When we started using compact mirrorless cameras for video we quickly found that the portable power solutions used for them was lacking. Easy to carry around and fit in a small body sure, but not enough to get through a day of video shooting. A serious power solution is necessary.
To realize a real power option you’ll need to think about your rig and make sure you have the pieces necessary to make use of it effectively.
If you want to see one of these builds in action you’ll want to watch this video from filmmaker Josh Sattin. He seems to have something figured out when it comes to getting fully powered up.
SmallRig is the star of this video, but they do make some well-featured and well-priced equipment. I use a bunch of it myself. They have been expanding their lineup of gear over the past few years and included with that have been some power solutions.
Josh has been testing them out and seems to have found a decent build that will help make the most of newer mirrorless cameras that need hefty battery options – like the Canon R5 C.
His older solution is a baseplate with an Arca-type clamp on the top and 15mm rods. Those rods hold a V-mount battery plate on the back making it possible to add a serious battery while remaining relatively compact. Seems to work well. Battery can even slide back to get your camera monitor out.
Now, SmallRig has a new product that might make things even better. It is the SmallRig V-Mount Battery Mounting System. It has a very similar feel, but it is way smaller than the older rig. On the bottom is an integrated Arca-type mount for directly attaching your camera. Then on the back is the V-mount.
The bottom of the system has another Arca-type plate so you can add it to your existing supports right away. There are still some threads if you need to attach another plate.
The battery can still slide back and forth to make space behind the camera. A nice tweak is that the battery mount can also be tilted. This means you can tilt it back if you want it really out of the way or tilt it forward when not in use to make it extremely easy to carry or slide in a bag.
Working with cameras with cages that have Arca-type plates on the base shows how easy and simple this setup can be. He just slides it right on and it is very compact. Keeping it so close to the camera should make sure it doesn’t get off balance too quickly and might actually help counterweight some larger lenses.
There are some accessories that come along with the system. One is a simple Arca-type plate for your camera if you don’t already have your own. The other is a V-mount plate. This allows you to mount other accessories to the rear V-mount instead of a battery. It has a 1/4”-20 so you can work with plenty of common accessories.
If you need a big battery now you should look at SmallRig’s VB99 Mini V-Mount Battery. It’s relatively compact and has a very clean design. It has a screen so you can check the battery capacity really quickly. It has ports for powering all your devices.
There is a USB-A, USB-C with Power Delivery, D-tap, and a couple of barrel connectors. You could even use this to charge up your mobile devices if you want. The best trick is that you can actually charge it via USB-C for one less thing to carry around.
What do you think about this power solution for mirrorless cameras?
[source: Josh Sattin]
- SmallRig Compact V-Mount Battery Mounting System (B&H, Amazon)
- SmallRig VB99 Mini V-Mount Battery (B&H, Amazon)
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