Anton Bauer Digital 90 Review

Batteries aren't the most sexy thing to review, but hey, we all need power for cameras, EVF's, monitors and the like. Without them we can't shoot. So I've been using the Anton Bauer Digital 90 for the past year. It's the latest design that A/B released back in 2014. For context purposes I'll let you know I've used these batteries with the Sony A7s (a bit of an overkill for that camera) and the Canon C300 MkII. It has preformed well for me so far. Having an external battery gives me more run time with my cameras and I don't have to change batteries as often with the manufacuture's smaller battery options.

The new design of the A/B Digital 90 is slightly bigger than expected, which is odd. Newer designs are usually smaller in the increasing digital age. However, Anton Bauer chose to increase the size for safety reasons. The bigger casing allows for the lithium ion cells to be individually wrapped, which prevents the potential of fire or blowing up. Despite the increased size the new design is actually lighter. This is always nice if you're a camera op.

I use the Digital 90 to simultaneously power my C300 MkII and the Zacuto Gratical Eye.

Some of the other improvements in the new design are the digital read out is simpler and clearer to read. The exterior has a rubber coating for easier handling and impact absorption in case you drop it. Another new feature is a built in P-tap. This is a big deal. If I need to run another device off of my battery I don't have to buy a dedicate battery plate or a distribution box. It all depends on your needs, but I find myself using this feature to power an on camera monitor when needed.

The on battery p-tap is located on the right side of the battery for easy access.

The large digital display window makes it easy to see how much power remains.

Some of the cons on the new design are the awkward shape and bulky size. I assume it's for ergonomics. I wish the design was smaller verses bigger, but safety first, right?

If you fly a lot be aware of the restriction limiting two of these batteries in your carry on during air travel. One on your camera and another in your carry on. This is fairly limiting compared to the PAGlink battery which is TSA approved and unlimited in quantity in a carry on. However, Anton Bauer just updated their Quad Charger so one can discharge batteries for airline travels. Here's a link to their press release for more info.

I also use the Digital 90 with my SmallHD AC7 OLED monitor, wireless transmitter and the Wooden Camera Director's Cage. This set up allows me to wander around a location easily and freely without using cables. I hate cables. The A/B Digital 90 preforms well with this set up.

One really impressive feature of this battery is the recharge time. It's on of the shortest recharge times on the market. At least from the research I've done. Here's a great video comparison of various battery bricks if you really want to dig deep into comparisons: watch here.

My experience with the A/B Digital 90 has been good. The cells on this battery are supposed to last a very long time and the price is competitive with other offerings on the market (they sell for $269.10 at B&H). There are far more competitors now days in the external power business and I think A/B sees that.

When surveying DP and Camera op friends I find an overwhelming majority of them use Anton Bauer batteries. The company has a long standing reputation for quality and their customer service seems to be top notch.

Gripper Review

I've been using the Zacuto Gripper for the past couple of months and thought I'd do a quick review. The first thing I need to say about this battery system is it's very affordable! It only costs $260 for a 75W battery and $90 for the charger. That's a huge win for anyone in the market for an external power solution. I've used it mostly with my Sony A7s to power the Zacuto Gratical Eye EVF, but could also see this as a way to power my camera with the appropriate P-tap dummy battery

The Gripper is fairly light weight (1.5 lbs), at least compared to my Anton Bauer Digital 90 (2 lbs). It has two P-taps, one on the front and another on the back, as well as a LED fuel gauge so you know how much power you have remaining

The Gripper mounts horizontally to a rig via two 15mm rods and has two P-taps so you can power multiply devices.

The Gripper mounts horizontally to a rig via two 15mm rods and has two P-taps so you can power multiply devices.

One thing I really like about the Gripper system is I don't need any accessories to mount it to my rig besides a couple of 15mm rods. There's no need for a cheese plate and you don't need a battery mounting plate, which usually runs you anywhere from $150 to $300. So when I use the Gripper it's much easier to work with, which saves me time.

Another huge win is this battery is UN approved so you pack it in your carry on luggage and can fly with it.

Who will get the most out of the battery system? I really see the Gripper being used mostly by folks shooting with DSLR's, mirrorless cameras and smaller prosumer cameras like the Canon C100 MkII. If you are using larger cameras like the Alexa or any RED camera you are probably going to use a gold mount or V-mount system. The Gripper is perfect for a small to medium sized rig. If you are like me, and have invested in a Zacuto Recoil rig the Gripper is a great add on.

The Zacuto Gratical Eye powered via the Gripper and mounted to the Indie Recoil.

The Zacuto Gratical Eye powered via the Gripper and mounted to the Indie Recoil.