Battery power - new sizes are no bargain!

In the ongoing quest to make cameras even smaller and more pocketable, the camera manufacturers are not always doing the best for consumers.

Alkaline batteries have their disadvantages. They corrode and leak as they get older, and they don't deliver power as quickly as lithiums, resulting in longer recycling times. But in terms of sheer power supplied per penny invested, they represent a better value. Each step towards a smaller battery has resulted in higher costs of operation:

Product Voltage MAH MWH Cost Cost/MWH
AA battery (1) 1.5 2,870 4,305 $1.30 .0003023
AA battery (2) 3 2,870 8,610 $2.60 .0003023
AA battery (4) 6 2,870 17,220 $5.20 .0003023
123 Lithium 3 1,400 4,200 $7.53 .0017928
CR-P2 (223) 6 1,400 8,400 $11.38 .0013547
2CR5 6 1,400 8,400 $11.38 .0013547
CR-2 3 750 2,250 $7.53 .0033466

That means that every erg of energy produced by a 2CR-5 or CR-2P lithium battery costs about four times as much as the same power from the lowly AA battery, and the new darling of the camera designers - the CR-2 - has a juice that's 10 times as expensive!

Nikon, Minolta and Pentax are to be commended for offering battery packs that use AAs for their SLR that would otherwise depend on the costly lithiums.

The prices and energy ratings shown are based upon Eastman Kodak's published figures.