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Watson ‘Duo Charger’ | Review

By Anthony Thurston on January 20th 2015

As photographers, having enough power to get through a shoot is imperative. You can’t capture images if your battery is dead, and that extra one will do you no good either if you didn’t charge it because you only had time to charge your primary one.

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If you have multiple batteries (and you REALLY should), then having one charger is really not good enough. Charging one battery at a time is a waste of time, and with many chargers, it can be a guessing game to see if your battery is fully charged or not.

Enter the Watson Duo Charger, a recent investment of mine, which I wanted to share my thoughts on today.

[RELATED: 5 Must Have Accessories for Fuji X-Series Shooters]

04-performance-5-stars

What really can you ask for out of a battery charger? Simply charging the batteries quickly is enough for many people, but I am also a huge fan of accurate battery power readings (if I ever have to look at one more blinky light, I’m gonna scream!). The Watson Duo Charger is great at both; not only are you charging your batteries quickly, but you can see exactly where each individual battery’s capacity is.

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09-features-5-stars

This sort of ties into the above section, but as far as battery chargers go, this Watson Duo Charger has all the bells and whistles that I could ask for. The Duo charger comes with a standard wall plug, as well as a car adapter for charging on the go.

But what makes the Duo Charger a real gem is that you are not limited to one sort of battery. You can buy different plates for just about any kind of camera battery known to man. I love this because it means if I decide to change camera systems, or add to mine, I can still take advantage of this charger’s killer feature set. I also love that it has a USB port on the side for charging your phone or tablet.

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13-design-4-stars

The design of this charger is pretty straightforward. You have the LCD Display and the battery plates (which are removable and replaceable as I mentioned above). It is not some crazy device that people are going to ask about when they see it, but it gets the job done and looks good doing so.

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18-quality-4-stars

The only thing keeping this from a full 5/5 stars for me on Quality is that it is made primarily of plastic. If you take advantage of the car adapter, the unit could get beat up pretty quickly, and I’m not sure how well the plastic casing would hold up to heavy abuse.

It is a solid device, and if you keep it on a desk or in a corner for charging, then it will work wonderfully and look good too. I’m just not sure how well the plastic would hold up to a lot of use in the field. That said, if you take care of it, and protect it when it’s not in use, this will work well for you and last a long time.

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23-value-4-stars

Value of a product is always so subjective, expensive to one person is dirt cheap to another. All I can say is that for less than the cost of some brand name camera batteries this Duo Charger can be yours. It has been invaluable to me in keeping my vast battery collection charged and ready to go.

Currently only $79,95, it is really a no brainer to me if you own multiple batteries.

33-overall-score-4.5-stars

Having the ability to charge multiple batteries at the same time with one charger is such a freeing experience when you are used to sharing just one charger between multiple batteries. You can leave two batteries charging and know that even if you forget to change over to the other dead batteries, you will at least have two good batteries for your job.

Being a Fuji Shooter, I constantly have to be aware of my battery life, as do many mirrorless shooters. The Watson Duo Charger has made it so much easier to charge my pile of batteries, and be confident in their capacity for the day’s shoot. I simply can’t recommend this charger enough.

If you would like to get your hands on the Watson Duo Charger with the battery plates of choice, you can find them over on B&H for just $79.95. It really is a killer deal.

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

18 Comments

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  1. Vince Arredondo

    It looks like a good addition to my bag

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  2. Dave Haynie

    Wow… I’ve been waiting for something like this. With Canon, two different Olympus, and two different Fujifilm batteries, I get a little charger crazed from time to time. And that’s not counting camcorders. Just ordered both the “duo” and the compact version. Maybe some sanity returns, we’ll see…

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  3. Ralph Hightower

    The same Watson model came in the Canon 5D Mk III package. I have the Vello battery grip which can hold two batteries. The convenience feature of charging two batteries at once is great!

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  4. Michael Burnham

    I had seen this charger in it looking interesting. It would be useful as all of my DSLRs have battery grips that take two batteries and the mirrorless cameras have multiple batteries. Also having one unit that could charge two batteries of almost any type simultaneously will be invaluable.

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  5. Chad Focha

    With so many bad reviews on the battery charger that came stock with the XT-1, and the reviews in general on the batteries, I thought for me anyways, the watson charger was a good choice. And I don’t regret it at all!

    First-off the battery display on the XT-1 is poor. And this charger helps negate that. With this charger I am able to get an accurate display on the battery which unfortunately the XT-1 currently isn’t capable of doing. If you have an XT-1 you know where I am coming from, the battery display is horrid.

    With the exception of the battery issue, I abssolutly LOVE my fujifilm, and this issue is so minor that it is hardly considered an issue. Get extra batteries, this charger, and you are good to go. Bottom line, for the XT-1, this charger was a neccisary evil, but I love it. And regret nothing!

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  6. Gustavo Urena

    I go this one http://www.amazon.com/PhotoPro-Charger-Canon-Camera-Batteries/dp/B007109ZA8
    a couple of years ago and still work like a champ and for a fraction of the price

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    • Graham Curran

      Looks like an unbadged version of the Watson and a comparative steal at the current price of $39.99. Too bad they don’t ship to the UK.

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  7. John Sheehan

    This is something I may have to look into. For long shoots I use a battery grip, and it would be so much easier to charge two at a time. I know some people see the interchangeable plates a something else to loose, but for me it can come in handy. I have two different styles of Canon (6D and T5i) and it would be nice to have one charger and get the extra plates (2 X $1.99) rather than buying two chargers at $79.99.

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  8. J D

    I don’t like the idea of having different plates though. Just another piece that can get lost/broken.

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  9. Nicholas Walker

    This has been on my Amazon wish list for a while now but I’ve been hesitating on just jumping and buying it basically due to the mixed reviews of it not functioning properly with Canon’s LP-E6 batteries. It only has 15 current reviews with seven of them being a 1-star review. Now, I understand that when a product does the job it is supposed to do then they aren’t going to flock to their computer to immediately leave a good review but if the product doesn’t work as described then they will have a much higher chance of leaving a bad review; hence, I haven’t taken it off of my wish list yet.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I have had no issues at all with my unit Nicholas. It could also have to do with the LP-E6 plates, and users not having them installed correctly or all the way. All I know is that I have been very happy with mine.

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    • Eric Mazzone

      Yeah all the reviews for that particular battery say that the pins are to narrow and need to be bent outwards to work properly. I was going to buy one until I read those reviews.

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  10. Jason Boa

    Look really interesting especially as you can change charging plates – very cool

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  11. Harry Lim

    I added this to my wishlist on B&H awhile ago because I heard the A7 has poor battery life and I would want multiple batteries. But I never really read all the features it has until this review. Thanks for posting!

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  12. Steven Pellegrino

    Anthony,

    I would add another reason to invest in multiple chargers is you never know when the charger that came with your camera will die without warning. I had this happen to the charger that came with my Fuji X100. Fortunately I had a universal charger, so I was able to get everything ready, but if not, I would have been in trouble waiting for a new one to arrive.

    Addressing Fuji specifically, when I was looking into the problem with my charger, it was a common problem with a lot of people saying they make great cameras, but sub-par chargers.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I haven’t really had any issues with the charger that came with the X-T1, but I have not even used it since getting the Duo Charger. It is my backup now. haha

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  13. robert garfinkle

    I’m running a Nikon MBD12 and lithium AA batteries – ok, a waste, I know, the only advantage I am finding with Energizer 9x – is roughly 3000 – 4000 shots, seriously!!

    I am looking for a rechargeable replacement but for AA’s not the EN-EL15 etc… I have a maha charger, with plenty o high capacity AA’s yet seem to be switching them out more often than not –

    I understand that enloop has just a killer AA battery and should invest in them…

    So, I’m on a different path with respect to power…

    The only advantage I can see, aside from shelf life of the lithium are 1.5v vs. 1.2v – real AA’s

    If this charger can accommodate AA’s and someone can recommend the highest capacity AA’s along with a slow, slow, slow discharge rate, let me know – I’ll switch…

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  14. aaron febbo

    Pretty sweet little charger ! Im charging 2 batteries on two different chargers in 2 different rooms and I’m always worried ill forget one. Diggin the digital readout of battery capacity !!

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