Cheap batteries vs. expensive?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jo, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. jo

    jo Guest

    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?
     
    jo, Feb 1, 2004
    #1
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  2. 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" <> wrote in message
    news:CDcTb.73747$...
    > 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?
    >
    >
    >
     
    Joseph Meehan, Feb 1, 2004
    #2
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  3. jo

    gr Guest

    "jo" <> 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.
     
    gr, Feb 1, 2004
    #3
  4. jo

    jo Guest

    "Joseph Meehan" <> wrote in message
    news:%%cTb.61851$...
    > 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".
     
    jo, Feb 2, 2004
    #4
  5. jo

    jo Guest

    "gr" <> wrote in message
    news:bvjuas$sccmb$-berlin.de...
    > "jo" <> 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!
     
    jo, Feb 2, 2004
    #5
  6. In article <bvjuas$sccmb$-berlin.de>,
    "gr" <> wrote:

    > "jo" <> 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.
     
    Kevin McMurtrie, Feb 2, 2004
    #6
  7. In article <CDcTb.73747$>,
    "jo" <> 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.
     
    Kevin McMurtrie, Feb 2, 2004
    #7
  8. jo

    jo Guest

    "Kevin McMurtrie" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In article <CDcTb.73747$>,
    > "jo" <> 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.
     
    jo, Feb 3, 2004
    #8
  9. "jo" <> wrote in message
    news:tLGTb.232$...
    >
    > "Kevin McMurtrie" <> wrote in

    message
    >

    news:...
    > > In article

    <CDcTb.73747$>,
    > > "jo" <> 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
     
    Richard Steinfeld, Feb 3, 2004
    #9
  10. jo

    jo Guest

    "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
     
    jo, Feb 4, 2004
    #10
  11. "jo" <> wrote in message
    news:Dk%Tb.23158$...
    | |
    | 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.

    Dunno. I feel so sorry for those poor employees at the Wal-Mart
    gulag that I can't bring myself to shop there. I don't care how
    cheap they are, I just can't do it: the arrogant company treats
    their people like slaves. Really. I feel that they are
    un-American: revolting.

    Okidata amazed me by replacing my terrible printer after a very
    long time with a better one. However, the drums are very
    expensive. They last a long time, but when you need one, it costs
    $168. And many dealers have stopped carrying the consumables. Too
    bad. An excellent, unique design with good performance.


    | 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.
    |

    Minolta had good manners about this until recently (they were
    purchased by Konica, have shut their Japanese factories, and are
    leaping to China). Now it's proprietary batteries.


    | 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.
    |

    Don't understand.
    Ironically, the universal camera batteries of the 70s (PX-625,
    PX-13) can't be bought any more due to mercury pollution. So,
    classics like the Canons and the Rollei 35 can't have precise
    built-in light meters now. The mercury batteries put out a
    dependable voltage, the replacment alkalines now put out a
    voltage that droops with use, and so do your light readings.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?

    Now, there's something I forgot to consider. The AA cells of my
    Minolta will not be a problem. The flash or IBM cards may be a
    whole 'nother issue.

    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?

    In fact, I do both.
    I make backups of two programs on floppies. Floppies are solid
    computer technology, basic to the machine and the operating
    system. CDRWs must use a proprietary overlay to work. Further,
    you cannot unerase an erased file on a CDRW. On a floppy, that's
    not an issue. You can still buy floppies at Costco, Staples, etc.
    They are commonly used. Floppies and hard drives are essentially
    straight DOS in operation. CDs, because of patent reasons, I
    guess, use a proprietary "pseudo DOS."

    I use tape daily to record radio programs off the radio and off
    the internet. I listen to them later. CDRWs would not duplicate
    the versatility.

    See ya.

    Richard
     
    Richard Steinfeld, Feb 4, 2004
    #11
  12. jo

    jo Guest

    "Richard Steinfeld"
    > | I have a (20yr.?) old Pentax MX that will probably outlast the
    > camera I just
    > | bought. No batteries, unless you add a flash.
    > |
    >
    > Don't understand.


    Oops, let me correct myself. I totally forgot about the button 357s for the
    light meter. The rest is mechanical. The external flash takes 4 AAs.
    jo

    >
     
    jo, Feb 4, 2004
    #12
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