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08-21-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
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K30 battery life depends on lens

Just discovered that the battery life on the K30 is highly dependent on the lens type in use. I was out testing to see what kit to take to China later this fall and was favouring the DA 18-135 with the DC focus
motor. I noticed that the battery in my K30 was at aprx. 3/4 full with the kit lens DA 18-55 WR.

After changing to the DA 18-135 and taking 2 shots the battery indicator was in the yellow at less than 1/4. It stayed at yellow even when the camera was not focusing on anything.

I changed back to the 18-55 (Screw Drive) and the battery was up to 3/4 again. Took six or seven shots with the camera on between locations and the battery indicator was still green at 3/4 charge.

I have not noticed this behaviour with the K5 and the 18-135 lens, has anyone else come across this battery behaviour?? I suspect that there is a current drain on the battery for the circuits in the lens. I think the same would apply to the newer Sigma and Tamron lenses, I will check out the Sigma 17-70 OS later today.

If I can't find a solution for it, or a firmware update before the trip, I will take the K30, the 18-55, 50-200 50mm 1.4 and a limited lens or two as it is a lighter kit than the K5. That should give me longer battery life and the ability to change to AA batteries if the Li-109s run out during a day's shooting.

Any other suggestions, other than take the K5, I am trying to keep the weight down. Wish I had not sold my older Sigma 17-70 with screw drive focus!

08-21-2012, 12:10 PM   #2
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In my experience, the battery meter isn't terribly reliable, especially if you use Live View at all. It will dip down and show empty with Live View on and then as soon as you switch it off and power cycle the camera, it shows 2-3 bars again.

This was the case for me on previous bodies as well.
08-24-2012, 07:56 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote
In my experience, the battery meter isn't terribly reliable
I have noticed this as well using AA batteries. In my case the camera turns off without any warning about battery depletion or even before reaching the red indicator. It's annoying when photographing at weddings as it means I have to change batteries when I feel I have been using a set for long enough rather than risking having to change batteries in the middle of important stuff happening. I can't rely on the indicator at all and instead try to keep track of number of shots I've been taking. That too is not very effective, no.
08-24-2012, 01:25 PM   #4
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Still doing tests

I am still testing with the K30 and the 18-135 as that is the combination that I am thinking of for China.

Also testing my Canon T3i and Tamron 18-270 for the same thing, battery life.

I would prefer to take the Pentax combo for the water resistance and I am more used to the controls. Plus I could throw in a couple of limited lenses. The K30 is a slight bit heavier but more compact than the T3i.

I seem to remember one of the previous Pentax digitals had a similar problem and a firmware update fixed it. I can't remember which model.

It is difficult to work a shoot , wedding, travel or just a local event with no idea of how many shots you will get and when the batteries will run out. I don't do any professional work but it still drives me nuts not to be able to rely on the battery indicator. I guess some cameras in all makes just have the indicator for decoration!!!

I will be doing some more formal testing this weekend and start with a fully charged battery in the K30 and see how many shots I can get without the battery going totally dead. Have started with the Canon the same way. I don't want to go out and just shoot like mad because that is not a normal situation.

Most of my shooting is at an event or two where I might shoot 100 - 300 images, then the camera goes back in the car for a couple of hours till I reach my next destination. I might go a day or two without using it and so I want to try to track the number of shots during this "normal" shooting. I have till October to decide which equipment I will take.

Glad to see that I am not the only one that has noticed this.

08-24-2012, 11:28 PM   #5
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I would have thought that the lack of a top LCD (negligible power consumption) means the higher usage of the rear LCD (very heavy power consumption) is one of the main factors in K-30 battery life.
08-25-2012, 12:47 AM   #6
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Here's a tip from the mobile smartphone world: dim the screen, ie. set the LCD brightness as low as possible (so that you're still able to see it, obviously).
In cloudy or darkly lit places the screen doesn't need to be very bright. It's only in direct sunlight or other very bright places that you might want to have more screen brightness.
08-25-2012, 01:48 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianK Quote
I seem to remember one of the previous Pentax digitals had a similar problem and a firmware update fixed it. I can't remember which model.
It was the K-x. Perhaps it will be fixed in the next update.
08-25-2012, 06:44 AM   #8
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Maybe its because different lenses need different shake reduction? Did you try turning it off?

08-25-2012, 06:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Maybe its because different lenses need different shake reduction? Did you try turning it off?
Different AF motors as well.
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