A Tale of Two Cameras [2]

After writing the previous article I decided I had been a little hard on the S1 – after all, it has all these manual settings that you can use to speed up the time it takes to trip the shutter. So again I took my two cameras along on another train ride. The S1 was set up for manual exposure and manual focus. The result was that I found that much of the time the camera would take the photo very quickly once the shutter release was pressed. On this, shorter, trip, I took even more photos (about 50% more) and 75% of them with the S1. A few little design glitches and issues showed up with the way the camera worked on manual focus; I hope Canon has fixed them in the S5. The biggest problem is still the zoom. It just takes a lot longer to position the lens to the right place than it does to press the zoom rocker and step through seven zones on the A450.

The biggest issue overall on both trips has not been the camera’s fault; it came down to that perennial problem of batteries. Basically, NiMH batteries are sold under various brands, many of the bigger names made by Sanyo of Japan, and others not. They claim several hundred charge/discharge cycles. I started off with Energizers and found that they were good for perhaps a year and then they started to lose their capacity quite seriously. After trying a few things I bought a lot of replacement batteries. After about a year they are also failing. Most of these batteries in the S1 have had just a handful of charge/discharge cycles, well under a hundred. The ones in the A450 get charged probably alternate weeks on average. Still not more than a hundred times in total. What I have been able to read from other users’ experience is similar. There is a great deal of doubt that NiMH batteries last very long, or certainly for any number of cycles.

In future I expect I will replace all my NiMH batteries annually. Having tried all the recommended brands, Sanyo Eneloop will be the next one. These claim a very low self discharge rate which I will be trying out. After going very quickly through three sets of NiMH batteries on the S1 (two of which lasted for 10 shots each) I bit the bullet and put in the backup set of Energizer Lithiums that I always carry. These produced such a good result that I believe I could have taken all 405 S1 photos just using them. However of course, the Lithiums are very expensive; currently $25 for a set of four. On Thursday the A450 finished up the day on a set of ordinary alkalines due to exhausting all of its batteries. Today I managed to get through only 100 pictures on just the four rechargeables I always use with it. Still, if I had used it more then it would have been better to have a pair of lithiums at hand to use it with.