Monday, May 17, 2010

Third Party Camera Batteries

My first non-OEM battery was a Lenmar battery for my then state of the art, early 90s' Panasonic mini DV camcorder (yep, at $3,500 and it was used). Since then, I have used third party batteries on most of my cameras from the original Digital Rebel 300D to the 1D Mark II and everything in between. Many people worry that cheap batteries will ruin their expensive camera, but from my own experience, the occurrence is rare.

Why third party batteries? One word: cheap.

Let's do a bit of math. The original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) battery for the 1D Mark II was roughly $250 plus taxes. I ordered TWO third party replacement batteries for under $50, including shipping. These batteries lasted much longer than the Canon equivalent.

The LP-E8 battery for the Rebel 550D (T2i) is $85CAD plus taxes. I ordered TWO third party equivalent, for the price of $12USD (yes, two batteries for twelve dollars), and that included shipping. Again, these batteries last longer than the Canon batteries. Yesterday, I shot 375 RAW files, plus a few minutes of video, on the third party battery. At the end of the day, the battery meter still showed full. I shot another 130 RAW files today, and the battery still shows 2/3 full.

For the price paid, I am more than happy with the results. Are there any really bad after market batteries? For sure. I ordered some for the PSP, and they were a piece of #$%@%. Those were from dealextreme, which I find most stuff I bought were horrible.

I need another battery for the Panasonic G1, and the OEM price is $90CAD. Panasonic disabled support for unauthorized third party batteries, but guess what? Compatible batteries are available from many eBay sellers, fully compatible with the latest firmware. I think it was just greed on the part of Panasonic, trying to force everyone to buy their overpriced battery. If they were concerned about third party battery damaging the cameras, they should just state clearly in their manual that damage by third party battery is not covered under warranted. Let the user decided and take the risk. Can you imagine your car manufacturer says that you can not use third party engine oil on your car?

Sorry Panasonic, I won't be buying your overpriced battery either.

Batteries for the Rebel 550D. They are almost identical except writing on the battery.


  1. I bought a same ebay battery for my T2i for next to nothing. It works perfectly. Long live, China!


  2. The thing is that in the main the "brand" batteries are using more or less exactly the same components and packed cells as the "no-name" ones. Of course there are going to be variations in all of them.

    Personally I find the entire "brand battery" both reprehensible and indicative of a greedy camera maker; doubly so when they install firmware to prevent use of other than their own.

    It seems to take the involvement of Governments (as in the EU) to bring companies under some sort of control (as witnessed with mobile phone chargers and the mini-USB standard).

    I wish someone else would recognise this as a legitimate issue which needs regulation and introduce regulations compelling the makers to adhere with some standard for the sake of environmental issues alone.

    I am certain there is not such a difference between the cell standards as to make it impossible or even difficult for a maker to use some standard battery. God knows we used AA and AAA for how many decades?


  3. obakesan, I think it's all greed, especially Panasonic. For all we know, the batteries could be identical and came out of the same factory.

    I think it's ought to be unlawful to prevent third party batteries to be installed in their cameras. Just for this reason, i will not buy their batteries.

  4. I have read some reviews that were negative for these third party batteries and some that were great. Of the great, according to Amazon reviewers, the Opteka and Lenmar seems to be the ones to go with. What brand did you choose for your t2i? I have the t1i and would like to go with the batteries you recommend. Also can you recommend a store? I would love to get a couple for that low price you achieved! :)


  5. nate,

    I also have great experience with Lenmar batteries, but they are quite pricey. The batteries I bought was from this seller:

    So far, I have no issues with the batteries, except that they don't report battery usage accurately. When you see 1/3 battery left, it's pretty much drained, but the actually number of shot per charge is about the same as the Canon, if not slightly more.

    Good luck!