Popping Batteries Like Pez? A DIY Solution for under $100 — and More

by Hugh BrownstoneLeave a Comment

You’re more likely to answer “yes” if you own a Sony A7s or something with the same battery in the Sony family. If so, planet5D reader Tim Johnson has a DIY A7s battery solution to satisfy your battery needs, especially if you’ve got a pile of batteries for the Canon you traded in to get the Sony. And if you don’t have a Sony but still have crap battery life, read on anyway.

I didn’t realize the one thing I’d miss when I downsized from the Canon 5D Mk II to the little Canon Rebel SL1 would be battery life. And what really made me appreciate this fact was the camel-level parsimony of the Panasonic GH4 in comparison to the SL1s I’d been using for nine months.

Even worse? The Sony a6000 – my latest camera body — has a battery slightly smaller even than that in the SL1 (1020mAh vs 1100mAh).

What’s a fan boy to do?

Well, you can buy extra batteries and an external charger, but you’ll still have to stop what you’re doing and open up the camera each time to swap them (and the a6000 batteries take a loooong time to recharge).

You can buy an AC adapter – but you’re still tethered to the wall.

Or if you’re Tim Johnson, you take a Canon battery mounting plate for a Lillput monitor and cut it down; wire it up; and slap some Velcro on it and the cage for your A7s. Voilà: you’ve just increased the power available to you, and you can easily swap batteries. Bonus: Tim lists the materials below his video on YouTube so you can actually cobble together his solution yourself.

But why stop there?

Want to stay DIY but go one better? Here’s another approach from Jörg Haag which has the added virtue of using two larger capacity batteries at the same time, thus allowing hot swapping as you go along without cutting power to the camera.

Prefer uber-clean installation? You’re talking battery grips. Meike has one for the a7 family for $89 on amazon, while Ownuser has one for the a6000 for $126.90 on ebay (we haven't used either one, so we can't comment on how good they are).  And of course, you can always go factory original, though now you’re talking $298 for the Sony factory a7 family battery grip, and $349 for the A72 version. Irrespective, all add bulk and make mounting inside a cage infeasible.

And then there's this Anton-Bauer plate already connected to a coupler from Wooden Camera, or the Power Block solution from Switronix — but these go from pricy to pricier, and move away from the idea of using the batteries you already have.

Hmm… I wonder if there’s a Kickstarter campaign here to provide the functionality of Tim's and Jörg's approaches in a really clean package mountable to the OUTSIDE of a cage or a belt via clip?

I just might have to do something about that.  What do you think?

a7s can use Canon batteries!


Via Vimeo Description:

I want to show you how to use your Canon LP-E6 batteries with a simple adapter in your Sony a7s. I also show a battery solution that offers extended life for the a7s. So far, it has worked very well!

AC adapter (dummy battery) for Sony a7s:

Anker 20,000 mAh battery from original rig:

XT Power 10,000 mAh external battery:

Canon LP-E6 mounting plate:

Camera cage I used:

Sony a7s with Canon batteries

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

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