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Which battery does the Canon SX260 take?

The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is a digital compact camera that features a 12MP sensor. It is powered by the Canon NB-6L, 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.

Battery Pack

The NB-6L operates at a voltage of 3.7V and has a capacity of 1000mAh. It can be charged from a standard electrical outlet via the Canon CB-2LY charger (that can be purchased separately, for example, at amazon). The battery pack measures 38mm in width, 5mm in height, and 35mm in depth. It weighs 18g. The NB-6L has been on the market since August 2009 and sells at good camera retailers, such as amazon, for about $60. Generic alternatives (see below) that are compatible with the Canon Powershot SX260 HS can be obtained at substantially lower cost.

What is the difference between the NB-6L and the NB-6LH?

The Canon NB-6L was replaced as a battery pack for digital cameras by the NB-6LH. Both types operate at a similar voltage and are fully interchangeable, so that the NB-6LH can also be used with the Canon SX260. The main difference between the two packs is their capacity. The NB-6L has a 6 percent lower mAh value (1000 vs 1060 mAh) and, hence, somewhat weaker performance (6 percent fewer shots per battery charge) than the NB-6LH.

How many shots can I take with a fully charged NB-6L?

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.

NB-6L

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 SX260 can take 230 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-6L 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-6L Specifications

  • Battery type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack
  • Compatibility: Canon SX260 & other selected Canon cameras
  • Voltage: 3.7V DC
  • Capacity: 1000mAh or 230 shots (CIPA) with the Canon SX260
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 38 x 5 x 35mm
  • Weight: 18g

Indeed, one can easily find a variety of competitively-priced NB-6L replacements from different vendors at major online platforms (see, for example, here on eBay). All these generic alternatives should work fine with your Canon SX260. So why would anybody then buy the more expensive original battery? Well, below are some arguments in favor of the genuine NB-6L, 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-6L. 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-6L and its clones by using the buttons below.

ebay amazon


Which other cameras use the Canon NB-6L or the NB-6LH?

The Canon SX260 is not alone in using the NB-6L or the NB-6LH. 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.

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Cameras using the NB-6L or the NB-6LH
# Camera
Model
Battery
(name)
Battery life
(CIPA)
Sensor Size
(type)
Resolution
(MP)
Weight
(g)
Camera
Launch
Launch Price
(USD)
Street Price
(USD)
1Canon IXUS 85NB-6L3001/2.310.0170Aug 2008229i
2Canon IXUS 95NB-6L2601/2.310.0260Feb 2009229i
3Canon IXUS 105NB-6L2401/2.312.0140Feb 2010179i
4Canon IXUS 200NB-6L2401/2.312.0150Aug 2009329i
5Canon IXUS 210NB-6L2201/2.314.0160Feb 2010329i
6Canon IXUS 300NB-6L2501/2.310.0175May 2010349i
7Canon S90NB-6L2201/2.310.0195Aug 2009429i
8Canon S95NB-6L2001/2.310.0195Aug 2010399i
9Canon S120NB-6LH2301/2.312.0217Aug 2013449i
10Canon SD770NB-6L3001/2.310.0170Aug 2008229i
11Canon SD980NB-6L2401/2.312.0150Aug 2009329i
12Canon SD1200NB-6L2601/2.310.0260Feb 2009229i
13Canon SD1300NB-6L2401/2.312.0140Feb 2010179i
14Canon SD3500NB-6L2201/2.314.0160Feb 2010329i
15Canon SD4000NB-6L2501/2.310.0175May 2010349i
16Canon SX170NB-6LH3001/2.315.9251Aug 2013179i
17Canon SX240NB-6L2301/2.312.0224Feb 2012339i
18Canon SX260NB-6L2301/2.312.0231Feb 2012349i
19Canon SX270NB-6L2101/2.312.0233Mar 2013269i
20Canon SX280NB-6L2101/2.312.0233Mar 2013279i
21Canon SX500NB-6L1951/2.315.9341Aug 2012299i
22Canon SX510NB-6LH2501/2.315.9349Aug 2013249i
23Canon SX520NB-6LH2101/2.315.9441Jul 2014399i
24Canon SX530NB-6LH2101/2.315.9442Jan 2015429i
25Canon SX540NB-6LH2051/2.320.2442Jan 2016399i
26Canon SX600NB-6LH2901/2.315.9188Jan 2014249i
27Canon SX610NB-6LH2701/2.320.2191Jan 2015249i
28Canon SX700NB-6LH2501/2.315.9269Feb 2014349i
29Canon SX710NB-6LH2301/2.320.2269Jan 2015349i

Canon NB-6L FAQ

The NB-6L is the standard power source for the Canon SX260. 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-6L?

Canon does not offer a travel charger, but third party suppliers do (see here on eBay).

Is the NB-6L available in colors other than gray?

No, Canon supplies this battery pack only in gray. However, some generic alternatives from third party providers might be available in other colors.

Can I use the NB-6L in any of my other electronic devices?

No, the battery is specifically designed for use in the Canon SX260 and other selected cameras from Canon.

How should the NB-6L 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.

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