Sony’s line of mirrorless cameras is quickly gaining market share, making it an attractive option among the consumer and prosumer crowd.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest flaws with these mirrorless bodies is their poor battery life especially if you are planning on shooting primarily video. Due to this poor efficiency, it is important to have several spare batteries on hand should your two that were included with the camera become on a long shoot.
Most people view third-party batteries as a waste of money with poor build quality or performance yet I have had extensive experience purchasing in this area and have found that not all non-OEM batteries should be considered a bad buy.
Choosing the right third-party battery can not only save you a considerable amount of money and might also include another charger thus saving you time while preparing for future shoots.
Though I have tried many brands over the years, the third-party brand that I trust the most is called Wasabi Power, a company that has been producing affordable batteries for Canon, Sony, Panasonic and Nikon cameras for the past several years.
Here’s a quick rundown of why their pricing makes much more sense over an OEM battery:
OEM Sony NP-FW50 Battery Cost = $53.99
Wasabi Power NP-FW50 Battery Cost = $13.99
Just comparing the pricing alone, it is pretty obvious why Wasabi batteries are an attractive option for a budget-conscious consumer.
Wasabi offers several different purchase options including a single battery for $13.99 (74% lower than OEM) or bundle that have two batteries coupled with a single or dual charger which bring the price down to $8.50 per battery (84% lower than OEM) plus the cost of the charger.
Regarding the product’s quality, I am impressed considering the significant savings in cost. The build is robust just like the OEM (same size and weight) with the only real differences being the different branding stickers and the engraving on the plastic casing.
Performance wise, they boot up in my a7RII (previously used them with my a7S) and show accurate battery readings while in use. While it does have a larger capacity over OEM (1300 mAh versus 1040 mAh), battery life is comparable to OEM if not slightly better and will depend on factors like screen brightness, video/photo mode, etc.
The included charger is not as nice as the OEM Sony version, but it gets the job done and now allows me to simultaneously charge two batteries at once (one on each charger). For those wondering, you can charge OEM batteries on the Wasabi charger and Wasabi batteries on the OEM charger without any issues.
My only complaint with the Wasabi charger is that it does not have an indicator to display how full my battery is and just has a single LED light to signify that the charger is receiving power. However, at this price, I cannot be too picky, and it charges without any issues.
Another significant advantage of owning affordable third-party batteries is in the unfortunate circumstances where you accidentally drop or lose your battery while shooting in the field or if you happen to have your batteries confiscated while traveling (several friends had this occur when flying by the TSA or customs).
Since the individual batteries themselves are so affordable, it takes a lot of the stress out of a battery failing or becoming lost and allows you to focus more on the important things like actually using your Sony mirrorless camera to capture beautiful stills or video.
As of right now, Wasabi Power products are only sold through Amazon and often you can get them shipped through Amazon Prime so they will arrive in just two days. If you do not like to shop on Amazon, I would recommend the Watson branded NP-FW50 from B&H Photo as these offer comparable performance without as much savings over OEM prices.
Have a good experience with another third-party battery brand for Sony’s line or mirrorless cameras? Feel free to comment with your experiences below.