Have you ever had to buy a replacement battery for your digital camera? Or, like me, do you need to have several on hand for trips far away from any power source? If you answered yes, then you know how expensive these little things are. That is, if you buy the original manufacturer’s replacement. What many people don’t realize, however, is that third party manufacturers sell batteries for much less, usually with even greater capacity than the original.
Yes, the internet abounds with stories of guys who’ve been blown up when a cheap cell phone battery explodes in a pocket. This really can happen. Lithium ion batteries burn with incredible heat, that’s why the strict rules for carrying them on airlines. The problems are usually related to cheap knock-offs that don’t have good protection circuitry. If you’re going to use “third party” batteries, you do take some risk.
Besides safety issues, you want to know that the batteries you buy really have the storage capacity they advertise. You have to trust the vendor. This brings up The Battery Barn. I’ve used them a number of times. They have great selection and good service. I don’t have the equipment to accurately test battery capacity, but I do know that the batteries they’ve sold me have had greater capacity than the originals, at a cost of about 1/4 what the camera maker charges. Since I go on extended trips, I often need multiple spares and, over the years, this has easily saved me the cost of several lenses. Did I mention free shipping? Even to Canada.
There you have it. If you choose to use third party batteries, you do so at your own risk. Make sure you get good ones. If you do, they’ll be better than the originals at much lower cost.
Disclosure: I don’t own The Battery Barn, they didn’t pay me to say this, I’m not even getting a free battery. Just passing on my experience to other tight-fisted photographers.