Why batteries are something you want to buy original (even at exorbitant pricing)
One thing that really irritates me is the price that camera makers put on their batteries. I mean an original battery for a sony A7II costs about $53, the same battery from a third party costs about $13, that’s quite a difference isn’t it? For the price of one original battery, you can get four after market ones.
And it’s not just Sony, Canon’s popular LP-E6N are $62 vs $15 and the same goes for Nikon. It gets worse as the batteries get bigger. Sony’s original NPF970 is $128 vs, a $16 off brand. And the list goes on….
Now, why is getting a good battery crucial? Because batteries explode if they are bad.
Now, I am not saying that Wasabi or any other brand is providing bad batteries, but I am saying that you’d better make sure you are getting your batteries from a reliable place.
A few days ago Samsung issued a recall for over 2.5 million phones. When was the last time you saw a phone company do a massive recall? Apple did not do it for the iPhone 4 antenna issue. Samsung did not do it for the snapdragon 800 series heating issues. So why did they recall the Note 7? because 35 of its batteries exploded. And this is not a good thing.
Ok, forget Samsung, how about Dell, do you remember any recalls from Dell? 10 years ago Dell recalled 4 million batteries. That’s enough batteries so a laptop never have to go AC again. for a thousand years. So why would Dell go through this? Because explosions, that’s why.
OK, back to the camera industry, when did Nikon ever made a voluntary recall? I mean the Chinese government had to twist their hands to recall the faulty D600 before they made any real attempt at fixing them. But with batteries, they made a recall even before any customers reported the issue. Why? Hint, it has to do with loud noises and fire.
Lastly, remember that flaming Black Magic camera? Guess who was at blame here? Probably the internal battery.
Before becoming a full time blogger, I was working for a big electronics company in their R&D dept. One of the things my team did was designing the battery charging mechanism for some devices. And let me tell you, that thing is scary! if you go a bit out of temperature, out of capacity, out of anything, the battery can turn into a small 4th of July fireworks display.
So, does it feel good to pay extra for an original battery? Probably not. Does it feel good to pay really low for a third party battery? Only if you are 100% sure that those batteries are coming from a reliable source.
What can you do?
- Buy from big retailers like B&H. If a recall notice comes their way, they can let you know.
- Make sure your battery maker has a name. Even with third party accessories and batteries, not all manufacturers are equal. Some have been their for a long time, have english sites and customer service. Some have really no name at all, and zero webb trace.
- If you can register your battery, do so! This mostly applies to bigger batteries that come with a serial number. Registering your battery will ensure that in case of a recall, you can get a notification
A call to the big guys
Hey Canon, Nikon, Sony, I know you need every bit of margins you can get, so its OK to charge more for batteries. But at current prices you are practically pushing us into the hand of third party battery makers.
I know I would love to use original batteries for all my gear, and I can assume that most people are the same. What if you only went 50% over the third parties. Heck go 100% over. But not 4 times over.
I will surely spend twice the money to feel good, spending 4 times the money, I may consider the risk here. And a battery exploding in your gear, even if not your battery is bad news for the industry.
What batteries do you use?
[lead photo by CTBTO]
Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.