SWITRONIX POWERBASE 70: GET ONE, I DON’T CARE HOW.
Okay, you know you need more batteries for your Canon DSLR video work. How much is an LP-e6 battery? Quite a lot as it turns out. How many do you need? Quite a lot as it turns out. Now what about charging them, how long does that take? Quite a long time as it happens, and probably one by one too. Now, I know what you’re thinking,” that Switronix Powerbase 70 looks cool but man it’s huge and it’s kind of expensive.” Well, actually it’s clever and it’s good value too.
The Switronix is at its heart a big version of the battery that goes in your DSLR and will power the camera all day. I know this because I own one and believe me, it really does. Handily, it offers a four bar gauge on the side to tell you how much charge you have left. Once that starts flashing it’s a bit like when the gas meter in your car runs down, you can still go quite a long way before things conk out. If you do run it all the way down then just pop in your regular battery and you will have more than enough. The clever thing is you can also power two other 12VDC devices from the battery via d-tap. I powered a SmallHD DP6 and the camera comfortably for 8 hours non-stop shooting and didn’t bother turning off either between takes. It just goes and goes and goes. The camera attaches via a quick release mechanism or, if you’re going handheld mount it wherever you see fit via 1/4″ threads. Two on the side and one on the bottom.
If there’s one criticism I have of the Powerbase it’s that I’d have liked a longer cable for my handheld rig so I could get the weight of the battery further back over my shoulder for maximum counter balance, but that’s a small criticism. Really, the reason I love this battery solution so much is that, when I get back to base after a big shoot the last thing I want to be doing is worrying about all the batteries I have to charge up. I’ve gotten used to spending hours waiting for four or five DSLR batteries to charge, one at a time, not to mention my monitor batteries. Not so with the Powerbase. One battery, about two and a half hours to charge it, go to sleep, wake up, shoot. Easy. It’s so, so, convenient. I’ve probably spent as much on single LP-e6 batteries as I have on this single Switronix unit. Shooting handheld all day it gave me a useful counterweight on my rig but it just meant I could save on battery weight for the monitor and didn’t have to worry about battery changes at all.