I have a Beef with Camera Reviews

Robert Watcher

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You know - it kind of gets irritating when you do a Google Search to find user information and reviews on camera gear - - - and it is so misleading that it affects your enthusiasm for a particular product.

Case in point (besides reviews that I ignored when purchasing my Macbook Air and a few other great investments that I use) is my new Olympus E-PL5. That was the camera that I was purchasing when I returned from an 8 month massive photo shoot in Nicaragua. But I was also concerned about investing in micro 4/3 lenses, if use of this camera and future EM style bodies - would not be useful purchases for my wedding and portrait business.

For those purposes, battery life is quite important. Yes I can purchase and do purchase extra batteries to swap in and out when one dies. But it proved to be a little discouraging when several reviews from supposed dependable sources, stated "battery life" as one of the Cons. Even using terms like poor battery life - only getting 300 or 350 shots per charge. Well, irregardless I bought the E-PL5 last week. I got to put the battery longevity to test on Saturday night at my daughters 10'th wedding anniversary.

I really didn't pay attention to the battery until heading home tonight and downloading about 20 shots that I took today. I headed into Lightroom and realized that I shot 660 photographs at Roslyn's anniversary. Those with around 20 snaps today, are certainly in a ballpark that I am comfortable with. And are far more than the measly numbers that the reviews sites (Blog and Youtube) purport. Checking my camera just now - - - I see that the battery life after all of that shooting - still shows in full green on the camera screen. So what is up with that!


I needed an upgrade because my E-PL3 is simply worn out and not functioning dependably when travelling - and so the reviews didn't sway me in this instance. But they do have an effect on you and do stop people who are concerned with accurate reports of such features - to miss out by moving to another product. Just my rant for the moment. :frown::smile:
 

T N Args

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So many variables come into it, those quoted numbers could be high or low for the individual buyer, depending on, not only settings, but practice too. They even assume a proportion of inbuilt flash photos in coming up with a number.
 

darosk

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I think one of the problems might be that these reviewers only have their test cameras for a short period. For some of them that may be only a week - or even less. That's hardly enough time to do a real thorough analysis or breakdown of product, in my opinion. That "300-350" number is probably the reviewer just repeating whatever the manufacturer/manual states is an average number of shots.
 

Robert Watcher

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You've hit on exactly what I said in this thread: https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=65495. With today's cameras using EVFs and LCDs as the viewing medium, they should be doing a more thorough job of testing battery life, and assessing all the options for improving battery life and what most significantly affects battery life.
Sorry about that. I had no idea of your recent post on the same subject. Kind of repeating what you already found. Although in reality I am just supporting your thoughts as well. I was a little miffed, because I went through a similar situation when I purchased my basic Macbook Air several moths ago. Online Reviews and Reports caused me to almost give up on the purchase because "it would not be suitable for Lightroom" and "would not be suitable for video projects". I can reaffirm that the basic 1.3 Ghz Macbook Air with SSD hard drive - - - indeed handles Lightroom without issues. I regularly work with a 500MB layered file with thousands of shapes (objects) on each layer - in Photoshop CS6. It gets a little slow at times with that file, but it handles anything I need to do. And for the rest of my lesser Photoshop needs, I can do anything I want. I am also running Final Cut Pro X with no issues for months now.

Anyway - after I posted - I wondered if I was a little out of line. Nice to know I am not. Thanks for the link.



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OzRay

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If that's how CIPA tests battery life, then I really think that they should review their procedures. It's all well and good to have some form of 'generic' test, but when users in real life can get 2x, 3x, 4x and even 5x the CIPA figures, then something is clearly wrong with the CIPA testing procedures. It's funny that almost all of the CIPA results for mirrorless cameras come out about the same number of shots (after a quick check on DPR). Do they really test the battery life of every camera that comes out, or do a bit of creative extrapolation?
 

OzRay

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So it's basically like fuel economy figures presented by car companies that bear no resemblance to real life driving. But in this case, the figures are under-estimated vs the fuel figures that are usually over-estimated. ;)
 

Robert Watcher

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In checking a few of the Review Sites that listed 360 shots battery life - - - I see that some use the term Olympus' rating. One (Imaging Resource) states "The rated 360 shots per charge . . . The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions." Really - - - nothing to do with reality right?

So why can't the reviewers just do their own test and provide real life values that are practical and useful to normal shooters. Even if it were a broad range. Instead they seem to be just restating a number someone else claims instead of spending a day or two in real life shooting that would prove useful. Makes one wonder how valid anything they say is. As mentioned above - - - there does seem to be a lot of just Copy and Paste what someone else reports. Shame.


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piggsy

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Yeah, and a few big issues it would bring on its own like minor temperature variations adding up to what I imagine would be big differences over hundreds of shots kinds of scales. I'm trying to imagine tests of this going well at any review site where one guy in the alps gets 10 shots and one guy in death valley gets 11, you'd have people killing each other over whether 10 or 11 is right based on who used the EVF more. And one guy in Adelaide gets 1100 but is totally ignored because what fun would that be :D
 

Zee

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I've yet to replicate anything like 350 shots - let alone 600 - or the 1400+ OzRay managed and noted in another thread, despite having similar settings and not too dissimilar usage. I'll be heading to SE Asia again in a few weeks, so I'll try and follow his methods exactly, and see how I go.

I'm used to 1000-1200+ shots from a charge EVERY SINGLE TIME on my old 7D, pretty much regardless of what I do, so dropping to 200-250 was very frustrating. Not so much for topside, but more so for the fact that one of my reasons for the EM1 purchase was to house it and take it scuba-diving. 200-250 shots means cracking the housing open after every dive (something to be avoided, if at all possible). 350 shots would get me through 2 dives, and only one battery change. I have toyed with the idea of somehow squeezing in a second battery intot he housing (I have not bought one yet, so not sure if there is even room) and finding a way to attach it...

These posts give me hope that it's just me, and I just need to make some changes to my shooting...

On a side note, I, too, am running a Macbook Air, and have no issue with Lightroom - it's probably not up to the standars of a pro who needs lightning speeds, but it's certainly fast enough for regular shooter me, who prefers the 14hr battery life the Air gives me over brute power. Having said that, I'd be going with the 256GB HDD option, as that does seem to speed things up over the 128GB version. (something to do with the number of channels used by the larger capacity drive being greater or something, thus being faster).

Z...
 

Jonathan F/2

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The E-M10 uses the same battery as the E-PL5 and I've managed over 500 frames with full bars still showing and that's with heavy chimping and LCD viewing not to mention using the 3 axis IBIS. So yeah, camera reviews are definitely off if they're reporting 300 or so shots per charge.
 

OzRay

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What is annoying about these battery statistics is that people invariably compare the figures to those of DSLRs and dismiss mirrorless cameras as useless for any extended photography because of the supposedly woeful battery life. Sure, a Nikon D3 is going to get significantly more shots from its battery, but then its also a significantly larger battery. Add the battery grip to the E-M1 and you now have the capacity for around 3000 photos (though why the grip doesn't take two batteries is baffling, the E-3/E-5 grips took two batteries). If it took two batteries the capacity would be around 4500 photos, which is the sort of battery life that the D3 is reportedly seeing (from comments by actual users that I could find on the net).
 

Scrowley91

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I've yet to repelicate anything like 350 shots - let alone 600 - or the 1400+ OzRay managed and noted in another thread, despite having similar settings and not too dissimilar usage. I'll be heading to SE Asia again in a few weeks, so I'll try and follow his methods exactly, and see how I go.

I'm used to 1000-1200+ shots from a charge EVERY SINGLE TIME on my old 7D, pretty much regardless of what I do, so dropping to 200-250 was very frustrating. Not so much for topside, but more so for the fact that one of my reasons for the EM1 purchase was to house it and take it scuba-diving. 200-250 shots means cracking the housing open after every dive (something to be avoided, if at all possible). 350 shots would get me through 2 dives, and only one battery change. I have toyed with the idea of somehow squeezing in a second battery intot he housing (I have not bought one yet, so not sure if there is even room) and finding a way to attach it...

These posts give me hope that it's just me, and I just need to make some changes to my shooting...

Z...
Diving would seem like the extreme circumstance here: you have to pretty much always have the evf or lcd on. (if you turn the LCD off, the EVF is going to stay on because the sensor detects the waterproof housing) I don't know that it's anything that you could really avoid though. (other than the battery grip) Perhaps switching to an E-P5, where you can fully turn the screen off and not have the EVF running, would help, I'm not sure.
 

mattia

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As mentioned in another thread, I was getting a good 460-490 shots with the E-M1 on safari. That's lots of short bursts, and practically no chimping, and 90% EVF use
 

LowriderS10

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The numbers quoted are generally derived from CIPA standard testing.

This includes flash, using the EVF/LCD, chimping, IBIS, etc, etc. If your use is other than the "standard" for CIPA, your numbers are different. For example, if you're shooting 30-minute-long long exposures with blackout frames, chimping/reviewing/taking your time setting it up, etc, I doubt you'll get 700 shots out of it. ;)
 

LowriderS10

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As mentioned in another thread, I was getting a good 460-490 shots with the E-M1 on safari. That's lots of short bursts, and practically no chimping, and 90% EVF use
The burst shots improve things dramatically.

When I was shooting DSLRs, I paid attention to battery usage (it was important, as that was my job, I needed to know what to plan for assignments, etc)...doing bursts and/or panoramas for later stitching drastically "improved' battery life. :)
 

hazwing

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In some ways, I'd prefer they underestimate battery life than overestimate battery life. It's good that there is some sort of consistent standards to measuring battery life, otherwise you'd have manufacturers claiming all sorts of things. I do feel that there should be different measuring standards between mirrorless and DSLR cameras. Perhaps it should be base more on time spend turned on, as opposed the number of shots taken?
 
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