Batteries are necessary, that’s all there is to it. We need power and we end up with an endless amount of AA and AAA’s, camera batteries, light and monitor batteries and then piles of cables for the things we don’t have batteries for.
Which did I charge and which did I use? Did I remember to bring them all with me? Should I bring all my chargers too just in case they die on the shoot? I don’t have enough chargers for all my batteries to charge at once!
These are some of the things I often found myself thinking and with my already unorganized and forgetful memory, it just wasn’t cutting it. We’ll get back to exactly how I overcame this specific problem later.
In comes the V-Mount battery. In this case made by Gen Energy, a company from Korea. If you use certain video lights or a larger camera, like the Blackmagic URSA mini 4.6k that’s on my radar for the hopefully near future, you’ll likely already know about V-Mount batteries. These Gen Energy models, however, offer a little something extra from what most would assume is an ordinary and simple product.
First off, the standard stuff. These are very reasonably priced and there are 4 sizes available: 98W, 160W, 195W and 290W. There’s even a gigantic 360W battery coming in the future. The 160W and 195W options both fall into the “medium” category with the key difference being that 160W batteries will meet the requirement for carrying them onto an airplane. If you travel a lot, you’ll want to go for this option and you can carry 2 of them, or 5 of the smaller 98W size. In addition to the main terminal (12A) at the bottom, they each feature 2 D-Tap ports (7A) and a USB port (2.3A) which will auto power-off after 48 hours and 30 minutes of inactivity respectively.
Where these really start to stand out is the build quality and attention to detail. The actual V mount is made of metal and is bolted into a metal insert which is molded together with the polycarbonate casing. That casing is held together with 8 bolts and 8 interlocking joints for maximum strength, has the highest grade of flame resistance and connects to the main terminal with a spring type connection. All of this works together to make these batteries nearly indestructible. They’re the first in this field to be US military drop test certified. With batteries this heavy and expensive, it’s extremely reassuring to know they can take a beating and keep on kicking.
On top of that they’re using only low resistance nickel made in Japan, thick gold plated terminals and a no wire design to maintain safe operating temperatures and avoid internal damage, extending the lifetime and therefore extending the value they’ll bring to you.
There are also a couple more cool little features worth mentioning. These will stop at 12V to avoid over discharge and extend the battery life. They can be reset if they overheat or are overdrawn by holding the button for 5 seconds rather than having to be set on the charger. They feature a very accurate 10 step power gauge (5 lights: blinking = 10%, off = 20%). Gen Energy even thought to rearrange the battery cells to make these more compact, matching the size of cameras more aesthetically.
You can charge these using the 4 channel quick charger or a more portable D-Tap charger and it’s recommended to charge them each time you use them instead of running them down to the minimum.
If you haven’t got it by now, the name of the game here is tough, long-lasting and reliable. Like I said before, if you’re going to spend this much money on something so critical to your whole system functioning, that’s pretty much every check on the list of what you could want.
These aren’t just for larger, high end cameras either. Popular lights like the Aputure 120D use V-mount batteries. With the use of a battery plate like the DP500III plate from FOTGA, you can power a whole DSLR or mirrorless rig; camera, monitor and even an H4N, for example. For me, this has been a life saver. Not only can I power ALL of that with one of the (smallest) 98W batteries for hours and hours (and hours) on end, but when I want to switch batteries or charge them at the end of the day, I can just quickly take off the one. This, instead of having to fiddle with getting batteries out from here and there and find the right charger for each one and remember to put them all back when they’re charged, is just amazing. Maybe I’m just crazy, but I always appreciate a simplified workflow.
No matter what your use, if you’re looking for a V-mount battery I’d say look no further. These definitely won’t let you down, even if you do let them down …by dropping them …get it? Because they’re drop test certifi-
You get it.
If you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to let me know. Be sure to check out Gen Energy’s website and Facebook, which I’ll link below.