Camera battery life in Alaska

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#1
Brisbane, AU
53 Posts
Joined May 2012
Will soon be venturing into this near zero degree climate for the first time and wondering about the effects of the cold on camera battery life and if the usual 1 backup battery is enough for a solid day shooting.
I suspect it will be but just wanted to check with those in the know.
#2
Tampa
426 Posts
Joined Feb 2014
Good question. It would probably be quite variable depending on the camera used, temperature during your trip, and the number of photos or videos that you expect to take.

For my cruise, I am anticipating that I will be taking far more photos and videos than what I normally do on a cruise so I will therefore be bringing more batteries than usual. I will also likely carry my batteries on an inside jacket pocket if the weather is particularly cold but I doubt it will be in June.
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#3
Southern California
8,433 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by rowrow
Will soon be venturing into this near zero degree climate for the first time and wondering about the effects of the cold on camera battery life and if the usual 1 backup battery is enough for a solid day shooting.
I suspect it will be but just wanted to check with those in the know.
When do you plan on visiting? A cruise or will it be a winter time northern lights tour?

Dave
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#4
Brisbane, AU
53 Posts
Joined May 2012
Main camera I'm wondering about is the Nikon D7100 dslr. Usually 1-2 batteries can get me through a solid day shooting.
And a backup Panasonic P&S.
Will be leaving Vancouver on a Cruisetour with 8 nights on land leaving Fairbanks on June 3. I think that's early spring weather?
But I understand weather can be unpredictable anytime and will be about zero around Glacier Bay.
#5
19,230 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by rowrow
Main camera I'm wondering about is the Nikon D7100 dslr. Usually 1-2 batteries can get me through a solid day shooting.
And a backup Panasonic P&S.
Will be leaving Vancouver on a Cruisetour with 8 nights on land leaving Fairbanks on June 3. I think that's early spring weather?
But I understand weather can be unpredictable anytime and will be about zero around Glacier Bay.
It is not going to be anywhere near as cold as you think. Temperatures leaving Vancouver will be in the 60's, and it could be in the 80's or higher in Fairbanks. The ony time it is going to be below freezing is near glaciers.
#6
Tampa
426 Posts
Joined Feb 2014
Originally posted by zqvol
It is not going to be anywhere near as cold as you think. Temperatures leaving Vancouver will be in the 60's, and it could be in the 80's or higher in Fairbanks. The ony time it is going to be below freezing is near glaciers.
So just don’t set your camera batteries on the glacier and you’ll be fine!
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#7
Southern California
8,433 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Agreed. We did a June Cruise tour after a northbound 7 day. It was in the mid 50's in Ketchikan, in the high 40s in Skagway and while renting a car and driving up into the Yukon we encountered 30° and sleet up around Emerald Lake. It was light jacket weather in Anchorage and t-shirt weather in Denali and Fairbanks. As zqvol mentioned, it was quite cold (mid-30s) near the glaciers. (°F, if you haven't already guessed ) I would strongly suggest dressing in layers as we have encountered temperatures from the mid-40s to the mid-80s during September and August cruises to Alaska. Expect it will rain and be happy if it doesn't. Even when it rains, Alaska's one of the most beautiful places you will ever see.

Once you get close to freezing, a good rule of thumb is that you'll get 50% of the battery life you would expect under normal conditions. Keep a spare or two in a warm inner pocket and shoot away. I have found Alaska to be a photographer's best friend. Enjoy your trip!

Dave
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#8
Brisbane, AU
53 Posts
Joined May 2012
Many thanks for your responses. We feel a lot better about it all now. We'll try to be prepared. Our first time up there and they always suggest it's better the second time around. Or third. Or fourth.
Cheers
Peter
#9
Seattle, WA
2,038 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
We've done 5.5 Alaska cruises with 4-6 cameras per cruise. I think I've schlepped a spare battery (one each of two types) and never needed to swap mid-day; never got below 50% (which on some Canon cameras causes high-speed drive to not be as fast) for that matter.
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#10
Las Vegas
11,883 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by rowrow
Will soon be venturing into this near zero degree climate for the first time and wondering about the effects of the cold on camera battery life and if the usual 1 backup battery is enough for a solid day shooting.
I suspect it will be but just wanted to check with those in the know.
1) It will not be that cold

2) If it is that cold, just keep your spare battery in your pocket.

3) Batteries are cheap compared w the cost of the cruise. Buy another one. I always travel w 4 or 5 batteries per camera.

DON
#11
4 hours and 38 minutes from the closest cruise terminal
11,224 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Agree that it shouldn’t be anywhere near zero in June. We sailed the first week of June and it was mostly in the upper 50’s and 60’s with an ocasional drop in the 30’s and 40’s.

About battery, I brought a Nikon D3200 and never had to change the battery during the day, even after taking an average of over 100 photos per day. I’d just make sure to charge it every night before going to bed. It’s still very wise to have a backup battery just in case for a litany of unforeseen circumstances but thankfully we never needed it.


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#12
CA
2,073 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
You'll be fine. I live in an area with horrific temperature swings. 115+ in the summer, into the teens in the winter. Never had an issue with battery life. Maybe if I left it outside all night in the winter or something, it might be affected. However, you typically keep your camera inside with you, and when you go out, it's in a bag or on your body in a pocket. It never really gets all that cold, even when it's really cold outside.
#13
10,467 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Tapi
Agree that it shouldn’t be anywhere near zero in June. We sailed the first week of June and it was mostly in the upper 50’s and 60’s with an ocasional drop in the 30’s and 40’s.
Not sure everyone has picked up on this, but the OP is from Australia and I suspect means 0 degrees Celsius, which is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

OP: I had similar battery concerns when we traveled to Antarctica. I always had several spare batteries with me, and kept them as close to my body in an inside pocket as possible. I don't recall any "premature" drain from the cold. Still, as others have observed, the trip is costly; batteries, relatively speaking, are not. Have a few with you, and enjoy your trip!
#14
Brisbane, AU
53 Posts
Joined May 2012
Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I picked up on the Celsius/Faren diff. All good. Have ordered extra battery and will keep it snug.
I expect the coldest place throughout will be cruising around Glacier Bay for a day so I'll be more prepared for that now.
#15
4 hours and 38 minutes from the closest cruise terminal
11,224 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by rowrow
I expect the coldest place throughout will be cruising around Glacier Bay for a day so I'll be more prepared for that now.

Our day in Glacier Bay. 60 degrees F, clear skies, and a light sweater in early June


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#16
Brisbane, AU
53 Posts
Joined May 2012
Great images. Tapi. We'll be there May 24 and will be hoping for similar conditions but I realize the weather in those areas is unpredictable.
#17
MO
1,197 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
We had colder weather near the glaciers, and I appreciated gloves and hat. Photographer's gloves are nice, mine look like mittens, but the tops fold down and my fingertips are uncovered to operate the camera. I ran through 2 batteries and part of a 3rd, partly from cold, but probably mostly because I shoot the glaciers in burst mode - better chance of catching the best shot.

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