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I bought a Canon IXUS 255 HS eight years ago. The picture quality is quite sufficient for my needs, but the problem is that the battery lasts a ridiculously short time.

Even if I charge it fully, I feel extremely stressed whenever I have it powered on to take photos. Especially if I'm recording video. Within half an hour, it's basically drained. If I'm lucky, it might last a couple of hours. It's hard to tell because I use it so little.

If I were to finally go on vacation somewhere, I would obviously bring my camera with me. But it would have to be charged constantly and I would (hopefully) not constantly be inside my cheap hotel room. I'd want it to last for many hours on a charge.

I know that the battery has probably become worse over the years, and that there are replacement batteries to buy. But aren't those just going to be the same kind?

Maybe nothing spectacular has happened in the last 8 years, but I'm wondering if there is perhaps some sort of much physically larger thing that fits into the battery slot but also extends way beyond it, to enable a full 24 hours of video recording and photo-taking, for example. Does such a thing exist for my camera? Does it exist for any camera?

It feels like I just bought this thing. I've barely used it. Perhaps the real issue is that I've barely lived... But I don't want to just throw it away and buy a new camera. And even if I do, all affordable ones will most likely have similarly bad batteries, no?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What about carrying a few newly-purchased (not-too-expensive third-party) spare batteries with you? \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Feb 8, 2022 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ This same problem exists for laptops and their proprietary batteries. Once the device model is no longer in production then companies have non-existent interest in prolonging the useful life of your device. You could buy a second-hand point-n-shoot with which uses a standard USB charger and also buy a powerbank such as amazon.com/Portable-36800mAh-Tri-Outport-External-Compatible/dp/…. There is incentive to make new powerbank batteries since they're so universal so you'll be able to replace it for years to come \$\endgroup\$
    – MonkeyZeus
    Feb 8, 2022 at 18:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess a related question is whether new cameras are more power-efficient than old ones. In laptops, current CPUs / chipsets idle at somewhat less power than older ones did, improving battery life for the same battery energy (mAh * voltage). If similar advances in silicon have applied to cameras, manufacturers may have kept power budget about the same and increased the amount of processing power available. Or maybe some cameras focus on endurance and do about the same with less energy; although that sounds unlikely for marketing... I was hoping this would get mentioned by some answers. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9, 2022 at 2:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I never leave the house with a camera without the battery being fully charged and at least one fully charged spare battery. If I'm planning on doing a lot of shooting, I'll take 2 or 3 fully charged spares. When we go on vacation, I'll take one in the camera and at least 4 spares, a wall charger and, if possible a vehicle adapter for the wall charger so I can top up on the go. Leaving home with only one, 8-year-old well worn battery does sound like it would be stressful. \$\endgroup\$
    – FreeMan
    Feb 9, 2022 at 13:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ There have historically been dummy batteries made compatible with that camera (by 3rd-party vendors, search AliExpress and the like), allowing you to use a big external battery (see diyphotography.net/… for an intro). But that would be pretty severely compromising the portability and size of a camera where portability and size look to be something you paid a premium for. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2022 at 13:00

4 Answers 4

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I bought a Canon IXUS 255 HS eight years ago... the battery lasts a ridiculously short time.

After eight years, it may be time to replace the battery, especially if you haven't kept it charged to 40-60% during that time.

Especially if I'm recording video.

Most cameras have a video recording time limit of about half an hour for tax classification purposes. If your primary objective is to record video, use a camcorder.

Within half an hour, it's basically drained. If I'm lucky, it might last a couple of hours.

That's a big difference. Use a stopwatch to obtain more precise timing.

If I were to finally go on vacation...

Consider carrying a spare battery.

... some sort of much physically larger thing that fits into the battery slot but also extends way beyond it, to enable a full 24 hours of video recording and photo-taking... Does such a thing exist for my camera? Does it exist for any camera?

They're known as dummy batteries or DC couplers. One end fits into the battery slot of your camera. The other end attaches to an AC adapter or battery pack.

Many camcorders have extended batteries. These are possible because of the position of the battery at the back of the camcorder.

Flagship DSLRs and mirrorless cameras often have battery grips available. Runtime is unlikely to extend to 24 hours though.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The latter have the additional advantage of giving you a nice portrait grip on your camera, and of course some extra weight for stability. Don't know if they exist for your particular model, but they're common. And yeah, even without one of those, carrying one or two spare batteries is pretty convenient. \$\endgroup\$
    – MiG
    Feb 8, 2022 at 7:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yup, buying a new battery (or 2 so you have a spare when the first one runs out) is the right move. This camera uses a Canon NB-4L battery, which can apparently be purchased for the equivalent of around 20 bucks in my country. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 8, 2022 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Spot on: get a new battery. They're quite nice little cameras, but the battery (not massive when new so I carried spares for a similar model) will be dreadful by now. I've tended to buy Hama batteries, and they've always seemed as good as Canon \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Feb 8, 2022 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Newer batteries with newer chemistry also tend to be able to pack more amp-hours (Ah or mAh) into the same size package as older batteries. Therefore, each newly purchased replacement battery will probably last longer (more pics/video) than the original battery did. \$\endgroup\$
    – FreeMan
    Feb 9, 2022 at 13:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Bear in mind that a lot of modern battery improvements are around more intelligent charging, which generally requires circuitry in both the battery and charger to monitor the status of the battery and adjust the charging rate accordingly. It's fairly unlikely that anyone will have been building that kind of new tech into old form-factor batteries and chargers, especially when said form factor is for a specific company's legacy devices. \$\endgroup\$
    – Juice
    Feb 9, 2022 at 14:08
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On a compact camera you can usually take 200-300 photos on a battery. The biggest power drain is the rear display so your best strategy for power saving is to find the setting that shuts it off quickly when not in use.

Then as others say batteries are consumable so your current battery is likely dead, but you can find decent compatible batteries (avoid the cheaper ones, though) and possibly an external charger if you haven't got one already. And start the day with a couple of spare batteries in your bag (IMHO the "Power bank" solution is way too bulky to be used with a camera, unless you use a tripod).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Canon compacts of that vintage only use an external charger. I had the previous model (my daughter has it now) and a PowerShot. You couldn't power/charge off the USB \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Feb 8, 2022 at 17:17
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In the first instance, 30 mins video recording actually sounds about right. At the time, video recording was very much a "nice to have" for those devices; while they can be pretty good at it, it was very rarely discussed in reviews.

Then too, since they're compact by both name and nature, their batteries are pretty small and realtime video encoding is very energy intensive!

(And, at least in the EU, the video recording features were sometimes deliberately crippled, since the import duties for a "stills" camera were lower than for a camcorder...)

Beyond that, the 255 uses the standard NB-4L battery; I probably still have a half-dozen of these sat in a drawer somewhere, though I'd be surprised if they still hold a useful charge.

I used to love my Canon Ixus compact cameras; I used to always carry one, since they made for great little camcorders at gigs and the like. And I steadily upgraded through the years, until they switched from a mono to stereo microphone, since for some reason, the newer microphones were significantly worse at handling "gig" volume levels.

(Not sure if I ever owned a 255; it looks familiar in the photos, but then, the Ixus range all looked pretty similar to each other! Equally, finding a good replacement proved tricky, since as per above, few if any reviews looked at the video quality and virtually none discussed the audio quality...)

Anyhow, since I did a lot of video recording with these cameras, I generally carried a spare battery or two around with me. All of which came from Ebay, and were both unbranded and a fraction of the cost of the official batteries.

And they all worked fine.

Did they hold as much charge as the original battery? I don't recall any being particularly different - I tended to make a point of avoiding the batteries which claimed to hold a significantly bigger charge than the OEM ones, since it was most likely either a blatant lie (as happened a lot with SD cards - a cheap 32GB card could be a 4GB card with some hacked firmware), or they were pushing the limits of the battery tech and I had no desire to find my pocket bursting into flames.

And there still seems to be plenty of said NB-4L batteries on Ebay. Even ones which are branded (e.g. Duracell, Energiser).

So my advice would be to just grab a couple off Ebay or Amazon. And to steer clear of any which claim to have more than 850mah capacity!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Probably steer clear of sellers that can't spell mAh, too.... \$\endgroup\$ Feb 9, 2022 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Most of the time, I just used to squint at the writing on the battery in the photo, since most such items were dispatched from Hong Kong at the time, and the quality of the listing could be highly variable... \$\endgroup\$
    – Juice
    Feb 9, 2022 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the battery is a common type, great! See if you can borrow a tester to validate the mAh and load rating; or at least promptly try charging it and seeing how many pictures it can take. Basically, I would add to your advice of buying a common battery off Amazon as testing what you got. It may be already old and improperly stored, or outright fraud, only having a fraction of the battery stuff inside. \$\endgroup\$
    – JDługosz
    Feb 10, 2022 at 15:57
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You'll probably need to use a third party manufacturer for a replacement battery. Some brands are decent quality.

If you didn't take care of your battery by keeping it charged at least 50%, or higher, then the battery capacity will suffer - especially if it drains down to zero charge.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Keeping a battery charged to 50% all the time is like having half the capacity, permanently. It is better to track down a new / spare as you say and use it without concern until that too degrades. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stian
    Feb 9, 2022 at 7:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Exactly this. And considering the original Battery was manufactured 8 years ago, likely with battery tech from 10 years ago I would be surprised if even the cheapest 3rd party battery didn't deliver at least 20% more power, probably a lot more \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Feb 9, 2022 at 9:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've bought third-party batteries and have been ripped off time and time again. Any Li-ion battery I've bought this way has been worse than the old battery I'm replacing, or seriously deficient in actual capacity, and had problems like suddenly dying without telling the camera it's been running low. If you are going to try this route, have access to a tester that can verify the characteristics of what you bought. \$\endgroup\$
    – JDługosz
    Feb 10, 2022 at 15:48

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