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Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

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Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby BSquared » Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:51 pm

Hi,

I just bought my first camera with rechargeable batteries (I've always tried to get cams in which I could put lithium AAs in the past), and I've got a question. The OEM battery (Panasonic) costs around $30, but I can get cheap replacements down to around $7. What do I have to watch for? Is there a really fundamental difference between a battery that says "Panasonic" on it and one that costs half as much? How about 1/4 as much? If the knockoffs are of variable quality, is there a brand and/or website that people recommend?

Thanks!
—B²



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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:25 pm

I'd watch out. Some of those cheap batteries don't last half as long as the real thing. I'd much rather pay the extra money for an official battery.
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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby bheiser1 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:20 pm

I always buy genuine OEM batteries for my Nikons. To me it doesn't seem worth the risk of the knock-offs possibly damaging an expensive camera, or even just plain not working as well. I've heard both good and bad about the knock-offs, but prefer not to take the chance.
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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby fishmonger » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:34 pm

I never buy any proprietary batteries. Too expensive from the OEM source, and of suspect quality when from a Chinese ebay source.

Instead, I either buy a recharger that uses AA Lithium (for devices with USB charging capability), or with my DSLR, I use a battery grip that takes those AA cells. On my D90 I got about 700 frames out of 6 AA lithium Energizer cells, which is 2x of what the OEM battery got me, at less weight. The 3rd party grip cost me less than one OEM battery, and it was something I wanted anyway for vertical holding and protection of the bottom of the camera.

Yes, I can't recharge the lithiums, but I know what I got and I can mail those batteries in resupply packages without risking losing $60 or so if I should not make it to the pick up.
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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby Ikan Mas » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:31 pm

A year ago when I bought my panasonic, my on-line research had indicated that there were some serious problems with the knock offs. I bought the OEM and have not had any problems. I typically get 3-4 days of heavy shooting with one battery.
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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby BSquared » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:05 am

Thanks, folks. I ordered a Panasonic battery yesterday. I think this battery is considerably more susceptible to cold weather than the lithium AAs I'm used to; is that what you've seen? (I'm guessing that this is at least part of what's driving your choice, eh Fishmonger?) I was shooting outside this weekend when it was in the moderate 40s with a battery of unknown charge state, and after just a few flash pictures I started getting the low-battery indicator. As soon as I went inside, the indicator disappeared.
—B²
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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby fishmonger » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:36 am

BSquared wrote: I think this battery is considerably more susceptible to cold weather than the lithium AAs I'm used to; is that what you've seen? (I'm guessing that this is at least part of what's driving your choice, eh Fishmonger?)


never noticed battery power loss in mild temperatures (anything above 0 degrees). Batteries don't lose their charge from being cold, they just loose the full output while cold. The power usually returns when warmed up again. Flash is a pretty strong drain on any battery, and you can't trust the indicators on most cameras to be linear represenations of what's left in the battery. My Lithiums show fully charged in GPS and camera until maybe only 5% of the power is left, and then they drop of very quickly.

I did a little google searching on this and found this on battery types in cold weather
http://photo.net/nature-photography-forum/000keM
http://www.climber.org/gear/batteries.html#wilson

I use the AAs for several reasons: cheap, geat power to weight ratio, fits in all my devices (GPS, Spot, camera, headlight), so I can move them to where I need them if I should run low, and they are easy to replace anywhere I go should I not bring enough. I won't be stuck looking for Nikon EH5 or EE10 or whatever they call these batteries. My last three Nikon bodies all used slightly different versions, and each of them cost more than the last one.
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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby oldranger » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:02 am

Contrary to what others have said I have done well with non oe batteries. I have purchased some that have been rated at more milliamphours (whatever!) and they do seem to last longer than the original batteries. A couple of weeks ago in the N. Cascades cold was an issue for the first time. Of course for some reason I left my extra battery out of my daypack and early in the AM as I was taking pics the camera began to indicate low battery. However a couple of hours later when it warmed up the screen indicated that the battery was low but not critically low as was indicated earlier.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby paul » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:59 pm

Go cheap. I've used cheap batteries in several successive canon point-and-shoots, and they have all been equal to the OEM batteries. What's more, in all cases I have never had a battery go bad before the camera died (sensor death) or got broken (dropped on a rock, driven over, taken for a swim, run thru the wash).
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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:22 pm

I have been wondering about these questions for a long time. I've gotten some pretty good info from all the above discussion.
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Re: Cheap vs. OEM batteries?

Postby BSquared » Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:15 am

So... after the first couple of posts I ordered an expensive "real" Panasonic battery from Amazon for around $15. However, I blew it and bought the wrong size, so I returned it. Then I bought a $7 one. Haven't had a chance to do anything extensive, but it charged properly and it definitely works in the camera. I'll update after taking it skiing, a demanding test because of the cold.
—B²
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