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Photography Question 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/23/2006

Battery Charging in the Field

Hello All,

I am planning a 20-day backpacking trip which I will be photo-documenting the entire way. Only problem is battery charging for not only my Canon EOS 20D but also for my portable external Wolvering hard-drive. I have 2 batteries for my 20D and they actually last quite a long time but not long enough for 20 days. The portable hard drive can download a 4Gb CompactFlash card about twice before the battery runs out.
Therefore, I have 2 questions for a 20-day backpacking trip (no access to electrical outlets): 1) What is the best method for batteries? Carry numerous ones or is there a cheaper and lightweight charging solution? 2) What is the best method to charge my portable hard drive?

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5/31/2007 9:55:16 PM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2005
  Do you have a car? You can use outlets in cars to charge stuff. You could also take large backup batteries to connect to smaller chargers. But I actually suggest getting several lithium batteries, because they are lightweight and last for a long time.

ScrattyPhotography Blog

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5/31/2007 10:49:56 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Don't use the monitor and use the camera's automatic shut-off. A battery for a Nikon lasted the author of a National Geographic Explorer article for a 2-week canoe trip.
The hard drive, if you can't make up a connection to something like a dry cell battery, waiting till you get back might be your choice. But two 4gig cards worth of pictures sounds like enough to me, but I pick my spots more than most people.

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5/31/2007 11:13:32 PM

Stephanie M. Stevens   Look into solar chargers; try I don't know how expensive or heavy they are.

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6/1/2007 4:01:25 AM

W.    In the complete absence of AC/DC outlets, methinks well-charged spare battery* sets are the simplest way to go.

My cam gives me 500 exposures (half of them with flash) on one battery charge. So, in situations like yours, I'd take another one or two along.
Same principle with the Wolverine's batteries.

*in good condition, and well-tested in advance.

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6/1/2007 4:43:30 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
I agree that bringing spare batteries for the camera will be cheaper and lighter than any than any other option in the field. You can get spare BP-511A batteries for about $30 each.
Better yet, do you have any friends who shoot with a Canon? If they have a 10D, 20D, 30D, original Rebel, or even some of the earlier Powershot G-series cameras, they may have a spare BP-511 battery that they will loan you for the trip. Charge them all before you leave. And test them to be sure they took a full charge.
We went to DisneyWorld right after I first bought the Digital Rebel. I didn't know how long a battery would last on a full day out at the park, so I borrowed a spare from my brother who had a Powershot G2 or 3. It turned out to be a dud and wouldn't take a charge. It was a cheap knockoff that he had gotten on eBay. I only buy quality knockoffs ;-).
For the Wolverine drive, rather than bringing spare batteries for it, you make come out cheaper (and lighter) with a few extra memory cards. BestBuy usually has SanDisk Ultra II 2GB cards for about $35. Or again, check with friends to see if anyone has any spare cards to loan out for your trip.

Good luck & have fun.
Keep your socks dry.
Chris A. Vedros

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6/1/2007 8:08:46 AM

Maureen Jackson   Hi Matt Check out
I'm certain that will do the trick.
Have a great one

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6/6/2007 3:20:18 AM

David Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/7/2005
I have completed two treks to Everest Base Camp in recent years. I used a Canon 350D and took three batteries and enough memory cards to take 1000 highest Jpegs with no problems (even allowing for the cold). I kept the batteries warm at night by wrapping them well and placing in the centre of my back pack. Only review if you really think you have to and resist the temptation to admire your shots while resting in camp.

Dave Allen

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6/6/2007 9:08:29 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/23/2006
  Hello All,

Thank you very much for all of the great feedback on this question. I am thinking of buying a few more memory cards and camera batteries (it is amazing how long the charge lasts on these) and dropping the portable hard-drive. The hard-drive has to be plugged into to an outlet to charge unfortunately and does add at least 1 more pound to my pack which is unwanted. Plus, it only has enough power to download a 4GB CF card 3 times max before the charge is gone. I will also look into solar solutions. I would usually confine my shooting to dawn and dusk but I know I will be shooting during the day too since I am photo documenting the entire trip for a photo-text package.


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6/6/2007 9:45:24 AM

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