Catclaw: An Inexpensive Solution for Powering Your Blackmagic Cinema Camera or DSLR
One of the big questions with the forthcoming Blackmagic Cinema Camera is what people will use to power the camera after the internal battery is depleted. While the Cinema Camera has a fixed internal battery similar to the just-released Macbook Pro, it has a 12V-30V DC port which will allow you plug in any compatible power source to not only power the camera, but also charge the internal battery. If you’re looking for an inexpensive device to accomplish this, there is an interesting product called the Catclaw, which has a 15mm rod clamp, 5V, 7V, and 12V outputs, and takes Sony or V-Lock batteries.
The pack offers an output of 5V (for Zoom H4n), a 7V output (for powering Canon cameras), and a 12V output (for powering LCD monitors), and then clamps to a standard set of 15mm rails. The kit comes with all the necessary cables and even comes with a Canon LP-E6 dummy battery to start shooting. If you’re an event shooter that needs to be fed constant power, this is one of the most affordable off the shelf solutions to power up your rig.
There are many applications for the Catclaw, and powering the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is just one possible use. Not only can this power your DSLR using Sony NP-F970 or Sony NP-F550 batteries, but you can also power your monitor. The Catclaw is intriguing because there aren’t a lot of inexpensive ways to power that many different devices from one battery adapter. In some ways it reminds me of the Canoflex C300 rig – but it is certainly less versatile and slightly clunkier. There are a few different ways that this can be mounted, but I could see it working very well as the counterweight in a shoulder rig — resting against your back when the camera is on your shoulder, or hanging off the back if the camera is on a tripod.
If you don’t want to use those Sony batteries, there is also a version that uses V-Lock batteries — assuming you have some of those laying around. Unfortunately, it seems like the stock for these is very limited, but if you are looking for a great way to power a number of devices, this could be a relatively inexpensive option at $120 for the Sony version and $127 for the V-Lock version. My only issue is the placement of the power button. It feels like it needs one of those flip-open plastic coverings — almost like a self-destruct button. Regardless, both are currently available at the links below.
If you’ve got any other inexpensive battery adapters or power options, please share them in the comments.