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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