How Many Camera Batteries Do You Need?

How Many Camera Batteries Do You Need?

Without power, your camera is just a chunk of plastic and metal. Making sure you have enough battery life is super important any time you’re taking photos. Having your camera battery unexpectedly die totally kills the party while you potentially miss a ton of great shots! So how many camera batteries do you need in your camera bag?

It’s best to carry at least two camera batteries in your camera bag at all times. That way, you always have a backup if one suddenly dies or you’re out shooting for a longer period of time.

The number of batteries you should be using will greatly depend on the camera you use and the places you’ll be shooting. Now let’s dive a little deeper into this answer.

Should You Always Carry Multiple Camera Batteries?

You might be thinking that if you’re going somewhere locally to take photos, you don’t need to pack an extra battery. Whether you’re taking photos for fun or getting paid, this isn’t a good idea. Even if you don’t think you need an extra camera battery, it’s always nice to have one. Maybe you end up finding the perfect photo spot and stay out shooting longer than you anticipated. Or what if something happens to one battery, so you have to switch over to a different one?

Always having a backup is the best idea when it comes to batteries. Whether you’re going far away or sticking close to home, you won’t be able to use your camera if a battery dies. By always keeping a backup in your bag, you’ll be well covered no matter what.

Do You Need To Use Name Brand Batteries For Your Camera?

One of the big questions around camera batteries is whether you need to use native or third-party brands. Your camera likely came with one battery out of the box, but you aren’t obligated to use the same kind for your second or third battery. There are a ton of options out there that will still work for your camera, but they can all range in quality, durability, and charge time.

It’s not uncommon to see a third party battery that’s less than half the price of the brand name version. It can seem pretty enticing on paper, but it might only power your camera for a few hours rather than an entire day.

Before you go into purchasing a second camera battery, make sure to look at reviews and know for sure how long a third party brand lasts. If you start to feel like your opportunities are dismal, it might be better to fork over the extra money for a name brand battery. At the end of the day, camera batteries will last you years to come.

In most cases, similar level camera models within a brand will all use the same types of batteries. That means that even if you decide to change bodies within the next year or two, your batteries can continue along with you!

How Many Batteries To Take On A Trip

One of the big problems you may face with batteries is how many to take on a trip. Ultimately it depends on whether you’re traveling via air or going on a good old fashioned road trip. When you’re taking your camera on a plane, you need to look into the different airline guidelines and their rules around batteries. It would be a serious bummer to get your backup camera batteries confiscated right before a flight.

In the case of a road trip, you don’t need to worry about this the same. Since you can take as many batteries as you need, the question shifts to how long can you go without recharging? If you plan to go on a backpacking trip or somewhere without power, you need to make sure you have enough battery juice to last you the trip! Different camera brands have different battery lives, but it all depends on how you use it. If you only keep your camera on to take pictures and keep your reviewing time to a minimum, there’s no reason why just one battery can’t last a few days.

It’s a good idea for most trips to bring 2 – 3 batteries to cover all your bases. If you’ll be away from power for a longer period of time, taking 3 could be a better option. The more you use your camera and note how long each battery lasts, it becomes easier to figure out how many to pack.

Do Batteries Last Longer On DSLR Cameras Compared To Mirrorless?

One of the major influences on battery life comes down to the type of camera you have. Not so much the brand, but instead whether you’re using a DSLR or mirrorless camera. On average, DSLR batteries tend to last a little bit longer than a mirrorless. Since fewer electronic pieces are on a DSLR, the battery doesn’t get used up as quickly. A mirrorless camera has more electronic bits plus an EVF to add even more strain on the battery.

Now, this isn’t to say that mirrorless camera batteries are bad, but they are typically worse than a DSLR. This is something to consider when deciding how many camera batteries you should have.

How Many Camera Battery Chargers Should You Have?

No matter how many camera batteries you have, they’re just a piece of plastic without a charger! Some batteries you order won’t actually come with a charger, so you might be left wondering what you’re supposed to do. Luckily there’s an easy rule of thumb you can follow.

For every two camera batteries, you should have one charger. That way, one battery can be in use while the other is charging. With this setup, you can rotate through charged and dead batteries all day long without any problems. Assuming you have access to a power outlet, of course!

Considering Temperatures When Packing Extra Camera Batteries

Having at least two camera batteries in your camera bag is always a good idea, but what about in different weather conditions? Now I’m not talking about the different seasons, but more so the actual temperature outside. In cold temperates, lithium-ion batteries tend to lose their charge significantly faster than any other time. If you plan to spend a few days out in the cold, it might be good to bring a third camera battery.

With that said, there are other options you can try instead of buying another battery for cold weather shooting. By keeping the batteries stored in an inner coat pocket, you can keep them warmer and extend their charge. Regardless if you decide to get an extra battery for winter, it’s worth keeping this in mind, so you don’t blast through two camera batteries and wonder what happened.

Now for warmer temperatures, this won’t make much of a difference for battery life. In that case, two batteries are the perfect amount to use.

Camera batteries are the one thing nobody says much about, although they are the most important part of your camera. By keeping an extra battery with you at all times, you always have more power when you’re shooting longer than expected. As the saying goes, “one is none,” so make sure to get two!

Article By

Brendan Williams

Hey, I'm Brendan! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.

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