One complaint about mirrorless cameras is that their battery life is poor compared to DSLR’s. Considering all that the battery does in mirrorless cameras, I’m actually amazed at how great the battery life is. The viewfinder, LCD, shutter, autofocus, and image stabilization are all driven by the one battery, plus the wifi and GPS functions you can activate. Nevertheless, here are some ways to maximize the battery life and keep shooting and these will help DSLR users, too.
1. Use the Viewfinder
The large LCD on the back of your camera uses much more power than the tiny LCD in the Viewfinder. Whenever possible, use the viewfinder to compose pictures, review pictures, use menu items, etc. To really use your viewfinder effectively you need to know your camera well so that you can push the right buttons without removing your eye from the viewfinder. Also, disable your large LCD so that it doesn’t turn back on when you remove your eye so that it’s not using power when you’re not actively using the camera. It’s a one button push to turn the LCD back on so you can show others your pictures.
2. Economy/Sleep Mode
Your camera has an internal timer that activates sleep mode to lengthen battery life. Set this to the shortest possible time so that the camera turns off quickly. I do this with DSLR’s, too, and it makes a big difference. All you have to do to wake the camera is tap the shutter button. Tap the shutter button as you lift the camera to your eye and by the time you’re looking through the viewfinder, it’s awake and ready to shoot.
3. Disable Playback
Camera companies all set the cameras to automatically playback each shot as it’s made. This wastes a lot of battery and slows your camera down and slows you down. Disable the automatic playback function and you’ll get a lot more life from each battery. Just press the play button when you want to see a picture.
4. Turn Off WiFi and GPS
Using your smartphone to communicate with your camera is awesome (see more here), but it costs power. Your camera is generating its own wifi signal and sending huge picture files and getting lots of instructions from your phone. But if you’re not actively using the connection, turn it off. The quickest way to turn it off is to switch your camera off and then back on.
4. Get More Power
You should really have at least one extra battery for your camera. Just enter your camera’s name and “battery” in the search bar at B&H and you’ll get some good options, including third party batteries that cost much less than the OEM units. Camera manufacturers recommend using their own batteries. Batteries have a microchip in them that communicates with the camera and charger to ensure everything works properly. If you buy the very cheapest batteries on Amazon, they may not have this chip and may not work with your camera or charger. B&H-sold batteries are good, and I’ve had great results from Wasabi Power, as well.
5. Get A Grip
A battery grip allows you add at least one extra battery to your camera, and it adds a shutter release button for shooting in portrait orientation. As with batteries, there is probably one made by your manufacturer, but I’ve had good results from third party grips, too, and they are much less costly.
Battery life should not be a consideration when you buy a camera. Not only are extra batteries inexpensive, but these other tips can extend battery life exponentially. Get the camera that does what you need, and buy a few extra batteries with it. I shot a wedding the other day with just one battery in my GX8. I only had to change the battery at the end when I started sending files for sharing via wifi. Use these tips and don’t let battery life get you down.