Canon School: get better battery life from Canon EOS cameras

 get better battery life from Canon EOS cameras
(Image credit: Future)

Welcome to our new Canon School tutorial series part 2. Learn how to extend the battery life in your Canon EOS cameras so you can stay out shooting for longer. 

Battery life is usually the chief problem when shooting in the cold. Take the LP-E10 battery powering the Canon EOS Rebel T6 (opens in new tab) (aka EOS 1300D): it can last for up to 600 shots when using the viewfinder and the ambient temperature is 23°C, but this is reduced to 580 at 0°C. Switch to Live View shooting and that plummets to 190 shots at 23°C and 180 when it’s freezing cold.

These figures are the max shots too, as there are other camera functions that will deplete the battery more (see below for more info). But if you’re going to be shooting outdoors in the cold it pays to have one fully charged spare battery in a warm pocket. In fact, you will find if you put a seemingly dead cold battery in a warm pocket, it will come back to life to be good for a little more use.

Read more Best camera batteries (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)
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1. LCD screen

Although Live View is the chief perpetrator when it comes to draining the battery, any use of the rear screen reduces the power you have left for taking pictures. One step is to deactivate the automatic playback of images as you shoot – you can do this in your camera’s red Shooting menu. Manually reducing the brightness level of the display in the yellow Set-up menu can also help, but in very bright conditions you may have no choice but to increase the brightness so that you can actually see details clearly.

(Image credit: Future)
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2. Power down

Your camera will automatically power down after a period of inactivity – either 30 seconds or one minute, depending on the camera. Although you can increase the length of time the camera is active before going into hibernation in the Set-up menu, you can’t decrease it. To wake the camera up, tap the shutter button – but avoid keeping it pressed halfway for long periods as this will reduce battery. Another juice-saving trick is to switch off the display when the camera is ready to shoot, by tapping the DISP or INFO button.

(Image credit: Future)

3. Manual focus on lenses

Any lenses attached to your Canon EOS camera draw their power from the camera body, and some lenses are going to exhaust that battery faster than others. AF and IS both take their toll, and frequently activating the autofocus is going to be harsh on your battery. Depending on the subject, you may be able to get away with manual focusing (MF), although to preserve battery life it’s better to use the focus indicator in the viewfinder, rather than the magnified Live View display, as a focusing aid. Switch off IS until you need it.

(Image credit: Future)
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4. Wi-Fi & GPS

As battery hogs go, Wi-Fi and GPS are total porkers. They are deactivated by default, but you can double-check this in the Set-up menu. It’s also worth considering setting up the green MyMenu tab as a shortcut to your most-used menu items and custom functions – that way you won’t have to waste time/battery life flicking back and forth through the main menu to make adjustments. Some cameras let you set up multiple MyMenu tabs and rename them so that you can streamline your camera.

PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)

PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab) is the world's only monthly newsstand title that's 100% devoted to Canon, so you can be sure the magazine is completely relevant to your system. 

Read more:

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The best camera batteries (opens in new tab): best buys on replacement camera batteries
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Peter Travers

The editor of PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab), Peter 14 years of experience as both a journalist and professional photographer. He is a hands-on photographer with a passion and expertise for sharing his practical shooting skills. Equally adept at turning his hand to portraits, landscape, sports and wildlife, he has a fantastic knowledge of camera technique and principles. As you'd expect of the editor of a Canon publication, Peter is a devout Canon user and can often be found reeling off shots with his EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR.