Mark Kaprielian Asks, Do I Use Third Party Batteries?

Posted May. 27th, 2017 by Daniel J. Cox

Hello Dan

Panasonic and compatible batteries:

I’ve had a number of different Panasonic cameras and they’ve all frustrated me battery wise. Currently I have a G85 and a G7 which both use the BLC-12 batteries.

The Batteries from Panasonic do seem to hold up the best but are always in the $50 to $60 range.
For BLC-12 I’ve tried Kastar, Wasabi, DTSE and Dot-01

When I had only one camera using this battery my strategy was have at least two Panasonics and four or more of some other cheaper brand. Always use one Panasonic as my primary battery and have other brand in the camera bag. Leave the other Panasonic and other brands in the charger ready to swap out after a shoot so I’m ready to go with the bag.

Now I’m taking both my cameras and while I have a lot of the alternate vendor batteries I’m faced with buying two more expensive Panasonics so I can have both cameras with bags ready to go, especially since I now take along both on many shoots to avoid lens changes.

The newest alternate vendor batteries always seem to hold charges when not in use better and last a decent amount of time in the cameras but over time, say 6 months, they become like all the previous attempts at finding a reliable brand. Thus, how and why I’ve tried all the vendors I listed above. I see people all the time on say DP review say they have good fortune with the very brands I’ve tried but for me, 6 months or so down the road, all but the Panasonics clearly degrade in the ability to hold charge when not in use and last for a lot less shots. I do make a point of rotating their use all the time so they are all getting about the same use.

No sites seem to compare between makers and in the end, all but the Panasonic don’t hold up. I would have thought one of these alternate vendors managed to get the same manufacturer as Panasonic and branded them as their own but apparently Panasonic has that locked up or has some exacting specs to get the best of the product runs.

I think I’m like many feeling that the price of the Panasonic batteries is too high yet I/we do seem to get what we pay for.

At last I get to my questions:

1 – Do you use any non-Panasonic brands that you might suggest?
2 – Do you make sure you always have a few Panasonics with you on a shoot as I do?
3 – What is your spare battery strategy, e.g. 1 camera N batteries, 2 cameras (that use the same battery) M batteries and what mix of brands if not all the same.

4 – Any advice on the topic of batteries and alternate vendors. e.g. Does any particular model of Panasonic really detect and behave differently if not a Panasonic battery?

Please consider asking Panasonic if they can do something about the price. If they were say half the current price which would put them at double the alternate vendors, at this point I’d buy a whole bunch of Panasonic and throw out the rest. They might find their volumes go up due to people like me who are tired of the bulk low cost batteries.

Mark

Hello Mark, Sorry for the delay in answering this question. In short, I don’t use third party batteries of any kind. I’m a firm believer in getting what you pay for and though I too wish the Lumix batteries were cheaper, I don’t feel the possibility of having dead batteries is worth the savings you get from buying non-Panasonic varieties.

I typically have two-three batteries with me for whatever camera I’m shooting. I long for the days of my Nikons where I could use one battery for as many as three days but the other benefits of the Lumix cameras are worth the tradeoff in battery consumption.

On a typical day, I shoot for 2-4 hours in the AM and 2-3 hours in the PM as I’ve been doing the past two weeks in Europe. Quite often, I won’t even use one battery per morning or afternoon/early evening shoot but if I do I have the one spare. When I get back to my hotel room, I immediately put the battery I used for that morning on the charger and by the time I want to shoot later in the afternoon/evening it’s ready to go again.

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