We probe the wide world of batteries and chargers for both cameras and accessories POWER RANGERS
WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH
O nly filmmakers who work without fear of running out of power. For the rest of us, the world of batteries can be a confusing one. Unless you just need spares for a mirrorless camera – which are simply available from the camera manufacturer or an aftermarket supplier – then there are a lot of factors to consider. You might wish to juice up your cinema camera and monitor, or maybe some lights or a motorised slider. Perhaps you want to power a monitor from a camera battery, or charge your camera from a battery used for your lights. It can all be done, if you choose wisely. exclusively in studios have the luxury of plugging kit into the mains and shooting all day, The most commonly bought batteries are the Canon BP and Sony NP-F series, usually to power camcorders. These are often dubbed 7.2v batteries, but sometimes go as high as 8.4v. They are similar and available from lots of different suppliers, but you need to check the fitting for your camera or accessories as they have different connections. For powering accessories, the Sony NP-F is more popular and fits things like sliders, small LED lights and monitors. They come in different sizes in terms of capacity and all have the same NP-F fit, but you need to check whether the larger ones will work on your kit. The higher-end versions come with a USB or a DC output to power other gadgets. Sometimes you can combine two to give a 14.4v output – which is the voltage put
out by the larger Sony BP-U series and V-Mount batteries. Compact cinema cameras often use BP-U cells, and many have outputs such as USB or D-Tap to power accessories. For maximum power to large items – like LED light banks – the V-Lock or V-Mount types attach to cameras or larger accessories via custom plates. V-Locks are usually 14.8v – able to power 7v cameras. Some V-Locks can be fastened together to provide even more power, while others are smaller to give compact options. There are products with LED lights or USB-C outputs that can charge a laptop at up to 60W. The capacity of the battery is stated in Watts-per-hour (Wh). So a 190Wh battery will power a 100W LED light for 1.9 hours. The maximum current draw is also important, as some accessories need batteries with a large current. Many higher-end units will communicate with the camera to display the battery level in the viewfinder. There are batteries that can be charged by a simple plug-in adapter via a D-Tap inlet, while larger battery charger units power up several V-Locks at once. Usually, lithium-ion V-Lock batteries are called 12v, but have a 14.4v nominal rating. However, the latest B-Mount is for more power-hungry devices, such as Arri equipment, and has a 24v rating. Although in many cases you can use two 14v V-Mounts. What’s the best for you, and who are the big players? Read Pro Moviemaker ’s guide to the top power peddlers.
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