Anyone who uses V-Mount batteries knows: Batteries are expensive and the more power they have, the more expensive they become.
Chargers are also expensive, and often large and bulky. If you travel a lot as a cameraman, you know the feeling that you prefer keeping the charger in your hand luggage. If your suitcase gets lost, at least you still have your batteries and charger. But as they are large and unwieldy, they fit poorly in your hand luggage. PAG has the solution for many of these issues!
They have released a Micro-Charger and a new series of smaller, handy batteries. The small and handy Micro-Charger can be easily slid onto the contact pins of the new V-Mount Mini PAGlink (MPL) batteries. The Micro-Charger fully charges one 50Wh PAGlink battery in just two hours. Aas the MPL batteries can be stacked, you can charge 4 batteries at the same time, but it takes a bit longer. How handy is that! Other battery brands can also be charged with the Micro-Charger, but then you can only charge one battery at a time.
In addition to the normal power adapter, the Micro-Charger also includes DC power leads with vehicle cigarette lighter and USB connectors, so you can charge your batteries on the go. Almost everyone owns a smartphone or tablet with a USB charger, so this is where the USB connector can be useful. However, you can only charge with an adapter that comes with 2Wh. If you use one with less output, you will get an error. Also, charging via USB is a lot slower than normal. But sometimes something is better than nothing… Conversely, I also use the USB connection to charge my Macbook, phone or tablet. A USB connector, not very special I hear you think, but the thing I really love is that you can slide off the USB connector and use another output connector unit instead. Available output units on the PAG website are D-Tap, USB (2A), Lemo (2-pin), Hirose (4-pin) and 2.1mm (PP90). I can imagine there will be more options available in the future.
"...when the stacked batteries are almost running out, you can change one or two without having to restart your device!"
In addition to the charger, I also used the new MPL50 (50Wh) & MPL99 (99Wh) batteries from PAG. The first thing I noticed while unboxing was the compact size of the batteries. The difference in height with my other, more traditional batteries is sometimes more than 5 cm! The MPL50 is a small, thin, almost cute, and very practical battery. The MPL99 is twice as thick, but has the same height, so they can be nicely stacked together. I must say that my other batteries have 260Wh capacity, because of the many more battery cells in it, compared to one MPL battery. But this is where the stacking comes in handy! By stacking two or three MPL batteries you can create 300Wh capacity yourself 😉. An additional advantage is that, when the stacked batteries are almost running out, you can change one or two without having to restart your device!
At first, I doubted the MPL50 battery. It is too small and low on capacity to feed my camera and it would run out pretty fast. But what I did was, I used it to feed my LED panel, charge my phone and tablet on the go. It takes up so little space, and I always have a spare battery with me.
The MPL99 is simply GREAT. I use it on my FS7 camera, both my LED panels, but also on my Dejero EnGo. The batteries are quite expensive, but I noticed that for some reason, better quality cells, perhaps, the PAG’s last longer than my other batteries. The data display on the MPL battery shows that power is not even halfway down, while my other batteries are already running out.
My conclusion is, that in practice, I use the MPL50 batteries for my accessories and only the MPL99 for charging my FS7 camera. Of course by stacking a couple of batteries, you willl have more power to charge a device which ‘eats’ more energy.
Charging with the Micro-Charger is not that fast, but it’s great some times. The charger is very compact and fits easily in any bag, ideal for traveling or unexpected moments. Ideally have a full size charger at base for rapid charging.
- René Lunshof is a Dutch Freelance Cameraman -
Follow him on Instagram @renelunshof