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At what percentage, do you change batteries and recharge?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by TedG954, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. TedG954

    TedG954 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Nov 29, 2014
    South Florida and NE Ohio
    Ted Gersdorf
    I found that allowing my batteries to run down to single-digit percentages affects the LCD viewer. When do you change batteries?
     
  2. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    My normal day in / day out average usage on an NEX-7 usually only runs the battery down between 80-90%, and I have a routine where I do the following every day:
    1) Transfer the SD card contents to my PC, making 2 separate Folder copies of the contents;
    2) Put the card back in the camera and reformat it;
    3) Put the battery in a charger overnight to always start the next day with a freshly charged battery;
     
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  3. TedG954

    TedG954 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Nov 29, 2014
    South Florida and NE Ohio
    Ted Gersdorf

    Thanks for the reply. So, you have no concerns about the battery memory? It doesn't matter what the percentage is?

    Today, I was shooting my infrared NEX3n. Without a viewfinder, anything above f3.2 was really dark on the LCD. The battery was at 5-3% When I put a fresh battery in the camera, the LCD lighted up significantly. I'd like to use a fresh battery everytime I go out, but was worried about the battery-memory.
     
  4. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    I use Lithium batteries (Sony's) and Lithium batteries don't have the memory problems like the old type NiCad batteries and the like.
     
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  5. jai

    jai TalkEmount Top Veteran

    589
    Feb 4, 2013
    It's actually better for Lithium batteries to be charged when they are more full. Charge as often as you can.

    Running the batteries down to flat too often is the thing that will wear them out.
     
  6. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I use the A7 with a third-party (Meike/Neewer/...) grip and I usually let one of the batteries run down until it's empty. At night I recharge the empty battery. I built a capacity tester for the NP-FW50 battery type and it shows a variance of max. 10 % in the capacity that the battery holds after a recharge, not enough to worry about I think; I couldn't find a correlation between letting the battery drain completely or not vs. the charge it holds.

    It is often recommended to not completely drain Lithium batteries; I'm guessing it's good to still do that every once in a while to enable the battery's chip to calibrate the battery parameters. That said, in the grip I let the battery run down completely and have it switch over to the other one and then I replace the empty battery at a convenient point in time.

    Apart from being an electronics geek and wanting to know how a battery behaves, I don't worry about battery life, I just use them until they fail, which hasn't happened so far. I have a total of 6 original Sony batteries and the capacity of the oldest and most used one (came with the NEX-6 end of 2012) still is within 10 % of the best one. It is also said that a battery's life is prolonged when only charged partially, but that's quite impractical, isn't it? I wouldn't want to go out with partially charged batteries, when even a full battery won't always last a day of shooting.

    I frequent a few forums on Sony camera equipment and while everybody complains about the NP-FW50's limited capacity, I've yet to see the first complaint about Sony batteries failing or losing too much of their capacity; third-party batteries can be good or bad. I bought 4 of my 6 batteries used and those 4 are the best, probably not used that heavily before I got them :).

    In short, I think all this worrying about battery life and capacity is a waste of time and energy. Just use them as you want and they'll most probably last a few years at least.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
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  7. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    I change batteries at the first chance I get when they dip below 15% if at an event. Generally my Sony batteries go for 500-700 shots each. First wedding I shot went to 1,200 shots with 40% remaining in the second battery (1st battery went dead flat). Second wedding which was a longer affair took 1,300 shots and drained the second battery to about 10%. I also switched the 1st battery at something like 15%. Outside of event shooting, I generally use them till they go flat. I change flash batteries whenever I get annoyed with the flash recycle time - luckily my kids have tons of toys requiring AA batteries so they don't go completely to waste :D (I don't use rechargeables because I find them too inconsistent for flash).

    I used to use Wasabi batteries in my NEX-5N but never dared to put them in my A7 so I don't know how much they hold relative to A7 usage. Since one of them bloated up recently, I don't use either of them anymore. To be fair, this happens to lots of batteries - my original Samsung Galaxy S4 battery did the same thing a couple months ago (it took me a while to actually realise) and I immediately got a new one.
     
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  8. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    One of the Wasabi batteries I owned bloated up like that (I think they don't like being charged in-camera), so I emailed their vendor and promptly received two free new batteries from them. You may want to contact them for a replacement too. And I've been using Wasabis in my A7 for more than a year and a half now with no issues.
     
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  9. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    339
    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill
    I usually have a couple of charged batteries, so any time a battery's dropped to around 10-15%, I make the switch when it's convenient. But I have to admit that I occasionally lose track and run a battery to empty.
     
  10. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    That's great service! For me, though, I bought my Wasabis about 3 years ago in a different country so I think it wouldn't be too fair as 3 years is about the expected battery life of many electronics batteries these days (certainly all of my laptops and cellphones). Of course cameras don't get charged and discharged as frequently (well mine don't) so perhaps I could have expected a little more, but I am not unhappy with mileage I got out of mine at all.
     
  11. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Top Veteran

    712
    Feb 17, 2015
    When I know I'm going out to shoot important stuff (to me anyways) I always charge the batteries the night before, just to make sure I don't run out at an inconvenient time. It's akin to running out of film with a film camera if you ask me.
     
  12. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    If I am going out for the day, and notice the battery is below 70%, I'll simply swap it out, just to be sure.

    I've gone down to about 3% and the camera started performing strangely and I had to give up.

    I tend not to carry extra gear, just the camera.
     
  13. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff TalkEmount Top Veteran

    547
    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson, AZ
    Eric
    I have 3 batteries, 1 sony and 2 wasabi (I can't tell a performance difference between the two). I am of the (perhaps incorrect) opinion that batteries suffer more from being overcharged than depleted, so in the normal course of things I run mine down all the way. I have not seen any strange camera behavior doing this.

    It probably doesn't matter but I charge the Sony battery only with the Sony charger, and the Wasabi batteries only with their charger.
     
  14. roundball

    roundball TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Oct 8, 2013
    USA
    Odds are Wasabi probably makes Sony's chargers :)
     
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  15. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    I let the batteries (Sony and aftermarket ones) run down to single digits or till the camera indicates exhausted. I find they recharge more consistently to an indicated 100% than if I partially recharge them from above 25%. Sometimes I get odd results where the aftermarket batteries won't charge back to 100%. This is in camera and with a Vivitar wall charger.

    I agree with Ad, battery life is not a virtue of Sony cameras. So, simply have ready enough spares and just shoot.
    Aftermarket batteries are reasonably cheap and mostly reliable. I have 6 batteries. And have at least 3 on me when out shooting.
     
  16. Danske

    Danske TalkEmount Rookie

    17
    Aug 16, 2015
    If the battery in the camera goes below 30%, I get antsy and hopeni have another in my bag (I have 2 sony-branded). I always fully charged when I get home at this point.

    FWIW, my A7ii is newish, but I've never had a battery die before I got home.
     
  17. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Never had my cameras (A7, NEX-6) act strange on an almost empty battery, they continue to operate normally until they shut themselves down.
     
  18. Kirkp

    Kirkp TalkEmount Regular

    151
    Nov 2, 2014
    According to the following site, the lifetime of lithium batteries will be greatly reduced by frequent deep discharges. The only reason to intentionally deep discharge a lithium battery is to calibrate the discharge meter on your camera for the capacity of the particular battery you are using.

    [deleted paragraph]

    Also, lithium batteries don't like being stored long periods with a full charge. If you don't plan to use a battery for a few weeks, it's best to run it down to below 80% first. That's a rule I often violate, but, I've had batteries die young as a result! I'm sure that's why new batteries never are packaged with a full charge.

    Reference: http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

    BTW, these rules don't apply to other battery chemistries such as NiMH.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
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  19. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I think there's a chip in the battery that keeps track of its behaviour so that would mean that it's still useful to calibrate a battery by discharging it completely every once in a while.
     
  20. Kirkp

    Kirkp TalkEmount Regular

    151
    Nov 2, 2014
    Oops, you're right! The NEX-6 manual says "infoLITHIUM" means there is logic in each battery for calibration. They will also shut down before a deep discharge damages the battery. Sony says to run the battery to shutdown occasionally to update the calibration. Sony says to leave the battery in a discharged or low charge state for storage, occasionally recharging to 50% if it's long term. My aftermarket batteries (Watson and DSTE) claim they have the same functionality and so far haven't failed me.