Professional photographers and videographers understand the importance of portable sources of power. Imagine being a professional wedding photographer and your camera battery runs out just before the couple says “I Do.” That would be a disaster and one.
Photographers, videographers, and cinematographers are always on the lookout for convenient, portable power solutions to make sure they don’t run out of juice mid-shooting. After all, they have to power their cameras, microphones, recorders, external monitors and their cellphones.
Fortunately, one battery can help you through their power woes, the v-mount battery. Read on to find out why and how.
What Are V-Mount Batteries?
V-mount batteries are large-sized batteries that carry more power and greater wattage than traditional batteries. They function as a single power source to charge your devices all same time.
They are called v-mount batteries because of the way they are mounted. There is a V-shaped connector on the back of each battery that helps you slide them on to any device of battery plate easily.
These batteries can be used to charge nearly anything but are particularly famous with professional photographers and videographers. Their popularity is due to their versatile use and the fact that they can power multiple recording devices simultaneously.
What are the Benefits of Using V-Mount Batteries?
Shooting 4k and RAW videos require tons of power. So does shooting in 4k and ultra-HD. It is no wonder that professional photographers and video shooters need a lot of power to make sure all their equipment runs throughout a shoot. Here are some of the reasons why V-mount batteries are great for doing just that:
V-mount batteries are known for their versatility. There isn’t anything that V-mount batteries cannot be used to charge. However, each type of equipment will require a different type of V-mount battery. The difference will be less physical and more technical. For instance, if you need to charge a camera you will need a V-mount battery with the right power draw and voltage to make sure you don’t over or under-power your equipment. The good news is, many of these batteries can serve different devices at a time. For example, if you need to charge your cameras, monitors, your cell phone, a single v-mount battery can charge them all at once.
Having V-mount batteries means you don’t have to carry a separate battery for each piece of equipment. This makes travel photography a breeze and is also great when you’re covering events. It’s a practical choice to save money from purchasing multiple batteries for your equipment.
Though it may seem like these batteries cost a lot, you are able to get a payback that is so worth the price. For example, you can power setup with a camera, LCD display, and video transmitter with a single V-mount battery with a 160 Wh capacity.
High-quality V-mount batteries can pull off higher loads without breaking a sweat. When charged fully, a single battery can give you hours of juice. They are also very easy to install, no need for complicated mounting mechanisms. You can easily carry them in your equipment bags making them super portable.
How Do V-Mount Batteries Work?
V-mount batteries work like any other batteries. You just need to charge them and pop them into the device you want to power.
How you mount your V-mount battery depends on the kind of setup you have. If you need to power a camera light, you can easily install the V-mount battery directly on to the device. For a complicated setup where you’re using some sort of rig, it is advisable to use battery plates to set up your V-mount battery. More on this in a later section.
V-mount batteries are 14.8-volt batteries which make them perfect for charging power-hungry devices. While the voltage is the same for all V-mount batteries, the capacity and wattage are different. In fact, V-mount batteries are classified based on their Watt per hour (Wh) and power draw capacities.
Batteries with higher watt per hour and power draw capacities are larger in size and bulkier. They are great for powering extensive setups. For instance, a 230 WH V-mount battery can power a setup containing a 4K camera, a digital display screen, a digital decoder, and a flashlight all at once. Smaller batteries can be used to power high-draw studio lights and simple setups with cameras and display screens.
How Long Do V-Mount Batteries Last?
Well, that may be the million dollar question. You can’t really say how long a V-mount battery will last. This is because battery life depends on a number of factors:
Number of Devices Attached
Battery drainage in a V-mount battery depends on the number of devices attached to it. If you’re powering multiple devices at the same time, the battery will die sooner and vice versa. That is why we recommend using high-powered V-mount batteries when using more than two devices in a single power setup.
Type of Devices Attached
The type of device(s) you attach to a V-mount battery will decide how long your battery will run. For instance, digital decoders and display screens don’t require a lot of voltage, so even they are paired with a high-power camera, your battery will give you a run time of many hours.
However, flashlights and high-power displays eat up a lot of power. So, assuming you’re using the same V-mount battery as before, it will drain a lot quicker when any of these devices are paired with your camera.
Purpose and Frequency of Use
If you’re filming a travelogue, you’ll be doing a lot of still photography as well as making videos. However, the usage will most likely not be continuous. In this case, your battery drain will depend on the power draw of your devices and how much you use each device at one time.
If you’re shooting a time-lapse video during “magic hour” (sunrise, sunset) your camera will need continuous power for a couple of hours. Continuous use may drain your battery quicker than intermittent use.
Age of Battery
Another factor that affects battery life is the age of your V-mount battery. Like any other battery, V-mount batteries also become less efficient with age. However, in good quality V-mount batteries this change is gradual and unnoticeable.
You do need to make sure you’re taking good care of your V-mount batteries though. A good way to do that is to charge them using V-mount battery chargers compatible with your batteries. Always remove the chargers when the batteries are fully charged. Remaining in a fully-charged state for an extended time will affect the batteries life. Similarly, don’t leave them empty or drained for too long. Make sure to charge them right away as this will also affect their lifespan.
Batteries normally drain faster in extreme weather conditions. So if you’re shooting in the Sahara desert or at the base camp of Mount Everest, beware.
Humidity can make the batteries swell in size, which could undermine battery life and even causing safety concerns. Also, V-mount batteries are not waterproof, so unless otherwise stated, keep them out of the rain or water splashes.
Fortunately, there are weather shields you can buy to protect your batteries from adverse shooting environments. You will be buying them to protect your equipment anyway so there is no additional cost.
How to Use V-Mount Batteries to Power Your Equipment?
There are many ways to mount these batteries on your devices.
Self-Mounting V-Mount Battery
One way to connect V-mount battery to your equipment is to simply slide it on the back of your equipment. The V-mount battery already comes with a V-shaped mount at the back. V-mount battery compatible devices come with a similarly shaped area at the back where the batteries can be attached.
Mounting V-Mount Battery With Battery Plates
Another way to mount these batteries is to use V-mount battery plates. These plates not only let you connect V-mount batteries to any device, but they also let you connect them to several devices that require power immediately.
V-mount battery plates have V-shaped connectors on one side that you can easily slide the battery on to. You can use the other side to connect the plates to rigs, cameras, lights, monitors and more.
The good thing about the plates is that they usually come with different configurations for connections. For example, our V-mount power supply battery plate comes with 1.2V, 7.2V and 5V outputs so you can easily power your cameras, microphones, frequency dividers, monitors and more with this plate.
Some V-mount battery plates come with a switch that lets you synchronize onboard lights so you can turn them on and off with your camera’s record mode. You can choose the battery plate that lets you power all your devices and has some extra features as well.
Connecting V-Mount Batteries Through Cables and Adaptors
High-quality V-mount batteries and almost all V-mount battery plates come with a connector called D-tap. D-tap lets you connect your battery or plate to power different kinds of devices through cables and adapters.
D-tap cables that are compatible with V-mount batteries have a D-tap connector on one end and a device-compatible connector on the other. You can use these cables to connect your V-mount battery to devices like flexible LED light panels, cameras, monitors and more.
You can use adaptors to convert D-tap into many other configurations. For example, you can use an adapter that has a D-tap connector on one side and a USB connector on the other. This type of connector can allow you to charge your cell phones with a V-mount battery.
Do You Really Need V-Mount Batteries?
Now that you know all about V-mount batteries, the real question is, do you really need them? While these batteries are a portable and efficient way to power your devices they aren’t without some drawbacks. For example:
- Since they carry a lot of power, v-mount batteries take longer to charge.
- They are a bit heavier compared to other types of batteries.
- You’ll need some type of plate or caddy to install them to your camera’s setup.
- Traveling with them can be a challenge since you can’t carry high-powered V-mount batteries on planes and only a limited amount of low-powered ones.
Whether V-mount batteries are the right choice for you or not, depends on a number of factors. Ask yourself the following questions to see if you should invest in them:
- Do I have to power a lot of different kinds of equipment at the same time?
- Do I need to travel a lot with my equipment?
- Do I need to shoot continuously for hours?
- Will I be shooting in locations where direct power supply won’t be available?
- Am I going to carry high-power devices that require a lot of juice?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to most of these questions then go ahead and get yourself a V-mount battery. You won’t regret it.
V-mount batteries are multi-functional that you can use them to power a variety of devices. That is what makes them so popular with professional photographers and videographers. However, not all V-mount batteries are the same. The quality of the battery depends on how it is configured and made. Make sure to choose a reliable V-mount battery manufacturer and seller so your investment is worth it.
Still stumped on which V-mount battery to buy? Browse some high-quality ones here.