A few weeks ago, I rented a Sony A7s Mark II camera from LensRentals.com for a trip to a few Southern California beaches. After using the camera for about 2 weeks, one of my absolute favorite features of the Sony a7 series cameras is the inclusion of a micro-USB port. Packing so much performance into a small body can really be a draw on the batteries, and Sony’s little batteries are some of the worst on the market. Luckily, you can power the camera externally using the micro-USB port on the side of a camera.
Now you may be thinking, how am I going to power my camera in the field? You use an external battery pack…the same one that you can use to charge your cell phone.
My current external battery of choice is made by Anker. You can find them on Amazon and I have fallen in love with them after Rich Harrington introduced me to the brand. Anker makes great products and accessories for all kinds of tech gear. I have a couple different size batteries, but the larger the mAh number, the longer the battery will last.
I wouldn’t recommend using the smaller, bullet or lipstick type batteries. They aren’t big enough to charge my phone fully, so I wouldn’t trust them to power my camera.
Why Would I need Longer Battery Life
When you’re walking around and shooting with the camera, it’s definitely easier to change a battery than walk around with a cord coming off the camera. But there are situations where you’re locked down and need to power the camera.
This is especially useful when shooting time-lapse or video, where you’re constantly using the camera and don’t have time to stop and change internal camera battery. Just the other day, I was on set with an A7r Mark II shooting an interview and I could watch the battery percentage drop. After maybe 10 minutes of shooting, we were down to 80%.
Anytime you have a controlled shooting environment or are in a studio, powering the camera is a great option. When you’re indoors, you can use a regular wall outlet to power the camera, so there’s no need for an external battery pack.
Externally powering a camera isn’t necessarily new. I have an accessory for my Nikon cameras that looks like a regular EN-EL15 battery with a cord. It fits into the battery slot and the other end plugs into a wall. Sony’s taking it to a new level with micro-USB, allowing you to power your camera with a very inexpensive cable.