It's convenient to buy a digital camera that accepts AA batteries, but those little power cells can drain out quickly -- sometimes within twenty minutes of steady use. A pain in the butt for any new owner, to be sure. The friendly folks at CNet provided a few tips for minimizing power consumption and maximizing your battery dollar:

  • Turn off the LCD viewfinder. If you have an optical viewfinder on your camera, use it instead. The LCD screen can eat up as much as two-thirds of your batteries' life.
  • Use the sleep mode. Powering up your camera takes a lot more electricity than waking it from sleep, just like with your PC. Set the time-to-sleep as short as reasonably possible.
  • Set the flash to auto. Running the flash for every shot, even if you don't need it, can be expensive. This may not be worth worrying about for an ordinary film camera, but your digital camera uses its batteries for every single function, and every little bit helps.
  • Keep the batteries afterwards. Many digital cameras can only use batteries that still have 80 percent or more of their initial charge. If the batteries dip below that, the digital camera's CCD won't take the picture, although other components may continue to work. Use the batteries in a flashlight or your Game Boy after that point to extend your battery-buying dollar.
  • Use the AC adapter when downloading pictures to your computer. It's not practical to use it while shooting photos, but keeping it plugged in near your computer is only sensible. Downloading photos to your hard drive is a steady power drain.
  • Use rechargable batteries. Buy two sets, one to use and one to charge. They cost a lot more, but if you're spending the dough on a digital camera, presumably you're going to use it often enough to make a return on the investment.