Last week I bought a new Canon EOS 7D body. Before starting to use the camera for the first time I fully charged my battery and started using it. I used the camera for one week. I shoot raw with back display always on and LCD brightness to very low. I took around 200 images, 10 with live view mode and 2-3 image with flash and a 30 sec video and my lens is 24-105 f/4 L. I turn off the camera when not in use.
But after 200-250 images my battery just rans out of juice. According to canon, the battery supports up to 1000 shots with fully charged battery. I don't use flash at all and I did mostly indoor shoots. What I feel like is my battery is draining pretty fast. Seems very unusual. After facing this issue I tried to find out how fast my battery was draining. So I shoot 3 raw images and found that battery just drained 1% so I keep doing it and eventually found that each 3-4 images taken my battery loses 1% of charge. I can only take around 220-280 images with a fully charged battery.
I hope any Canon 7D user could shed some light with this matter. Let me know if I am doing anything wrong here. Thanks in advance.
Shooting with live view and constantly display images on the back of the LCD is draining battery fast. 1000 shots per charge rating is for optimal condition without live view.
The way you're using the camera is causing the battery to drain rapidly...
Using the LCD screen continuously heavily drains it no matter how bright you have it set... whether it be active while shooting, reviewing stills, using Live View, or shooting video. It takes a lot of power to keep that screen on.
Also, Live View and shooting video both consume a more power for additional reasons. In either of these modes both the camera's mirror is kept flipped up and the shutter held open, and doing both these puts a pretty heavy and continuous drain on the battery, as long as the camera is in either mode.
I've shot with a pair of 7Ds for over four years. I use the Canon vertical/battery grip on it, which holds two batteries. I mostly shoot stills and consistently get 2500+ shots with a pair of freshly charged LP-E6 in that grip, which was roughly 30% or more increase over a pair of freshly charge BP511A in 50D grip that I used before.
I try to conserve battery power...
I have the cameras set to go into sleep mode after the shortest possible time.... they wake up instantly so this is no problem. I use the viewfinder and have the LCD off most of the time. It comes up instantly when I occasionally go in an review reviewing images, or use the LCD to make changes in the menu, etc. I use Live View occasionally, but not often. I don't shoot video with my 7Ds. This is with a variety of lenses, including a number with IS, and using continuous AI Servo focus a lot. I do a lot of sports/action shooting, which often involves heavy use of AF and IS, tracking subjects and taking bursts of shots.
I carry two extra batteries per camera... but rarely have to use them even on days when I shoot as much as 5000 images with the two cameras. Usually if I need to use the spare batteries, it's because I forgot to recharge the ones in the camera the night before!
Canon's rating of the shots per charge uses some industry standardized method of testing (CIPA?), for comparing cameras. It's probably still shots only with minimal review, and some percentage using the built-in flash (another heavy power user... I never use the built-in).
Any DSLR you might choose, used the way you are using the 7D, will rapidly drain the battery and fall short of whatever rating the manufacturer has given it under the standardized testing.
Thank you so much for your valuable opinion. Before reading your post last day I took my 7D to an event. Actually I took two of my Cameras Rebel T3i and 7D. Both with a full charged battery, I decided to compare the two camera. For 7D I basically turned of most of the features such as noise reduction, lighting optimiser etc. I also turned off the LCD and Image review. I only reviewd the images when I thought I might need to check if the composition was ok. And probably had to review 5-6 images at best.
I took my T3i as a backup camera. On my t3i back display is on always and sleep mode is set to 16 sec or something. As these cameras are really fast at waking up as you have said. In fact I set my 7D the way I use my t3i. Sleep time is probably 16 sec or at best 30 and I never went past that actually. I review my shots only when I feel I didn't quite make it right.
I started shooting the event with my 7D. With everything turned off I still had the same battery issue. I was really shocked. With that minimal settings and so forth I only managed to get 229 images. I didn't use the live view, no video, lcd turned off the whole time, image review off, camera sleep mode to 16 sec, most of the features turned off I was sure that I would be able to manage at least 700-800 shoots if not 1000. 😞
luckilly I took my t3i as a backup and with lcd on, sleep mode to 16 sec, image review 2 sec I managed to get 703 images. I also used the live view mode to get 10-15 images as I was standing behind a crowd and wanted to take some photo over their head. I did not expected that performance over my 7D.
Judging by the performance I got last day with my 7D I am not sure what to expect anymore. I used the camera with best possible battery saving way I could and it was again frustrating. The 7d body is twice the price of my t3i and I expected a bit more performance if not less.
It sounds like you may have a bad battery and/or charger. Also new batteries may have to be charged and drained several times before they become fuly useable.
I don't have the camera shut off when I am at a shoot no matter how fast it turns on. I don't know of any pros that do. If it is going to set for a while I turn it off myself. We just have extra batteries if needed. Also I don't ever use live view and rarely check the LCD screen except for settings.
I have the battey grip on my 7D and I highly recommend it for anyone.
" Also new batteries may have to be charged and drained several times before they become fuly useable."
This occured to me, too. If these are the first couple times you have used the camera, the battery may not be taking a full charge yet, may need to go through several more drain and recharge cycles before it gives full performance.
I agree that it's not generally necessary to turn off the camera (I try to remember to do so occasionally so the automatic sensor cleaning runs)...
But my undestanding was that you were just turning off the LCD screen (i.e., have is set so it doesn't display automatically after each and every shot).... if so, that's a reasonable setting (Note: I have my "Set" button programmed for image playback when the camera is in shooting mode... this way I can instantly check an image using either thumb.)
You mention taking 10-15 Live View photos, and that doesn't seem like a lot at first glance. But what really matters is how long you had the camera active in Live View mode watching and prepping to take the shot. There's a continuous drain on the batteries, while the shutter is being held open and the LCD remains active. So 10-15 shots where each shot only took a few seconds would be very different than if Live View mode were used for 4 or 5 minutes per shot.
I would think it rare, but certainly there is still a possibilty of a bad battery or charger. If the problem seems to continue after the battery has been through a half dozen or dozen drain/recharge cycles, I'd be more worried and might be getting in contact with Canon.
The battery grip and a second battery is a good idea, as well. Nice to have for portrait orientation shots, too. I also like the balance with larger lenses better, with a grip on the camera. Both my 7Ds have had grips on them from new. All my Canon cameras have been fitted with grips. But, of course, the grip and add'l battery do add weight and bulk.
Lucky thing is that the LP-E6 batteries have come way down in price. They were first introduced with 5DII, if memory serves, and initially were very hard to find. I recall paying $120-125 apiece for a couple of them. Now they are widely available for less than half that.
Thank you again. I guess going through some recharge cycle is the best idea right now. Also yes I did turn of the LCD not the camera. I don't turn if off / on often while I am in a shoot and relay on the sleep mode. Only when I know that I am not going to be using it for some extended period of time I turn off the camera.
The camera was active in live view for that 10-15 shoot was not more then 3 minutes. I was checking if the camera was focusing correctly. The images that I were taking were not as sharp as I was expecting so I did some internet research and found people had issues with front and back focus. So I wanted to check if my camera needed some lens calibration.
I do need some accessories for 7D and will buy them eventually. Battery grip is one of them. I do own one for my t3i and know how much useful they are, not only it gives the extended charging period with two battery but also gives a good balance for heavy lenses. Yeah it does add some weight and bulk but I use a "Caiden Double Strap" and generally keep it hanging form the side.
"The camera was active in live view for that 10-15 shoot was not more then 3 minutes.'
If that's 3 minutes total for all 10 or 15 shots, should have minimal effect on battery drain.
If it were 3 minutes per shot, or a total of 30 to 45 minutes of Live View use, that's quite a bit of continuous operation and likely to drain the battery noticeably faster.
Coming from other Canon models, including your T3i, if you shoot RAW and post process them you might feel 7D images are a bit soft at first. The 7D has a rather strong anti-alias filter and RAW files that are not yet sharpened can look soft. Once processed, they look fine. If you shoot JPEGs, you might not notice this, depending upon how you have in-camera sharpening set (that's determined by the Picture Style selected and the settings within it).
Some people might interpret that image softness as front or back focusing. I have two 7Ds and around 20 lenses that I use on them.... and have found only a little bit of Micro Adjustment needed on a couple lenses.
Yes, it should have minimal effects on battery drain for doing 10-15 shots in live view mode within 3 minutes. Yet it truly was a little bit annoying. So I decided to wait and give the battery another go after 5-6 recharge cycle.
I'm not aware of any memory effect with Li-Ion batteries, such as those used in the 7D. Conditioning of batteries is useful for NiMH types which are prone to freezing up, preventing access to the full cell(s) during recharging. It's almost embarassing to say I know this from my electric r/c truck racing days. Canon even included a refresh or calibrate button on chargers (limit of my knowledge is soon to be exceeded).
The refresh/calibrate buttons are not on the LC-E6 charger not because it was "decontented" but, IMHO, because it was unnecessary.
I will say this about batteries. If Li-Ion batteries vary in perfomance from one cell to another, as was the case for the NiMH cells I used for racing, then I wouldn't be surprise if you just got a bad pack.