Canon 7D HD video: How many batteries?
April 21, 2010 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Canon 7D HD video: How many batteries?

I'm planning on shooting a film on the 7D and am dealing with the rarity and expense of the genuine LP-E6 battery, as well as the alleged horror of the knockoffs (don't show charge, need own charger, get stuck in camera and require screwdriver to remove(!!))

Let's assume I'll be at a location where it's not convenient to recharge batteries during the day at all, even via a car. (Location is a hike from parking lot, and someone would have to sit with the car for 2.5 hours)

So, how many batteries do I need for an 8-10 hour day of shooting? I read somewhere each one gives 1 hr, 40 minutes of shooting, but not sure how accurate that is, or if that means "recording" or includes camera being on stand-by between takes or what?

So, how many do I need? Unless you can recommend some awesome knock-off that actually works, my plan right now is to buy/rent as many genuine LP-E6s as it takes... but I am open to better options I am not thinking of.
posted by drjimmy11 to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you need to be mobile? You could get a car/motorcycle/marine battery and hook up an inverter, then hook that into an AC adapter for the camera. It would be unwieldy but should have no problem running the camera for a long, long time.
posted by chairface at 10:56 AM on April 21, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, but I'm not going to be able to do anything like that. The question is more about how long the battery actually lasts and how many I need to get through a day on pure battery power.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:58 AM on April 21, 2010

Off the top of my head, I get maybe an hour of shooting from one battery, without reviewing/playback. Nothing drains the 7D quite like shooting video (not surprising as video isn't in its DNA).

I wouldn't use anything other than the LP-E6; for a camera the price of the 7D it's just not worth the risk. So you're gonna have quite a hefty bill for a 10-hour shoot. The 5DM2 uses the same battery though, so you might have better options to borrow.

Oh, and make sure you have the latest firmware as the power management improved with the updates.
posted by scrm at 11:03 AM on April 21, 2010

Response by poster: Ok, thanks for the info.

What about the option of using a battery grip which allows the use of 6 AA batteries to augment the Canon battery?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:19 AM on April 21, 2010

you might check with samy's camera about renting them...they rent cameras and lenses, they might have batteries as well. you might also look into those chargers that charge small batteries off of a larger battery pack or small generator...
posted by sexyrobot at 11:19 AM on April 21, 2010

they might also rent the battery be safe, if it says it lasts 1h40m, i'd count on maybe an hour, just to be much does a battery grip cost? it might be a good investment if you plan on doing this in the future as rechargeable AAs are probably much cheaper than canon's battery...
posted by sexyrobot at 11:24 AM on April 21, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah I am buying the grip. I own 3 LP-E6 batteries and, as of now, plan on renting/bumming the rest.

I considered a big-ass bag of AAs- I am just trying to get a feel for how viable that is. I mean, people say 6 AAs lasts not as long as one Canon battery- so I'm sure how much time I want to spend on the set fumbling around with AA batteries. But I think I would like to have them on-hand as a last-ditch backup, if nothing else.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:53 AM on April 21, 2010

What about the option of using a battery grip which allows the use of 6 AA batteries to augment the Canon battery?

The grip won't augment the Canon battery; you can use either the grip or the Canon battery. However, you can use two Canon batteries in the grip, which will double your runtime. (The AAs are for emergencies only. They won't last nearly as long as the Canon battery.) Be sure you use them in matched pairs; don't use a partially-discharged one with a fully-charged one.
posted by kindall at 12:01 PM on April 21, 2010

also, the 'camera battery' is a big scam...they are pretty much just a couple of AA batteries in a plastic nikon battery looks like it has 4, that LP-E6 looks like it might be 3...i'm pretty sure they sell a AA battery holder/case thing for the nikon that fits in the battery slot on the camera. if it's true that the battery grip holds 2 canon batteries you might see if they have those if only to cut down on the time "on the set fumbling around with AA batteries"
posted by sexyrobot at 12:14 PM on April 21, 2010

The "camera battery" is not AA batteries in a plastic case... at least not AA batteries like you would buy at the store. The chemistry (lithium ion) is completely different. The case also contains charging and monitoring circuitry for interfacing with the camera. You can buy reverse-engineered camera batteries, but given the cost of the camera, using genuine Canon batteries seems like cheap insurance that they will work properly.

There are adapters that let you use AC or external batteries with the camera.
posted by kindall at 1:13 PM on April 21, 2010

I have the 7D and my battery has recently lasted me for about four hours of hd shooting time. that's the only time I fully charged and then drained the battery in one setting. I dialed down the display all the way and went with the histogram for exposure. be aware that the shutter will automatically close after twenty or so minutes. you can start the next take but that's some tax code limitation I believe.

if you are in the states, I'd strongly recommend only buying batteries from reputable dealers like b&h, calumet, adorama or samy's. consider contacting a good rental place like or calumet for batteries.
posted by krautland at 2:55 PM on April 21, 2010

they do sell lithium rechargeable AA batteries, and yeah, the ones in a camera battery are probably not wrapped with a label, and they might be soldered down, and yes there's a chip that tells the camera how much charge is left, but battery packs (even for laptops and netbooks) are usually (or at least commonly) composed of AA cells (with nikon its super-obvious...the pack is shaped like AAs). think about it: they could just put that chip in the camera and let you use whatever AA batteries you want, but then $5 worth of rechargeable batteries+ 1 25-cent chip would not = a $50 cash cow for nikon or canon. but, did i try to find some cheaper solution to allow me to put other batteries in my camera? no, i bought another $50 battery from nikon. i wouldn't take the (probably negligible) risk that it would explode in my camera...but, for an external battery grip, it would probably be fine, and possibly cheaper, and a lttle bit faster on set if you load it in advance, which is why i mentioned it.
posted by sexyrobot at 3:50 PM on April 21, 2010

Response by poster: Huh, well this is all interesting, but I am just not prepared to take the risk with grey-market batteries- I have read stories of people actually losing footage while using them and this is a fairly serious movie and I just can't risk it.

I'm just trying to figure out how many LP-E6s I need to acquire in one way or another. I see "one hour" and I see "four hours" so I'm guessing the answer is somewhere in between. I think the answer is I just have to go out and do a test shoot this weekend. I will come back and post the results for any who are interested.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:22 PM on April 21, 2010

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