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Are there differences in the connection between the battery and camera from one manufacturer to another? Yes. Today, the main choice is between the Sony V-Mount and Anton/Bauer Gold Mount. Basically, the professional is looking for the best mechanical and electrical connection between camera and battery. With heavier, high capacity batteries, mechanical stability is more of an issue; with high current applications the electrical aspect is critical. We argue that the Gold Mount, with its wide mechanical contact surface area and robust locking system, is superior in mechanical terms. For example, if you put a V-Mount battery on a Sony camera, you have one narrow, centered mechanical contact point. One heavy battery or two batteries will wobble, applying pressure to the electrical contacts. An Anton/Bauer Gold Mount—such as the QR-SDH—actually uses original Sony parts, but has four additional screw fixation points to the camera. A heavy battery sits rock solid on the back of this, locked into place. Electrically, we have also paid attention to detail, as our contacts are gold-plated, eight- sided for a large contact surface area, self-cleaning and designed to handle over 20A each. The mechanical and electrical interface provided by a Gold Mount avoids crushed and burnt out contacts, especially in high-current scenarios, which cause the battery to fail or even burn, forcing you to replace it and the camera back at your expense. What is the difference in chargers available today at varying costs? As with batteries, a high-quality charging system will last longer in the field, too. In fact, a well-designed charging system can keep going for many years. Our Quad 2702 has been in production since 1994 and charges all modern batteries. A poor-quality charger, however, is not much different than a mobile phone charger—offering one, pre-set charging algorithm, no matter what battery it is charging. Due to component variation, charging tolerances can be and are extremely varied. If incorrect, that leads to overheating and voltage overages that will significantly impact the overall battery life. We have seen tests where a charger programmed to charge to 0.1 Volt above the optimum for a given cell chemistry actually halves the normal service life. Recent cell chemistry developments have lead to a wide range of cell chemistry options; there are all sorts of Li-Ion mixes, each requiring different charge parameters. Yet many customers still believe that if the battery fits mechanically, the charger will somehow still charge properly. new charger, and can be confident that the new cell technology will be identified and correctly charged— this means a longer life and more safety, as you really do not want to overcharge a Li-Ion battery. One key piece of advice is that whatever system you use, make sure that the battery and the charger are from the same manufacturer. That will improve safety, liability and the chance of proper charging. What else sets battery manufacturers apart from one another? Anton/Bauer believes that professional camera operators do require information on and control over both the run-time during a shoot and the life expectancy of their batteries. To that end, we provide digital batteries with remaining run-time information on the display and also communicate capacity or run-time information to camera viewfinders. This is different from the LED batteries that show a percentage of capacity only. As a battery ages, it loses capacity, yet a full, but aged battery, say at 40 percent of original capacity, will still show full, even after charging, misleading users into overestimating their remaining run-time in the field. This leads to a lack of confidence in the battery system and frequently to a camera operator demanding way too many batteries in his or her kit. Anton/Bauer batteries store all relevant data, such as capacity, cycles, age, etc., and can all be tested by our chargers with battery discharge curve print-outs and life status data, allowing users to better manage their inventory. Another key differentiator is customer support. Anton/ Bauer, supported by the Vitec Group, maintains a high level of service support around the world. When it’s your job to travel, we’ll ensure that you have a team that can respond when you need them. A company that offers an extensive customer support network furthers your investment and will provide added peace of mind, wherever your productions may take you. In all, there are many variables to consider when purchasing batteries for your video or broadcast production needs. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly vet manufacturers and their offerings. While a high-quality battery system may cost more upfront, it really is an investment that will result in many years of reliable production. An inexpensive solution, on the other hand, may have quality issues that end up requiring you to purchase countless additional batteries (and chargers) over the years, costing much more in the long run. Martyn Sly-Jex is the EMEA Business Development Manager for Mobile Power at Anton/Bauer. The Anton/Bauer solution is radically different to the rest of the market—interactive or smart charging. Basically the battery and charger communicate, and the battery then dictates the charge algorithm to be employed. As new technology comes onto the market, the charger program is upgraded accordingly. The customer does not need a 62 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 78 JUNE 2013 TV-BAY078JUN13.indd 62 10/06/2013 15:16