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I'm looking into buying what is described as a 'compact system camera' which is like a point and shoot, only a little larger. This will be my first experience with cameras of any variety, so I know next to nothing. Do these cameras take only rechargeable batteries? I read that it can take up to 5 hours to fully charge a particular model using the USB connector. Do most current models suffer from this limitation, or are there ways to speed the charging process? Can the camera be operated while it is charging, such as transferring pictures over its WiFi connection, or does it need to be completely off?

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    I imagine this would vary widely across makes and models. If a camera has rechargables, you can simply take them out and replace with charged batteries, you don't have to use the USB cable to charge. – MikeW Mar 23 '15 at 22:57
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A CSC, or (more commonly) mirrorless camera is actually quite a bit NOT "like a point and shoot, only larger." You really want to do a bit more research, as these cameras are significantly more expensive to own than a fixed-lens compact because of the interchangeable lens mount, which means that the "camera" (body) is really only half the camera. The other half are your lenses, and they can be significantly more expensive than the camera itself.

Most of these cameras only take rechargeable proprietary battery packs. How long it takes to recharge varies, but it will typically be measured in hours. Most shooters get around this issue by purchasing an additional battery, keeping that battery in the charger, and then simply swapping batteries when the in-camera one runs down, so there is always at least one fully-charged battery ready for use. If you see heavy use of the camera, then multiple rechargers and batteries may be the solution.

In addition, many shooters use a card reader to do image transfers from the memory card to the computer, rather than using a USB cable or Wi-Fi with the camera. In many cases this can be quite a bit faster, and does not run down the battery in the camera.

  • Additionally, if it will charge the battery via USB, you could plug it into your iDevice/Tablet charger which will supply higher amperage and voltage to charge faster. I don't, however, think most DSLRs will charge via USB, and wouldn't be surprised if CSCs don't either. – FreeMan Mar 24 '15 at 0:30
  • Actually, I think at least some of the Sony E-mount cameras can be charged via USB. A lot of P&S cameras can. But agree, it's a rare feature for a system camera to have. – inkista Mar 24 '15 at 18:54
  • That first paragraph is quite subjective. A (small) System Camera without a ViewFinder is a lot like a P&S, both in features and in price. – Henk Holterman Mar 24 '15 at 19:13
  • A tablet is unlikely to have the power to charge a camera but systems designed to charge tablets (like Mophie blocks) will if you need it. Carrying multiple batteries in the field and charging at night is easier and faster – chuqui Mar 25 '15 at 6:50
  • The specific model I've been looking at is the Sony A5100. That model does come with a USB charger, but it can take a long time and supposedly you can't turn the camera on while it's charging, which is a big issue for me since I'm 'on the go' quite a bit. I had hoped to at least be able to transfer my pics over WiFi while it charged. I guess what I'll do is buy an extra battery and a normal wall charger which will allow me to charge one battery while the other is in use. The wall charger is supposedly much faster as well. – public wireless Mar 26 '15 at 17:59

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