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Digital Camera Tips

Illustration: Otto Steininger
Turn off the flash: Those bright bulbs eat up power, and turning off the flash may give you dozens of extra shots. Bonus: Some indoor shots look better with the flash turned off, because the camera captures the ambient lighting instead of adding potentially harsh light from the flash, which can make a photo look overexposed.

Turn off the LCD: It may undercut the purpose of having a digital camera, but if you need to maximize battery life, looking through the optical viewfinder--if your camera has one--instead of ogling the LCD screen can save quite a bit of power.

Play images back elsewhere: We all tend to watch video or idly view photos on a camera or camcorder, but this eats up a substantial amount of battery life. Put off reminiscing about your vacation until the vacation is over.

Update firmware: Many digital cameras allow you to update their firmware. If you haven't done so in a year or more, it's a good idea to check whether an update is available on the camera manufacturer's Web site. Many firmware updates include upgraded power management options, which can extend your unit's battery life significantly.

Buy a bigger camcorder battery: Commonly you can get a bigger, longer-lasting battery than the one your camcorder came with--just be prepared to tote more weight, typically 5 or 6 extra ounces.

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