A quick discussion about camera batteries.

I bought an Olympus EM-5 a few days ago and I decided that I wanted to use if for one of the two projects I'll be shooting tomorrow. Love working on Sundays---it gives me a jump on the week.  So I started putting together a shooting kit for the two different jobs this morning and I hit the wall. I am so conditioned to taking back up batteries for every camera that I couldn't get mentally around the impediment imposed by having on a single battery for the EM-5. But I am hard headed and I really wanted to use it so I went online to see how much Olympus batteries cost. I was shocked to find that this tiny rectangle of plastic and lithium ion runs about $55.

I was on Amazon so I went ahead and checked for OEM batteries and I found a brand I've used before in several different cameras, Wasabi Power. The offer two batteries and a charger for just $23 dollars but Amazon can't get it here (at a reasonable shipping cost) before Monday, which does nothing for my compulsive desire to use the camera tomorrow (Sunday). I ordered the Wasabi Power batteries on the assumption that one day I'll want to take the EM-5 on a shooting trip or prolific shooting assignment and I'll want multiple batteries so I don't have to worry about on the job charging.

Then I got in my little car and headed to Precision Camera to pony up the full $55 for the Olympus brand battery. Which they did have in stock. Need an excuse to love your local bricks and mortar camera store? How about that the battery was a twenty minute drive away today. And its brother or sister will be there tomorrow if I need another one right away?

I needed to head out there anyway for some white seamless paper but we don't need to talk about that yet because it's a job for another day...

I got my battery and I charged it. Now it's in the camera grip. My compulsive nature is taking a rest.

But my consumer brain wants to know why the name brand batteries are cost a tenth of the price of a new camera. Why? And why are the people at Wasabi (and I assume countless other battery re-namers) able to deliver a battery with the same level of performance for 1/4th the price of the Olympus batteries?

And it's not just Olympus, I see the same differential with Panasonic and Sony too. I guess, with the diminishing market for actual cameras they have to make up margins somewhere else.

I'm not that happy about tiny, $55 batteries. But, on the other hand, I am happy to have the battery in the camera and ready for work... I guess it's all a mysterious trade-off.

Need some action and adventure in your Summer? Try the photo novel of the Summer: 

We'll both be happy you did!