Camera Batteries: Can You Spot the Fake?

Gear & Apps August 22nd 2014 6:58 PM 16 Comments

Counterfeit batteries are out there, sad but true. Unfortunately, those who do purchase a fake might encounter either sup-par performance or worse damage caused to their equipment. According to Canon, 18% of their customer base bought forgeries unknowingly, yikes! The question is, would you know how to spot a fake camera battery??

[REWIND : HOW TO SPOT A SCAM: MUST READ BUYERS ADVICE]

No one sets out to buy a fake battery, we just want to find batteries at a cheaper price? After all, we spend so much money on gear already. Manufacturers frown on purchasing fake batteries, for obvious reasons, and unfortunately, for those who do purchase them, there is only one way to tell it is a fake. Compare it to an original battery.

Luckily for us, Canon and Nikon are way ahead of us.

Nikon Batteries

FAKE | ORIGINAL

Nikon’s website has images of every battery that they know is a forgery. They show you what the original should look like and some of the fakes they have encountered. Clues to discerning a fake battery can be as simple as a spelling error, a missing box around an icon, printed instead of a etched area or variations on the holographic seals.

Canon Batteries

ORIGINAL | FAKE

Canon also has a nifty help page as well that includes a video and a quiz to help you spot a fake battery. They also give you a checklist of things to look for such as their hologram sticker, printing and the packaging the battery may come in. Watch the video below and take a quiz over on the Canon website to see if you can spot the fake.

So, before you decide to purchase a battery from another site, take a gander at these images and make sure you aren’t causing yourself more of a headache than you need to.

via [Nikon/Canon/Popular Photography]

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She received her BFA degree from UVU in photography and since has been published in books and magazines, multiple gallery shows, and won best in show for her work. Visit her website at teaganalex.com and connect with her via Facebookor Instagram.

16 Comments

  1. Phil Bautista

    Millions of batteries have been sold yet you hear very few incidents of exploding batteries. I’m guessing the manufacturers are blowing this issue out of proportion just so they avoid liability in the event it happens (rightfully so) and so they can promote the sale of their batteries at their jacked up prices (for shame). I, for one, frequently buy off brand batteries (so at least I know they’re not counterfeit) and have yet to encounter an incident. I’m also happy to say that their power ratings have proven to be close to accurate.

  2. Pete McWade

    I have my original Canon battery and three other aftermarket batteries that have worked flawless and with the same capacity and were only $5 each. I use them all the time. Same for my Sony A7r except the Sony replacements were a bit more than $5 each but they have been flawless as well. Im not out looking for an original but an aftermarket I can successfully use. The Sony ones do need to have specific specs to work. The Canon were simple. Do your homework before buying secondary batteries. The time spent can save a bundle and maybe even enough to buy a lens yet still have your extra batteries.

  3. David Hall

    I have my Sony battery that came with the body, as well as a pair of off-brands that came as a set. I’d eventually like to get one or two more of the Sony ones since the other two are pretty nice, but not quite as nice as the Sony. Even then though – other Sony mirrorless shooters know you HAVE to keep a few batteries handy for moderate to heavy shooting.

    • Pete McWade

      Should have a minimum of 4 batteries and at least one off camera charger for them. I cycle mine all the time. I use at least two per day of shooting. Most I used in a day was 4 but by the time I needed another one had recharged. I need two more for a good reserve.

    • Austin Swenson

      Try to keep it in airplane mode too, the wifi in the camera wild drain the battery faster and you can always turn it on again to send a photo and turn it off again quickly enough.

  4. Austin Swenson

    I don’t know about a lot of you, but I don’t actually buy batteries based upon the issue of being genuine or not, but rather how many mAh’s they have. The more mAh’s they have, the longer they seem to last. More shots, less recycling, and they seem to recharge plenty quick.

    If you do spot a forgery though, chances are if they are willing to sell you a fake logo and brand name, they might also be willing to sell you a bad battery. That’s another reason why I go 3rd party a lot of the time anyway. A lot of people don’t care too much to forge a legit 3rd party battery.

  5. Clare Havill

    It’s not worth risking your expensive body for the difference of £20, always best to buying direct from the manufacture.

    • Brandon Dewey

      I agree with you i rather spend the little bit extra money up front but then take the chance of spend more money down the road to replace my gear.

  6. MARTIN MIANO

    I agree with Clare cheap is expensive

  7. William Emmett

    There is a big difference between forgery, and third party batteries. Forgeries are always inferior, and could cause damage to what ever you install them in. Just because the battery says “7.4v 1750mAh,” printed on the back, does not mean that is what the actual value is. Should the actual voltage be higher, it will damage the internal circuits of your device. Actually amperage will be drawn as the device needs it, so the mAh is of no real consideration. Third party batteries are made to a actual specification. If “Watson Batteries” are made to replace a Canon LP_E6 battery, it will be made within the Canon specs for this battery, and Watson will warranty their battery. I had a real Canon battery fail, and would not hold a charge, after only 6 months of service. It actually came with my Canon 7D refurbished camera from B&H. Canon sent me a new replacement, overnight express. I did have to send them my old battery. Seems the Canon 1 year warranty holds true for batteries too. Now, I place a label on everyone of my batteries with the in service date, and which camera the battery is for. I have a 7D, and 6D, which take the same battery, but also a 50D which takes a slightly different battery.

    • Neil Killion

      As you point out there seems to be confusion between forgeries and third party.

  8. Rafael Steffen

    Just buy the batteries from professional stores that you will be safe and better off in the long run.

  9. Herm Tjioe

    Trouble with counterfeit is that legit stores sometimes gets the fake stuff, not because it knows, but because it gets fooled as well. For instance, those memory cards scare that SanDisk had to put up with for some time.

  10. Matthew Saville

    I’ve used third-party batteries for many years in many cameras, and have never had a problem with them either ruining a camera, or even dying prematurely. How? I buy GOOD third-party batteries.

    True, there is no such thing as a free lunch, however that doesn’t mean you should get ripped off. Aftermarket accessories are one of the biggest ripoffs you can buy from a manufacturer, because they mark them up intentionally simply because they get to say they’re “legit”. (And won’t void your warranty, yada yada yada)

    So yeah, if your name-brand batteries cost $60, and you see one on Ebay for $6, there’s a ~98% chance that battery will die and just cease working within a short while, and a ~1% chance that it will completely fry your camera. But a $60 “legit” battery stil leaves plenty of room for third parties to make quality, affordable options. I had especially great luck with Calumet’s line of batteries, before they went under, and I still have some today that are only just now starting to lose their charge, (just the same as the legit Nikon ones, mind you) …after EIGHT YEARS of reliable service.

    There are a few other good makers out there, and you can often find them at B&H or at your local, reputable shops.

    Yeah, if it’s a FAKE, that’s different. That’s usually a bad sign. If you like to buy legit batteries, buy them from a reputable dealer. Personally though, I’ll keep buying my third-party batteries.

    =Matt=

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