Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Batteries and Mirrorless Cameras

When I made the switch to my Fujifilm mirrorless camera system from Canon, one of the knocks against mirrorless cameras was the battery life and how it was lacking compared to it’s DSLR competitors.  After using this system for a couple of years, I will agree that battery life is not as good as what I experienced from my DSLR.  However, it’s something that I’ve gotten used to, planned around and I don’t find it a problem or hindrance in any way.

Just so you know, a couple of the reasons why the battery life isn’t as good in mirrorless systems……1) smaller camera means a smaller battery, which means less stored energy in each battery.  2) The EVF and LCD screens are almost constantly on when shooting and reviewing images, which consume more energy.  3) In mirrorless cameras, the sensor stays charged all the time which consumes more energy.

When I bought my first Fujifilm X-T1 and then the X-T2, I bought the OEM Fuji batteries.  They are relatively expensive but I wanted to start off with the OEM batteries which I know are optimized for the camera.  As I have further built out my system I have found the need to add additional spare batteries to my gear to support longer shooting days. 

Looking through the vast choices of aftermarket batteries out there, I consulted several friends and read some reviews and finally settled on batteries from Wasabi, easily found on Amazon.  I’ve been using Wasabi batteries for the past year and have had very good results.  I was initially skeptical of aftermarket batteries, not expecting a lot of performance or longevity, especially considering how cheap these batteries are.  Thankfully, I only have positive things to say about the Wasabi batteries.  To be fair, they don’t last as long as the OEM Fuji batteries do, however, I can have 3 Wasabi batteries for the price of 1 Fuji battery.  I’ve not noticed any funkiness with the battery level meters, they report as accurate as the OEM batteries (as you may know, most batteries have some “smartness” built in to them these days) and have had no power related issues since I started using them.

Just recently, I wanted to add a couple more batteries to my collection and again turned to Wasabi products.  I have typically bought a 2-pack of batteries with a basic single battery wall charger for around $25.00.   I thought I would buy these again, but I noticed a new option available from Wasabi…..a 2-pack of batteries, plus a DUAL CHARGER that plugs in to a USB outlet!!!!!  All for $24.99.    This really got my attention because I could now charge two batteries at the same time instead of the one at a time process I’ve been doing.  I ordered them up and just received them a couple days ago. 

Same great quality of battery and the new charging option, wow!  Wonderfully well built, the batteries fit snugly in the slots and I was able to charge both batteries in almost the same time as charging one battery, just a little bit longer.  No I didn’t time it, just a gut check on the time it took.  The size of the dual charger is much smaller than the single battery wall charger, and since I usually have a computer or USB cigarette adapter, I’m always near a source of power.

On long photo trips, power management with mirrorless cameras is something to think about and a quiver of batteries is a must for a full day of shooting.  I can whole-heartedly say that both the OEM and Wasabi batteries perform extremely well and in particularly the Wasabi batteries perform much better than expected given their price.

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