LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Jim Harvey reviews Switronix Pro-X Battery System

COW Library : Cinematography : Jim Harvey : Jim Harvey reviews Switronix Pro-X Battery System
Jim Harvey reviews Switronix Pro-X Battery System

A Creative COW Product Review

Jim Harvey reviews: Switronix Battery

Jim Harvey Jim Harvey
JHV Digital
New York, USA

©Copyright 2004 Jim Harvey and Creativecow.net. All Rights Reserved
Article Focus:
In this article, CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Jim Harvey reviews the Switronix Pro-X Battery System and with great enthusiasm reveals, "These are awesome batteries! Short of a lens, the battery system on our cameras is probably the single biggest expense that we have. With professional battery systems costing a couple of thousand dollars we need to be able to maximize our run time while minimizing our cash outlay... For the past year or so, I have been using a battery that I am absolutely sold on. Not to be too anthropomorphic, but I'd venture to say that I 'LOVE' these batteries. They are made by a company called SWITRONIX.

Power to the People

Switronix Pro-X Battery System
Shooting with professional cameras is a lot more complicated than we think, especially if we've been doing it for any length of time. We tend to take for granted all the little odds and ends that we have to carry along with us simply to insure that our cameras will work when we need them to. Cables, Filters, Matte Boxes, On camera lights, off camera lights, Tripods, Batteries...Oh did I say batteries? Yes, the single most important thing that we need to have in our kit is our batteries (and charger/s). Without power, all the bells and whistles amount to excess baggage. If the camera won't turn on or goes dead in the middle of a shoot, nothing else much matters.

Short of a lens, the battery system on our cameras is probably the single biggest expense that we have. With professional battery systems costing a couple of thousand dollars we need to be able to maximize our run time while minimizing our cash outlay. The brick style battery that we all know is really the only option that we have short of plugging the camera into the wall (which for most of us isn't an option).

Once we make our battery investment, it becomes clear to us that we need a way to monitor our battery reserve while in the process of shooting. To this end, the manufacturers have come up with all sorts of little ideas to help us figure out how long the battery hanging on the back of our camera is going to last. Our cameras have in viewfinder voltage readouts, and we can set our alarms to warn us when we are getting dangerously low on power. The batteries themselves have LED power lights that light up sequentially to show us the power level of the brick, 'fuel gauges' on the battery attempt to let us in on the electron drain that's occurring inside the brick. All of this is well and good, but it all somehow falls a little short in actual practice.

I've seen camera displays that tell you you're fully charged blink out suddenly when the battery shuts down due to being depleted, no warning, just :::BLINK::: and out. I've had LED bars tell me that I've got a full charge and have the battery power the camera for 15 minutes before 'going dark'. All of us at one time or another have experienced this and because of that, we all tend to carry spares with us just so we don't get caught in a 'powerless' situation.

I've used every brand name battery you can buy over the years. Some are industry standard that you'll see on the back of almost every professional camera in the field, some have been no names when I was struggling to put a kit together, and most of them performed either 'good enough' or 'just fine' except for those moments that I just described.
Intellicom battery
For the past year or so, I have been using a battery that I am absolutely sold on. Not to be too anthropomorphic, but I'd venture to say that I 'LOVE' these batteries. They are made by a company called SWITRONIX and are some of the most advanced power sources that you can buy today. They are simply the best batteries that I've ever used. The run times are exceptional (they offer battery capacities from 90W to 130W). The capacity notwithstanding, the best and most innovative thing about these batteries is their Intellicom display.

Pro-X 90w Intellicom Battery

Not satisfied to simply put a bar meter, LED display or fuel gauge on their battery, SWITRONIX has incorporated a microprocessor into each battery that offers the operator a full range of battery function available to them at all times.

The Intellicom display shows Normal Run time in a backlit LCD display that is visible in any light. The operator can view Normal run time, Remaining Run time and remaining charge time in hours and minutes. The normal run time is calculated based on a default 30W draw. The remaining run time display is calculated from the actual draw of the camera sampled at 5 second intervals. The remaining charge time is calculated when connected to the smart charger that SWITRONIX makes for their batteries.

In the viewfinder, the display shows remaining capacity as a percentage in the lower right corner of compatible cameras. Most new 12v cameras are compatible; JVC 5000, PAN 200, All new Sony DSRs, etc. (JVC 500 Doesn't.) You can tell by removing the V-mount or AB plate, and behind you will find the standard AMP DC connector. If a camera has a second smaller 2-pin connector, than it supports the data passthrough.

When charging, the runtime display will vary due to the pulsing properties of the charger itself. When the battery is on the camera, however, the display is rock solid. The accuracy of the display is right on the money. In the field I have never had to guess how much time I have left on any particular brick. The display tells me how many hours and minutes I have until empty, and it's right on the money.
The batteries store vital information pertaining to charge cycles, voltage, temperature, chemistry type, serial number, date of manufacture and current draw in the microprocessor and this information can be accessed at any time when the battery is on the charger. The nice thing about the chargers are that they are built upon VERSAchem multichemistry charging technology, so they are fully compatible with the most widely used battery chemistries. All the PRO-X chargers will charge multiple batteries simultaneously (which, if you've ever used a sequential charger, you'll understand how important simultaneous charging really is). They continuously communicate with the battery in order to provide the optimal charging rate for the particular chemistry.


Pro-X Dual Charger System w/Camera Power Supply
Pro-X Dual Charger System w/Camera Power Supply (4 bay charger also available)

The chargers also do double duty as a camera power supply, so if you are in an area where you can plug in, you can power the camera directly from the charger.

The batteries are available in standard V type mount as well as the Gold mount. A great feature is the case material that is High Impact Plastic that feels as if it is a rubberized case. Even in extremely cold weather, this case is non slip and impact resistant.
Switronix also has a new V-mount plate with a 7.2v adapter and pt plug so you can run a light and PD-170 with a 90wh brick battery (it should be up on their website soon along with all other new V-mount adapters and gadgets).

Pro-X GP-TS Dual Mount Adapter

Pro-X GP-TS Dual Mount Adapter mounts 2 batteries for extended run times.

The nice part of all this is the price. The 90W package (2 batteries and a 2 bay digital charger) is about $1500.00, while the killer 130W package (2 batteries and a 2 bay digital charger) runs about $1700.00. To give you a good idea of the run times, I've used the 90W battery on a JVC DV5000 to shoot an entire day at the Javits Center in Manhattan. 3 hours of tape with 5 1/2 hours of intermittent use on one battery! Using a Sachtler Reporter with a 35W lamp continuously would give almost 2 hours run time! THAT'S Power to spare! SWITRONIX also has the best warranty in the business at 1 1/2 years (on Lithium batteries), and 3 years on the chargers.



For More Information visit www.switronix.com

Or Phone: 1-800-613-7948

In Conclusion

If you're considering batteries for your new camera, or thinking about replacing your current power system, you really should give the SWITRONIX line a close look. Tell them you saw it at CreativeCow!

5 cows.


©Copyright 2004 Jim Harvey | Creative Cow
All Rights Reserved


If you got here by a direct link to this page Click here to visit Creative COW's user forums and many other articles





Related Articles / Tutorials:
Cinematography
All Eyes on IBC 2016 for Cameras and Lenses Galore

All Eyes on IBC 2016 for Cameras and Lenses Galore

What’s that you say? An IBC that’s not only relevant, but downright exhilarating? This used to not be news, of course. However, in recent years, IBC has too often become simply an opportunity for European audiences to see products already announced at NAB. In 2016, however, the focus swings sharply to Amsterdam, especially when it comes to cameras and lenses. IBC 2016 is shaping up to be one of the most dramatic trade shows for cinematographers, broadcasters, and videographers in years. Join Creative COW Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a speedy overview of some of the highlights.

Feature
Tim Wilson
Cinematography
Depth of Field: Gregg Toland, Citizen Kane and Beyond

Depth of Field: Gregg Toland, Citizen Kane and Beyond

Whenever somebody equates "shallow depth of field" and "cinematic look," it's important to remember that the opposite is also sometimes true. Creative COW Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson celebrates the work of Gregg Toland, ASC, born this week in 1904 -- the first master of extreme depth of field in movies like Citizen Kane and The Grapes of Wrath that forever changed what is possible for humans to do with cameras. This reprise of a classic article from the Creative COW Archives also offers a look at what Toland's approach to cinematic composition can mean for YOUR shooting.

Editorial, Feature
Tim Wilson
Cinematography
New Trends and Technology at Cine Gear Expo 2016

New Trends and Technology at Cine Gear Expo 2016

Cine Gear Expo 2016 exhibits open Friday June 3 and 4, at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California with major screenings, filmmaker panel discussions, groundbreaking techniques and new equipment premiers that are sure to influence the filmmaking industry. Catering to the world’s top motion picture, video and new media visual artists, Paramount’s prestigious back lot is the ideal setting for professionals to meet with colleagues and nearly 300 top equipment vendors to see live demos and get their hands on the latest gear. Take a look at how this year's hottest trends are shaping up.

Feature
Susan Lewis
Cinematography
School, Teachers, Italian Neorealism & a Few Soviet Films

School, Teachers, Italian Neorealism & a Few Soviet Films

In this exclusive interview, generously granted to Creative COW by the Gamma and Density Journal, during his lifetime, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, sat down with Yuri Neyman, ASC to talk about his life as a cinematographer. We remember the genius.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Yuri Neyman
Cinematography
Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, 1930 - 2016 - Remembering the Genius

Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, 1930 - 2016 - Remembering the Genius

Winner of an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the long list of official accolades for Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC doesn't begin to illustrate the impact his work has had on generations of artists around the world. Friend, colleague, and Global Cinematography Institute co-founder Yuri Neyman, ASC shares some of his memories with us.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Yuri Neyman, ASC
Cinematography
Stepping into the Surgeon's Eyes

Stepping into the Surgeon's Eyes

Take advantage of years worth of Greg Ondera's surgical cinematography experience for cleaner, tighter shots and a better outcome.

Feature
Greg Ondera
Cinematography
Panasonic Makes 4K Handheld with AG-DVX200 Camcorder

Panasonic Makes 4K Handheld with AG-DVX200 Camcorder

Panasonic has announced a new large sensor 4K handheld camcorder with the same filmic quality of the VariCam, which also saw updates at this year's NAB Show.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Kylee Peña
Cinematography
Cinematographer-in-Residence: Mandy Walker ASC at UCLA

Cinematographer-in-Residence: Mandy Walker ASC at UCLA

Cinematographer Mandy Walker joins UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television as a Kodak Cinematographer in Residence, teaching the next generation of film students what it means to be a successful director of photography.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Kylee Peña
Cinematography
Adventures in 6K with Jackson, Wyoming's Brain Farm Cinema

Adventures in 6K with Jackson, Wyoming's Brain Farm Cinema

Staffed with outdoor sport enthusiasts and and fortified with the latest in 6K cameras and post production technology, Wyoming-based Brain Farm Cinema is taking wild leaps into the next level of production capabilities and working through challenges in media and infrastructure along the way.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Kylee Peña
Cinematography
The NASA IMAX Project with Cinematographer James Neihouse

The NASA IMAX Project with Cinematographer James Neihouse

James Neihouse, the large format cinematographer renowned for his work on projects from shuttle launches to volcanic eruptions, and newly-minted Academy member, finds himself working around the globe, literally, shooting the IMAX 3D film, Earth 2.0 (working title) co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and NASA. In this feature, Neihouse reflects on experiences working with astronauts, race cars, and rocket launches, and how important choosing the best equipment is in extreme production.

Feature, People / Interview
Creative COW
MORE
© 2016 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]