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How to Conserve your DSLR Battery When You are Running Low on Power


Cameras are amazing tools. However, without battery power, they aren’t particularly useful for image making. If you find yourself low on power, there are a number of ways to conserve your DSLR battery. In this article, we’ll look at a few options for stretching out the battery life of your camera when you are running low on juice.

conserve dslr battery canon

1/15 sec, f/8, ISO 800

Lower LCD brightness

If you’re worried about trying to conserve your DSLR battery, the first thing to do is to turn down the brightness on the camera’s LCD screen. Although dimming the LCD screen can make it more difficult to review images, cutting down on LCD brightness can make a big difference in terms of battery life.

Turn off image preview

Image preview is a quick way to make sure your photographs are turning out. However, Image Preview also consumes a lot of battery power. When you need to conserve your DSLR battery, you can turn the Image Preview function off altogether. Of course, this means that Live View mode is a no-go on a low battery too.

Turn off your camera

Conserve your DSLR Battery on off switch

1/60th of a second at f/1.8, ISO 1600

One of the most obvious ways to conserve your DSLR battery is to switch the camera off altogether! This won’t be of much use if you are in the midst of a shoot, but if you have a few minutes between subjects, turning your camera off can save a lot of battery.

Don’t delete photos on the fly

Going through and deleting images in-camera can put a significant strain on battery life. Deleting images in-camera can even increase the chances of corrupting the data on your memory card. Rather than trawling through and deleting your photographs to free up space, invest in a few extra memory cards instead.

Switch off sensor cleaning

sensor cleaning

Sensor cleaning is a mechanism that cleans the sensor whenever the camera is turned on or off. When activated, the camera uses ultrasonic vibrations to try and shake loose any pesky traces of dust on the sensor. While useful, sensor cleaning uses up a considerable amount of battery life each time it enters cleaning mode. So, if you are low on battery, turn this function off via the settings menu in your camera.

Avoid cold conditions

Batteries in cooler environments tend to drain quicker than those in warmer conditions. If you can’t avoid shooting in a chilly environment, many photographers make use of hand warmers and the like to maintain battery life.

Turn off image stabilization

conserve your DSLR battery image stabilization switch

1/250th of a second, f 3.2 ISO 800

Image stabilization (or IS) is a mechanism that is used to stabilize an image when hand-holding a camera. By counteracting camera movement, IS reduces the likelihood of unwanted blur in your photographs.

However…(you guessed it), image stabilization soaks up a lot of power.

Sometimes IS is crucial, but in circumstances where the camera is mounted on a tripod or a steady surface, or you are shooting at a fast shutter speed, make sure you switch the IS function off to conserve your DSLR battery.

Check up on battery health

Camera batteries have a limited life, meaning that they do eventually need to be replaced. Keep track of battery health by consulting the battery info in-camera. Keeping an eye on trends in a batteries’ life can help you determine in advance when it might be time for a new battery.

Consider getting a battery grip

A battery grip is an accessory that attaches to the base of a camera. It provides room for an extra battery, doubling your time between charges. Battery grips also provide an additional grip for portrait-orientated shooting and can ease the strain of hand-holding longer lenses.

Image: A battery grip aids in hand-holding the camera in a portrait orientation. 1/200 f/6.3 ISO 100

A battery grip aids in hand-holding the camera in a portrait orientation. 1/200 f/6.3 ISO 100

If you are finding that you are constantly pressured by a lack of battery power, or you want to ensure you won’t be caught short, you may want to invest in a battery grip.


Camera batteries are a key ingredient in DSLR photography. By lowering LCD brightness and switching off image preview, sensor cleaning and IS or turning off your camera between subjects, it can be a little easier to conserve your DSLR battery in a pinch.

Refraining from deleting photos on the fly, avoiding cold conditions and keeping an eye on battery health can also help to stretch the longevity of a batteries’ life between charges.

Do you have a great tip for conserving battery life in a pinch? Go ahead and post in the comments!

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Megan Kennedy
Megan Kennedy

is a photographer and writer based in Canberra, Australia. Both her writing and photography has been featured in numerous publications. More of Megan’s work can be viewed at her website or on Instagram at MK_photodiary.

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