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Cheap batteries vs. expensive?

 
 
jo
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      02-01-2004
The local camera shop would like me to pay $49.99 for a spare Li
rechargeable battery for my Pentax Optio S4. Looking at ebay, I see
anything from $43 to $7.99 USD for "real Pentax" to "made in china"
varieties. If the volts and mAh are the same as the original, what else am
I missing here (except maybe another 40 bucks) in making a comparison?

I don't want to insert the equivalent of a small bomb into my camera, but I
don't like to pay more than I need to either. Can someone suggest a decent
replacement brand or source?



 
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Joseph Meehan
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      02-01-2004
It is safe to say the $7.99 "made in china" is not the same as the
$49.99 Pentax. There are a number of ways they can be different.

Physical design elements like cardboard vs. brass
Quality control
Accuracy of measured output (there are almost always ways of fudging
those numbers)
Exact physical size (maybe just a little bigger and causing it to get
stuck in your camera)
Age (when was it made and how has it been stored?
Warrantee, if bad who will replace it?

I would not consider the $7.99 deal. Deal with supplies you trust and I
tend to stick to products I trust as well.

--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math


"jo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:CDcTb.73747$(E-Mail Removed). ..
> The local camera shop would like me to pay $49.99 for a spare Li
> rechargeable battery for my Pentax Optio S4. Looking at ebay, I see
> anything from $43 to $7.99 USD for "real Pentax" to "made in china"
> varieties. If the volts and mAh are the same as the original, what else

am
> I missing here (except maybe another 40 bucks) in making a comparison?
>
> I don't want to insert the equivalent of a small bomb into my camera, but

I
> don't like to pay more than I need to either. Can someone suggest a

decent
> replacement brand or source?
>
>
>



 
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gr
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Posts: n/a
 
      02-01-2004
"jo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote
> The local camera shop would like me to pay $49.99 for a spare Li
> rechargeable battery for my Pentax Optio S4. Looking at ebay, I see
> anything from $43 to $7.99 USD for "real Pentax" to "made in china"
> varieties. If the volts and mAh are the same as the original, what else

am
> I missing here (except maybe another 40 bucks) in making a comparison?
>
> I don't want to insert the equivalent of a small bomb into my camera, but

I
> don't like to pay more than I need to either. Can someone suggest a

decent
> replacement brand or source?


Here's a thought: next time you shop for electronics, don't be a sheep and
give in to the manufacturer's desire for you to buy expensive LiIon
proprietary batteries. Buy something that takes standard AA NiMH batteries.


 
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jo
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      02-02-2004

"Joseph Meehan" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:%%cTb.61851$(E-Mail Removed)...
> It is safe to say the $7.99 "made in china" is not the same as the
> $49.99 Pentax. There are a number of ways they can be different.
>
> Physical design elements like cardboard vs. brass
> Quality control
> Accuracy of measured output (there are almost always ways of fudging
> those numbers)
> Exact physical size (maybe just a little bigger and causing it to get
> stuck in your camera)
> Age (when was it made and how has it been stored?
> Warrantee, if bad who will replace it?
>
> I would not consider the $7.99 deal. Deal with supplies you trust and

I
> tend to stick to products I trust as well.
>
> --
> Joseph E. Meehan


Thanks Joseph, I will consider your points.
I tried to search for this info myself, but it was difficult to extract
anything meaningful.

Some of the battery faqs are hosted by sellers such as "greenbatteries" who
are interested in selling their particular off name stock. They pretty much
have the attitude that "milk is milk". Still other sites tell you to bite
the bullet and buy the "real" item. Everyone has their own agenda.

As far as actual brand names, I've seen Pentax, Fuji, Vidpro and Rowa and
the rest have been nameless "replacements for NP-40 or D-LI8".


 
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jo
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      02-02-2004

"gr" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:bvjuas$sccmb$(E-Mail Removed)-berlin.de...
> "jo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote
> > The local camera shop would like me to pay $49.99 for a spare Li
> > rechargeable battery for my Pentax Optio S4. Looking at ebay, I see
> > anything from $43 to $7.99 USD for "real Pentax" to "made in china"
> > varieties. If the volts and mAh are the same as the original, what else

> am
> > I missing here (except maybe another 40 bucks) in making a comparison?
> >
> > I don't want to insert the equivalent of a small bomb into my camera,

but
> I
> > don't like to pay more than I need to either. Can someone suggest a

> decent
> > replacement brand or source?


> Here's a thought: next time you shop for electronics, don't be a sheep and
> give in to the manufacturer's desire for you to buy expensive LiIon
> proprietary batteries.


Clearly, I didn't make battery type a primary consideration in my purchase
of this camera. It does, however, fit nicely into every single purse I own
:^) and it has alot of nice features for it's size.

Besides, the cost of a spare battery (even at the bloated 40-50 bucks) is
small in comparison to what many of us spend on printer inkjet cartridges
each year.
Yeah, I know, I should have gotten a printer that holds a simple pint of
each color instead of those fancy little cartridges the manufacturers all
seem to require! If only...!

>Buy something that takes standard AA NiMH batteries.


I am doing more than my part to support all types of battery manufacturers!


 
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Kevin McMurtrie
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Posts: n/a
 
      02-02-2004
In article <bvjuas$sccmb$(E-Mail Removed)-berlin.de>,
"gr" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> "jo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote
> > The local camera shop would like me to pay $49.99 for a spare Li
> > rechargeable battery for my Pentax Optio S4. Looking at ebay, I see
> > anything from $43 to $7.99 USD for "real Pentax" to "made in china"
> > varieties. If the volts and mAh are the same as the original, what else

> am
> > I missing here (except maybe another 40 bucks) in making a comparison?
> >
> > I don't want to insert the equivalent of a small bomb into my camera, but

> I
> > don't like to pay more than I need to either. Can someone suggest a

> decent
> > replacement brand or source?

>
> Here's a thought: next time you shop for electronics, don't be a sheep and
> give in to the manufacturer's desire for you to buy expensive LiIon
> proprietary batteries. Buy something that takes standard AA NiMH batteries.
>
>


Not all Li-ion cells are proprietary. Sometimes the battery pack exists
before the camera. You just need an up-to-date cross reference list.
 
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Kevin McMurtrie
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-02-2004
In article <CDcTb.73747$(E-Mail Removed)>,
"jo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> The local camera shop would like me to pay $49.99 for a spare Li
> rechargeable battery for my Pentax Optio S4. Looking at ebay, I see
> anything from $43 to $7.99 USD for "real Pentax" to "made in china"
> varieties. If the volts and mAh are the same as the original, what else am
> I missing here (except maybe another 40 bucks) in making a comparison?
>
> I don't want to insert the equivalent of a small bomb into my camera, but I
> don't like to pay more than I need to either. Can someone suggest a decent
> replacement brand or source?
>
>
>


I'd be careful of buying from unknown sources. They could be fakes or
stolen rejects. They could even be fakes with stolen reject cells in
them. All the same scams that happen with computer RAM apply except
that Li-ion cells can explode.

You can shop around camera stores for a good deal on a 3rd party
battery. Lenmar probably makes one for $45 but they're not a name that
I like much.
 
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jo
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-03-2004

"Kevin McMurtrie" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> In article <CDcTb.73747$(E-Mail Removed)>,
> "jo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> > I don't want to insert the equivalent of a small bomb into my camera,

but I
> > don't like to pay more than I need to either. Can someone suggest a

decent
> > replacement brand or source?


> I'd be careful of buying from unknown sources. They could be fakes or
> stolen rejects. They could even be fakes with stolen reject cells in
> them. All the same scams that happen with computer RAM apply except
> that Li-ion cells can explode.


I've lost a handheld tv and an underwater flashlight to battery leakage in
the past, so I am familiar enough with the ensuing mess.

> You can shop around camera stores for a good deal on a 3rd party
> battery. Lenmar probably makes one for $45 but they're not a name that
> I like much.


B&H has Pentax for $40+ship, I will probably just order one. Focus had
Vidpro for $25, but the properties are not identical, and Adorama had their
own brand for $30 and didn't state any properties. Thanks Kevin.


 
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Richard Steinfeld
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-03-2004

"jo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:tLGTb.232$(E-Mail Removed)...
>
> "Kevin McMurtrie" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in

message
>

news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> > In article

<CDcTb.73747$(E-Mail Removed)>,
> > "jo" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> > > I don't want to insert the equivalent of a small bomb

into my camera,
> but I
> > > don't like to pay more than I need to either. Can

someone suggest a
> decent
> > > replacement brand or source?

>
> > I'd be careful of buying from unknown sources. They

could be fakes or
> > stolen rejects. They could even be fakes with stolen

reject cells in
> > them. All the same scams that happen with computer RAM

apply except
> > that Li-ion cells can explode.

>
> I've lost a handheld tv and an underwater flashlight to

battery leakage in
> the past, so I am familiar enough with the ensuing mess.
>
> > You can shop around camera stores for a good deal on a

3rd party
> > battery. Lenmar probably makes one for $45 but they're

not a name that
> > I like much.

>


I think that one must ask the question, "Is Lenmar the
manufacturer or are they marketers of other peoples'
products?"

> B&H has Pentax for $40+ship, I will probably just order

one. Focus had
> Vidpro for $25, but the properties are not identical, and

Adorama had their
> own brand for $30 and didn't state any properties. Thanks

Kevin.
>


It is common for a marketer to switch from one manufacturer
to another, sometimes frequently, always hunting for the
best price/profit. The drill usually goes that the marketer
has their own brand name and part number on the battery,
supplying the labels or even just the label artwork to the
battery maker. Thus, you can get a great house label battery
one month, and a burster the next month. It's roulette!

Also, a marketer can force a deal on the manufacturer in
which the only way that the manufacturer can make any money
is by dropping quality control and speeding up the line.
That's OK, since the manufacturer's brand name isn't going
onto the product. He's not worrying about trashing his own
reputation.

What's important to me is that I know who made the product
in the first place and what their stuff is like. After
working with sound equipment for many years, I tend to be
most fond of companies that specialize in one type of
product, one that they make very well. Their energy,
expertise, and reputation are concentrated in that line of
goods. And with major brands, how much of the cost of your
battery, or what you paid for the quality, went instead
toward TV ads, leaving you with overpriced lackluster goods.

Here's an interesting case in point:
Over many years, I've paid attention to one or two
particular brands of heavily-advertised alkaline batteries.
I'm not going to name names right now because I don't want a
"product defamation" lawsuit. So, let's just say I see (and
buy) one of these brands at a major warehouse chain. For
over 20 years, I've found the power delivery in this brand
to be adequate, and not a bit more: the word "mediocre"
comes to mind. In fact, I have found them pooped out before
their printed end date. Totally pooped out, in fact.

On the other hand, I got great quality from house brand
alkalines at two different supermarket chains.
An issue for batteries has been the actual size of the
battery. Two different suppliers may make their batteries to
different dimensions. It is common, for example, for
products that take J batteries to specify a particular brand
because they know that that brand will provide reliable
conductivity with their contacts due to their predictable
size.

In the case of digital cameras, I've noticed that NiMH AA
cells are different lengths. In fact, I've measured two
different lengths in the same brand: Sanyo, a battery with a
nice reputation. When it comes to Minolta digitals, I've
noticed that the cameras put great force on those batteries
(and the camera's own battery door latches, too). Thus, I
can imagine that with a couple of brands out their, the
camera may fly apart under the strain. Ouch! And a really
big repair bill.

I am so fed up with super-expensive, proprietary batteries
that I won't buy a camera that takes proprietary batteries
no matter how good the camera is. A more critical question
is: will the manufacturer support this camera with batteries
15 years from now? Given that a lot of us are using cameras
that lock the user into their own battery (and I believe a
growing trend, an emerging "profit center"), I think that
it's important to ensure that the replacement battery is,
indeed, the equivalent of the original, or perhaps even
better. And that the vendor be able to provide
specifications an back up their claims with proof. For
example, what's the nature of the seals? If they can't, it
may make more sense to buy the OEM no matter how expensive
it is.

Richard

 
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jo
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-04-2004

"Richard Steinfeld"
> It is common for a marketer to switch from one manufacturer
> to another, sometimes frequently, always hunting for the
> best price/profit. The drill usually goes that the marketer
> has their own brand name and part number on the battery,
> supplying the labels or even just the label artwork to the
> battery maker. Thus, you can get a great house label battery
> one month, and a burster the next month. It's roulette!
>
> Also, a marketer can force a deal on the manufacturer in
> which the only way that the manufacturer can make any money
> is by dropping quality control and speeding up the line.
> That's OK, since the manufacturer's brand name isn't going
> onto the product. He's not worrying about trashing his own
> reputation.
>
> What's important to me is that I know who made the product
> in the first place and what their stuff is like.


This is something that gets harder and harder to discern these days, and it
can take a fair bit of research to figure it out.
Something might be badged with a brand name, but it could be swiss made,
german, czech, or made in Taiwan and quality won't be across the board.

After
> working with sound equipment for many years, I tend to be
> most fond of companies that specialize in one type of
> product, one that they make very well. Their energy,
> expertise, and reputation are concentrated in that line of
> goods. And with major brands, how much of the cost of your
> battery, or what you paid for the quality, went instead
> toward TV ads, leaving you with overpriced lackluster goods.
>
> Here's an interesting case in point:
> Over many years, I've paid attention to one or two
> particular brands of heavily-advertised alkaline batteries.
> I'm not going to name names right now because I don't want a
> "product defamation" lawsuit. So, let's just say I see (and
> buy) one of these brands at a major warehouse chain. For
> over 20 years, I've found the power delivery in this brand
> to be adequate, and not a bit more: the word "mediocre"
> comes to mind. In fact, I have found them pooped out before
> their printed end date. Totally pooped out, in fact.
>
> On the other hand, I got great quality from house brand
> alkalines at two different supermarket chains.
> An issue for batteries has been the actual size of the
> battery. Two different suppliers may make their batteries to
> different dimensions. It is common, for example, for
> products that take J batteries to specify a particular brand
> because they know that that brand will provide reliable
> conductivity with their contacts due to their predictable
> size.
>
> In the case of digital cameras, I've noticed that NiMH AA
> cells are different lengths. In fact, I've measured two
> different lengths in the same brand: Sanyo, a battery with a
> nice reputation. When it comes to Minolta digitals, I've
> noticed that the cameras put great force on those batteries
> (and the camera's own battery door latches, too). Thus, I
> can imagine that with a couple of brands out their, the
> camera may fly apart under the strain. Ouch! And a really
> big repair bill.
>
> I am so fed up with super-expensive, proprietary batteries
> that I won't buy a camera that takes proprietary batteries
> no matter how good the camera is.


I understand, I am equally fed up with printers that take super-expensive
cartridges that are so exotic that I can't buy them at Walmart.
The big trade off with batteries is size. 4 AA batteries (one reason I
didn't choose a particular Nikon) would increase the size and weight of my
camera by quite a bit. They could standardize smaller sized batteries. So
many electronics have become so small as to require a decrease in the
standard batteries dimensions. The potential profit to be made from
proprietary batteries is too great to see that happen, however.

A more critical question
> is: will the manufacturer support this camera with batteries
> 15 years from now?


I have a (20yr.?) old Pentax MX that will probably outlast the camera I just
bought. No batteries, unless you add a flash.

I don't know if they will support this camera in 10 yrs, batteries or memory
wise.. It could go the way of beta players or cell phones the size of
bricks. Will compact flash or sd cards still be supported? I didn't buy a
Sony solely because I won't buy "memory sticks", and the Mavica that prints
to dvd was too large. Anyone still put "floppies" in their computer or buy
a cassette tape lately?

>Given that a lot of us are using cameras
> that lock the user into their own battery (and I believe a
> growing trend, an emerging "profit center"), I think that
> it's important to ensure that the replacement battery is,
> indeed, the equivalent of the original, or perhaps even
> better. And that the vendor be able to provide
> specifications an back up their claims with proof. For
> example, what's the nature of the seals? If they can't, it
> may make more sense to buy the OEM no matter how expensive
> it is.


Pretty much where I wound up.
Nice post.
jo


 
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