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05-03-2014, 10:30 AM   #1
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Batteries - Pentax OEM vs After Market - Wasabi

Just some observations here - not really complaining, nor do I have a problem. At least a year ago, perhaps 18 months - I finally broke down and picked up some spare batteries. Up till then the OEM battery was doing fine, but I started getting low more often than not. I shoot a K5, and I do have to say that for ambient low light shooting, I have been using liveview up on the tripod as just a matter of habit. When I had my K20, a single battery held me for 3 years. I never really ran out on a shoot - but I was not really using liveview all that much. Also, when not in use, I do keep the spares in their little bags rubber banded together, so that they don't roll around in my backpack shorting out.

Anyway, after doing some research I picked up two Wasabi Power battery units along with a charger - the price was right, and a battery is a battery (in most respects). Everything works fine, I am happy, they work first time, all the time, everything is pretty dependable.

So, why the post here. Well, in terms of usage - I have been noticing that the Wasabi units tend to probably get 50% to 75% of the shots/time that Pentax OEM unit supports (but I have no real quantitative measurements either). Now, with using liveview - you do have the rear monitor on a lot more (depleting energy) as opposed to using the viewfinder. I use the liveview's level (horizontal and vertical) - actually its pretty handy. I really doubt that usage between battery types/brands is any different.

It is starting to occur to me that I need some additional power capacity when out shooting. The other night, I was done and happened to see that the third battery was done too - as in flat depleted. That is probably the fifth or sixth time that I have run through all three batteries in a single shooting. I have not really lost any shots, but I would like to have some reserve margin. Thus, some additional batteries are in order. Either an additional one or two - which brings me to which brand.
  • Wasabi - $12 plus $5 shipping from Amazon or 2 for $34
  • Pentax OEM - $45 with free shippnig from Adorama
I am inclined to go with 2 more from Wasabi. The lower cost and even their performance appears to be less, its still somewhat reasonable. If I were backpacking a lot, where weight and volume are a bit more important, I would go with the Pentax.

Does anyone have any better suggestions?




Last edited by interested_observer; 05-03-2014 at 10:36 AM.
05-03-2014, 10:42 AM   #2
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I use to think Wasabi was better than the Chinese batteries on eBay. But somebody that tests batteries tells me not so. Read this thread: Re: Kodak battery eBay jokes: Kodak Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

That being said, I'm sure the Pentax battery would be the best choice.
05-03-2014, 10:45 AM   #3
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I don't notice any significant difference in use time between the Pentax or Wasabi batteries. But I rarely use LiveView, and then only for short periods. I wonder if the higher draw demand of LiveView uses up the Wasabi faster? My record is 1,782 images in a single day. Got that with three batteries and still had power left so no idea how many more I could have shot.

If I needed more batteries my choice would be the Wasabi. But between my wife and I we have three bodies that use the same battery so more is better in my case.

---------- Post added 05-03-14 at 10:50 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Michael Piziak Quote
Read this thread: Re: Kodak battery eBay jokes: Kodak Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
Measured how? You cannot just put a multi-meter on a battery and take a reading. That will give you data but it is meaningless if you are trying to determine how many images you will get from a battery. You either have to test it until it dies or use a battery load tester.

I have tested both Pentax and Wasabi batteries until they die. And I found no significant difference in the number of images taken.
05-03-2014, 10:51 AM   #4
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If you decide to go with the Wasabi batteries buy them directly from Blue Nook and shipping is free for orders over $30.00. So you can get 3 batteries for $36 instead of 2 batteries from Amazon for $34.00.

I use both Wasabi and Pentax and I haven't noticed any significant difference in lasting power. I haven't performed consistent shooting procedures (such as live view or flash) on both batteries equally so it is hard to tell for sure if there is a noticeable difference.

05-03-2014, 10:52 AM   #5
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You've pretty much summed up how I use batteries in all my cameras. The OEM units work the best (Sigma and Pentax), but Wasabi or Lenmar (reputable 3rd party) are 1/4 the price for 3/4 the longevity, both in terms of shots per charge and how many times you can recharge them.

I had two OEM units and 3 Wasabis for my Sigma DP2M (which eats power) and never noticed a huge difference. You can ask normhead if any have failed... For my K-3 and K-5, it's a jumble of new and old OEM batteries, and I can usually go a day or two on each battery. With the SD1 Merrill, the OEM battery doesn't last as long as the Lenmar batteries (2 for $10 on closeout, sold "for Pentax D-LI50"), but who knows where Sigma gets their batteries? Probably from the same place as Lenmar...
05-03-2014, 11:04 AM   #6
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A lot of people seem to like the wasabi and have not noticed much difference. However, I don't recall much said for the super cheap eBay (China) knock offs. I had a couple of those for my K-r, life was very good (as opposed to OEM excellent), but after a year or so, they had swollen and would consistently get stuck in the camera.

I stick with OEM batteries rather than risk anything going wrong. I am sure it is paranoia, but there are enough stories of lithium batteries and fires (laptop and cell phone fires). Plus when we ship Li batteries at work they are Dangerous Goods. Then again, all the issues I have heard about have either been OEM batteries or super cheap knockoffs.

Then again, I can't stand the price of DeWalt batteries for power tools... when they are after all just AA's inside... we learned that in Technical school and how to replace them instead of spend a fortune per job site.

I think the moral of my ramblings is that OEM or a higher grade knock off (Wasabi) are far better than an el cheapo option.
05-03-2014, 11:10 AM   #7
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The li-ion batteries age bad both in use and when stored, no matter how expensive they are. It's quite probable that new lower capacity batteries beats old used high capacity ones. The main risk with Li-Ion is overheating if badly manufactured potentially leading to fires, extreme heat and/or explosions.
05-03-2014, 11:28 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I don't notice any significant difference in use time between the Pentax or Wasabi batteries. But I rarely use LiveView, and then only for short periods. I wonder if the higher draw demand of LiveView uses up the Wasabi faster? My record is 1,782 images in a single day. Got that with three batteries and still had power left so no idea how many more I could have shot.

If I needed more batteries my choice would be the Wasabi. But between my wife and I we have three bodies that use the same battery so more is better in my case.

---------- Post added 05-03-14 at 10:50 AM ----------


Measured how? You cannot just put a multi-meter on a battery and take a reading. That will give you data but it is meaningless if you are trying to determine how many images you will get from a battery. You either have to test it until it dies or use a battery load tester.

I have tested both Pentax and Wasabi batteries until they die. And I found no significant difference in the number of images taken.
I was a staunch supporter of Wasabi batteries. If you read the entire thread you'll see me defending them all through the thread. However, this person in the thread claims to test batteries for a living and used a "professional battery analyzer." See here: Re: Kodak battery eBay jokes: Kodak Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

05-03-2014, 12:24 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sandpipe Quote
If you decide to go with the Wasabi batteries buy them directly from Blue Nook and shipping is free for orders over $30.00. So you can get 3 batteries for $36 instead of 2 batteries from Amazon for $34.00.
Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I might as well spend an additional $2 for a third battery as opposed to shipping. I just placed an order with Blue Nook - thanks, that was a wonderful suggestion. Most appreciated!

A couple of additional items have come to mind.
  • Recharging time - the Pentax OEM takes 6.5 hours regardless. The Wasabi's take 1 to 2 hours, which can be an advantage.
  • The Charger - The Wasabi with the integrated plug is wonderful - no cord, you just flip the plug into the charger for storage. The cord on the Pentax unit, could be replaced with an integrated plug. One less item to carry and it probably would be cheaper to produce. Having said that, for worldwide support, the cord probably does have advantages in terms of differences in plugs.

05-03-2014, 12:45 PM   #10
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I don't think that Pentax makes batteries. "Pentax battery" is a Hahnel (or other brand battery) with a Pentax logo for 100% price increase
05-03-2014, 02:18 PM   #11
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The difference is that major manufacturers generally have better to good tracking of the supply and manufacturing lane and actual quality follow-up. Lenovo, Apple, Nokia and more actually have recalled millions of batteries after any risk of failure have been exposed and work to increase safety after that. Your random Ebay supplier won't.

Batteries are pretty much the only real dangerous thing we have in our cameras.
05-03-2014, 02:35 PM   #12
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I'm not aware of the dangers of batteries.

Is there any difference in safety between using AA's (NiMH) and Lithium battery?

Thanks!
05-03-2014, 02:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
I'm not aware of the dangers of batteries.

Is there any difference in safety between using AA's (NiMH) and Lithium battery?

Thanks!
Lithium batteries can be more volatile when they short circuit - smoke, catch fire, etc...
05-03-2014, 03:03 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michael Piziak Quote
Lithium batteries can be more volatile when they short circuit - smoke, catch fire, etc...
So, it wouldn't be false to say that AA's are a safer form of power?

But..

Then absolutely logical question appears - why all DSLR's are constructed to use Lithium batteries instead of AA's?
05-03-2014, 03:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Just some observations here - not really complaining, nor do I have a problem. At least a year ago, perhaps 18 months - I finally broke down and picked up some spare batteries. Up till then the OEM battery was doing fine, but I started getting low more often than not. I shoot a K5, and I do have to say that for ambient low light shooting, I have been using liveview up on the tripod as just a matter of habit. When I had my K20, a single battery held me for 3 years. I never really ran out on a shoot - but I was not really using liveview all that much. Also, when not in use, I do keep the spares in their little bags rubber banded together, so that they don't roll around in my backpack shorting out.

Anyway, after doing some research I picked up two Wasabi Power battery units along with a charger - the price was right, and a battery is a battery (in most respects). Everything works fine, I am happy, they work first time, all the time, everything is pretty dependable.

So, why the post here. Well, in terms of usage - I have been noticing that the Wasabi units tend to probably get 50% to 75% of the shots/time that Pentax OEM unit supports (but I have no real quantitative measurements either). Now, with using liveview - you do have the rear monitor on a lot more (depleting energy) as opposed to using the viewfinder. I use the liveview's level (horizontal and vertical) - actually its pretty handy. I really doubt that usage between battery types/brands is any different.

It is starting to occur to me that I need some additional power capacity when out shooting. The other night, I was done and happened to see that the third battery was done too - as in flat depleted. That is probably the fifth or sixth time that I have run through all three batteries in a single shooting. I have not really lost any shots, but I would like to have some reserve margin. Thus, some additional batteries are in order. Either an additional one or two - which brings me to which brand.
  • Wasabi - $12 plus $5 shipping from Amazon or 2 for $34
  • Pentax OEM - $45 with free shippnig from Adorama
I am inclined to go with 2 more from Wasabi. The lower cost and even their performance appears to be less, its still somewhat reasonable. If I were backpacking a lot, where weight and volume are a bit more important, I would go with the Pentax.

Does anyone have any better suggestions?

I had very bad results from two third party batts purchased as backup and will never use anything than OEM Pentax now. Just not worth the risk to me. Two third party batts would give me 200 shots on a K30. Pentax batt was good for 500. Now with K-3 my Pentax batts give me 1000 shots without flash. Or more. I have never exhausted a Pentax batt in a single day.

BTW, I routinely shoot 500 per day as part of my work. Nothing worth showing, those are all evidence photos. The point is only that I had a bad experience with third party batts.
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