DSLR

How To Extend Camera's Battery Life

You are ready to go out to shoot (special events) and after few shots, your camera is dead. Have you ever been into this kind of situation? Well, I have. Luckily, I always carry an extra battery with me but it may not be the situation every time and with everyone. It is always a good idea to carry an extra battery with you but it is also equally important to learn how to make the most use of battery you have in your camera and extend its life. So, today, I thought I would write something about saving and extending camera's battery life and make the most use of it. Your camera may have some specific or different settings than what I have listed here but these are some key points which you can follow to manage your camera's battery life. And they are...

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1. Turn off your camera's wireless and Bluetooth connection if you are not using it.

2. Try to frame your shot by looking through viewfinder rather than using live view mode. Activating live view mode and displaying shot in your screen consumes lots of battery power.

3. You can also turn off automatic sensor cleaning every time you turn on or turn off your camera.

4. If you have a habit of keep pressing shutter release button half way down even when you are not taking picture, it tries to focus and refocus objects and that drains a lot of battery by using camera motor to move lens components.

5. You can turn off Image Stabilization, also called Vibration Reduction (VR), feature on your lens while using camera on tripod. Camera uses lots of energy to move internal lens components to make use of VR technology and turning it off while on tripod extends battery life.

6. If you are a kind of person who needs to take time off between shots (usually nature or wildlife photographers), try turning off camera between shots and save some battery.

7. If your camera's Autofocus is set to continuous focus (AF-C), it tries to continuously track and focus your subject by moving tiny motors inside camera. Every time those focusing components move, it uses battery power. This is very useful feature if you are shooting sports but may not need it if you are doing nature, portrait or wedding photography. You can use Manual or AF-S focus mode instead while shooting non-moving subjects.

8. Shooting in RAW (picture mode) all the time consumes lots of energy. You might not need to shoot RAW for family vacation pictures (JPEG might work fine) but may need it for professional job like taking wedding pictures or some other projects. So, try to shoot RAW only when you need it and save some battery.

9. Charge your camera's lithium ion battery to full between each use. Study shows that charging lithium-ion battery to full every time even if it is not completely depleted extends battery's life.

10. If your camera displays image for review right after taking picture, you can turn off image review feature to save some battery. You can still preview it by pressing playback button whenever necessary.

11. You can also set monitor off delay feature to minimum value if it is available in your camera settings. This menu defines a period after which the LCD display will be turned off when you do not use any buttons. LCD monitor on the back of your camera is used for playback, menu navigation, camera information, image review and live view mode. This big colorful LCD screen consumes lots of energy and reducing the monitor off delay time can boost battery life.

12. You can also reduce the brightness of LCD screen to save battery.

13. If your camera has power saving mode, you can turn it on as well. It will save your battery by disabling some of heavy power consuming features that you may not use it very often.

14. Use external card reader to transfer your files rather than plugging your camera directly to the computer.

15. And finally, if you think your battery is draining faster than it should be (under normal circumstances), consider replacing them.

It might have negligible effect on your camera's battery life if you implement just one or two methods that I mentioned above but if you can manage to implement all of them or most of them, it will certainly have greater impact collectively to extend battery's life and save some battery for the time when you need it the most.

How Does Electronic Flash Work In DSLR

What we call electronic flash or simply flash is burst of lights produced by flash of photons generated by an electrical charge that is accumulated in a component called a capacitor and then directed through a glass of tube containing xenon gas, which absorbs the energy and emits the brief flash. For most of the pop-up flash which comes built-in with most of the advanced DSLRs, the full burst of light lasts about 1/1000th of a second which is enough to provide illumination to capture a subject 10 feet away using aperture of f/4 at ISO 100. But, usually in daily practice, depending upon environment you are in and distance to your subject, you would change the Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed to get the best result. As you noticed, the built-in flash is somewhat limited in range; and that is why professional photographers use external flash units like SB-600, SB-700, SB-800 or SB-900 extensively to meet different lighting challenges they face in every day shooting.

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Most of the DSLRs come with built-in electronic flash and have accessory shoe where you can plug external flash units directly or via cable. An electronic flash whether built-in or external unit is triggered at the instant of exposure, during a period when the sensor is fully exposed (by opening the shutter). DSLR has a vertically traveling shutter that consists of two curtains (in most of the DSLRs). The first curtain opens and moves to the opposite side of the frame, at which point the shutter is completely open. Now, depending on what kind of flash sync mode is being used, flash can be triggered at this point (called first-curtain sync or front-curtain sync), making the flash exposure. Then, after a delay (defined by shutter speed which vary from 30 seconds to 1/250th second), a second curtain begins to move across the sensor plane, covering up the sensor again. If the flash is triggered just before the second curtain starts to close, we call it second-curtain sync or rare-curtain sync. Usually, in both cases, a shutter speed of 1/250th second is the maximum speed that can be used (which is called flash sync speed) unless you are using the high-speed 1/320th second sync.

There are few more flash sync modes available that you can use in your DSLR camera and you can learn more about them in my previous blogs choosing a flash sync mode on Nikon D90 and slow sync flash photography where I explained about Front Curtain Flash and Rear Curtain Flash in detail.

Turn That Dial And Experience Your Camera

This post is written by Guest Contributor, Terry Houton. If you are also interested in writing a guest blog, please reach out using the form in the Contact page.

A few years ago, when I first made the move from my little Kodak to the Nikon D40, it was a little intimidating. I had no formal background in photography whatsoever and absolutely no clue about the ISO, Aperture, Rule of Thirds or any of that technical mumbo jumbo. Fortunately, I had a couple of things going for me that would be a big help in that area. First, I had a background in IT that was somewhat similar in that when I started on that career path I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. As I have frequently done in my life, I threw myself into it with the mindset that I was either going to sink or swim. It's paid my bills for nearly 15 years now so I think I've done OK. Secondly, I had a good friend who I was able to lean on and ask plenty of questions when I needed to do so. Like most people that venture into the DSLR world, the first thing I did was turned the dial to Auto. As you would imagine, that allows you to just turn on your camera and shoot away. The problem with that setting is that it makes all of the decisions for you with speed, light settings, etc. and you won't always get the best shot possible. There are times where the exposure will not be correct because the processor is picking up something like light in the background, dark clothes, etc. and will make your pictures come out under or over exposed.

My suggestion to those who are really serious about learning the art of photography is to do what I did and put your nose into books, get on the internet or seek out any endless number of other resources for information regarding ISO, shutter speed, aperture and all of the otherwise techie stuff that will help you shoot better pictures. The last piece of advice that I would give you is to read your camera manual and learn how it works inside and out. It might not be the most thrilling read of your lifetime but it's well worthwhile.

How To Hold A DSLR Camera?

Holding your camera in a right way matters in photography. Beginner photographers try to grab the camera however it is easy for them. Even though there is no standard written rule to hold the camera, best camera holding technique could lead you to the better shooting experience. I have seen many people holding their camera in a wrong way and the result is obvious; shaky pictures because of the instability of the camera during the shutter release time. Camera positioning and holding is very important point you have to remember every time you go for the shooting. If you are using VR lens for the shooting, minor camera shake doesn't matter because VR (Vibration Reduction) lens is made for that purpose. But it might not be the case always. That's why it is important to be mindful about the camera holding techniques and bring the perfection in your shooting.

When you shoot fast moving subject (sports photography) or do macro photography or night photography, it is always recommended to use a tripod to avoid camera shake. The reason is, you need a quick action, patient mind and sometimes long exposure settings for those kinds of shooting. There is no hard and fast rule to hold the camera and it varies from person to person depending on what kind of camera they are using and what style they are comfortable with. But let me write down some of the techniques that I follow while shooting either handheld or on the tripod.

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1. Use your right hand to grip the camera body from the right side of the camera. In this positioning you can use your thumb to adjust the settings by using the command dial and the index finger to focus and release the shutter button.

2. Support your camera specially the lens using your left hand and place it in a proper place on the lens barrel so that you can adjust the focal distance using the lens ring.

3. If you are use the Live View mode to shoot, you can skip this point but if you are shooting using the viewfinder which I normally do, make your body close enough to the camera body so that you can see the subject from the viewfinder comfortably.

4. Use a tripod for better stability of the camera body but it's not necessary always except in a few situations which I mentioned above.

These are the general conventions to hold the camera body and the lens but not the rule. But I believe that if you follow these guidelines, it definitely helps you to shoot comfortably while maintaining your full focus on the subject.