Saturday, December 4, 2010

Photography and the cost of electricity

Field, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Birch, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Wet, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Snow, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Today it snowed some more, and it was rather dark because of the heavy cloud cover. But this isn't necessary such a bad thing, although taking photographs of white things against white background can be rather challenging.

For some reason I started to calculate how much have I paid for the electricity in charging the batteries of the LX3. That is, how much it costs to keep a camera battery charged. The LX3 battery is 3.7 V and 1150 mAh, so by multiplication this is 4255 mWh = 4.244 Wh. I have charged both of the batteries 150-200 times, so together this makes about 400* 4.244 = 1702 Wh of energy. However, there is some loss in the charger (it gets hot), so one has to use maybe 10-30% more energy than this. Lets say 20%, so we multiply by 1.2. Now we get 2042 Wh, approximately 2 kWh. And the price of a kWh is about 8 cents here in Finland, so all in all the total price of all that electricity is about 16 cents.

Did I make some mistake here? I guess not. So: using the camera doesn't have much of an impact on the electricity bill, which is I guess self-evident when you think that cameras are designed to consume little energy.

But then... there is the computer, and you may spend more processing time for each photograph on the computer than on the camera. And a computer can be quite a beast in consuming energy, 100-200 W easily. This is orders of magnitude more than the camera.

So, trying to make the photographs come out right straight from the camera is rather ecological. But post-processing, it is rather wasteful. Not to speak about what happens to the photographs afterwards.

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