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GH5 DIY Power Solution development
  • Dear fellows @ Personal View,

    New registered user but frequent visitor here. My name is Chenxing and I am based in Toronto, Canada. I run a small documentary and commercial production house ( our website). 1 month ago We've got an early shipping of the GH5 and tested in field. Turns out the battery performance is not as good as i hoped (4k with IBIS only last a bit more than 1 hour 20 mins in real world usage.). So 1 month later, now I am in the process of co-designing an enhanced battery grip specifically for GH5 that will be able to at least triple GH5 4k running time, AND optionally output power for more devices.

    I am now working with a reputed camera power supply workshop in Beijing, China. We are half-way in the prototype making and expected to have this thing go on KICKSTARTER by the end of May and start shipping around early August.

    As you can see in the pictures below, at this time we have finished the 1st prototype with Li-polymer built-in battery, which currently supplies 5500mAh (a standard Panasonic DMW-BLF19 supplies 1860mAh), our not-so-scientific first test suggests that the GH5 camera will continuous run around 9 hours with the grip (4k 422 10bit, Leica 12-60 f2.8-4, on tripod, IBIS abled but it's slacking on tripod.)

    image

    But here's the fun part, in the Prototype ii, i am suggesting to implement additional power outputs on the grip. So that the grip will be able to supply 7.4 power to gh5 via dummy battery while simultaneously supply:

    • DC 12v (emergency use for most LEDs and some hungrier devices such as BMDCC and BMMCC)
    • DC 7.4v (most monitors, recorders, taredek wireless devices can be powered by 7.4v power)
    • 5v USB (emergency charging for most smartphones, most Sony α series, and some wierdo small LEDs)

    I've got this idea to carry less battery and most importantly, improve the ergonomic of the whole rig (decrease the weight on the top). Essentially it's got most of benefit of using v-mount battery without the weight, size, cost and troubles.

    But since this would cost a bit in R&D and implementation. I'd like to ask some questions to help us better make decisions. You opinion is deeply appreciated:

    1. Do you think you would buy this battery grip with power output? If so, what do you mostly shoot?
    2. Do you think the 3 power output plan meets your need? If it's too much or not enough let me know.
    3. Is there any other additional function you really want to add to this battery grip?
    4. What is your price range perception for this product.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION.

    If this product could achieve reasonably well reception we will use the income to design a generic battery grip for all dslr and mirrorless video cameras that can also be used partially as a cheeseplate/halfcage (an optimized and more practical competition to Atomos PowerStation sort of...).

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  • 24 Replies sorted by
  • The dummy battery part seens weird. The grip must give the power with the internal contacts, like original grip do. Not shure if 5500mah will be enought for feed the camera + optional devices. Already powerbanks become very cheap and afforable and people are modding and using dummy batteries for feeding cameras. So if your product use internal contacts, get enought power, and price is fair, will be great addition to our gear arsenal.

  • If this product achieved reasonably well reception we will use the income to design a generic battery grip for all dslr and mirrorless video cameras.

    It'll look like this?

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  • Hi Grimor thanks for your feedbacks!!

    The grip must give the power with the internal contacts

    the dummy battery decision is more of a cost-concerned decision, the dummy battery supplies are available and requires less re-modding, but if this is a common request we will implement it.

    Already powerbanks become very cheap and afforable and people are modding and using dummy batteries for feeding cameras

    this grip is primarily developed for improving convenience and ergonomics over the existing external power options, but again if dummy battery is really an issue for most people we will change to direct contact. oh btw, the existing prototype can communicate with GH5 and display remaining battery in camera already

    Regarding the DC/USB outputs, could you let me know what device you would like to power through this grip the most?

    Thanks!

  • It'll look like this?

    Hi Vitaliy, thanks the reply. That Bosch battery would probably set GH5 on fire hahaha.

    Anyway, i just edited the thread into:

    ...we will use the income to design a generic battery grip for all dslr and mirrorless video cameras that can export DC power and also be used partially as a cheeseplate/halfcage (an optimized and more practical competition to Atomos PowerStation sort of...).

    The current Atomos option is kind of cumbersome and expensive, not really a good fit for outdoor documentary use, but more for a film set or conference/performance recording. Eventually we hope we can make a compact generic grip with metal frame to attach accessories, supply power to the camera and power the recorders/monitors.

    Oh lastly thanks for making this thread sticky, really appreciate it. I will keep updating our progress and reply to every feedback.

  • A few thoughts:

    • gh5 battery is actually very good compared to other cameras such as Sony etc- gh5 has good running time on stock battery. 2h +

    • gh5 add on battery pack adds bulk to bottom of gh5, so problematic for video

    • lots of cheep battery power solutions exist already- such as addon battery packs that have power leads coming out of battery compartment

    • such solutions as mentioned above allow the usage of v-lock batteries, or even car batteries ;-)

    What I would like to see in a product that straps onto the bottom of the gh5 is a device that connects to the underside socket/pin connector. Thus allowing one to power the gh5 and also allow advanced remote operation. (Think 2.4ghz remote control of gh5)

    Obviously that product would not be inexpensive- or easy to make - maybe not even possible. But that is really the only thing I would like to connect to the bottom of my gh5.

    Basically that is the sort of product "I" would buy tomorrow if it existed.

  • Not sure what the benefits of making it gh5 specific are considering the after market grips will eventually cost like $30.

    Also, as everyone had said, for video use grips make the camera bulky and won't fit well on a rig, the opposite of increasing ergonomics. Plus there are existing options for external power.

    The only time I used grips was for timelapse photography stuff (and I don't use m43 for that).

    Why not make a better and cheaper atomos power station? I built my own version years ago before they even made their. It's basically just 2 np-f plates in parallel mouned to an electronics box that has some outputs and a 1/4-20 mount. No electronics, but if someone made a cost effective version with some circuit protection and voltage up/down I'd look into it.

    Everytime I get a new camera I just order some extra batteries and make a dummy battery and it always works great.

  • What I would like to see in a product that straps onto the bottom of the gh5 is a device that connects to the underside socket/pin connector. Thus allowing one to power the gh5 and also allow advanced remote operation. (Think 2.4ghz remote control of gh5)

    Thanks that is actually technically possible. The workshop i am partnering with, is in fact researching a common/generic method to wirelessly monitor and control the essentials of any DSLR/mirrorless. Not sure if we can make one eventually but i will keep that in mind.

  • Why not make a better and cheaper atomos power station? I built my own version years ago before they even made their. It's basically just 2 np-f plates in parallel mouned to an electronics box that has some outputs and a 1/4-20 mount. No electronics, but if someone made a cost effective version with some circuit protection and voltage up/down I'd look into it.

    Thanks for the reply man. That's in fact our plan, after this Gh5 product we will make a more ergonomical, economical and versatile competition to the A*omos powerstation. We didn't do it in the first place because the initial cost is really high for a ground-up product. But after hearing yours and many other feedbacks here and there, we will discuss and probably go directly down that route- Making an all-in-one product that can be used as a Half-cage, PowerStation and even with options to directly connect with 15mm rods.

    The existing np-f solution is in fact not the best solution coz npf is not so efficient in term of weight/capacity, it's popular primarily because it's reliable and cheap. The sony np-f solution is therefore also hard to be made into splash/dust proof without sacrificing the size of the entire unit, so the A*mos powerstation has limited use outside a controlled environment.

    We are not decided yet what the details would be with the powerStation direction, but i will keep updating the prototyping progress and keep listening to all your valuable opinions.

    Stay tuned:)

  • Here is the pinout of a Pentax SLR as an example of what to expect to be able to control: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/58060907 image

    Here is the offical battery pack for GH5:

    image image

    As you can see from the images, the DMW-BGGH5 includes the Joystick control. Which means that there is already a communication setup for that control. The joystick is very useful, even if the remote only had that it would already be super useful.

    Cheers, Alex

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  • @alcomposer Wow thanks for providing these info. Now i fully understand the features you are after. I guess a practical approach is to develop an swappable mount that connects the base of the cameras to the top of the power unit, so that the same power base will work with different cameras. It could be in the future plans if the first product launch survived haha.

    Btw, just for the reference. Doesn't GH5 has built-in wifi control already? and why would you want to wirelessly control it ? *(i mean, for our research, what scenarios you want to use this feature in?) thanks!

  • @nahlene,

    Currently there are many features that are not available under WiFi control. One of which is "Focus Transition".

    When Focus Transition mode is active it is not possible to control the camera, as the WiFi app thinks that the camera is under camera control- not wifi app control.

    I am sure there are other instances as well- however the wifi app is also not as responsive as a dedicated remote solution. It is my hope that there could also be a way to control focus, (obviously if Panasonic have enabled that- or there is a communication line (SPI) like is used in M43 lenses: http://marcuswolschon.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/reverse-engineering-micro-four-thirds.html

    Obviously this is all science fiction, but it may turn into something really cool.

    As a future-proofing idea, you may think about incorporating HDMI input into the "Wireless base" idea. Or even USB3 connectivity. When Panasonic release their tethered USB mode, the unit could be updated with firmware to allow control over that as well. So theoretically you could achieve 100% control over camera body:

    • Charging
    • Remote Follow Focus (think Aputure DEC for Panasonic Lenses)
    • Full camera control
    • High Quality HDMI monitoring 1080p

    Probably such a product would cost the price of the camera body itself, however if there are enough features I think people would jump on it. Especially considering that many people now own Gimbals, Quad-Copters, etc remote control, and monitoring is very important.

  • The most important thing to me: Put the tripod hole in the center of the grip!! I hate to rig the camera with "off center" alignment. Not all baseplates have lateral adjustment.

  • Charging Remote Follow Focus (think Aputure DEC for Panasonic Lenses) Full camera control High Quality HDMI monitoring 1080p

    AFIK wireless 0-delay monitoring is still very expensive to achieve so that makes remote follow focus pointless if relying on the wireless monitoring through device. But i think in terms of remote control this could be an direction. Maybe the grip in the future could be developed into a modularized device which could connect with a remote controlled tripod head, which could be helpful for event shooters and wildlife filmmakers.

  • Put the tripod hole in the center of the grip!!

    do you mean align in the centre of the lens?

  • Guys, thanks for all the reminders and inspiring ideas. I am meeting with the lead designer of the workshop this weekend and will update the progress next week.

  • Thanks for being interested in feedback @nahlene. I know everyone wants something different. However this camera really has diverse uses, and to stand out from the crowd a new battery grip really needs something special. Considering the tech now available, something more advanced would be fantastic!

  • @nahlene yes, the tripod hole aligned with the lens makes rigging a lot of easier.

  • Hi. Any news about this project ? I'm highly interested by it (especially if the the cost is lower than the original, but just as good or better).

    Thanks to answer

  • Dear all, I just came back to Toronto after another short visit in Beijing at the workshop. Thanks for being interested in this power solution development. It started simple, i was just looking for a solution to extend GH5 battery life while making the grip outputting power. Thanks for all your suggestions, we kinda leaped into the general power-supplying cage and busily working on perfecting the first prototype before launching a crowdfunding campaign.

    I can't say too much technical specs now as many things are still being trailed and err'd, but here's what you might be interested:

    • The device will be a power supplying cage which (maybe) uses both Sony BP970 and BPU60.
    • We designed some features for better user experience, including (not final) a display and HDMI port.
    • It'll have A LOT of power output ports besides powering the camera.
    • It is strong yet compact, (maybe only as wide as a GH5 cage) and it will work well with all DSLR, Mirrorless and BMCC and can be used in many other way besides mounting underneath the camera.
    • We will include an AA-battery to BP970 adapter, which will be launched in the campaign together.
    • The device will be reasonably priced.

    Please share your thoughts with us, we'd really appreciate them!!

    Here're some pictures: Considering the arrangement of the batteries and total size. image

    Me on the right discussing feature & structures with Mr. C the lead engineer/designer of the workshop image

    Mr. C working on soldering pieces together for the AA-to-970 adapter image

    3d printing the prototype image

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  • As a by-product of this design the workshop has prototyped the world's first AA-battery to BP970 adapter, which will be launched in the campaign together.

    At least this is false statement. Such adapters are long time made.

    Also they are bad from power point of view, as you need Li-Ion battery, not such.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev, thanks, i really didn't know that it exists and Mr. C did developed from scratch. I will correct it for now. Would you plz provide a link to the adapter? i googled but found nothing :p

    For the power point of view, it's more an adapter for emergency usage.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev, Interesting coz i was told that this is a prototype and not being sold yet. Thanks lot for point that out.

  • Hi. Any fresh news about this project ?