High Capacity DSLR or Smartphone Batteries (fake or true)?

Like always, there is a never ending debate about cheap third party batteries vs original batteries

So no matter which side you lean on or promote, I will help you to decide in which direction to go.

I believe this whole article works for all batteries out there, not just Canon or smartphones. Nikon users should as well read this article.

 

iPhone 4s high capacity battery

It all started with iphone 4s, an old phone that I had, with a very bad battery which didn’t last throughout the whole day. So I found a replacement battery on ebay of course. The seller claimed that the battery had 2680mAh capacity. That means almost 2 times more capacity than the original 1432mAh. I said why not, it said 100% true capacity, 75% more usage time… Bla bla…

fake-iphone4s-battery

I put the battery into the phone and after just one day saw no improvement, even seamed like battery cycle was shorter. So I decided to measure the real capacity.

As Jan and I are working on Multicopter stuff, from zero to fly (a huge article that we are making), we have a somewhat professional charger for all kinds of batteries. We discharged the battery completely and measured how much electricity went in. It filled up with 1290mAh!

It didn’t cross my mind to tear off the golden sticker that said 2680mAh, but Jan got to that idea and guess what, underneath was just a normal, 1430mAh black battery.

iphone4s-battery

 

I was so pissed, so I reported it to the seller, of course I got a refund without needing to return the “goods". But I can’t believe that people are cheating like that, and what I really can’t believe is that people still buy that and post positive comments, like they see improvements while truth is opposite??? Or sellers go with the flow, that even if people complain, they will leave them batteries in return for 5 star feedback!

 

DSLR Batteries

Are DSLRs a different story or not?

I have Canon 5D Mark II with LP-E6 battery in it. The original battery has 1800mAh and you may be aware how much you can shoot with it. For shooting a video it lasts around 2 hours. I put 16GB CF card into the camera and started video recording. After the card was full, I was able to record even more. The Magic Lantern said there was still around 45% juice left.

Similar story like with the smartphone, I can’t rely on one battery for the whole shooting, so I decided to get higher capacity third party (checked) batteries, which people have mentioned and promoted on the forums. So I got to Opteka batteries. Again I saw an ebay seller that had them, and saw even “better" batteries from the same seller, but different brand: Photomate. 5 years warranty, 2800mAh. I said wow, that’s it, amazing.

So I bought 3 of those from an experienced seller which has over 235.000 sold items and rating above 99%. You would say that is good, at least I consider myself an experienced ebay buyer and I always look at ratings and selling numbers…

Notice: the same seller has an Amazon account as well and sells the same items. This is not just an ebay issue.

Here is the description in full from the ebay seller:

“We have worked hard to give you the finest quality Canon LP-E6 replacement battery available. PhotoMate LP-E6 2800mAh battery is made to exceed the OEM charging capacity. It features lithium technology, which ensures maximum battery life and maximum power. It also features no memory effect that lets you recharge partially drained batteries without reducing performance. This battery is compact and lightweight. It is guaranteed to work as well as your original battery. Compatible with original manufacturer equipments and chargers. Quality, functionality, and construction of this battery is excellent. 5 Year Full Warranty."

low-capacity-lp-e6-battery

With those 3 batteries I got the “Rapid" Charger from Opteka and some other nifty unnecessary gadgets.

Lesson learned with iphone “high" capacity batteries, I said I will test them right away. I put in the DSLR one of the three batteries I bought and discharged them until my 5D Mk II turned off. After that I used the battery charger to discharge them even more, down to 6V (if you didn’t know those batteries are 2 cells, 3.6V x 2, 7.2V, and min voltage is 6V). It drained out a bit more juice, around 350mAh.

And then there was the charge process. I must admit I expected 2000mAh, but the battery was fully charged at 1339mAh, so I decided to test my 2-3 years old original LP-E6 battery that I got with my Canon 5D Mark II DSLR.

Same process:

  1. Discharge with camera.
  2. Discharge on charger.
  3. Charge on charger
  4. Fully charged at 1860mAh!

And what a surprise! After 3 years (battery used since 2014, produced in 2013), it still charges to 100% and even a bit more than declared capacity!!!

To test it even further, I charged the PhotoMate battery to 100% and then recorded a video. It did record four 12 min videos, filled 16GB CF card, and after I formatted the card and started a new cycle, it recorded 7 more minutes, and then my DSLR shut down.

Of course, the seller on ebay said that he had no intention to cheat, that there has to be a mistake, so I tested other batteries, and oh, boy, was I right. Same story, low capacity and one of the batteries can’t even fit into my DSLR, it just doesn’t click.

lowcapacity

So I took some time and investigated Photomate website and company, and my opinion is that this is a completely fake brand (website, company). Why do I think so?

No about us! No contact information! No RMA (return policy). Capacity is written on the little sticker on the box (so they can change it for other batteries they sell). Half of the website is empty, coming soon, not something that a serious company would allow to happen. Contact form not working at all, at least no message nor e-mail confirmation.

With batteries I got the Opteka charger, they call it: “Rapid charger". It’s a charger with an output of 600mA, while the original Canon charger (not rapid), has a 1.2A output. It’s 2 times more powerful.

I’m still eager to find out does Opteka have true, high capacity batteries, or is that as well just a hoax, which I believe is the case, based on their “Rapid" charger.

So my conclusion is, even if real high capacity third party batteries exist, you will most likely buy 10 fake ones before you find them.

In search for high capacity batteries for my 5D Mk II, I found this interesting battery on AliExpress website.

low-quality-lp-e6-battery

 

So tell me, is this a 2200mAh battery? Or you saw a little description which says, real capacity: 1200mAh. I must admit, I missed it out, and asked the seller is this really 2200mAh. The seller was so kind to tell me that it is fake 2200, real 1200 as in description, so kind of him :)

Conclusion

Please let me know if you know or have a real high capacity DSLR brand for batteries. Until then, please don’t fall for tricks and promises of the seller, no matter where you find that battery (amazon, ebay, aliexpress or other sites). Be aware that although you can use third party batteries, are you really willing to risk your expensive equipment for cheap, low quality batteries with questionable capacity?

Yes, third party batteries are much cheaper, you can get a few for the price of one original of your brand (Nikon, Canon…) battery, but you will have a low quality battery with shorter life span, that will let you down when you will need it the most.

P.S. be aware of SD and CF cards as well, test speed them a couple of times on more devices (computers) if you can, before you make sure you will use it for you work. We bought couple for lower price and they were fake.

 

About Tommy

Photography allows me to be what I want to be, to be where I want to be, and to do what I want to do ... I'm not professional photographer and I don't need a title, I love to take photographs and that is what I do, I love to learn and I always try to do it better ...

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