Lithium vs alkaline AA batteries


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cantaresg

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Feb 23, 2007
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#2
Real life story:

I tried to get 4 AA eveready batteries for a camera, thinking that it will last me some 10s of shots before it goes flat. The battery died within 10 shots. It costed me $2.

I went to get 4 Energizer lithium batts at $16. Took more than 8 times the shots, and still going strong.
 

Snoweagle

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Jan 26, 2005
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#3
Get rechargeables instead. Last time i used to use those normal alkalines for my flash but found that keep changing them costs a lot.
 

Jan 14, 2005
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#4
Is it worth buying un-rechargeable lithium AA batteries instead of un-rechargeable alkaline batteries?
It depends on what you use it for. NiMH rechargeables are best for high drain application like camera flashes... cost and performance.

BC
 

deckard

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Oct 13, 2006
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#5
Lithium are much more expensive but are worth it. :)
 

Jan 14, 2005
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#7
To be used for digicam.
If you shoot frequent enough, costwise the rechargeables will be cheaper in the long run.

I think performance will not be an issue here.

BC
 

StreetShooter

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Jan 17, 2002
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#8
Lithium AA's have the following characteristics:

1. Long shelf life
2. High amount of charge
3. Lightweight
4. Expensive
5. Single-use - non-rechargeable
6. Low internal resistance - suitable for high drain applications

Rechargeable NiMH AA's

1. Short shelf life (few weeks will self discharge)
2. Rechargeable
3. Moderate price
4. Low internal resistance - suitable for high drain applications

Alkaline non-rechargeable

1. Long shelf life
2. Non-rechargeable
3. Dirt cheap
4. High internal resistance - NOT suitable for high drain applications

Alkaline batteries are not suitable for digital camera use (high drain application) because after a few shots, the high current surging through the high internal resistance causes a lot of charge to be lost as heat buildup. The heat buildup further increases the internal resistance, so it's a vicious cycle, and after a few shots the batteries will cease to work.

If you use them for low-drain applications (eg transistor radio, wireless mouse batteries, wall clocks and alarm clocks) the amount of charge lost as heat will be negligible, because the current flow is low. So they last much longer for these applications.

If you use your digicam frequently and take many shots, it would be best to use rechargeable NiMH AA's, since you will be recharging the batteries frequently and they will be fresh each time you use them. They are cheaper than Lithium AA's.

If you use your digicam quite infrequently (eg once every two weeks), then it makes sense to use Lithium AA's, because you will not have to worry about the batteries being self-discharged just when you want to use them. They will hold their charge very well for twenty years or so. The other situation where they would be useful is on a trip to remote places where you cannot recharge batteries (eg Tibet). They hold about 5 times as much charge as NiMH batteries and are lightweight. Only drawback is cost, but then some pictures are priceless.
 

Feb 13, 2003
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Serangoon
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#9
StretShooter: great comparison- thanks.
I am exactly in the situation you quoted in the end. I will be trekking for 22 days without electricity (to Concordia in Pakistan). I use a 400D and has a battery grip. Currently only own 2 Canon NB-2LH batteries.
So I am looking at the options of using AA batteries in the grip instead as it would be cheaper than NB batteries. I have rechargeables but these will not hold their charge long in the cold conditions. Hence contemplating either alkaline and/or lithium that holds charge better. Sounds like I should have some lithium on top of my rechargeables.
 

StreetShooter

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Jan 17, 2002
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#10
There is a trick which you can use.

While you are shooting with one set of batteries, you can keep the other set in your pocket with one of those chemical hand warmers. When the set of batteries you are using "dies" you can switch with the warm batteries. The "dead" set of batteries will be revived once you warm them up.

This applies to both the NB-2LH batteries as well as Lithium AA's (or even NiMH rechargeables).
 

Feb 13, 2003
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Serangoon
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#11
There is a trick which you can use.

While you are shooting with one set of batteries, you can keep the other set in your pocket with one of those chemical hand warmers. When the set of batteries you are using "dies" you can switch with the warm batteries. The "dead" set of batteries will be revived once you warm them up.

This applies to both the NB-2LH batteries as well as Lithium AA's (or even NiMH rechargeables).
This is interesting. What are these chemical hand warmers? You have a link? Can get in S'pore?
 

StreetShooter

Senior Member
Jan 17, 2002
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#12
Any of those winter clothing stores (eg Cold Wear) will stock them. Small bag of chemicals, you crumple it up and start a chemical reaction which radiates warmth for the next few hours. About $1 apiece.
 

smutpow

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Mar 20, 2007
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#15
Lithium are great when you're out for trips like camping and you don't have access to power sources. I know that they work well in extreme temperatures too.
 

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