Metal Hydride 1600 mAh batteries, and they last forever, even when using the monitor. I can shoot all day on one set of batteries.

My first camera was a Kodak which used FOUR batteries, and I was lucky to get half a dozen shots out of them. I tried better batteries but to no avail.

I guess the Fuji people know how to reduce the load on the power sourse.

Hope this helps,

Regards.

Gordon

GHBriggs

Pierluigi
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Joined: Aug 25 2000

Hi Gordon,

The Fuji FinePix 4700 uses a pair of very high powered Rechargeable batteries, that's why it lasts so long, try putting in a pair of Duracell Ultra batteries instead and use the LCD when taking shots, they will die within 3-5 shots.

Regards

Lui

Pierluigi
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Joined: Aug 25 2000

Hi Gordon,

On another note, I have the same Camera and when shooting without using a zoom I get a very bad fish-eye effect, do you get the same thing, it makes the shots without using the zoom useless, infact I have to set the zoom to maximum to get rid of the effect. Which sort of kills the idea of having a zoom in the first place.

Regards

Lui

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

My experience is different. Olympus C3030 with 4 AA (or high-price Olympus batteries).

The first pair of Olypmus batteries lasted about a fortnight, during which time I shot 86 pictures, some with flash, and did a lot of showing off to gob-smacked observers.

Then I put in Duracell AAs. These lasted 3 months, during which time I shot about 80 pictures , some with flash, and showed off a bit less.

I'm on the second set of Duracells now. Been in for 4 months, not showing any sign of dying, but only shot about 25 pix so far.

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tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

Explain again the "shooting without the zoom", Lui. Do you mean you're getting vignetting or simply too much barrel distortion? Is it an add on wideangle attachment you're using?

tom.

Pierluigi
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Joined: Aug 25 2000

Tom,

I have no attachments on the camera, it can't take any. What I mean by "shooting without the zoom" is that I am not using the zoom function, simply turning on the camera and taking a photo.

The effect is barrel distortion I think (not to sure on the terms) but basically a straight table being photographed comes out curved as if you are looking through a fish-eye lens. I took a photo of the side of my house edge on and it looks like it is has a beer gut, totally useless really.

I was just wondering if this is a problem with all compact cameras or just this particular model or is it a fault?.

Regards

Lui

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

That sounds very like a poor lens. Barrel distortion is what you get at the wide end, pincushion at the other (if at all). Extreme barrel distortion is called fish-eye. So, it looks like you've just got a badly designed (or faulty) lens. Any chance of going back to the shop and complaining? It can't do any harm.

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tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

I'll take a bet, Alan and Lui, that you've not got a bad example at all; you've got a perfectly acceptable production part and every one off that line comes out the same.

Perfectly acceptable that is from the marketing point of view; the camera specs look good, the price is right, the profits are high, the style is in. But I bet the lens designer flinched when management gave him the price point. He'll have had to weigh up a huge amount of variables, from number of elements, to which ones get the multi-coating and what the maximum aperture must be and how little chromatic abberation will be tolerated and vignetting must not be "obvious" and go blow the linear distortion.

That's what's had to give. Barrel distortion is almost a fact of life and if Nikon's 950 has it then I guess we mere mortals with lesser cameras must learn to like it too. But I do find it unacceptable, and Photoshop's correction obviously introduces interpolation distortions of its own as it straightens out those lines.

It's a price we pay if we want incredibly compact, lightweight, fast zooms that don't cost a lot. My TRV900 gives gobs of barrel distortion (as they all do) and my EOS 28 - 105 is laughable; I can only use it at 30mm if I want any sort of undistorted view of the world. Note: not perspective distortion, linear distortion.

I used my 90mm macro and my 20mm widie in the 70s and 80s and never once gave a thought to linear distortion - it simply didn't exist and never crossed my mind. Zooms have changed all that, and we live with the consequences.

tom.

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Tom, as usual, I agree 100%. You only get what you pay for. Sad, all the same though.

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Pierluigi
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Joined: Aug 25 2000

Tom,

I took the camera back to the shop and tried out another two of the same model, exact same effect, the shop assistant explained that this was a common problem with compact camera zoom lenses and that the Fuji was not the only one affected by this. Which begs the question of is this acceptable? after all I have two compact APS zoom cameras and they don't have the barrel destortion problem, only digital cameras seem to have it. I know you can edit and correct these in Photoshop, but I shouldn't have to do that for a camera that cost £700 this is ridiculous.

Regards

Lui

Pierluigi
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Joined: Aug 25 2000

Alan

I agree that in the technology world you get what you pay for, but I paid £700 for this thing and I expect it to at least take an undistorted decent picture, after all I can buy a disposable camera for £4 that takes better pictures. It's also very interesting that in all the reviews I read about this camera, no one mentioned anything about barrel distortion, they all raved about picture quality, resolution and features, it was the reason I went for the Fuji.

Ah well, live and learn, next time (if there is a next time) I'll demand that I test the camera out first before I buy it, and if the shop won't let me, I'll go somewhere else.

Regards

Lui

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Ah, yes, that is rather a lot for a camera that can't do straight lines. For the record, I paid £800 for an Olympus that doesn't seem to barrel or pincushion. But, then, that's why I bought Olypmus, because their lenses are good (the only alternative would have been a Nikon for £900, and would have made my wife's eyes water even more).

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tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

All lenses distort to a degree, but I tend to agree that these days the distortion levels are creeping up as we demand more for less. It's not something unique to digital cameras Lui, it's only unique to cameras with zoom lenses that cost the same as undistorting primes.

And tell your wife to dry her tears Alan; when you spend more on the lens it comes with less barrel distortion. And less barrel distortion slims everybody's waist measurement.

tom.

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

I'll bookmark that comment for an occasion that might need it Thanks Tom.

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