Camera Batteries

Camera Batteries can be a problem just figuring out which to buy for what. Before automation in cameras, they were mechanical machines and required no batteries. Even early cameras with selenium cell light meters did not require them. But as more convenience was built in, it had to be powered and so the cameras we love today all use batteries in one form or another. Cameras have become electronic devices.

It would be nice if they all used the same battery. Alas, that was not to be. And now figuring out which battery goes with which camera can sometimes be confusing. These notes are intended to throw some light on this problem.

The tables below list the correct batteries for cameras and their attachements. Below that is a discussion of actual battery types.

Canon Rangefinder Batteries

The only rangefinder cameras that had light meters were the Model 7 and 7s. The Model 7 had a selenium cell on the front to measure light and did not require a battery. The 7s, hoverer, used a CdS cell which did require a bettery. It was the only Canon rangefinder camera that did.

Canon “F” Series Batteries

Begining with the Canon FX in 1964 Canon cameras were more and more electronic devices and very quickly all cameras required a battery. 

Canon “A” Series Batteries

It is with the “A” series that cameras truly become electronic devices with all functions controlled electrically. From this point on batteries will be an essential element in all Canon cameras.

Canon “T” Series Batteries

The T series is notable for two reasons. For one thing, it marked the end of the venerable FD lens mount which did not continue on. And secondly, the series culminated with the T90 which, if you look at it, was the beginning of the EOS styling that was just around the corner.

EOS Film Camera Batteries

By the time we get to EOS cameras we are dealing with electronic devices that require more power. Film is transported automatically, light is measured electronically, the lens aperture is set by the camera and the lens focuses automatically. And all of this has to be driven by the battery.

It is with the EOS film camera that we start to see the addition of various battery packs and vertical grips being added to the cameras to allow for the use of additional batteries. These are diffent than the motor driven winders A and A2 introduced for the A Series of cameras such as the AE-1. In the EOS series, all of the film advance motors are internal to the camera.

EOS Digital Camera Batteries

When Canon went to Digital Cameras they also went to their own battery packs and chargers for their DSLR’s. Many of these batteries, although they have the same cases or the same voltages, they have different current abilities. The higher the mAh (milliamp hours) the more power there is available and the more pictures that can be taken on a single charge.

Battery Types

AA Cell

(also called Double A or Penlight Cell and it goes by other names in other countries outside North America.)

The AA battery was introduced in 1907 by the American Ever Ready Company and has been a standard type since that time used in small flashlights, radios and cameras. Originally an alkaline battery it can now be found with various chemistries including lithium based rechargeable cells. Nominal voltage is 1.5 volts.

PX625

(also called PX13 or MR9 Mercury Cell, EPX625,V625PX, MR09, Mallory RM-625R, Eveready E625N, Burgess HG-625R, 4370, 4371, V13PX, EPX13, HD625 etc.)

The PX625 was a round button type battery of 1.35 volts. It was a mercuric oxide cell and as such had very stable voltage characteristics over the life of the battery. That made it perfect for CdS photo sensors which required power and which were sensitive to the voltage applied. Unfortunately, the mercury in the discarded batteries was quite toxic and they were banned for ecological reasons.

Newer alkaline batteries all give a voltage of around 1.5 volts which is enough to throw their light meters off slightly.  My experience is that film’s inherent latitude makes the difference negligible.

CR2

(also called the 15266 and the 15720 [a rechargeable lithium ion battery])

The CR2 is a three volt lithium battery developed for small point and shoot cameras. They are noted for a long shelf life; ten years on average. They can also be found in a rechargeable lithium ion format. The lithium battery has lithium metal or a compound of lithium as the anode. They are noted for their high charge density (long life).

27mm long and 15.6mm in diameter.

Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable batteries in which lithium ions move between the anode and the cathode, using an intercalated lithium compound as the electrode material instead of the metallic lithium used in lithium batteries. (Too much technical stuff!)

2CR5

Also called the EL2CR5,  DL245, or the RL2CR5

This is a 6 volt lithium battery, actually two CR5 batteries side by side in a plastic holder. Commonly used in film and digital cameras. Shaped so that it can be inserted into a battery compartment only one way.

CR123A

Also called the CR17345

CR123A

The CR123A is a 3 volt Lithium battery. This is a single use non-rechargeable battery. It has a 10 year shelf life and is often used in cameras and other electronic gear.

A544

Also called the 4LR44, PX28A

CR123A

The A544 is a 6 volt alkaline battery used in small electronic gear. These batteries are the main power source for the A series of cameras.

CR1220

Also called the BR1220, DL1220, ECR1220, SB-T13

CR1220

The CR1220 is a 3 volt Lithium “coin” type battery. It is often used in cameras to provide power for internal memory for preferences settings and date and time keeping.

BP-511

Canon BP-511 Battery Pack

The BP-511 is a 7.4 volt 1100 mAh Canon Li-Ion rechargeable battery pack used in many digital SLR cameras and some Power Shot cameras. The BP-511A is equivalent with 1390 mAh (27% greater power content). This battery uses the CG-580 charger. Measurements are 38 x x55 x 21 mm.

LP-E6, LP-E6N

Canon LP-E6

The LP-E6 is a 7.4 volt Canon Li-Ion rechargeable battery pack used in the  5D, 6D and 7D and 60D thru 80D cameras as well as some Power Shot Cameras. The LP-E6N is a slighter improved version offering slightly better power characteristics.This battery uses the LC-E6 charger. Canon issued a Service Notice about some issues recharging this battery. Measurements are 56 x 20 x 38 mm.

NB-2LH

Canon NB-2LH

The NB-2LH is a 7.4 volt Canon Li-Ion rechargeable battery pack used in the Rebel XT and Rebel XTi as well as some Pwer Shot cameras and other gear. This battery uses the CB-2LW charger. Measurements are 45 x x33 x 16 mm and weight is 1.1 oz.

NP-E3

Canon NP-E3 Battery Pack
Canon NP-E3 Battery Pack

The NP-E3 is a 12 volt 1650 mAh Canon Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hydride) rechargeable battery pack designed specifically for the EOS 1D cameras. This battery fits into the vertical grip on the camera and forms an integral part of the grip. It locks in place by a rotating tab on the end of the battery. Recharging is with the Canon NC-E2 charger. Internally the battery consists of 10 AA cells of 1.2 volts each connected in series.