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Thread: Holiday without electricity

  1. #1

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    David Perfors

    Holiday without electricity

    This year my wife and I are planning to go to a camp site in France for two weeks. This will be the first year that we go somewhere where we have limited or no access to electricity AND have a DSLR with us.
    I know from last year that I could use the camera for two or three days without recharging, but after that I start to worry that the camera turns off while shooting. But know that I have a lens that has IS, I think this time is somewhat reduced, but I don't know how much.
    Fortunately for us, at the same time as we go, some relatives are going to the same place, but they are staying in a hotel, so I think I can charge the battery there. But to be honest, I don't really want to rely on that solution, especially not when we are going to camp more often in the future.
    I was thinking of getting an extra battery, but I found them relatively expensive. (74 Euro or so for a battery for a Nikon D40) but even when going for two weeks are two batteries not enough.
    So I am trying to find out how I can charge the battery in other ways. I found a charger from Hama that is able to be used in the car via the cigarette lighter. But I am a bit reluctant in trying a third party product for charging my battery. I also found out that Hama produces batteries as well, but I'm also reluctant in trying third party batteries in my camera. Third party lenses and flashes is no problem, but the battery....

    What is your opinion about all this? Are you ever in low electricity situation and how are you dealing with that?
    And what is your opinion of using third party batteries and charges?

    Most comments are welcome

    David.

  2. #2
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Holiday without electricity

    I haven't been camping for years young chap; I've only ever stopped in a hotel somebody else paid for as well. But when I was camping in probably more basic places than you are visiting, with my own tent, I found only one place without electricity and that was a public house, where if you asked nice they would charge your batteries for you.

    Mostly you have to pay extra to be connected to the mains, but since your going abroad I expect you will already be connected. Anyway, you could ask them. cheers

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Holiday without electricity

    David

    As Colin said in a thread some time ago: -
    "I'm not generally a fan of 3rd party stuff, but Sterlingtek batteries are the exception - I doubt you'll find a dissatisfied customer anywhere."

    A number of us on here have bought and use Sterlingtek batteries. I got mine directly from the US and they were here within 4 days. They are every bit as good as the much more expensive Canon batteries. So I would certainly have confidence in buying a few of those.

    If I bought from a reputable retailer, I would also have no concerns using a charger unit that plugs in to a car cigarette lighter. In fact I must check, but I am sure the charger I have came with a second cable that could be used in a lighter socket.
    Last edited by Donald; 14th April 2011 at 02:05 PM.

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Holiday without electricity

    I have used Sterlingtek batteries in my x0D Canon DSLR cameras for years with absolutely no problems. I recently purchased two Sterlingtek EP-6A (equivalent) Batteries, for my new Canon 7D, at $22.99 USD each with free shipping within the USA if the order totaled $60 USD. I ordered a Sterlingtek charger which brought the total price up to $60 USD and qualified me for free shipping. The advantage of the Sterlingtek charger is that it can charge from a 12V vehicle. I have this charger for my BP-511A batteries and have only used it twice. However, when I used it; I really needed the capability and it worked quite well.

    The Sterlingtek EP-6A (equivalent) batteries are completely compatible with my 7D camera and can be charged in a Canon charger. This is not the case with many 3rd party batteries sold (albeit at a lower price) on eBay. The Sterlingtek EP-6A equivalent batteries are 2600 mAh while the OEM Canon batteries are 1800 mAh. I have not used the camera long enough to learn if this increased mAh capacity converts to more shots or longer video recording capability.

    Sterlingtek batteries are available for Nikon products also. IMO, it is always a good idea to have an extra battery or two even when you have charging capability available. Murphy's Law Of Photography: "The probability of a piece of equipment failing is in a direct relationship to the importance of the shoot and in a reverse relationship to the availability of replacement gear!"

  5. #5
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Holiday without electricity

    On a four-star campsite you can be sure of hot showers, electric points, a pool (possible even heated), shops, laundry and sports facilities, and possibly a restaurant
    http://www.indigoguide.com/france/camping.htm

    I only went to top campsites normally; but I did slum it in Wales once.

  6. #6

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    Re: Holiday without electricity

    I have used a Hama multi purpose charger with no problems on genuine Canon batteries and third party alternatives. In fact, that charger is always in my vehicle; although I have never had to use it there so I can't vouch for the 12 volt charging option. But it worked fine on the mains connection.

    The only downside is that you have to select the correct charging adapter to fit your specific battery, which can be a bit confusing. At least it confused me, although that isn't particularly difficult.

    And those little, fiddly, adapters didn't seem very strong to me. Luckily my battery size (for a 40D) was one that fitted directly into the casing so it wasn't quite so bad.

  7. #7
    BongoBob's Avatar
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    Re: Holiday without electricity

    I've been in the same situation; What I used was an inverter that plugs in to the cigarette lighter of the car. These take the 12V from the car battery and convert it to an AC signal - You end up with an AC source that you can plug your actual Canon/Nikon charger into; then you don't have to worry about third party products mishandling the battery's charging procedures, and you end up with the nice bonus of being able to plug in other sorts of chargers and accessories without buying additional specific chargers. Inverters range in price and capabilities... The cheapest ones are generally rated at around 60W continuous, which is way more than you would need for a battery charger (The charger with the Canon T1i uses between 10w and 18W). Have a look in the car accessories section of your local equivalent of a Canadian Tire or Wal-mart, you're looking for something like this.

  8. #8

    Re: Holiday without electricity

    Not sure about you camera but I have an Opteka battery grip for my old 450D that takes an AA battery tray. I am not suggesting you will get the same endurance as a normal camera battery but it is idea for emergencies. The Opteka unit also comes with 2 off 2000mAh batteries. One died after a year but the other is still going strong after 2 years. The grip is reasonably well made for such a low price (approx 60 Euros for the 450D)

  9. #9

    Re: Holiday without electricity

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    If I bought from a reputable retailer, I would also have no concerns using a charger unit that plugs in to a car cigarette lighter. In fact I must check, but I am sure the charger I have came with a second cable that could be used in a lighter socket.
    Heck, $20 DC/AC inverter plugged into cigarette lighter and the charger plugged into it (I'd go that way instead of buying a direct cigarette-lighter charger in case ya need power for anything else as well.)

  10. #10
    rob marshall

    Re: Holiday without electricity

    I'd take your charger and ask the camp-site owner to charge your battery overnight. Most camp sites have electric hook-up for camper-vans and caravans, but I presume that requires a special adaptor, and you would probably have to pay more for a caravan pitch?

  11. #11

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    Re: Holiday without electricity

    What is the betting that David's next question will be 'How do I start a car with a flat battery'?

  12. #12
    benm's Avatar
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    Re: Holiday without electricity

    Have you considered solar power to charge your battery? Here is a link to a company that might have what you need:

    http://www.modernoutpost.com/gear/ap...9_battery.html

    I have not done any business with them.

  13. #13

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    Re: Holiday without electricity

    Thanks for the answers. Last Saturday I decided to get at least one extra battery for my camera, since the one I used "died" when I was visiting a park with monkeys. I probably won't buy any extra charger, but instead try to charge them when we are with family. (who are there as well) and otherwise try to ask the owner of the camping site...

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    What is the betting that David's next question will be 'How do I start a car with a flat battery'?
    Sorry Geoff, you loose. I won't ask that question, first this isn't the appropriate forum for that, second this I know how to start my car with a flat battery... just ask someone to push the car

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