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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you use the expensive lithium or 'long-life' batteries in your range finder, trail camera, or other device, you may be spending more money for less performance.

Every battery stores and releases electrical current. The rate at which this current is released is known as capacitance. A quicker discharge results in more available power to items like camera flashes. A slower discharge means a more regulated rate of release which benefits items like flashlights or devices that require slow-stable voltage to operate. Often, the higher-end, longer-life batteries are designed to be slower discharge. This makes them last longer in some devices, but in some devices, they may not work at all, or only for a short period.
When batteries are shipped from the factory, they have an initial voltage and are charged to capacity. Often, they will drop from this initial state very quickly once installed. Some batteries will work well for a few uses, then the internal resistance increases which limits the battery's ability to provide instant current for items like camera flashes. This is one reason why a camera with fresh batteries will quit flashing after 24 hours.

Devices like range finders which typically require stable voltage for the electronics and a quick discharge for the laser to flash will often not work well with long-life batteries. When a fresh set is installed, the unit will work well until the battery's initial high-charge diminishes. At this time, the unit will power-up, but may not take readings. Readings may be inaccurate due to voltage fluctuations caused by the voltage dropping when the laser needs that quick burst of power. In these devices, often the cheap, standard alkaline batteries will give the best performance and the longest life. Some of the high-end camera batteries will work as well, but may not justify the cost.
Lots of rechargeable batteries are very high internal resistance and most likely will not work will in your cameras or other devices. They work well in kid's toys and flashlights, but not in trail cameras.
I am using the same 9-volt battery that I used last year in my range finder. It love the Costco 9volts and will work all season on a single battery. The high-end Duracell or Energizer 'long-life' or 'super-heavy-duty' only give me about 20 uses before pressing the range button results in the range finder flashing and not taking a reading.
Trail cameras are another item where feeding it the right batteries makes a big difference. The camera flash needs a quick discharge to be able to operate. Long-life batteries cannot do this after their initial discharge. They are designed for slow-even discharge which lengthens the life of the battery in items like remote controls, flashlights, or other long-run, low-current devices. Once again, using standard alkaline batteries may give you the best performance and longest life. Alkaline batteries can discharge quickly and then recover quickly for the next use. This is what camera flashes need.

So how do you know which to use? The old method of grabbing one set of each and then testing them is still the best. This will give you solid information before you deploy cameras in the field. Make sure each test is consistent and as close to the others as possible. Document your results and once you find a battery that gives you good performance and long life, stock-up for the year. I have found that in most of my devices, standard alkalines are the best, with some of the super-expensive digital camera batteries giving a little longer life, but not enough to justify the extra cost. The Costco brick is the best value for me.

Other items to remember. Batteries have expiration dates and degrade rapidly beyond this date. Make sure you are using fresh batteries.
Don't mix old and new batteries. Old ones discharge differently from the new ones and can cause issues in your device. Replace the complete set. Also don't mix/match battery brands/types.
Remove the batteries from all of your devices at the end of the season. This will keep the battery from leaking or rupturing in your camera and ruining it. Nothing like having to buy a new range finder because a battery leaked inside yours and dissolved the guts.
Check the manual that came with your device for battery recommendation. If it advises one type, then this is most likely going to give you the best performance.

Any other tips/pointers for battery life that I missed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is another reason that more expensive cameras work better. They have more/better internal capacitors/components to provide the correct amount of power to the flash and other components. Not saying that more expensive is better, but that a less expensive trail cam may be more finicky about what batteries you feed it than a more expensive model.
 

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Very good info. I have been told by guy's that hunt in very cold temps that the Lithium battery's will not freeze and will continue to work when Alkalines will die, any info about that? Thanks for the heads up...
 

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I have found that rayovac works the best in my i40, I'm am still running the same set of batteries that I installed back in december! The camera sat for 2wks in the snow and ice with below freezeing temps during part of that time and still took quality pics! I was amazed! And even more amazed that there still working and functioning my cam fine today! So those of you that are looking for something different to try take a look @ rayovac.:thumbs_up
 

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audentes fortuna iuvat
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Alkaline batteries are absolute junk in digital cameras. Lithiums work very well and in extremely cold temps. Rechargeables have so many variables it's tough to give them a broad, general rating.

The best, most economical battery in the long run for digital cameras that I've found are the Sanyo eneloops. Slow discharge rate when not in use, much like an alkaline, but last waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay longer. I can get 800 pics from 2 AA eneloops. 2 alkalines would be lucky to get 30 pics under the same exact conditions.

These findings are based on running a LOT of different types of batteries in dozens of cameras over a period of many years.
 

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The only thing I use Lithium batteries for is in my pocket digital camera. Alkalines work for about 10 pictures and are done, but the Lithiums keep going for 100's of pictures and video.

My Leica rangefinder has had the same Duracell CR2 battery in it since it was new 3 years ago, and I use it year round. It's still working just fine, but I went ahead and put in a new battery for this season because I know at the moment of truth it will decide that it has had enough.
 

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I am just going to toss this out there. I picked up a hobby not long ago, RC planes, I know, I know, I'm a geek. Anyway, the li-po batteries that I use in these planes also double for my trail cam batteries. I ran them all winter long and could leave them out for a solid week(middle of winter) without the batteries even getting close to dying, which is good because these li-po's cant be run down or they will be junk. There were several days of snow and close to, if not below zero temps, but the batteries held out and I didnt lose any pics due to poor batteries.
I actually save money using these because I can buy them for about the same cost of some other batteries, but these are rechargeable and last a long time, as long as you dont drain them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You guys have hit the nail on the head. Test your system with various battery types and see what works for you. Don't be surprised if the cheaper ones work the best, or if something that says long-life really isn't. Matching batteries to the device is crucial to performance.
I agree that smaller digital cameras with low-power flashes like the lithium camera (not the long-life) batteries. I have found that my Fuji camera works well with Lithium, and also works well with standard alkalines, but hates the 'super-heavy-duty'.

My headlamp works great with rechargeable, but I notice a brightness difference after about 2 minutes, after the initial high-charge state has worn-off. It will run for hours, bot not as bright as a set of alkalines. I have two identical streamlights and have run them side-by-side with different batteries. The best were the long-life batteries for run-time, but the alkalines were brighter.
 

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I've gone to using Eneloop and Tenergy rechargeable batteries for my trailcams, hunting flashlight, GPS, and digital camera. I've gotten really good life with them and they've saved me a ton of money thus far.

David
 
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