Mirrorless cameras tend to drain their batteries faster than a DSLR. The battery life of an entry-level mirrorless camera is about 300 shots. Some high-end cameras like the Sony A7 iii model can reach up to 700 shots.
Normally, even for a professional photographer 300 shots a day is more than enough. While for some this is considered a disadvantage, there are ways where you can get more than 300 shots.
In this article, I have explained why the battery life of mirrorless cameras is bad. I have also listed multiple ways through which you can save your battery life and some extra tips if you require all the functions of the camera and also to be prepared in case you get close to your camera shutting off.
The main reason why the battery life of the mirrorless camera is bad is that they are small, so they have smaller batteries with less energy. The battery power is consumed at a high level when the camera is on and the display is active.
Another reason is that a mirrorless camera may have an electronic viewfinder and/or a rear display. Both of these give a live view of the scene electronically. This view comes directly from the sensor which is always active, thus consuming power.
Other functions such as video recording and continuous shooting in autofocus also affect battery life. Basically, the more you put your camera on work, the faster your battery will drain.
Shooting modes are directly related to the battery drainage issue in mirrorless cameras. Shooting video drains most of the power from a mirrorless camera. If you are taking photos throughout the day, it may cause fast drainage of the battery.
There is nothing worse than coming across a beautiful scene and not having any battery left in the camera.
Here are a few tips on getting the most out of your mirrorless camera battery life:
- Most of the main functions are the ones that you will need all the time to take pictures. But there are some ways where you can try to conserve the battery of your mirrorless camera.
- Most models of the mirrorless camera collection will have a “power management” mode or “energy saver” function somewhere in the menu. This feature is related to how long the LCD remains active or how long the camera remains active when not in use.
- This feature when activated, instructs the camera to go to sleep or shut down after a specific time when not being used. In most cameras, you can set the time frame to save battery power.
- In some cases, there are a few extra power-saving options that are worth knowing about. For example, in the Panasonic S-series cameras, you can set the camera to only go to sleep if the control panel is in any display mode.
- If you plan to take only a few pictures, then simply turn off your gear when you are not using it. If you are planning to take lots of pictures, then use this energy-saving function. It will come in handy.
- You can set your camera standby mode to 30 minutes and your monitor standby mode for about 10 minutes to save power while active usage. Every camera gives you a different set of options, so choose wisely. If you choose a short time for both you could end up reactivating your camera all the time, resulting in more power consumption.
- A high frame rate will give your electronic viewfinder or LCD a more fluid appearance but will drain more battery life, so if you are not shooting action then choose a lower setting.
Each camera has its extra settings so check the menu and the user manual properly to make sure you have everything under control.
- If you have an electronic viewfinder, one thing you can do to save battery is to deactivate the LCD screen when you don’t need it or turn off the live view and only display the basic information.
- If you are taking pictures in manual or semi-automatic mode, you can choose between having the LCD or the electronic viewfinder preview your exposure or always have an optimal brightness regardless of your exposure settings.
- There are some autofocus settings you can check. Some cameras have a continuous autofocus setting which will make the camera focus even when you are not half-pressing the shutter release button. Try to avoid using this function if you don’t need it.
- If your mirrorless camera has built-in stabilization and you are using fast shutter speeds or a tripod to take photos, you can turn off this function.
- Keep your camera in aeroplane mode. This mode is always running in the background whether you are trying to sync or not. This disables linking to your phone or other devices.
- Another function that you can disable is the continuous shooting mode. If there are no specific situations where it is essential to use the continuous shooting mode, rely on the single shooting mode.
Keep extra batteries in hand
If you want to use your camera with all its functions then keep spare batteries with you. Many people think that changing batteries can cause you to miss an important moment, but to avoid that you can plan.
You can charge your battery when it has 10% or 15% left instead of 5% or when the display has been showing only one bar for quite some time. This is the best way to avoid changing the battery at the end moment.
You can keep 4 extra batteries if you are going to be shooting all day. However, what you need to keep in mind is that some cameras only come with one battery, while some would include two.
Official spare batteries are expensive, but you can buy from third-party battery manufacturers that are less expensive and will last as long as the official. It is important to note that if you have many batteries, it is only wise to have multiple battery chargers to charge them more quickly.
It is worth noting that the batteries should not be kept in cold conditions. If you are in a cold environment, carry your camera in an insulated bag and carry the spare batteries in an inside pocket close to your body.
More and more mirrorless cameras can be charged via USB. So if you have a power bank, you can recharge your camera using the power bank. Power banks are portable with a safe capacity and are very popular.
Before investing in a power bank, ensure that the power bank has a high enough power capacity of at least 10000 mAh to cover the charge of your camera. With a fully charged power bank, you can shoot for longer.
There are custom-designed battery grips for mirrorless cameras that fit right into your camera’s battery slot and double your battery power. It allows the camera to hold multiple batteries to extend the battery life.
While the battery life is a disadvantage for mirrorless cameras, there are multiple ways to conserve the power and use the camera with all of the functions. A second battery is usually enough for most situations where the battery runs out.
You could keep 3-4 batteries handy if you are shooting pictures and videos for the entire day. So I think it is safe to say that this is not a problem that is lacking a solution!