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 Post subject: Solar charging my DSLR
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:36 pm 
Ok, I've been meaning to write this article for a while, so here goes...

The biggest shock to me moving from film cameras to digital last year was how much battery life is reduced by, not only that, but now my Nikon doesn't take standard AA batteries available almost anywhere when Im out and about and they run out. This is a problem for me as I do a lot of trekking.

I have finally found the solution however!

For a Christmas present this year, I received the following solar charger:

It works great, I tie or tape it to the back of my bag when I'm trekking and then when sleeping, I chuck it into my phone/ ipod etc to charge it up.

Ok sorry for boring you camera fanatics, but bare with me...

I've finally found the adapter to plug my camera battery into it:

Now, I can charge my camera with a little bit of sunlight wherever I am in the world!

The solar panel is VERY rugged, consider it the D3/1D of solar panels. I've stepped on it, dropped it, caked it in mud, and it doesn't even show any signs of use! The charger if Im honest is a bit tacky and bulky to throw in my backpack, (although probably not as bulky as all my film used to be).

Im sure the first question on people's minds will be does it work, to which I can only answer, surprisingly well. The pack will charge fully over half a day or so, even in some pretty bleak and overcast British conditions. And then putting it to charge my camera battery, charges it to the max. Please note that by to the max I mean that it lights three of three panels in my cameras battery indicator and this isnt a very precise scale. It does seem to last as long as a regular charge however.

The reason for starting this thread I suppose was to see if anybody else solar charges their SLR's and to let people know that it is possible, please dont hesitate to post any questions below!


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:41 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8087
Location: UK
Interesting... I've never been in the middle of nowhere long enough to need one, yet.

Some rough ball park calculations based on the claimed specification. This assumes good light and perfect energy conversion and transfer, so in reality it will be worse than this.
Time to charge the battery store from solar panel: 11 hours from completely empty to full
Capacity of battery store: about 11 Wh. That's roughly the same as the batteries used by the semi-pro Canons.

To me it seems unless you're in the middle of nowhere for many days on end, it may be easier just to have a spare battery or two charged at the start of the trip.

On using AA batteries, if you don't mind the bulk of the battery grip, doesn't that offer the optional capability of AA usage?

Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:17 pm 
Thanks for the reply Popo.

Interesting on your calculations, mine seems to charge in much less time than that in much crummier than perfect conditions.

Yes of course I could have bought the battery grip and/or a spare battery, but the solar panel was something I had anyway and the £10 to buy the charger is much less than the grip or spares. It was also fun to experiment with, I couldnt find a similar post here or on any other camera forums.

It should be noted I use the panel mainly to charge my phone and iPod, its just nice to be able to extend that now to my camera 8)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:51 pm 
A solar charger seems a brilliant idea for photographers on the go :)

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