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I had the 5D mk III and its battery life was incredible. I'd leave it around for a couple weeks between hikes or events and it would still have juice for yet another event. I'm talking casual events here, not professional - birthdays, hiking, museums etc. 800 shots per battery charge or so, almost regardless how long it's been since charge.

I bought the 5D mk IV and with all its new features - GPS, touchscreen, WiFi... the battery is empty way faster than what I'm used to. A hike today with GPS on, WiFi off, 3 hours - the first battery was empty after ~230 shots taken intermittently in groups of 5-10. The GPS update rate was 5min and I was letting the camera auto-sleep after 1 min with the GPS remaining on. The cost of GPS is that I have to carry 3 batteries for shoots that took 1 on the 5D mk III.

My question is: Do you have any other basis for comparison, does this power consumption rate sound expected and acceptable?

  • 2
    How do you expect answer based on the fact delivery of this camera start few days ago? – Romeo Ninov Sep 19 '16 at 8:23
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    @Caleb, agree. But in such case the question should be closed as too broad. My personal experience show me the number of shots you can get with full battery depend of many factors and habits. For example checking every shot on LCD, time of timeout, use of communications as WiFi, amount of noise (size of image), type of image stabilization, type of the lens and so on – Romeo Ninov Sep 19 '16 at 13:15
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    @Caleb, what if i tell you my experience: 5D mIII, different lenses (sigma 24-105, OS on and Canon 100-400 Mii with IS mode 3) give me two times difference of number of shots. So this is very significant.... – Romeo Ninov Sep 19 '16 at 13:43
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    @RomeoNinov What if you do? It's a fine point that other things can have a significant impact on battery life, so you might ask the OP for clarification about whether he's using the same lens and so on. But I think the OP just wants to know whether his shiny new camera is working as expected, and IMO it's not surprising that he's getting much worse battery life given the pattern of GPS usage he describes. I don't think he's asking for a precise prediction of the number of shots he should get on a charge, just confirmation that something isn't terribly wrong. – Caleb Sep 19 '16 at 17:53
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    I got exactly the answer I was looking for: A relevant comparison with a similar camera (6D) – Sten Petrov Sep 19 '16 at 23:41
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Do you have any other basis for comparison, does this power consumption rate sound expected and acceptable?

I see similar results on the 6D: GPS uses a lot of battery power. It also uses battery even when the camera is otherwise idle. Turning off both GPS and WiFi will give you significantly improved battery life. That doesn't mean that GPS isn't still a useful feature; you just have to decide for yourself when to use it.

The same is true for cell phones: you can often get much better battery life by turning off the GPS feature.

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    The 6D is much worse than the 5D Mark IV, though, because the 6D GPS keeps running even when the camera is fully off (unless they fixed that in a later firmware than I have). The 5D, at least in mode 2, doesn't. – dgatwood Sep 20 '16 at 6:43
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I have a 6D and a 5D Mark IV. I haven't used the 5D enough to profile its battery life, but in my experience with the 6D, GPS causes maybe 15% battery drain per day. And with the 5D Mark IV, it should use much less, assuming you take advantage of the new "mode 2" behavior that turns GPS completely off when you switch off the camera.

So in a three-hour shoot, you should have lost maybe two percent of your battery life to GPS. Assuming the camera really gets 900 shots on a battery with GPS off, it should have been able to shoot something like 880+ shots in that time even with GPS turned on.

So you're getting almost a factor of four fewer pictures than I would expect to get on a properly functioning camera. IMO, the only way those numbers make sense is if either:

  • You left the camera turned on in your bag for 2–3 days prior to the shoot
  • The lens you had attached was a buggy/defective one that drains lots of battery power
  • You left the shutter button halfway down almost the whole time (IS and AF running continuously)
  • You did the entire shoot using live view mode
  • You also shot a lot of video footage
  • Your preview time is set to something absurdly long
  • One of your flash cards has a nearly dead short across its power pins
  • Something is wrong with the battery
  • Something is wrong with the camera
  • Something is wrong with the charger

And most of those issues should have happened with your Mark III as well, assuming all else was equal. And if you were used to shooting everything in live view mode, your battery life would have gotten dramatically better thanks to DPAF. So my guess would be that your new battery has a defective cell in it.

To rule out other possibilities, though, I would suggest trying the following things, charging your battery each time, and recording the charge percentage in the Battery Information menu afterwards:

  • Leave your camera turned on and idle for three hours with different lenses connected.
  • Leave your camera turned off (with each of those same lenses).
  • Repeat with different SD cards and different CF cards using one of those lenses.
  • Repeat at least one of those tests with a different battery.
  • Repeat at least one of those tests with GPS fully disabled.

That will at least help you narrow down the source of the unusual battery drain. If the problem is the battery, contact Canon, as I'm sure they'll be eager to get their hands on a battery that failed so early in life. If you can't reproduce the problem, then who knows. For that matter, it could even be a software bug in calculating the remaining charge for older batteries.

In other words, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

2

I was out for a 2 hour shoot the other night and took about 100 photos. Battery was down to about 40% by the end of it. GPS and WiFi were both on. I shot zero video and only used live view for a few shots when I couldn't get my face low enough to the ground to see through the viewfinder.

I've now taken a fully charged battery, turned off WiFi, and ensured GPS is in mode 2 with a 2 minute update interval. The camera is sitting on my desk in auto-off mode, presumably refreshing GPS location every couple minutes (the GPS indicator on the LCD is flashing). It's been in this state for 5 hours now and I've occasionally pressed the shutter button half way to see what the battery level is. It's still showing all bars. Battery info screen says 88%.

This test sitting on my desk seems to indicate it's not GPS sucking up battery. Of course outside in the real world results may be different. My current suspicion is that leaving WiFi on was the power suck on my last outing. I'll be sure to disable WiFi before leaving and see how it behaves next time.

  • Very close to what I'm seeing, 220 shots with GPS mode 2 with 5 min update interval and 1 min auto-sleep – Sten Petrov Sep 27 '16 at 0:37
  • Definitely turn Wi-Fi off when you aren't actively using it. Wi-Fi scans are expensive power-wise, and unfortunately Canon's OS apparently isn't very good at minimizing that power use. – dgatwood Sep 27 '16 at 5:00
  • I'd say 2% per hour when sitting idle is significant drain. With no use the battery will be dead in barely two days. I can leave the batteries in my 5D Mark III for weeks and they only drop by 5-10%. On the other hand, even with GPS turned off my 7D Mark II drains the batteries at a similar rate to your 5D Mark IV. I usually remove the tray from the grip before putting the 7D Mark II away in the case after a shoot. – Michael C Mar 2 '17 at 23:13
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I shot my first wedding on it yesterday. Wifi and gps off. Battery life is waaaaayyyy shorter than the mkiii. About 4 hrs in and I only had 1/2 battery. I could shoot 1.5 weddings on the mkiii.

1

With my 5dmk3 I surely made about 2000 shots with 2 batteries and the batteries were still not empty. With the 5dmk4 I made 600 shots with 2 batteries and they where completely empty. All "special"-functions (gps, wifi etc.) were disabled, no endless photo-viewing on the display, no live-view-mode and btw the 5dmk4 runs with the newer, stronger battery (LP-E6N) compared to my 5dmk3 with the older LP-E6.

  • Similar experience here. The newer battery isn't much stronger, I suspect it has additional discharge protections - two of my LP-E6 batteries were trashed after sitting in the mk4 with it sleeping and GPS mode 2 – Sten Petrov Oct 11 '16 at 17:01
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I have similar problems with my 5D markVI. When I put a fully charged battery in the camera, the capacity first runs down about 1 percent per photo. This goes on for at least the first 20 photos/percent. Except for clicking, all I do is I push some other buttons. I tried live view for less than 10 clicks. The draining seems to slow down a bit after the first 20, but I can't take four shots without losing one percent of battery.

But with the first fully loaded battery I could make only 116 photos. Gps was on mode 1 then (wifi off). When I put it aside for a few days (after shooting the first 114), I only had enough power to shoot 2 more photos.

So I started to test and monitor. I switched gps mode to 2 (wifi off), and turned off the camera after taking two or three pictures. Several times I noticed that it was quickly losing power even when the camera was off in between. Running empty while off stopped after I had only 56% power left. This round (still not doing anything special) I came to 117 clicks.

Then I took a battery that I am using for years in my MarkII, in which it still works perfectly. But in the MarkIV it functioning about as bad as the new battery, prognosis are that I can shoot 156 photo's with it while gps turned of totally. The lens I used also doesn't drain a battery in a MarkII, so I guess it's not to blame for the poor results either. I think that leaves the 5D MarkIV itself as the only possible wrong-doer.

Imagine how much batteries you have to take on a wedding shoot or on your documentary trip with this battery behaviour. This is not how its meant to be, so I am going to contact my dealer and I'll let you know when I know some more.

  • I'd contact Canon support for this. I though my 220-250 pictures was bad... – Sten Petrov Oct 13 '16 at 18:31
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My 7d runs far longer for timelapses on a battery then my 5d4 :( Magic latern does the trick on the 7d, even with wifi and gps off the 5d4 sucks big time on battery usage. I can not comment on 5dIII, never had one. So my 7d is a keeper for timelaps unless magic latern does something with the new 5d4.The 5d4 does make much better photo's and that is not just due to full-frame. God this one instead of the new 7d II. 10.000 iso is still giving me usable shots :)

0

Since Canon released firmware version 1.0.3 for the 5D Mark IV in late November, 2016 a number of users have reported that some of the battery life issues, particularly those associated with certain lenses, have been improved.

Canon makes no mention of improved battery performance in the description of the update but does reference better communication with Canon extenders. Poor battery performance when using extenders was one of the early complaints for some 5D Mark IV users.

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