As mirrorless cameras continue to dominate the consumer market, one issue that arises from their daily use still remains – the battery life. Even though those devices are predominantly praised for the compact and lightweight form factor they provide, their physical dimensions limit the size of the batteries as well, leading to problems on long shooting days.
Fortunately, there are several ways to get around the battery life issue such as utilizing a battery grip or an external power bank. Filmmaker Armando Ferreira, however, has recently found even more practical and efficient solution that will not only provide enough battery power to run your camera all day long but also will prevent potential damages that may occur while using a power bank directly connected to your camera’s USB port.
One of the most popular methods of extending your camera’s battery life is using a battery grip. The downside to this option, however, is the added heft and weight to the unit. While the extra grip space is helpful for photographers, filmmakers may have trouble holding the additional weight for extended amounts of time. Not only that, the added height and weight may be an issue for lighter run-and-gun setups or when trying to mount the camera on a gimbal.
An alternative option to solving the battery life issue is by using an external power bank. Famously featured on Sony mirrorless cameras, the units typically include a Micro-USB Power In port on the side, allowing you to charge the camera on the fly using an external power bank, thus exponentially extending your battery life.
The caveat of using this method is the cable sticking out of the side of the camera while shooting. This makes the device vulnerable to damage as an accidental tug or push of the cable in the wrong direction can break and wear it out. In fact, if the damage is severe enough, you might end up having to send the camera in for repair.
That’s why Ferreira recommends using a dummy battery and USB power converter combination. The way this combo works is simple and straightforward. First, you connect a dummy battery to your camera then you plug the other end of the cable to the suggested power converter.
Since the power converter comes with another USB cable, you can easily tether it to a battery bank of your choice. It’s basically the extended version of the external battery bank solution, although this option is compatible with a wider range of devices and doesn’t result in a cable sticking out from your camera.
Furthermore, you can utilize the included rubber strap on the power converter to secure the USB battery pack and a 1/4″-20 shoe mount adapter for attaching to your camera rig. Best of all, the entire setup will cost you less than $80 depending on the battery bank you choose. Just make sure that the power bank you opt for fits the requirements of the particular camera model you’ll be using.