Using Third-Party Batteries Can Corrupt Your Video Files

Last week we were filming the second video ever using our new GH5s, and one of the cameras ran out of batteries in the middle of a take. At the time, we didn't think anything of it and we simply replaced the battery and continued filming. When we transferred all of the footage after the shoot, one of the video clips was corrupt and we had to re-film the entire project. 

When this first happened, I thought there was something wrong with our cameras, but I then remembered that we'd had our GH5s die before without ever losing any footage. I then discovered that the issue wasn't with the camera, it was with the cheapo third-party battery that I had purchased online. 

When a camera battery is about to die, the camera needs to accurately determine how much charge is left. When the battery is working properly, the GH5 will shut itself down before the battery completely dies. The "Dot 1" battery that we were using wasn't correctly communicating with the camera, and instead of giving us a warning beep and shutting down, the GH5 would instantly turn off without properly shutting down and saving footage.

I then decided to put all four of my batteries to the test. Surprisingly, the best-performing battery was not the genuine Panasonic DMW-BLF19. The best-performing battery was actually the "Newmowa" version. These batteries are currently being sold on Amazon, and you get two batteries and a dual charger for just $27. The Panasonic version is $55 for a single battery. 

In the past, I've had a very good experience buying third-party batteries for our Nikon cameras, and from what I can tell, these Newmowa batteries seem to be reliable as well. If we ever run into any issues with them, we will immediately update this post. 

Of course the safest thing to do would be to stay away from third-party batteries altogether. One Fstoppers reader just sent me this great article that talks about staying away from third-party batteries with the GH4.

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14 Comments

Kirk Darling's picture

Lee Morris, did you write the headline of your article? I ask because it makes no sense whatsoever to your article, and even your article is inconclusive.

I did, what doesnt make sense?

Tkae Mendez's picture

Love ya Lee but the title is so misleading it should be "Using this Third-Party Batteries Can Corrupt Your Video Files"

Patrick Hall's picture

Our fear is that if this battery can cause your footage to corrupt then perhaps other batteries can too. Coming from Nikon DSLRs, we have never lost footage due to a 3rd party battery as far as I can remember. Even crappy Nikon 3rd party batteries wouldn't corrupt the video files when the camera died. I'll have to look more into it but it seems like a flaw in the GH4/GH5 if the camera can be powered off without the files being completely saved. I want to say with Nikon, you could pull the battery out while filming and the file would still be intact.

So yes, the title could say "This battery" but things might actually be worse than that if the camera doesn't have a protective feature in place for sudden power loss.

So my first question is how much did Panasonic pay you for the post? Secondly seems like there was a bit of poor planning for battery usage during the shoot. Finally did you do any research on the third party batteries before you purchased them. I too have been burned "figuratively" by 3rd party batteries but research can be your friend.

Patrick Hall's picture

We have never been paid by Nikon and as we make the switch to Panasonic we have never been paid by them either. If you watch our YouTube channel you will see we have been pretty harsh on any brand that doesn't offer photographers/videographers the features they want and Panasonic is no different.

All our careers we have used a mix of OEM batteries and 3rd party batteries and for the most part they have always been a good buying option.I'm curious what you mean by doing your research on them before buying them? You realize the GH5 just came out and most of these batteries don't have many reviews right?

Brian Rodgers Jr.'s picture

I've never heard of Newmowa batteries. For years, I've always bought the Wasabi Power batteries and have never had any issues with them. I use them in both my Canon & Sony cameras. They hold their charge and honestly give me better performance than the Sony branded batteries. Glad to hear Amazon took the Dot 01 batteries off the market.

Michael Lloyd's picture

I have never seen this with wasabi batteries.

Pete Whittaker's picture

I had a Wasabi battery for a different m4/3 camera from a few years ago. For a year or more it was a dream, never a problem with it and it had a higher capacity than the official battery. Then one day the camera went from showing full charge to shutting down in a few minutes and I found that the battery was swollen and hard to get out of the camera. All I'm saying is that while Wasabi Power seems to be one of if not the best choice for a 3rd party battery, they do sometimes fail. You get what you pay for.

John Armstrong's picture

I have literally been burned by DOT batteries. I use some other third party batteries but NEVER buy DOT batteries.

David Schöppe's picture

To make this clear: THERE IS NO "TELLING THE CAMERA HOW MUCH POWER IS LEFT" and the article linked seem pretty off, without any knowledge of Li-Ion batteries at all.

If you do not buy the cheapest Batteries you can find, you are mostly good to go. Because in the end, the cells in the battery are pretty much made in the same factory as panasonics. This Cameras have no "intelligent" control, they are just Li-Ion cells in a plastic housing with contact pins. I do not know ANY consumer/prosumer camera with intelligent batteries like for example the DJI Drones have.

If you buy from a middle class brand with a known name, means between expensive vendor and cheapest you can get. You are mostly on the safe side. I have 2 Sonys and 8 Baxxtar Batteries for my A7RII. I never had any issue with them. Sometimes the 3rd party batteries even offer better runtimes because they use same sized cells with more power.

Walter Barrera's picture

Lee talking about something else , I think your desing was stolen by a chinese company and re make with another name and sold in amazon canada https://www.amazon.ca/Meking-31cm-Softbox-Speedlight-Flashlight/dp/B00UR...

I think using these batteries is like playing with fire. They have neither a temperature control circuit nor a intelligent charging circuit for protecting the individual cells. Battery chargers with only 2 connectors charges batteries regardles of their actual condition. This can cause to overheating and/or burning battery.
Normaly this ist not a problem with fresh batteries where all cells have the same capacity, but with older ones this the cell capacity may vary and charging without control is like playing with loose cannons.
Another feature of original batteries ist the use of a temprature variable resistor which can be used in the camera to know if a lower voltage is an indicator for an empty battery or not. 3rd party batteries often has a constant resistor installed which leads to erroneous results.
I don't know if saving 30$ on a 2000$ camera is all the imponderabilities worth.

Hi Lee, how have the NewMowa and Wasabi batteries been going? have they lasted?