May 6, 2014

Power Your Canon DSLR All Day Long for Less Than $150. Caleb Pike Shows You How

If you're tired of juggling batteries, having to switch them out ever couple of hours, and interrupting the flow of your shoot, then you might want to take a look at Caleb Pike's super cheap power solution for Canon DSLR cameras. Using a $100 battery plate and two compatible $20 batteries, you could power your DSLR, as well as a separate monitor, for an entire day, or roughly at least 8 hours, of shooting. Continue on to find out how to get your hands on this nifty rig.

There are several ways to increase the amount of power supplied to your camera -- of course, switching to a larger battery, connecting to an  AC adapter, using a V-mount power system, or any number of external power supplies. However, all of these options, like all options, have their limitations, one of the more restrictive being the price.

This is why the power solution from DSLR Video Shooter's Caleb Pike is such an enticing option. Less than $150 gets you a full day of power (12+ hours) for your DSLR, and as an added bonus, a more well-balanced rig.

The items Pike uses are:

The aluminum plate consists of two spots for Sony NP batteries, a cable that connects to an LP-E6 battery pack, and a slightly cartoonish on/off button.

Pike power plate

Like I said before, every option has its limitations. Pike says that though this setup works exceptionally well to power your camera/monitor, it's not very well-built. It tends to move around even after tightening, however Pike solves this issue by fastening a 15mm rod clamp ($30) behind it. Furthermore, this particular system isn't universal -- it's specifically for Canon cameras. (You could potentially use this for Canon's Cinema series cameras as long as you locate the right power adapter.) However, in my opinion, the price certainly makes up for poor construction.

If you're curious about whether or not your camera will work for this setup (or a similar one), I'd highly suggest going to Pike's original post and scrolling through the comments section. It's there where Pike says that a similar battery plate could potentially work for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

What do you think of this power solution from Caleb Pike? What inexpensive power solutions would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

Links:

Your Comment

31 Comments

Sounds like an efficient and inexpensive solution for location shoots or timelapse projects.

May 6, 2014

0
Reply

May 6, 2014

0
Reply
Cris Cazor

Except for Canon flash accessories, nothing has ever stayed securely mounted in cold/hot shoes in my experience. I lost track of how many times things just fell off a DLSR mounted in the shoe, even light weight mini 9 LED lights. Just to point out the obvious, but all power solutions sacrifice some degree of ergonomics and comfort, but simply turning off a camera is so super easy! Most DSLRs are extremely easy to turn off/on - just flip a switch! I no longer use DLSRs, and its funny how easy they are to use - most digital cine cams required a shutdown/startup process of several seconds. But even an old 5Dmkii will turn off and on w/in a couple heartbeats! If you use an external Monitor, yes, it can be a pain to re-sync... but its almost a non issue now w/ new displays like the smallHD DP7 Pro line and perhaps the odd7. Thanks

May 7, 2014

0
Reply

I saw Caleb's original post not too long ago on his site. I somehow managed to ignore the price of the set up. Then I saw the cell phone battery pack option and immediately jumped on it. The battery is due to arrive this week from Amazon, the lp-e8 adapter only ships from China, with a projected late May/June delivery.

My current rig combines the Frugal Stabilizer II with 15mm rods and grips. A 7in monitor will be attached to a top rail. The only other thing I have yet to figure out is where the external battery would be located. I'm shooting with a T3i and I rigged another Anker battery I have to it to see how everything would fit together in the end.

It's looking like I can sacrifice an L bracket and attach the leather sleeve from a G-tech drive I never use. I'd glue the sleeve onto the bracket as well as run zip ties thru the threads (or bolt it from both sides). The battery would be easily removable yet secure and the bracket would give me much more flexibility in how I position each component.

May 7, 2014

0
Reply

You can mount this battery anywhere, you don't need a special battery plate, just a dummy battery for the camera with a lead to plug into the external battery. The Ankar battery has a 15,000 mAh capacity and is only $50. It looks like a far simpler and cheaper solution than anything mentioned here. (it has two USB ports, a 5v2A port and a 5v1A port.)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D5T3QK4/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=U...

May 8, 2014

0
Reply

My current setup like this and it cost me less than $50. and my 70D lasts all day.

May 14, 2014

0
Reply

Canon gets all the good stuff.

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
moebius22

this will work for gh4 as well, it has a 7.2v dc output

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
Adamsonline

Does that mean it can work with a Gh2 or Gh3? Anyone know?

May 7, 2014

-1
Reply
moebius22

Has anyone found a decent Sony NP-F charger yet? I have some cheap-ass chargers I picked up on eBay but they take forever to load the batteries which isn’t really practical on set.

May 7, 2014

-1
Reply

I have 2 versions of this, one with these Sony mounts and one with a V-mount. They do work, however they are very cheaply made, and on the Sony mounts as pictured, the cradles for the batteries on two different versions have been very cheaply made plastic that breaks at the slightest bump and wiggle of the batteries (especially the large FP970 type...they are easy to bump). I emailed the company and they sent new cradles right away (thanks), but upon reinstalling the new ones, I noticed how really cheaply they were made inside...and then the new parts broke just like the first ones did the first time I used it again. Therefore I've had to gaff tape my batts on for security...not a very wonderful feeling, especially in front of clients or when running and gunning doc style. Also, due to voltage, if one battery comes unseated the whole things powers down. I do like the unit, and I do still use it on one rig, but I just wanted everyone to know my personal experience with these. However, good article, and if you're willing to tape the batts on, it's not bad if you're on a budget. It will power a camera, light, and monitor, and even a Zoom.

If you're willing to spend a little bit more on the power supply, there are others that use V-mount batteries. Even though the batts are more expensive, this is a more stable and long lasting way to go. And you can power fairly large LED panels with the V-mounts too. Worth the money if you're gear is working paid gigs IMHO.

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
Paul

Honestly, when all is said and done, and we all try out these solutions, you realize that $150 battery base plate from a Chinese maker with a great reputation and another $150 for a v mount battery is the best solution and the most reliable.

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
kuban

I agree whole heartedly with V-Mount, when you move away from DSLR you don't have to lose money on your investment, you can power your whole rig (monitor, LEDs, H4n all day) even run it off the mains with a suitable distributor/plate. V Mount (or Anton Bauer) can also be sued to power light panels for hours as well, the extra expense is well worth it.

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
Filthy Punt

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
lander

But how much for V-Mount batteries?

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
Frene

800

May 8, 2014

0
Reply

Would anyone know how you can make this work with the gh4.?

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
Sonu2c

I've been curious about the D16 since it was announced and it's certainly got an interesting look and seems to hold up well under low light.

May 7, 2014

0
Reply

you replied to the wrong post

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
kuban

It's funny you should mention the Nikon D90000, kuban. My mother in law prunes the hedge more often than not, and still seems to find time for high dynamic range of a proper sun tea.

May 7, 2014

1
Reply
MIke C

what are you talking about?

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
kuban

Kevin only knows

May 8, 2014

1
Reply
MIke C

I like this. Been looking hard at the V-mount batteries, given the lifetime value of the investment—they work with just about every setup, ever as opposed to Canon's batteries that work with fewer things and power for a much shorter amount of time. At some point, we are going to leave DSLR land, and I'd like it if not every piece of kit we've purchased is worthless for a proper camera setup later.

Hard to beat Anton Bauer for price, but man are they expensive.

May 7, 2014

2
Reply

There's a much more sturdy and nearly as cheap solution, still utilizing Sony NP batteries, but future-proofing your setup for V-Mount capabilities, and only around $50 shipped:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2014-NEW-Version-V-Mount-Battery-Adapter-Compati...

All you need for your rig is a sturdy vertical cheese plate like the one I designed:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vertical-Mount-Cheese-Plate-Rod-Clamp-Kit-fr-15m...

and get yourself a v-mount receiver with power taps & accessories:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-Sony-BP-V-mount-Battery-Power-Supply-Plate-S...

This will future proof your setup, and allow you to use v-mount batteries later on, or in any situation where they might be used on a shoot. Most LED lighting also has v-mount receivers, so this setup would work well with them.

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
MIke C

This is awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing all the links! The future-proofness is a really good thought.

May 8, 2014

0
Reply

Anyone knows if does it work for my nikon d3300?

May 7, 2014

0
Reply
Nelson

Looks like cheap crap from the 80s. And as stated before, it seems not to last very long.

I would be happy if I heard about a soluton from V-mount batteries to several NPF connectors with identical output voltages.

At the moment, there seems to be only that bebob COCO-15V II thing, where I am not sure if it provides the same voltage at the outputs.

Tom

May 8, 2014

1
Reply
Tom DoP

I just use a Neewer Battery grip. Two batteries is plenty if AF is off and your arent powering lights or anything.

May 8, 2014

0
Reply
Calaverasgrande

I use one as well on my 60D. The problem is that it is limited to your particular camera...What if the rig needs to be used with a different camera? Obviously not everyone is concerned with this, but it is certainly an issue when working on a multicamera shoot. A great option that can be utilized with the battery grip is creating a breakaway cable for the LPe6 dummy battery that sits in the left battery spot for the external power. This way you can breakaway from the battery solution/rig if you wish to shoot stills.

May 8, 2014

0
Reply
Mike C

I've have reviewed a lot of products over the last 15 years, and a V-mount with a BlueShape battery is the best thing that I've ever found. They test them by dropping the prototype from 6' onto concrete...50 TIMES. If it still works, then they go into production. I don't know of any other battery that is made that well.

May 8, 2014

0
Reply

What monitor is that on there?

May 8, 2014

0
Reply
Alex