Saturday, February 5, 2011

Third Party Batteries -- Part II

I have been buying third party batteries for many years, starting with my Panasonic Mini-DV camcorder.  I wrote about it before, and this is an update to the original post.  My experience was that with third party batteries, you pay less for more, because these batteries frequently last longer than OEM batteries.  I have bought third party batteries for all the Canon cameras I have ever owned.  Never a problem and always happy, until the last two batteries.

The first bad one was the battery I bought for my 7D, which I also mention in this post.  That battery lasted about 1/4 of what the OEM battery would.  I got a replacement from the seller, but by the time I received  it, I already sold my 7D, so I didn't get a chance to test it.

The Sony NEX-5 is a battery hog and it doesn't last very long.  It's a far cry from more than a 1000 pictures I could get out of from a Canon camera.  In fact, the third party batteries  in my 1D IIn lasts at least two thousand pictures.  I hardly need to charge them.  So, I bought a NEX-5 compatible battery from eBay, and it arrived in two days, since it was shipped from the same town I live.  Immediately, I had a bad feeling about this battery, as it weigh quite a bit less than the OEM version.  This battery, like the 7D version, never charges to 100%.  Regardless how long you charge it, it always says 99%.  It lasts about 1/3 of what a Sony OEM battery would.  E-mail the seller, and got a rude responds, to the affect that I should not expect OEM performance because I didn't pay OEM price.

My worry is that these are not isolated incidents, but a trend that quality of third party batteries are going down the drain.  Perhaps the seller was right, I didn't pay OEM prices, I should expect OEM performance.  Perhaps I should stick to brand name third party batteries, like Lenmar and Optex.

Canadian Ranger Toronto -- NEX-5 & Carl Zeiss S-Planar 60mm f2.8. Click to see larger.


  1. interesting points. I've found there was a turnaround point on price / quality. However its hard to know these days. Certainly the devices are sucking more power. Add that the camera makers are finding ways to lock you into their battery and 'voom' ... sucked into their system.

    I suspect they shave the margins on the camera and make it up on accessories.

  2. I think the third party battery makers are simply skimming on quality, in order to sell it as cheaply as possible. It may also be because all the electronics now embedded in batteries, the reverse engineering isn't good enough

  3. I recommend you Hahnel from Ireland, zero problems, works exact like Canon OEMs ;)