The Best Battery for Your Blackmagic Cinema Camera
To get the most bang-for-your-buck with a BMCC battery, there are several factors to consider, such as capacity, mounting options, rechargeability and, of course, price. Though your choice of battery should hinge upon your personal needs, below is a list of the best batteries available for your BMCC.
First though, there are a few things you should know about buying a battery for your Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
You'll need (at least) one.
The internal battery on the BMCC lasts approximately 30-60 minutes, depending on your camera settings. This begs the question: What's the point of a 30 minute battery? Well, it allows for hot-swapping of batteries on the BMCC (changing batteries without powering down the camera or even pausing video capture). This is an extremely useful feature of the BMCC. But, to utilize it, you'll need multiple batteries and a mounting system that allows for quick battery change out.
It will be a third party product.
Blackmagic does not make an external battery for their Cinema Camera. Blackmagic has been very conscious of compatibility, allowing for use of an array of third party products with their cameras. They left the battery production up to others.
DIY is a bad idea.
That is, unless you're not very fond of your camera. There are a number of forum posts, YouTube videos and blog posts on the interwebs describing DIY power solutions for the BMCC. Unfortunately, many of these homemade battery solutions do not have discharge protection circuitry and, although the specs may seem to work at first glance, don't have the correct current requirements for the BMCC. Even those that do are going to be much more prone to shorts and surges that could damage your BMCC (One person on the Blackmagic forum actually boasts of using a motorcycle battery on his rig. Though we wish him and his camera a long life and good health, it doesn't seem likely).
Bearing all of this in mind, here is our list of the best value and performance batteries for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
1. Magic Power from Juicebox
This was an easy choice for number one. The only BMCC battery under $100 ($99 on Amazon), the Juicebox boasts a capacity of 58 watt hours and is fully mountable. The capacity isn’t as high as the Switronix, sure, but it’s close. And, for one-third the price of its top competitor (the Switronix sells for $299), the Juicebox certainly packs the most value into its very reasonable price tag.
The Juicebox does all-but-require a mounting accessory. Out of the box, it can be attached to a camera cage or any rig utilizing a standard 1/4” or 3/8” mounting screw. Although this isn’t the most practical setup, with a cheap v-mount or quick release plate, it’s a long lasting, easily swappable and inexpensive power solution.
2. Powerbase 70 by Switronix
The Powerbase 70 does boast a few features the Juicebox does not. If you’re interested in mounting your battery directly beneath your Blackmagic camera, the Switronix is a sturdy solution. With both a v-mount adapter and a 1/4-20 attachment, you should have no trouble mounting the Powerbase right out-of-the-box.
The Powerbase also has two P-tap outputs that can be used to simultaneously power two other 12 volt accessories, such as an external monitor. Sure, the same could be achieved with a fairly inexpensive power splitter, but it’s nice to have this option built-in.
The real downside to the Switronix is its price tag. At three times the price of the Juicebox ($299 on Amazon), the Switronix seems to come with a hefty markup when one considers the included components.
Find it here.
3. Rolux RL-95S
Second and third place on this list was a close race. At 95 watt hours, the Rolux RL-95S has the highest capacity of any battery on this list. Also, the Rolux has four different outputs, of varying voltage, to power your separate devices, 1.2, 5, 12 and 14.8 volts. The Rolux also comes with a v-mount and a v-mount plate, allowing for quick battery change out and angling versatility of the battery on your rig (see Google about tilting battery plates for a better idea of what this looks like).
The Rolux, however, also seems to have a hefty markup ($299 on Amazon). A power cable for the BMCC isn’t included with the Rolux, either, meaning that you’ll have to purchase a D-tap to DC plug adapter. With this extra cost, the Rolux is the most expensive option we’ve included. Although its extra features are attractive, a value-conscious filmmaker may not consider the Rolux the best bang-for-the-buck.
Find it here.
There are, of course, other options as well. We've chosen not to include some available batteries because the price-to-feature ratio is just too low. For instance, the Anton Bauer battery for the BMCC is simply overpriced, at $495, with less features than the Switronix and lower capacity than the Rolux. Bescor also offers a battery for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and at only $169. However, this battery has no mounting options, not even a 1/4-20 thread, and seems more like a re-purposed battery pack not specifically designed for the BMCC.