Digital cameras eat through batteries at an alarming rate. As my wife can attest, there’s nothing more aggravating than when you are about to capture a memorable family picture only to discover there’s not enough juice to snap the pic. We seem to go though this ritual at every family event, and it’s always my fault. So a recent Consumer Reports article on the best AA batteries for digital cameras caught my attention.
The study tested the performance of a variety of batteries. The tests covered non-rechargeable lithium, nickel oxhydroxide, and alkaline batteries. Each battery was put to the test to see how many photos it would take when used in a digital camera.
To take it a step further, the analysis took the cost of the battery and the number of photos they took to determine a cost per photo. It turns out there is something to that old saying “you get what you pay for.” The more expensive batteries gave the best performance. Here’s what was discovered:
- Overall Best Type of Battery: The test revealed that the lithium batteries took more photos than any other type of battery. The Lithium batteries did not need to be changed as often. These might not result in the lowest cost per picture, but you will reduce the risk of running out of juice when you need it most.
- Longest Lasting Battery: The Energizer Advanced lithium battery lasted the longest, as it is the Energizer bunny after all. It took 809 photos before it died.
- Quickest To Die: The Walgreens Supercell alkaline battery took just 133 photos before it bit the bullet.
- The Best Alkaline Battery: The title for the best alkaline battery went to the Duracell Ultra Advanced, which took 260 shots before dying. This battery costs around $3.65 per pair (even less from Amazon) and it ends up costing 70 cents per 50 shots.
- The Best Performer: The Energizer Advanced took the prize as the best performer. This is the most expensive battery at around $5.40 per pair. But because it performed so well, the cost per 50 shots was just 33 cents.
- The Best Value: The Kirkland Signature AA alkaline batteries lasted for 172 shots and were labeled the best value. They cost just $1 a pair, which is equivalent to 29 cents per 50 shots.
One final note. The tests did not cover rechargeable batteries, which Consumer Reports calls the “greener choice.” According to CR, “precharged rechargeables from the major manufacturers provided about 300 shots out of the box and about 400 shots on their subsequent charge.” We’ve used rechargeables before, particularly for xBox controllers. My favorite is the Duracell AA 4 Pre-Charged Rechargeable NiMH Batteries DX1500.
Final, final note. At the start of this post I said there was nothing more aggravating than a dead camera battery at a family event. Actually there is–Having the batteries in your xBox controller die just when you are about to own your 17 year old son in Call of Duty!
Published or updated July 23, 2012.