" Does It Come With Batteries?"

on June 28, 2015

Today's post is occasioned by an enquiry that I had last Saturday from a customer. It pointed out that there may be some misconceptions regarding modern cameras and their sale - misconceptions that we may be able to clear up. Here goes.

1. Does it come with a battery?

If it is a modern digital camera, yes. All the manufacturers include a battery with it. Generally it is the rechargeable Li-ion type. If it is a camera that runs on 2 or 4 of the AA batteries they generally include a set of alkaline ones in the box.

If you are going to do anything with your camera past leaving it in a dresser drawer - ie actually go out and take pictures - you would be very wise to purchase a second rechargeable battery or a second set of AA's for it. They don't cost that much and if you are on a trip you can leave one battery to recharge while you go on with the other. Which leads is to the next question...

2. Does it come with a battery charger?

As they say on Radio Yerevan " Basically, yes..."

Most manufacturers do include an A/C charger block and connecting cords. You pull the battery out of the camera, pop it into the charger, and plug the charger into the wall.

Some clever clogs makers have decided to have the battery charge within the camera and include a cord from an A/C adapter to the side of the camera. NOT clever, clogs. It ties the camera to the A/C just when you might want to be out using it. Owners of these cameras need more batteries and sometimes need an additional off-camera charging block to free them for field use. It might be tempting to think that you are avoiding taking a charger on your trip, but that electricity has to get in there somehow...

Note: Many people lose the chargers from their cameras when they leave their hotels. Every hotel concierge has them in store. If you forget, ask to borrow one from the concierge.

3. Does it come with a case?

As they say on Radio Yerevan " Basically, no..."

The good old fitted never-ready case that we got free with the 35mm camera was made of leather by wizened old craftsmen. Whether it is the leather or the craftsmen that has disappeared, they are no more. The one exception to the rule in the last few years was the case with the LE edition of the Fujifilm X-100 camera. Wonderful and nostalgic, but mine sits in the box unused as I take the camera out and about.

You can get bags and in some cases, cases from independent manufacturers. We have a wall of them and there is a shape and size to suit all tastes and pockets. Knock yourself out.

4. Does it come with a strap?

Yes. The big cameras will have neck straps and the small ones will have wrist straps. If you get a crick in your neck from the maker's strap, you can always purchase a Black Rapid, Joby, Lowepro, or Op/Tec strap to spread the load.

When it comes to attaching the strap to the camera be prepared to expend language - or ask one of the staff members nicely and we will do it for you. We know language...

5. Do I need to buy batteries for my flash?

As they say on Radio Yerevan " basically, yes and no..."

Yes, if you want your new portable electronic speed light to flash. You will need to put 4 AA batteries into it. Fresh batteries. Two up, and two down.

We have the excellent Toshiba AA batteries for sale. Also the excellent Powerex rechargeable AA and chargers for sale.

No, if you are content to leave it in the box and not use it.

6. Do I need to buy a memory card?

See answer #5. None of the manufacturers put a memory card in the box as a matter of course, though they occasionally panic around the end of the Japanese financial year and have been known to throw a tiny one into a deal to boost sales. It is never big nor fast, and it is never enough.

Memory cards are not expensive in monetary terms and extremely cheap when set against the value of the time and effort taken to make images on them. DO NOT STINT YOURSELF by purchasing a no-brand card. You will regret it. Get a good one.

7. Does it come with a lens?

If the camera design does not have an interchangeable lens, yes. Yes it does. Turn it on and go for it.

If the design has an interchangeable mount, it comes with a lens if you buy a lens. Sometimes the lens and body are in one box as a kit, which is a good idea, and sometimes they are separate and you can choose what you like, which is a good idea. You'll know hat you need.

Please note that we have not got into the subject of wifi, Bluetooth, near-field connectivity, or Pilsner beer. These are delightful topics but beyond the scope of this simple posting.