Like other portable electronic devices digital cameras rely on batteries to power up their electronics and mechanical elements. Although battery technologies have improved a lot in the last few years they are still very limited in their energy capacity.
Understanding what elements of your digital camera consume the most power can help you to understand why you run out of battery so fast and to conserve battery power in the future. In this article we will list these power hungry components. Other articles explain how you can optimize usage to preserve power.
Your digital camera is built from many components. Some of them are electronic like the chipsets that run the camera and carry out all the wonderful automatic features. Some of them are mechanical like the motors that move the lenses to achieve focus or change the zoom factor. And some of them are optical like the lenses and the mirror in SLR cameras.
Every digital camera components consumes different amounts of energy. Some components consume very little power while others consume a lot. Digital cameras include smart electronics that optimize power consumption but for the most part power consumption depends on how the photographer uses the camera and its features.
Here is a list of three components that consume the most energy in a typical digital camera:
LCD screen: One of the great features of digital cameras is the ability to view photos immediately after they are taken using a small color and bright LCD screen built into the camera. This allows photographer to review the composition and decide if the photo is good enough or if they need to take more photos. Before the digital era photographers had to wait until the film was developed in order to review their photos. The digital era shortened this wait time to virtually zero. LCD screens are also used as convenient view finders – when taking a photo you can look at the LCD and see exactly how the photo will look like. Pressing the shutter button actually shoots the photo. The problem with color and bright LCD screens is that they consume a lot of energy. This is the reasons why all digital cameras turn off the LCD screen automatically if not used for a certain amount of time.
Motors: Digital cameras include moving components. These are mostly optical elements that move in order to focus on objects or change zoom factors. Digital cameras include motors that move those elements as needed to achieve the photographer desired results. For example when auto focusing on objects in the photo frame the digital camera built in computer sends commands to the motors to move the lenses back and forth until focus is achieved. Motors are mechanical components and consume a lot of power when used. Furthermore the bigger and heavier the lens and optical elements that the motor have to move (for example big zoom lenses) the more energy is needed for the motors to complete their task.
Flash: Flash is used when shooting photos in dark conditions or in conditions where shadows can appear on the objects. Flash is an electro-optical component that works by charging energy into a special electronic component and then discharging this energy in a short time as light energy. There are many types of flash units the bigger and longer distance that a flash supports the more energy it consumes each time it is used.
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