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11-21-2010, 02:32 AM   #1
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batteries, rechargeable or not?

hello All,

I always thought that being able to use AA lithium batteries was a plus, thus I preferred the istDS and K200d.

Now I really would like to move to K5, but I have to give up the option to use AA batteries and I'm really worried.

This will mean I'll have to travel abroad with power adapters - a nightmare - and not just a spare set that fits in my pocket. And what to do if you are traveling in a car in the middle of nowhere and run out of batteries? Have to get a car adapter too. It's crazy.

Also, my K200D can do 700 shots with an AA Lithium set: will the K5 battery make that score? I seldom use the display and use manual focus most of the times.

Rechargeable batteries on another old camera had the habit of running down if not used, so when I needed the camera they were down. Maybe new Lithium-Ion do not work like that.

I would be pleased to read your opinion.

ciao,
-Gian

11-21-2010, 02:46 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gian Quote
Now I really would like to move to K5, but I have to give up the option to use AA batteries and I'm really worried.
No you don't!

I've gone two summers now (~3 months) without ever charging my K20 (2 years ago) or K-7 (last summer). I don't know how many shots I took exactly, but it's got to be somewhere close to 1,500. If you use all the power-saving tips we mention in the K-5 review, you'll notice that the battery life is quite exceptional!

The one catch is that I always use a grip with my camera, which means that I have two rechargeable batteries. I've always assumed that each battery can squeeze out 1,000 shots, but I'm not sure what the official figure is.

In any case, the grip also allows you to use AA's, so you can always go down that route and use the internal rechargeable battery as a backup. Overall, I think, the rechargeable lasts longer and is cheaper, so I prefer it. I haven't had a need for the AA insert yet.




More details on the grip are here.

Adam
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11-21-2010, 03:04 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I've gone two summers now (~3 months) without ever charging my K20 (2 years ago) or K-7 (last summer).
You went 3 months without having to charge your battery??!! craziness...
11-21-2010, 09:30 AM   #4
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I've never gotten quite the kind of use Adam did out of a charge on the K10/20d, but the batts are pretty good. I still couldn't travel without a charger because I can't rely on getting that kind of use and I take more shots than that on a typical trip. Accidents happen that run down batteries even if you are careful.

The Lithiums are amazing, though.

11-21-2010, 10:24 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gian Quote
...
Have to get a car adapter too. It's crazy.
...
Instead of getting car adapter for each gadget I've opted for a small (and quite cheap) inverter that generates AC from 12 V. This can be used with the original charger of the item (cell phone, laptop, camera, ...).
11-21-2010, 10:28 AM   #6
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I've NEVER had the rechargables die on me. I always try to keep them topped off so they're ready to go. The only pro to using the AAs is that in a bind, which is rare, you can buy those anywhere.
11-21-2010, 11:34 AM   #7
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From an environmentally friendly stand point I would say go with rechargeables. Using non-rechargeable batteries just means you'll have to buy more batteries everytime a set runs out but with good rechargeables you only need one set meaning less batteries in landfills.
11-21-2010, 12:15 PM   #8
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There are two aspects to the title of this thread -

1) on the OP's topic - Li-Ion (Lithium-Ion) rechargeable batteries - not to be confused with Non-rechargeable Lithium batteries, do retain their charge for a long time - I think they retain charge longer than even the typical LSD like eneloops - so unlike the notorious NiMH rechargeable batteries Li-Ion are unlikely to self-discharge over even a long vacation.

According to the Pentax K-5 manual typical battery life is 740 (50% flash) or 980 (no flash) - Pentax tends to be pretty conservative about their battery life -
eg: the K-x is rated at: 420 (50% flash) and 640 (no flash) for 1900mAh NiMH batteries - my typical shot count (only occasional flash) with eneloops almost doubles that rating.

So I think one can count on Pentax's ratings for the K-5 - with one extra fully charged battery I would think one is almost guaranteed over 1,400 shots even at 50% flash or 1,900 shots if very little to no flash is used.

Carrying the charger I don't think is going to take up that much room and rests/eases one's mind about never running out of power.


2) this might be held as a bit OT - but worth mentioning -
Non-rechargeable lithium AA batteries are the most reliable batteries to use in Pentax dSLRs that use AA batteries - regardless of cost.

However in the long run LSD rechargeable batteries such as the overwhelmingly recommended eneloops are the more economical choice.

[do the maths: typical shot count for the K-x:
Non-rechargeable lithium AA about 1,500-2,000 = av 1,750; cost $10/set of 4
rechargeable eneloops 1,000-1,500 = av 1,250; cost $10/set of 4

Initial cost of 2 sets of 4 eneloops (one can get away with one set - but in practice it's better to get two sets of 4) + overhead of good charger for eneloops $30 eg: LaCrosse BC-700 = total of $50.

So the break even point would be about 8 (or 9 if counting the first "free" set supplied with camera) sets or cycles. Beyond that point the eneloops would be virtually "free" to use whereas one continues to pay $10 per set of 4 for the non-rechargeable lithium.

So the maths says if one never shoots more than 14,000-15,750 shots for the life of the dSLR - then non-rechargeable lithium is the way to go -

If, however, one intends or are likely to shoot beyond that count (remember not all shots are keepers and we tend to play with our dSLRs a lot) then eneloops are much more economical - eg: I'm already past shot count 20,000.


Last edited by UnknownVT; 11-21-2010 at 01:13 PM. Reason: sorry boo-boo corrected wrong maths
11-21-2010, 02:27 PM   #9
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thank you All for commenting.

Does the camera give you time to charge the batteries, or when it warns you, the batteries are dead the moment after?

If I keep a second set ready, will it keep full charge for weeks?

This may be my best option.
I really hate chargers: you have to know that wherever you go in Europe, you need a different plug.
One for France and Germany, one for Switzerland, one for GB...
I'd need a bag just for that, and loose cables everywhere make me itch...
11-21-2010, 03:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by CaymanImaging Quote
I've NEVER had the rechargables die on me. I always try to keep them topped off so they're ready to go. The only pro to using the AAs is that in a bind, which is rare, you can buy those anywhere.
Then you never been in the top of the mountain in the winter, little below 0 c, full Eneloops won't work, holding camera in hand and in jacket won't help either. My solution was non-rechargeable Alkalines in such situations when I was a K200D shooter.. On my way back home, Eneloops used to work again even before I get home. I don't how six Eneloops would behave in the BG-4 grip..
11-21-2010, 03:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by cbaytan Quote
Then you never been in the top of the mountain in the winter, little below 0 c, full Eneloops won't work ...
Do you have any similar experience with lithium AAs? This would be relevant to me as temperatures here frequently get below -20 C during the winter.
11-21-2010, 03:21 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jolepp Quote
Do you have any similar experience with lithium AAs? This would be relevant to me as temperatures here frequently get below -20 C during the winter.
Unfortunately I don't, my max cold was say -5 c and only non-rechargeable Alkalines worked fine at that temp. I don't know about lithium AA's.
11-21-2010, 07:17 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pauld Quote
From an environmentally friendly stand point I would say go with rechargeables. Using non-rechargeable batteries just means you'll have to buy more batteries everytime a set runs out but with good rechargeables you only need one set meaning less batteries in landfills.
Of course rechargeables are the way to go but there are a lot of situations where they are inconvenient or impossible (several have been mentioned).
11-21-2010, 09:38 PM - 3 Likes   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jolepp Quote
Do you have any similar experience with lithium AAs? This would be relevant to me as temperatures here frequently get below -20 C during the winter.
QuoteOriginally posted by cbaytan Quote
Unfortunately I don't, my max cold was say -5 c and only non-rechargeable Alkalines worked fine at that temp. I don't know about lithium AA's.

Of the common AA battery formulas - lithium are the "king" for cold temperature usage -
since climbing has been mentioned this may be relevant:

Battery Life

although anecdotal, most recognize that lithium are the way to go.

To be more factual the rated operating temperatures are as follows:

eneloop 0 to 50 deg C
alkaline -18 to 55 deg C
lithium -40 to 60 deg C

So alkaline will work better than eneloop in the cold -
and lithium will out perform alkaline.

Might also want to consider what Pentax actually say about using alkaline batteries in the manual:
K200D


and even the latest K-r when using AA batteries:
11-21-2010, 11:17 PM   #15
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The battery charger for the K-5 (like most if not all Pentax cameras) has a built in transformer and does not require you to travel with a bunch of adapters as you fear. All you need is a simple plug adapter which you can simply plug your battery charger into any wall socket anywhere in the world and no worries, no fuss, no fears.


Relax, enjoy the hassle-free and greener world of the rechargeable battery.

By the way, do you have a mobile phone or any other type of personal device...they mostly all use built in rechargeable batteries...this shouldn't be any new world for you with a digital camera.

Jason
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