Gear Review: On Location with Camlast Batteries
(San Diego, CA, May 15, 2018, Review for US Times by Senior Editor Cirina Catania)
I will be filming again today and grabbed my two Camlast batteries for the kit along with their dual charger. It occurred to me that I should share what I’ve learned with our readers who might be deciding which batteries to get for their kit. I currently own two models: The Camlast CMBB-98VD V-Lock and the Camlast CMRD-135CVL V-Lock and thought readers might like to know more since there are many different models of batteries on the market.
What do we look for in a battery for our rigs? How reliable are they? What are the key factors that help us decide which to buy? Where can I buy it and from where does the product ship and, most importantly, can I trust it? I’ve seen horror stories of cheap knock-offs and the disastrous junk under the hood. Not so with Camlast. These are the real deal.
First, reliability on location. Especially with the types of shoots that I do, sometimes in remote areas of the world, there is no room for error. If my batteries give out on me, I might as well call a wrap and go home.
I was introduced to the Camlast line of products last winter as I was filming a VARA race at Willow Springs for a client in Germany. International Supplies’ Doug Pircher was there with some of those amazing Explorer Cases that I love so much (more on that another time), and I had a conversation about the importance of batteries and the fact that they are, to a certain extent, the unsung heroes of our kit. We don’t really think about them much until something goes wrong and we can’t shoot! Pircher lent me a Camlast to try out and I was hooked, but I waited a while to write this review, because, as you most likely know, some things work for a while and then wear out. Not so with the Camlast products. Knock on wood. Now, I own two of them for my Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro V-Mount and shoot with them on an almost daily basis.
THE CAMLAST CMBB-98VD:
The CMBB-98BD delivers 98Wh 14.8V power and is manufactured specifically for professional camcorders & VTRs. The battery’s capacity is 98Wh with 10A continuous power. I like the built-in D-Tap port (DiP-Tap) that allows me to run or charge accessories directly from the unit. And importantly, the easily-visible LCD display means I’ll always know how much power I’ve got left so I can plan my swap-out without losing a take. (A
Specifics on the 98BD:
14.8V lithium-ion battery
V-Mount connector and D-Tap port
Made of polycarbonate and polyphenylene sulfide
The Polyphenylene sulfide component is heatproof to 572°F
$239 at B&H or on the Camlast Website
THE CAMLAST COMPACT SERIES CMRD-135CVL:
The Camlast Compact-Series 135Wh Li-Ion V-Mount is comparatively small, lightweight (only 1.5 pounds) and hugs the camera, offering a five-bar LED read-out of power percentage. It outputs 14.8V, with a capacity of 9.4Ah, and supports up to a 12A draw. Like its sibling above, it also features a standard D-Tap port for powering accessories via a separately available cable but this one also has a built-in USB interface which provides the ability to charge electronic devices (yep, my cellphone, for example) during the shoot.
Specifics on the 135CVL:
14.8V lithium-ion battery
Uses PPS AERO material, heat-proof to 300 degrees Celsius,
with balance protection on basis of normal PCB
D-Tap and USB Accessory Outputs
LED Power Gauge
Available at retailers such as B&H or on the Camlast Website for $299
Camlast offers a 2-year limited warranty against all manufacturer defects on their batteries.
Tags: Compact, gimbal, Ikan, Indi pro. EVO, Indipro, Phantom, RED, Steadicam, V Mount
THE CMCH-2CHS DUAL CHARGER:
Camlast’s Dual V-Mount Battery Charger has two independent power supplies and control systems within one lightweight unit. The built-in intelligent power module’s 15V4.5A power adapter output port can also be powered directly to the camera via its XLR 4-pin DC power output. Four LED lights indicate battery capacity in real time. Becuase the unit has two management systems, it charges quickly. The convenient carry-handle makes it easy to transport with both batteries attached and helps me keep my kit organized. I can quickly access the equipment without “rummaging.”
It is available from retailers such as B&H for $249.00, or directly from the Camlast website, both are offering free shipping for a limited time (as I write this.)
Two independent power supply and control systems
Built-in intelligent power module
15V 4.5A power adapter output port can be powered directly to the camera
Four LED lights indicate battery capacity in real time
$249 at B&H or on the Camlast Website
Additional accessories for your kit:
1. QVS World Power Travel Adapter ($6.99)
2. D-Tap Extra Cable ($39.99)C
According to Camlast, the company is “based in Hollywood, CA…and provides film, video and photo professionals with premium quality power solutions that are not only built to last but are also affordable. Camlast offers a wide range of products for the photo, video and broadcasting market, everything from camera batteries to chargers, power plates, and mobile power stations.”
“Though the company and brand is relatively new to market…the team behind Camlast comes with more than 30 years experience in the photo and video industry, so they fully comprehend the challenges that camera operators often face in the field and thus, strives to deliver the quality products that their customers need and require while shooting.”