Batteries: Brand Name or Generic?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by chantal7, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. chantal7

    chantal7 TPF Noob!

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    Hey TPF!

    I have often wondered what is your best option. I eventually would like to purchase a new battery for my camera, I currently have 1 generic and 1 brand name (Canon).

    Is there really a difference in the generic battery from the brand name?

    I wonder if I should continue buying generic ones, or just go with the Canon one.

    I have bought a generic probably a year after I've had my Canon battery, and 2 years later it completely died without warning. Right when I put it in, it tells me to replace the battery. So I knew the battery was hooped, but it lasted quite a while!! I just didn't like it's sudden death :lol:

    So is it worth the extra money for the brand name? Or is it better for your wallet to go for the generics?


     
  2. penfolderoldo

    penfolderoldo TPF Noob!

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    This comes up regularly here, and all I can say is that yes, 3rd party batteries will power your camera, they may not give you battery info - in fact most of the cheap ones won't. Another thing to consider is some 3rd party batteries won't charge in Canon chargers, and vice versa.

    Generally, you get what you pay for...
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No not really, not in this case.

    For the cost of a genuine Nikon battery I have 3 off brand batteries. One of them has a slow discharge and will be flat if the camera is unattended for 2 months or so (yeah right), the second doesn't record the number of photos taken since the last recharge, and the third one works a treat. But critically they all store charge.

    Actually even more critically I used to have a 4th battery, a genuine Nikon. It died first (lasted 2.5 years) compared to two of the other off brand batteries I first bought with the camera and used equally as much. Both of them are pushing 4 years now. The only thing you really miss on the aftermarket ones is quality control. That and some dodgy manufacturers overstating their charge, but hey if lasts half as long as the genuine you're still out ahead.


    With accessories the "you get what you pay for" statement really doesn't apply. Personally I like the idea of having 2 spare batteries to use if one fails more than having 1 battery with a shiny holographic Nikon logo on it.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've been using 3rd party batteries for several years now. They always worked great and lasted longer than my Canon battery.
    I've recently upgraded my camera, and bought a couple new 3rd party batteries to go with it.

    I have heard, from a few photographers, that their 3rd party batteries died on them (after a couple years), but at 1/3 or 1/4 the cost, it's still a good deal IMO.
     
  5. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    I've got 3 batts for my 3-yo D60, one of which is a 3rd party. Unless I look at the label, I've never been able to tell it apart from the OEMs.
     
  6. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I mostly agree with Garbz here... Canon/Nikon would love for us to believe that their batteries are "super-special" and warrant the outrageous mark-up they charge for them. And, while 3rd-party batteries don't always exhibit the EXACT same level of quality as brand-name batteries, they generally get the job done just as well and can literally cost 10% to 33% the price.

    Now, I don't shoot Canon, but I will relate my experiences with 3rd-party ENEL9-equivalent batteries as compared to my Nikon-made ENEL9s. The experiences probably apply equally to either manufacturer and the corresponding generic manufacturers.

    The first generic ENEL9 that I purchased lasted for about a year. It held a charge just as well as the Nikon battery, lasted roughly as long as the Nikon battery, and overall functioned with almost no difference in performance. The biggest difference between the Nikon battery and the generic model was the price-point.

    However, I did quickly discover a serious downfall of this particular generic model (I don't remember which brand it was, unfortunately). I went out to a place called Nonnewaug Falls in Woodbury, Connecticut during a SERIOUSLY cold morning last winter. Incidentally, I had my generic battery in my camera, freshly-charged. After hiking about a 1/2-mile through 12" to 16" of snow, I arrived at the falls at starting composing a few shots. It was so cold that the humidity from my breath was literally crystallizing on my tripod head! Anyhow, I shot about 30 photographs when, all of the sudden, I noticed that my battery was nearly dead. This is the sort of behavior I would expect out of alkaline batteries in cold weather... not lithium. Sure enough, my generic battery was dead after all of an hour since I left my car at the trail-head (1/2-mile hiking + 30 photographs).

    If I had brought along only generic batteries of that brand, my shoot probably would've been ruined. Luckily, I had a Nikon-brand battery in my bag. I popped it in and proceeded to take another 60 or 70 shots. The battery showed no sign of power loss whatsoever. In comparison to the generic battery, it was basically unaffected by the cold. In fact, I moved on to other shooting locations in the area afterwards, and despite the temperatures, the Nikon battery lasted me the rest of the morning.

    Once I returned home and let the generic battery warm up, it exhibited a disconcerting "bulge" in the casing which prevented it from even fitting properly in the camera. In short, it was ruined... presumably because it had literally frozen in a scenario when the Nikon battery had held up just fine. And, in case your wondering, the Nikon battery was older than the generic.

    You might think that I'd be bringing this story up as a reason to stick with Nikon batteries. But, in truth, outside of that excruciatingly cold morning, the generic held up just fine. It performed exceptionally well all Spring and Summer and earlier in the Winter. Considering that it cost me a mere fraction of what a Nikon battery would've cost me, it was well worth it. If I experienced brutally-cold conditions often here in Connecticut, I'd probably have no choice but to invest in Nikon-brand batteries, but days THAT cold are actually rather rare. And, frankly, I have only encountered this scenario once with only one generic brand of battery. There's not necessarily any reason to believe that all generic batteries would have that problem, nor can I say for sure that all batteries by that manufacturer will react the same way. And, furthermore, if I had incidentally stayed home that extremely cold morning, the generic battery may well have lasted a few more years! Who knows? I'm willing to deal with that tiny bit of uncertainty.

    These days, generic batteries still comprise the bulk of my battery power. I own generics on about a 2:1 ratio to Nikon-brand batteries. And overall, the generics work great and I can own two or three for the cost of a single Nikon battery. I will admit, though, that I always try to take one Nikon-brand battery along, even if it just remains in my bag as a backup. So I suppose that I've personally come to the conclusion that Nikon batteries are more reliable than generic batteries. Still, though, the outrageous mark-up is practically robbery when you consider that generic batteries cost SO MUCH LESS and work almost just as well.

    So... it really comes down to how much money you're willing to drop. If money is no object, then sure... you should get only the expensive brand-name batteries. However, if money is an issue... especially if you're busy saving up for a new lens or a new body... then consider that batteries contribute pretty much zilch to image quality. As long as you've got SOMETHING with which to power your camera, you're all set. Brand-name batteries ARE a tad bit better... but that "tad bit" will cost 3 times as much as nearly-comparable generic units.
     
  7. 2WheelPhoto

    2WheelPhoto TPF Noob!

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    Which 3rd party brand for Nikon are you guys liking?
     
  8. penfolderoldo

    penfolderoldo TPF Noob!

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    There are indeed exceptions, which is why I said 'in general' rather than 'always'... however, the 'you get what you pay for' quote is every bit as valid for accessories as it is for anything else - if a battery, whether OEM or 3rd party, conks out in the middle of a shoot your picture taking ends - fact, so accessories are every bit as important as bodies and glass. Based on your rationale you'd be quite happy buying something that looked identical to a D7000 or whatever, supposedly offered the same features, just without the word Nikon on the front for half the price, and if it packs up suddenly after a couple of months that's just one of those things right?... no, thought not.

    Where I completely agree is the outrageous prices manufacturers charge for their own batteries, and i've used 3rd party batteries in the past - some are indistinguishable from genuine, both in performance and lifespan, all i'm saying is there are many that aren't, so caveat emptor as they say...
     
  9. chantal7

    chantal7 TPF Noob!

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    Very good points in here. Thank you all very much for your time and replies.

    I want to ask the same question WheelPhoto did, what 3rd party brand for Canon are you guys liking?
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In the past, I've bought batteries from Sterlingtek.com and I've been happy with them.
    Just recently, I bought from Link Delight (forum sponsoring vendor) because I also bought a battery grip and they had a kit; grip + two batteries.
     
  11. chantal7

    chantal7 TPF Noob!

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    Unfortunately I don't want to buy from an American website. I checked out the link delight, and would prefer not to bother with high shipping costs.

    I am not sure about the sterlingtek.com though.

    I also checked out battery grips, and I am having the hardest time trying to find the Canon model one for my camera (rebel xti)
     
  12. jackiex_x

    jackiex_x TPF Noob!

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    in my experience, the really cheap ones don't show the battery usage icon on the camera but I purchased an Energiser battery from Amazon for my Canon camera and it's excellent..... infact i just ordered a 2nd one for spare.
     

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