Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Test of Inov8’s replacement battery for my Panasonic G1 digital camera

A month or so ago I said that I was going to try a generic battery from a reputable manufacturer – Inov8 – in my Panasonic G1. Here is my experience of it over the last few weeks.

Inov8 are one of a number of reasonably reputable replacement camera battery brands. Since they were the first one to offer a replacement for Panasonic’s expensive Li-ion DMW-BLB13E I decided to try it, although it was not exactly cheap in its own right at £26.95 from a reputable eBay seller.

Below is a photo of the blister pack that the battery arrived in – followed below by a scan of the back of the packaging with details including Inov8’s stock code for it - B1346.

The Inov8 battery says it is a replacement for the DMW-BLB13 – I don’t know if the missing “E” is significant.

Below are a couple of photos showing the product details printed on the Panasonic and the Inov8 batteries respectively.

As you can see both are made in China, both operate at 7.2v and the capacity of the Inov8 is slightly larger than the Panasonic- 1300mAh versus 1250mAh, so it ought to last longer. The Panasonic also shows a 9.0Wh rating whereas the Inov8 does not offer a Wh figure.

I put the Inov8 into the Panasonic battery charger that came with the camera and charged it up – which seemed to work fine. I then popped it into the G1 and was rather concerned when the warning in the photo below came up on the screen.

A message saying the “This battery cannot be used” is a bit scary. I turned the camera off and on again and the message went away, but it has resurfaced each time I have taken the battery out and put it back in again. After this on/off/on cycle the camera seemed to work fine so I took around 100 photos as a test and all was well, so I charged it up and took it along as a backup on a weeks holiday.

On holiday I recorded the number of shots I took with each battery (the original and the Inov8) to try to get a feeling for the comparative battery life.

The first use of the Inov8 to exhaustion only yielded 110 photos – although I probably used the image viewing more than usual and had liveview on more than normal I was alarmed by the low number – I measured 300+ when I first got the G1 in much colder Winter weather. You can find my earlier battery life results posted – here.

I was also surprised how quickly the battery meter progressed from two bars (three bars indicates it is full) to “Red” to exhausted – around 10 shots. This was much quicker than I remembered from previous tests on the original battery.

Somewhat alarmed I then repeated the test on the original Panasonic battery trying to use it in a similar way – This yielded 195 photos; much less than my original tests, but nearly double the supposedly larger capacity Inov8.

To be fair I repeated the test with the Inov8 battery and the second test yielded 135 photos and again the progression from 2 bars to exhausted was very rapid. The second test almost certainly used liveview much less as around half of the shots were taken in quick succession in one session.

After my tests I am very disappointed in the performance of the Inov8 battery. It seems to have much less capacity than the original Panasonic, despite rating itself as having a slightly larger one. It seems to fail much more quickly than the original (e.g. it goes from 2 bars full to exhausted) very quickly – within about 10 shots. The opening message saying “This battery cannot be used” is not at all reassuring, even if it is easily cleared. Perhaps the “E” on the Panasonic battery code explains all this – perhaps it stands for something like “Electronic” and this explains the error message and rapid exhaustion with little warning.

All-in-all I am pretty disappointed with this battery – it is not dirt cheap at around half the price of the Panasonic version and while I shall use it and keep it as a back up battery I don’t think that I can rely on it. It certainly does not live up to its billing on the packaging of “Superior lasting performance”.

I suppose that it is possible that the battery is not a genuine Inov8 battery and that someone is selling cheap imitations repackaged in Inov8 packaging, but I have no way of telling – of course if anyone from Inov8 reads this review and wants me to try one from them direct I would be only too happy to oblige.


eusokol said...

What at you the version of an insertion of the camera?
After this firmware update your Panasonic Digital Camera cannot be operated by unauthorised 3rd party batteries.

Churchill Photographer said...

I am using v1.1 body firmware

Teresa Stokes said...

I purchased an Inov8 camera battery from Maplins, in December 2016, they had to order it in for me. It held its charge very poorly and I was constantly having to recharge it. It is now April 2017 and over the last few weeks I found it would go flat overnight. This morning it stopped working completely. I went to the website to see about the two year guarantee and found that their website address no longer works. Have put back my old Kodak battery which I had replaced because it was beginning to fail, and unlike the new one it still had some power in it despite not being touched for four months. Looks like I shall just have to keep going with the old Kodak battery again.

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