With more and more technology getting packed into DSLR cameras comes a greater need for power. Even with better and more efficient batteries the demand for power is often times what cuts a good day out in the field short. so apart from spending tons of money buying batteries here are a few ways you can extend your day and your cameras battery life.
1. LCD Screen. The convenience of having a beautiful large LCD screen on your camera is huge. But the LCD screen is the single biggest waster of power on your camera, AVOID using it whenever possible! turn it off! If not off, set your preview mode to the shortest possible time and turn the brightness down. Never use the screen to set up your shots in live preview mode. the viewfinder on the camera gives you everything you need with next to know power usage.
2. Continuous Focus. Unless you are shooting animals, kids, or sports turn this feature off. Landscapes are not Continuously moving so this feature is not doing anything but eating up precious battery life. Your camera is constantly looking for something to change so it can run the servos to readjust focus. Don't get me wrong in the right moment this feature is a necessity, buy not all the time.
3. Flash. Only use the flash when necessary. Luckily for Outdoor Photographers flash is hardly ever needed.
4. Don't Delete. This will be a tough one for sum. DO NOT DELETE PICTURES IN THE FIELD! when I go out with other Photographers or when I see people taking photos outdoors, this is normally what I see... Live preview mode, Snap the shot, check the preview, zoom in on the preview, really check the preview, scroll scroll scroll, Delete photo and repeat until you get the shot they want. NOPE! This is the way. Use eye piece, snap your shot, move closer snap, move to the right snap, get down on the ground snap, snap, snap, snap... you get the point. fact is that you can take 10 photos with the same amount of battery life as it takes to fire up your preview screen for 2 seconds. I am not saying don't use preview, I do, but limit it as much as you possibly can. Taking time to study and delete photos in the field will greatly limit your battery life. instead bring more memory cards and when you get home delete on your computer after you see the shots on the big screen.
5. The Big One. Take care of the battery it self, Lithium batteries do not have "memory" like older style batteries did, so charge it. As a matter of fact the more time the battery spends above 40% charged the longer the life of the battery will be. So this means after every shoot charge your battery, even if it is not dead. Never leave a battery sitting for days completely dead! keep it charged and charge it often. Also Time is not your friend, a completely new and unused battery sitting on a shelf will loose 20% of its lifespan each year. so you might think that Ebay battery is a good deal but check the manufacture date!!! if it was made 3 years ago it only will maintain 40% of its original lifespan. not such a good deal now.
I hope this tip helped, Even if you do everything right it is always best to keep an extra battery with you because Murphy is always right at the wrong time!
Get Out There!