USB Powered Camera – Get 8+ hours for your DSLR or Mirrorless


(piano music) – [David] Hey guys it’s
David, and today I’m going to walk you through how to
extend the battery life of your camera using an external USB battery. When I made the move from
full size DSLRs to Mirrorless for my video work, what I
found was the battery life was less than spectacular. With my Nikon D810, I was
getting about two hours of video which wasn’t bad,
but with a couple of extra batteries, I could shoot
up to six hours straight. With my G85 however, I’m
shooting for about an hour and a half tops before I
have to switch batteries, which is pretty inconvenient
if I’m doing a full day of shooting. So I decided to get a dummy
battery, if you don’t know what a dummy battery is, it’s
basically an adapter in the shape of your camera battery,
that allows you to connect it directly to any outlet. The one limitation is portability
though, as you can only move it as far as the
outlet you’re connected to. The solution to this would
be a power system like V Lock or Atomos Power Station,
both great systems, providing power using large capacity
batteries, but at $495 for the Atomos, the price is
a bit too steep for me. So today what we’re gonna
do is create our own quasi power station, and use one
of these dummy batteries to connect to an external
USB battery, allowing you to shoot an entire day
without swapping power. So let’s go over everything
you’re gonna need. Your dummy battery, this
one is for a G7 or G85, but you can get one
for most camera brands. A five volt to nine volt USB
converter, a small cheese plate, this one is from SmallRig
and includes quarter inch and three inch threads, a
5.5mm to 1.7mm converter, unless your battery comes
pre-terminated at 5.5mm already, but mine didn’t, a hot
shoe to 1/4 20 adapter, Velcro, the self adhesive
kind, you can get inch, inch and a half or the bit two inch. But you may have to trim
up the two inch if you get that one, and a USB battery. This one is 10,000 milliamp
hours, but you can pretty much use any one you have laying around. Just make sure it’s larger
than the capacity of the batteries you’re gonna be
replacing, otherwise there’s really no point in doing this conversion. And this way you can
roughly do the math, my G85 batteries are about 1,200
milliamp hours, so this external battery is roughly
equivalent to about eight of my batteries. When it comes to my 1,900
milliamp Nikon batteries this one’s about fives
times that capacity. And I’ll make sure to put
links to all the parts down below so you can easily
put this kit together and check out the latest prices. All said, everything including
the battery, was a hair over $70. Eight G85 batteries would
cost about $400 for the OEM versions and roughly $230 for third party. Quite a savings either way. So let’s get started on this build. The first thing you’re
gonna need to do is insert the dummy battery into
the battery compartment. You’ll see that most cameras
have a door flap or an insert that will allow you
to still close the door. This one on the G85 is
not my favorite because it still uses some kind of weird
flap to do it, but it’ll do. Alternatively you can probably
just leave the door open which, nine out of 10 times is what I do. Now connect the dummy battery
to the five volt and nine volt USB adapter using the
small adapter, and then let’s move all that to the side. Next we’ll screw in the
1/4 20 to cold shoe adapter onto the cheese plate. Most of these adapters
have two knocking nuts, so lock the one closer to
the plate so it doesn’t move. Now using the rough side of
the velcro secured to the top of the plate, you can
use the two small strips like I did here, or if you
have the larger two inch strip, that would probably fit even
better, just you may have to trim it up a little bit. Now on the battery we’re
gonna adhere the soft side of the Velcro, so make
sure you press down good to get a good bond. We don’t want this falling
off whenever you mount it. Then just connect the battery
to the plate and we’re almost done. Once you clean up the cables a
little bit, place the battery on the camera’s hot shoot,
plug in our USB cable and make sure we’re getting power. For this build I went
with a cold shoe mount, and the beauty of using
a cheese plate is that we can mount it anywhere on our rig. If you have a quarter inch
to three eighths adapter like this one, you can mount
it to a cage if you have one or even a tripod like I did here. I’ve been using this power
set up for about two weeks now, and I’ve been able
to run about four hours of video with the battery
only getting to about half capacity. I haven’t had any overheating
or power issues to speak of so I’m willing to say
that this is a pretty safe option for your camera. So that’s it for this video,
hope you guys enjoyed it, as always, if you liked
it, make sure you click on that like button, leave
some comments, subscribe, and I’ll see you next time. (piano music)

100 Replies to “USB Powered Camera – Get 8+ hours for your DSLR or Mirrorless”

  1. Does anyone have a problem with this ?? After 2 minutes i get a wierd noise and my screen shows a glitch and i have to turn it off ! I must try a second power bank but im afraid ! Can this thing with the glitch "brake" my camera? (Panasonic g7) !

  2. I currently am using the Panasonic G85 mounted to a 3 axis Gimbal. I hate having to change out batteries when I am filming at events and have been looking to do something like this as an alternative to using the normal batteries. I will rig something up on to my gimbal so I can use the external battery like you have done. Thank you for the tip.

  3. This is a proper DeJaVu right there…
    I literally figured the same setup and purchased the parts ~5min ago and was hoping my idea will work because I only saw it done with batteries that have a dedicated 9V DC outlet and now I see proof and you even apparently bought the same step-up cable I did!
    Hell yeah! Thanks for the vid!

  4. I knew there had to be a way to do this. Gonna be mounting a battery pack on the smallrig G85 cage that I ordered based on your review. Thanks for saving me a bunch of time!

    EDIT – Finally used this solution just the other day, shooting a short film. Didn't have to switch batteries all day. Super liberating, thanks once again.

  5. Your calculations for the batteries are not accurate tho 😀
    Powerbank = 3.6v (for the cells) x 10,000mAh = 36Wh
    Camera battery = 7.2v x 1,200mAh = 8.64Wh
    36Wh / 8.64Wh = "only" 4.1667 times the capacity

  6. Have done this and works well on 9v after making 8.4,8.8 volt variants but only the straight 9v worked. It works ok on video and straight standard shooting. However I have a problem that it will not work on timelapse at 9v. It operates but doesn't advance to next image. Swop back to standard battery or 240v adapter with same settings and timelapse works fine. Any ideas.

  7. I am getting a battery exhausted and won't even take a single picture. I am using this on a Sony A7rii — any thoughts?

  8. Thank you for the video, well done. I'm having problems with my setup, I have the dummy battery and external battery which has a 9v output, but the dslr either did nothing, or sometimes flashes the dead battery icon and won't shoot. Is this a common problem, and do you know how I could troubleshoot? Thanks!

  9. Thanks for sharing this video! You've done a marvelous job; a lot of the YouTube's I've seen on this topic are not shot close enough for me to see what actually needs to be done, and therefore are virtually useless.

  10. What would cause the camera to read the battery as low ? It doesn't do that plugged into the wall. It still works but the blinking battery icon is really annoying. Just in case your wondering I'm using the same setup as above just with the 20000mah anker and a DR-E18 dc coupler for the canon t7i. I appreciate any advice given thanks.

  11. Looks great! Super helpful video, thank you. Watched a couple of other vids and decided to stick to this set up. Looks cleaner and more convenient.

  12. wow great video. Great shots, very clean, great info ,even down to the screw adapter which ive wanted to know about. Amazing!

  13. Has anyone been able to get this to work with a Panasonic Lumix G7? I read a couple of comments below about lines on the LCD. I have a G7 and am worried that there's a problem for this camera.

  14. Can I Directly connect a 20000 mAh powerbank (Mi 20000mAh V2 – supports upto QuickCharge 3) to a Canon 1300D (Rebel T6)? Or does the USB port not support charging?

  15. hi, im using a 20000 mAh power back whit a 5v to 9v step up and a dummy battery whit protection inside, is dangerous for my Sony A6500 for long hours? apparently it work well and show 100% charge. thanks

  16. Excellent video and it worked well for my Canon 6D which I use for multiple exposures for astrophotography – battery normally lasts around three hours but this set-up allowed me to operate the camera for over 8 hours and still plenty of power left in the Anker battery.

  17. I would say get an angled USB cable so it doesn't stick out back so much. One thing I worry about these hack was that if you accidentally swing your hand and unplugged the wires that will cut off the battery, and worry how stable the battery works like tells you when it will die before it just shuts off.

  18. Why not just use a backup power supply that will last forever for $50 bucks, sure they are heavish but you can just plug it into a wall again and charge it right back up.

  19. not sure if the adapter will do a good job or not, if it does not, it may shorten your camera's internal circuit life?

  20. Anyone have any suggestions regarding voltage adjustable chargers/packs….almost all these hacks give you 9vlts when the batteries state 7.2 volts ..so who knows if you are slowly cooking the circuitry of the camera…….Seems like no one addresses this issue……………..

  21. I have a problem with the Nikon D750 when connected to a Anker 20100 via the dummy battery the camera starts up but as soon as the live view button is pressed the camera shows error .Any help would be appreciated.

  22. Hello and great video. I purchased the Panasonic DMW-DCC12 DC Coupler, for my Lumix GH5, do you know if the adapters you list in the video work with this?…I could not find a size of the Panasonic coupler I purchased. Thanks!

  23. Nice video! I have a Canon 6D mark II .. I can’t find the dummy battery.. is there any you could please direct me to?

  24. It’s been a few months now since this was released and I guess a few people have been using this setup. Any problems?

  25. I used to charge my camera with my anker battery bank and now when I connect automatically go to usb mode and docent charge. can someone help me ?

  26. I have Canon 750D a dummy battery, step up adapter from 5V to 9V and a 1amp powerbank with an output of 5V. When I tried the rig I bought I got message on screen "check battery pack" and I can't pass through this message, tried to turn off and on for several times but it didn't work. What else can I do?

  27. Subbed. Thank you for the shopping list and details of the contents of this list. Also for leveling the decibels of the background music to a low but satisfying sound.

  28. Hi David. I have the exact same setup as you with the dummy battery, the cable adapter, the voltage adapter from 5v to 9v. I use the Energiser power bank as the battery pack. http://www.argos.co.uk/product/6175623
    My camera is a Panasonic g85.

    What I find is recently the camera is shutting off in the middle of filming so I'm losing important videos as they're becoming corrupted from sudden power loss. I've had to figure out a complicated fix to retrieve my corrupted video for a job I did a couple of days ago. What was going to be a couple of hours work has now turned into two days trying to troubleshoot.

    What could be going wrong with this? Is there too much power going to the camera? (the device said it wouldn't overcharge my device) I can't take pictures when I use this setup. When I go to take a picture the camera attempts to take a picture, sounds like the stabiliser jolts inside it then goes back to the viewfinder but no picture has been taken. Any thoughts? Thanks for the video and reading this.

  29. Great video! What do you recommend for powering an Atomos Ninja Inferno & GH5? I'm thinking of getting a V-Lock Battery as I really want to be able to film outside away from power cable.

  30. Great video! I have the Olympus EM5 M2, could you please provide me the list of all the parts I need to get. Thanks!

  31. How you getting 7.2v to 8.4v out of a 4.7v battery bank which is normal USB out put voltage meant for mobile phones the step up is a machanical thing or have I missed something

  32. Tether Tools has pretty good dummy batteries / battery eliminator. I just wish they made one for my DC-FZ82 🙁

  33. 4:49 What's that thing called attached to the tripod?

    Edit: Thanks for this video, btw. I was trying to think of a solution but this helped a lot. I bought everything but a way to attach it to the camera or tripod. Trying to decide how I want it. I bought the Anker 20100 model. It's longer and thinner than the model in your video. I'm worried it'll be too wobbly if I use that cheese plate.

  34. Thanks for your tutorial. It is amazing. May I request you how do we get dummy battery for my canon SX50 cmerea

  35. Hello ive bought a powerbank with 20000mah from Anker. It has an output of 2,4A. Somehow when i use the camera the battery percentage drops. Ive recorded 3-4 minutes and it droped from 85 to 78%. Why? The powerbank is connected and the option for usb charging is enabled. Please help me out. Thanks!

  36. The problem with this setup is that you can't look through the viewfinder because the powerbank is protruding way back.

  37. If you are using Fuji. Fuji XT3 and XT30, (no battery dummy needed). USB C power direct using an Anker Powercore PD 10000

  38. I'll probably stick to just using the power junkie/dummy battery solution that was made (a year after this video was done). Gives me an easy solution and uses Sony batteries

  39. I think you did the MATH WRONG. You did not count the difference in voltage. 1mAh at 5 volt (powerbank) not the same as 1mAh at 7,2 volt (camera batteries have a voltage around that).

  40. Don't you think an NF-FXXX plate would be better ? There are plates with dummy batteries for that kind of battery and they are widely used with lighting and screens.

  41. Not sure why you need the 5v to 9v adapter cable..ive seen dslrs powered using a 5v 2A power brick as a smart phone would..im no electrician but ive seen it work..

  42. This is just awesome as I have a G85 and when I shot with my cage at the races I shoot it seems I running out of battery at the wrong times. So I'm going to get this setup and rig it to my cage so I can shoot all day that would be awesome and even for traveling too. Thanks

  43. From 2000 likes of this video, camera manufacturers should /must understand the need of the user of bigger battery vs the compactness.

  44. This option may not have been out at the release date of your vid in 2017 but I found another way to get power to the camera from a power bank on Amazon –

    DMW-DCC8 DC Coupler (Fully Decoded) USB Power Adapter DMW-AC8 AC Adapter Camera Charger Kit for DMW-BLC12, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200, DMC-FZ1000, DMC-G5, DMC-G6, DMC-G7, DMC-GX8 Cameras – https://www.amazon.com/DMW-DCC8-DMW-BLC12-Panasonic-DMC-FZ200-DMC-FZ1000/dp/B076HXNV69

    Really well done content and hopefully this helps add options to a very useful hack. Cheers.

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