NiMH battery

The most common type of rechargeable AA battery, and they’ve taken over from older, less efficient Ni-Cad batteries. NiMH batteries are inexpensive and often used in cheaper compact cameras, flashguns, battery grips and LED lights.

Lithium ion

Standard rechargeable battery type for digital cameras. Lithium ion batteries have good capacity, supply a constant output from fully charged until drained and have none of the ‘memory effects’ that affect other rechargeable battery types – you don’t have to wait until a lithium ion battery is flat before charging it again.


CIPA stands for the Camera and Imaging Products Association, an independent body which reports on the state of the camera industry and sets up standards for measuring different aspects of camera performance, notably battery life. When a camera quotes CIPA after the battery life, you know it’s been measured in standardised conditions and it can be compared directly with the battery life of other cameras that quote the CIPA test in their results.

Battery life

This is usually quoted as the number of shots you can expect to be able to take before the camera’s battery runs out. Compact cameras may only be able to take a couple of hundred pictures, while a DSLR might be able to take a thousand. Battery life is normally quoted using the CIPA standard so that battery life can be compared in standardised conditions.

Battery grip

This is an accessory that attaches to the bottom of some DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. It provides a longer battery life for long periods of shooting and it’s popular with sports and action photographers taking lots of shots in continuous shooting mode. Battery grips often have duplicate controls for shooting with the camera in a vertical position, which also makes them ideal for busy portrait and fashion photographers.


Most cameras use dedicated rechargeable lithium-ion cells, but some accessories like external flashguns, battery grips and hotshoe mounted LEd panels use regular AA cells instead.

AA batteries

These are used rarely in digital cameras (except in some cheap point and shoot models) but used extensively in external flashguns and battery grips. Alkaline AAs will do in an emergency, but rechargeable NiMH batteries are more cost effective and last longer between charges.