Concerning batteries …

A day at the seaside this past weekend and as has been my usual practice just recently I took a Fuji system in preference to the Nikons. For a day which combined some photography with a day out with my long-sufferIng wife the smaller kit was the right compromise. It enabled me to wander around the gift shops with it on my back yet didn’t prevent me from getting the images I wanted. In fact during the blue hour the Fuji on a mini tripod sat nicely on the sea wall for some long exposures, not something the much heavier Nikons could have managed on such a tiny support.

© Dave Whenham

The night before we went I put fresh batteries in each of the two camera bodies and gathered the other spares. I know that compared to my Nikon batteries these smaller Fuji batteries have a much shorter life when measured in image count which is why I carry several spares as well as one in each camera. On an impulse I popped one of the spares in the charger and found it had only around a quarter charge. The same applied to all of them which ranged from 25%-50% charged. Now consider that every one of them had been fully charged no more than four weeks ago and most likely only two weeks ago this was a huge surprise. My Nikon batteries generally hold at least 80% of their charge for many months.

Now, no deal breaker and whilst it meant I had to stay up a little longer than planned that evening to charge them all I did leave the house the following morning with a full set of fully charged batteries. But had I not checked then I could well have been compromised when the fresh battery in each camera ran down as they did during the  afternoon. I do a lot of long exposures which also chews through batteries so fully expected to use two batteries in the camera that day.

© Dave Whenham

So, another lesson learnt with the Fujis and whilst it seems banal had I been going further afield for a more intensive days shooting I might have been a very unhappy photographer. In fact, if it had been for the weekend rather than a single day then I would have run out of juice given how low they had run down. I do not carry a charger for a weekends shooting – my D800E ran for almost a week on Skye one year with just one battery change so carrying a charger for a weekends trip is not something I would think to do. At least not until this weekend.

The moral of the story? There’s more to changing system than weight, body specifications and lens sharpness. It is important to consider and investigate the small things as they can have a massive impact. Batteries are not exciting or potential objects of lust but without them your camera is just an expensive paperweight regardless of the brand name on the body.