Which battery does the Canon SD990 take?
The Canon Powershot SD990 IS is a digital compact camera that features a 14.6MP sensor. It is powered by the Canon NB-5L, which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery pack. Lithium-Ion batteries offer a high energy density and low self-discharge, and are nowadays found in many portable electronic devices.
The NB-5L operates at a voltage of 3.7V and has a capacity of 1120mAh. It can be charged from a standard electrical outlet via the Canon CB-2LX charger (that can be purchased separately, for example, at amazon). The battery pack measures 32mm in width, 8mm in height, and 45mm in depth. It weighs 24g. The NB-5L has been on the market since February 2006 and sells at good camera retailers, such as amazon, for about $50. Generic alternatives (see below) that are compatible with the Canon Powershot SD990 IS can be obtained at substantially lower cost.
How many shots can I take with a fully charged NB-5L?
The number of shots that one can get out of a battery pack depends heavily on the style and imaging practice of the photographer. For example, the extended use of the LCD screen for framing or reviewing will result in reduced battery performance.
The Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) has established guidelines (click here to download the pdf-document) that manufacturers are supposed to respect when reporting the battery life of their cameras. According to this CIPA-rating, the Canon SD990 can take 280 images on a single charge. Given the relatively demanding energy usage of the CIPA procedures, this rated number should be achievable or be surpassed in most practical situations. However, if the environment is cold, the LCD screen is used heavily, or the camera is turned on and off frequently, battery mileage might drop below the rating. Also, as the battery pack ages, its performance will tend to deteriorate.
What about generic battery packs?
Canon sells the original NB-5L pack at quite a steep price. This premium pricing strategy has left room in the market for third party suppliers to offer fully compatible battery packs at much lower prices. Savings from buying generic replacement batteries can amount up to 70 percent of the price of the genuine battery pack.
Canon NB-5L Specifications
|Battery type:||Rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack|
|Compatibility:||Canon SD990 & other selected Canon cameras|
|Capacity:||1120mAh or 280 shots (CIPA) with the Canon SD990|
|Dimensions (W x H x D):||32 x 8 x 45mm|
Indeed, one can easily find a variety of competitively-priced NB-5L replacements from different vendors at major online platforms (see, for example, here on eBay). All these generic alternatives should work fine with your Canon SD990. So why would anybody then buy the more expensive original battery? Well, below are some arguments in favor of the genuine NB-5L, which can perhaps be summarized as "peace of mind".
- Assurance that the warranty of the camera will not be rendered void if a battery-related failure occurs;
- Assurance that the battery pack will indeed have the stated capacity;
- Assurance that the battery will have low self-discharge rates and, thus, will hold its charge even when not in use;
- Assurance that the power unit will not trigger any warning messages on the camera and can be effectively charged with the standard charger;
- Assurance that the manufacturing process has respected the safety guidelines for Lithium-Ion batteries;
If you can live without these assurances, then you are in for some nice savings from buying generic replacements for the NB-5L. Unfortunately, the market for generic battery packs is rather fluid, with new trade names popping up regularly while others disappear. Hence it is difficult to keep track of all the suppliers and the quality of their products. That said, in North America, battery packs from Wasabi have gained a good reputation, while in Europe, replacement power packs from Patona have received many favorable reviews. In any case, the existing comparisons tend to find that the cheapest of the generic replacement packs score worse in terms of achieving their rated capacity, holding their charge over time, or allowing for a large number of charge-discharge cycles than somewhat pricier battery packs (or the genuine Canon offer). Thus, the old adage, "If the price sounds too low to be true, it probably is" has some merit with respect to camera batteries also. You can check the current offers and prices for the original NB-5L and its clones by using the buttons below.
Which other cameras use the Canon NB-5L?
The Canon SD990 is not alone in using the NB-5L. Several other cameras from Canon are powered by the same type of lithium-ion pack. The adjacent table lists some of them along with a selection of their headline specifications.
|Canon IXUS 90||NB-5L||330||1/2.3||10.0||195||Mar 2008||199||-||Canon IXUS 90|
|Canon IXUS 800||NB-5L||240||1/2.3||5.9||195||Feb 2006||349||-||Canon IXUS 800|
|Canon IXUS 850||NB-5L||270||1/2.3||7.1||195||Sep 2006||499||-||Canon IXUS 850|
|Canon IXUS 860||NB-5L||270||1/2.3||8.0||205||Aug 2007||449||-||Canon IXUS 860|
|Canon IXUS 870||NB-5L||310||1/2.3||10.0||195||Sep 2008||299||-||Canon IXUS 870|
|Canon IXUS 900||NB-5L||230||1/2.3||10.0||205||Sep 2006||499||-||Canon IXUS 900|
|Canon IXUS 950||NB-5L||230||1/2.3||8.0||195||May 2007||399||-||Canon IXUS 950|
|Canon IXUS 960||NB-5L||240||1/1.7||12.0||191||Aug 2007||699||-||Canon IXUS 960|
|Canon IXUS 970||NB-5L||320||1/2.3||10.0||195||Mar 2008||249||-||Canon IXUS 970|
|Canon IXUS 980||NB-5L||280||1/1.7||14.6||205||Sep 2008||399||-||Canon IXUS 980|
|Canon IXUS 990||NB-5L||270||1/2.3||12.0||160||Feb 2009||379||-||Canon IXUS 990|
|Canon S100||NB-5L||200||1/2.3||12.0||198||Sep 2011||429||-||Canon S100|
|Canon S110||NB-5L||200||1/2.3||12.0||198||Sep 2012||449||-||Canon S110|
|Canon SD700||NB-5L||240||1/2.3||5.9||195||Feb 2006||349||-||Canon SD700|
|Canon SD790||NB-5L||330||1/2.3||10.0||195||Mar 2008||199||-||Canon SD790|
|Canon SD800||NB-5L||270||1/2.3||7.1||195||Sep 2006||499||-||Canon SD800|
|Canon SD850||NB-5L||230||1/2.3||8.0||195||May 2007||399||-||Canon SD850|
|Canon SD870||NB-5L||270||1/2.3||8.0||205||Aug 2007||449||-||Canon SD870|
|Canon SD880||NB-5L||310||1/2.3||10.0||195||Sep 2008||299||-||Canon SD880|
|Canon SD890||NB-5L||320||1/2.3||10.0||195||Mar 2008||249||-||Canon SD890|
|Canon SD900||NB-5L||230||1/2.3||10.0||205||Sep 2006||499||-||Canon SD900|
|Canon SD950||NB-5L||240||1/1.7||12.0||191||Aug 2007||699||-||Canon SD950|
|Canon SD970||NB-5L||270||1/2.3||12.0||160||Feb 2009||379||-||Canon SD970|
|Canon SD990||NB-5L||280||1/1.7||14.6||205||Sep 2008||399||-||Canon SD990|
|Canon SX200||NB-5L||280||1/2.3||12.0||247||Feb 2009||329||-||Canon SX200|
|Canon SX210||NB-5L||260||1/2.3||14.0||220||Feb 2010||279||-||Canon SX210|
|Canon SX230||NB-5L||210||1/2.3||12.0||223||Feb 2011||299||-||Canon SX230|
Canon NB-5L FAQ
The NB-5L is the standard power source for the Canon SD990. As such it is an indispensable camera accessory. Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular aspects of the battery pack and Lithium-Ion power units more generally.
Is there a car charger available for the NB-5L?
Canon does not offer a travel charger, but third party suppliers do (see here on eBay).
Is the NB-5L available in colors other than grey?
No, Canon supplies this battery pack only in grey. However, some generic alternatives from third party providers might be available in other colors.
Can I use the NB-5L in any of my other electronic devices?
No, the battery is specifically designed for use in the Canon SD990 and other selected cameras from Canon.
How should the NB-5L be stored?
Lithium-ion batteries can hold a charge for a long time. However, these battery packs have a safety mechanism built-in that disables any re-charge if the voltage drops below a certain minimum level. To avoid this safety-trigger to be activated, the battery pack should be charged at least once every few months.
How should I discard my old battery pack?
The contents of Lithium-Ion batteries is under pressure and the packs can explode if exposed to extreme heat. Lithium-Ion battery units should therefore never be incinerated and should not be thrown into the household trash, but put into the recycling stream. Most places that sell camera batteries will also accept them back for recycling.