Smallrig’s newest batteries with big power

Sep 17, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Smallrig’s newest batteries with big power

Sep 17, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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It’s not especially glamorous, but it’s something that, as photographers and videographers, we all obsess over. That issue is battery power, or often a lack of it. There’s nothing worse than stressing about running out of power in the middle of a shoot.

Don’t worry, Smallrig has come to the rescue with several solutions to our battery problems. Brand Ambassador David Zhou walks DIYP through all the options at IBC2023.

V-mount battery

The newest batteries on offer are an update to the popular VB99. The VB99 Pro allows you to use all outputs at full capacity. It features two USB-C outputs, one USB-A output, and an 18v and 12-volt outputs. That’s a lot of connections!

In terms of durability, the outer casing has been updated to include an aluminium housing. The display is now full colour so that you can see it more easily during a shoot from further back.

The VB99 will essentially triple the battery life of your DSLR or mirrorless camera. That is amazing for event and wedding photographers who might get through several normal batteries in a typical day’s shoot.

You will be able to buy the VB99 Pro soon from $239.

USB-C rechargeable batteries

Smallrig has also launched a series of USB-C rechargeable batteries. In a fetching baby blue, you won’t get them confused with your regular batteries.

But aren’t all camera batteries rechargeable, you ask? Well yes, but usually, you need a dedicated charger. With these innovative new ones, you can simply use a regular USB-C cable, one that you might use for your phone, for example. That makes life so much simpler, particularly for photographers on the road and other people travelling for shoots.

They are available for all the different camera brands, from Canon to Nikon to Fuji and Sony, from $39.99.

NP-F series

Smallrig now makes its own version of the standard NP-F series of batteries. You can use it for your monitors, lights, pretty much anything. Again it has a USB-C port, which you can charge via, or output via to other devices. This means that you can essentially use this as a USB PD power bank should you need to.

These batteries are all available to buy from various retailers or the Smallrig website.

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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3 responses to “Smallrig’s newest batteries with big power”

  1. Razor512 Avatar
    Razor512

    Insanely overpriced. Implementing multiple output voltages is quite simple and cheap. Even if you are lazy and go with premade modules from companies like TI, you are looking at around $30 for 99Wh worth of 18650s. and around $18 in DC to DC modules and a BMS. And for the 7 segment display for showing remaining power, modules with a built in screen sell for less than $2 on a wide range of sites. Paired with custom molding, you are likely looming at a $60-70 unit to cover production cost and turn a small profit. I guess that is why you see various shenzhen market powerbank units with those outputs in the $50-60 range (with 12V being a direct battery connection).

    Outside of that, even if going with known brands, the $239 price range often gets you a power station with around 256 to 300Wh output, with multiple USB PD capable ports that will deliver any voltage between 5 and 20V (there are many barrel adapter modules that plug into those ports to create fixed outputs, those adapters typically sell for less than $2 each).

    For example, if someone wanted,they could get something like the Ecoflow river 2 for $189 which has 256Wh output, a 600 watt 120V inverter, 12V DC port, and USB PD capable ports for 5-20V. For less money than the smallrig battery, someone could buy a unit with 2.5 times the capacity, more output voltages, including 8V with a USB PD voltage selector adapter (cheap on ebay). The user can then use the left over money to buy a cheap generic 100 watt solar panel to connect to the powerstation to extend the run time if using it outdoors.

    1. R. B. Avatar
      R. B.

      Somebody’s got a bone to pick here huh or woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The VB battery line has proven to be very impressive in daily professional use. Maybe you should withhold casting stones until you personally used these.

      1. Razor512 Avatar
        Razor512

        You are equating overpriced with being unreliable, which is is something never claimed in my original post.

        The issue is not whether the overpriced product is reliable or not, it is if such a high price can be justified with the tech, and in these cases,it is hard to see how it is justified. For a battery pack, the most expensive part is the battery cells, the issue is that there is no major supplier that will allow you to spend even 1/4th that price to get 99 Wh. DC to DC regulation is cheap, where even low cost units from major brands are very efficient, and offer very low line ripple characteristics, with modules under $1 offer 97% efficiency and very low line ripple (though those products are often targeting applications such as making a power rail for the chipset on a motherboard.

        With all of that in mind, I am sure whoever uses it will have a good experience, as for such a product, you would have to cut a lot of corners to create a bad experience. The issue is purely the cost, and it is hard to tell if they would even be able to offer good enough hardware to justify the price since if you want to give a few specific rails like that, while spending a lot, then you are looking at components designed for laboratory grade, though those tend to also have poor efficiency since the goal if those is to have a stable voltage as as low of a noise floor as possible, thus you wouldn’t want to use them in a rechargeable power bank, as your run time would be horrible.