The camera has a design flaw.
Maybe HP can fix it with a firmware update but it's not likely.
I used an precision DC power supply to perform some electronics tests to find out what is going on with this model.
The issue is that AA NiMH batteries are rated at 1.2V DC each, and 2 AA"s in series add up to 2.4V.
Meanwhile the camera wants 2.7 volts DC or higher otherwise it gets the low battery error.
That is the flaw and we can't change that. It should continue to run at much lower voltage levels like other camera's and be able to use the full charge of the battery but it won't. So it runs the battery down from 100% down to about 98% and then it complains and stops.
Note that NiMH' batteries when fully charged are a bit above their rated value.. They actually have about 1.35V each so 2.7V total in this case. That's enough to start the camera but it doesn't last because in record mode the camera draws 450mA of current from the batteries (which is unusually high) and it quickly pulls the battery below the 2.7V level and the error comes up even though the batteries are still almost fully charged.
I measured 960mA of current draw when it's charging the flash which is a huge amount.
So this is just a really inefficient camera compounded by a low battery cutout circuit design flaw that is too sensitive.
We can't fix the design flaw but you could use higher voltage batteries. Granted,, this is not a great solution since you can't use NiMH rechargeables then but at least it gives you some options
Alkaline are rated at 1.5V each and even though they don't normally last very well compared to NiMH (due to higher internal resistance) they would last a while in this case. Perhaps 50-100 photo's or less if using the flash.
A better but more expensive solution is to use Lithium AA's. They have at least 1.6 Volts each and are very strong.
They are not rechargeable but you should get a lot of shots with a set of those, then look for a better camera.
Unfortunately this camera is far below average is pretty much every other category as well, such as high noise levels, low image sharpness, lack of any manual controls or dedicated control buttons for macro, focus, ISO, alternate screen modes to display useful info such as shutter speed or any other features that most camera's have by default. It has a 4 way rocker switch on the back but they didn't connect any functions to it.
It's also one of the slowest camera's made. Any Nikon or Canon would be a huge upgrade in features, quality, battery life, and photo quality. I have quite a few camera's and 20 years experience and can tell good features and those that are marginal. So lets just say that even though I only paid $39 (New) for this HP as a cheap spare it's going back to the store because it's just too lousy at everything. I can handle the 5Meg resolution which isn't a lot. I even have a 2Meg Nikon and a 4Meg Canon G3 from years ago that still take excellent, clear photo's. But this 5Meg HP can't even keep up with a 5 year old, 2 Meg camera.
Oct 12, 2008 |
HP Photosmart M447 Digital Camera