- Is it normal for my digital camera to use so many alkaline batteries?
Unfortunately, it is. Digital cameras use alkaline batteries at a shockingly fast rate. (For an explanation why, see the following question). If you are using lots of alkaline batteries for your electronic devices you'll probably want to switch to rechargeable NiMH batteries ASAP. Not only will the NiMH batteries power a digital camera (or most other electronic devices) much longer than alkaline batteries will, but they are much less expensive to use.
- Which are better, NiCd batteries or NiMH batteries?
For most electronic devices it is better to use NiMH batteries than NiCd batteries. NiCd batteries use Cadmium, a highly toxic heavy metal, that can damage the environment if not disposed of properly. (They should be recycled not discarded). NiMH batteries usually have a higher capacity than NiCd batteries of the same size. Some people argue that NiCd batteries deliver faster discharge rates than NiMH batteries. While this may be true under certain circumstances, the difference is not relevant when considering power sources for electronic devices like digital cameras or portable music players. (If you are choosing a battery to drive a high torque power screwdriver, then NiCds can outperform NiMH). NiMH batteries require more sophisticated chargers than those typically used for NiCd batteries. But smart chargers designed especially for NiMH batteries are now readily available.
- Do NiMH batteries have memory effect?
Technically, NiMH batteries do not have a "memory effect", but strictly speaking neither do NiCds. However NiMH batteries can experience voltage depletion, also called voltage depression, similar to that of NiCd batteries, but the effect is normally less noticeable. To completely eliminate the possibility of NiMH batteries suffering any voltage depletion effect manufacturers recommend an occasional, complete discharge of NiMH batteries followed by a full recharge. NiMH batteries can also be damaged by overcharge and improper storage (see the NiCd section immediately above this one). Most users of NiMH batteries don't have to be concerned with this voltage depletion effect. But if you use a device say a flashlight, radio, or digital camera for only a short time every day and then charge the batteries every night, you will need to let the NiMH (or NiCd) batteries run down occasionally.