Whether you’re a professional photographer, a hobbyist or an occasional enthusiast, selecting the right photography devices can sometimes be baffling. Today, the ever-expanding market presents us with unlimited options when it comes to camera equipment and accessories. There’s definitely no “right” or “wrong” material for the craft - only those best-suited to cater to your specific needs. This idea applies to your camera batteries as well.
Upgrading to a “professional” battery, bigger power sources with larger capacity, that is, presents two of the most common photography batteries: The Gold Mount and V-Mount batteries. These Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries are heavily used in the professional industry, and each of them possesses unique features, applications, and advantages that make you prefer one over the other. Here are some of the things you have to know about these two batteries.
Getting to Know Gold Mount Batteries
Originally developed by Anton/Bauer, Gold Mount batteries have been in the power systems industries since 1978. These are so inherent to the company that they are oftentimes marketed as Anton/Bauer Mount, even by other brands. Also called 3-Stud batteries, Gold Mount batteries are superior-performance power providers which have become industry standards over the years.
What are the Key Features?
A Gold Mount battery’s most distinguishing feature is the three-solid mechanical connections that lock it safely on the camera-battery interface. Slid horizontally on the camera’s holes, these mounts provide secure lock and contact for a secured connection, eliminating the risk of unintended disconnection. With this superior mounting feature, many users favor the use of Gold Mount batteries over others specifically for this.
Heavy Duty Performance
Engineered from a durable high-impact polymer, the Gold pins furthermore are rated for high currents. This allows them to withstand the power requirements of today’s cameras. As compared to “standard” batteries, these batteries are rated with higher voltages, current, and capacity to withstand extended usage, and also certified to work high above the normal room temperature.
Isolated Battery Cells
These Gold Mount camera batteries are basically a package of individual Lithium-Ion cells packaged into a rigid casing based on the needed capacity your devices will need. However, even packaged into a single product, the cells are isolated from each other to prevent that any potential damage to a single cell will not affect the whole battery, making it continue to be functional, and will be serviceable.
How is the User Experience?
Based on several user’s experiences, the Gold Mount gives more reliability for Steadicams, car mounts, field usage and in any application where movements are involved in the usage of your devices. Moreover, the 3-stud mounts tend to be more durable over time. The gold pins, being metal, does not wear over time despite the number of attachments and removal of the battery from your camera.
Gold Mount batteries are hailed for the superior 3-stud mounting feature best suited to extreme conditions and applications such as outdoors, and when rotation and movements are during the usage of your camera or any other device. For a Steadicam and shoulder cameras, the use of a Gold Mount battery is a better recommendation for this reason.
Also, the horizontal mounting direction for these batteries is an advantage since the battery will less likely to just fall off, just in case the locking mechanism may fail. This will prevent a possible disconnection of the power source from your camera.
The Gold Mount batteries are less common throughout the world, however, this mount type is a popular choice in the USA. Thus, the choice you will make would depend upon your location. Moreover, the Gold Mount may not be directly compatible with your other accessories such as monitors and LED lights, as most manufacturers attach a V-Mount instead. However, purchasing adapters to convert Gold Mount to V-Mount may be done as a fix, depending on your budget.
The Basics of V-Mount Batteries
Now we go into the V-Mount Batteries, which is claimed to be the more common and popular mounting type among the two.
Originating from Sony’s battery design, the V-Mount batteries, also called V-Lock, come with a V-shaped connector at that back of the battery, which attaches to its mount plate and into the camera.
What are the Key Features?
The V-Mount battery features an easy attachment to the camera by just sliding the V-Mount male connector at the back of the battery into the slot of the plate. The connection and disconnection are relatively easier than Gold Mount because of the simple sliding mechanism.
Both the Gold Mount and V-Mount are best suitable for professional work, with specifications designed for heavy and long term usage. V-Mounts also are capable of delivering high power outputs and can be distributed and adjusted to your multiple devices. Instead of powering different devices from different power sources, V-Mount batteries can deliver the energy required for your camera, lighting, monitors, and even charging small devices.
Built-in Protection Circuitry
Some of the risks in using strong power sources are over-voltage and over-current, which can be destructive for the battery and also your devices. With these professional batteries, built-in protection circuitry is installed to prevent such failures.
How is the User Experience?
From the users’ perspective, the V-Mount batteries are used for an all-around power supply, powering various devices. This could be a more practical choice for studio photography, where multiple devices are utilized. A single battery for various devices can ease the work during configurations and set-ups, and provide convenience to the user.
V-Mount batteries are the best for versatility and convenience. The V-Mount is supported among many accessories you may need such as LED lights, monitors, and also features several adapters available for charging devices such as smartphones, if you may need. The V-Mount is a winner when it comes to compatibility.
In comparison to Gold Mount, the V-Mounts are the popular option because they are readily available in many parts of the world. When travels are often, A V-type battery will not be a headache during your setup. Many companies have adopted this mounting type and are in use in various gadgets.
Some point out that V-Mount may be less reliable in terms of secured connection. The V-Mounts are easily attached to its plate but could be less ideal for applications where movement and rotation of the camera may be needed. Steadicams, car mounts and other applications where camera movement may be unavoidable are not a good application for V-Mounts.
The V-Mount, over time, tends to have wear and thus may not be reliable for secure connections. With hundreds to thousands of connecting/disconnecting the battery from the device, the V-slot and plug could suffer from wear over time. Moreover, the vertical sliding mechanism may be a benefit for convenience, but not for a secure connection.
So, Which Should You Choose?
Gold mount batteries and V-Mount batteries have similarities and differences from each other, but the showdown winner depends on you, on how you would use your battery and devices, Would you go for the reliability to handle outdoor video coverage? Or versatility, having to power multiple devices for your photography studio, without having so much effort?
No matter what you choose, make sure to consider every other factor as well: From the capacity of the battery you need, the accessories needed, as well as travel regulations on battery transport, especially when travel is a constant part of your professional life.