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The Battery Showdown: Blueshape vs. Anton Bauer

  • September 13, 2017
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
The Battery Showdown: Blueshape vs. Anton Bauer

This is it – the latest battery pack power showdown. We have Blueshape’s new 140Wh Granite Mini V-Mount running against the Anton Bauer’s Digital 150. They’re about the same price and really close in capacity, but physically, they’re very different.

I put the Blueshapes through the ringer on my last couple of productions because I knew these batteries are made to take a beating.

Blueshape 90Wh on Freefly MoVI on the set of “The Adventurers”

Blueshape’s technology is designed to withstand a fall from 2 meters (approx. 6 feet) and they are resistant to both water and dust. The only battery on the market that compares to this is the Anton Bauer. With its new honeycomb technology on the inside, Anton Bauer is meant to survive a fall from 6 feet high and is guaranteed to live up to 1000 recharge cycles.

These are the top two options on the market right now for me. I needed to know the strengths and weaknesses of each, which battery is more versatile, and which will last longer so that I would be able to make a sound decision on what to use on my next production. That’s why I put these two batteries head to head in this test – to find out which would come out on top.

Anton Bauer vs. Blueshape

Anton Bauer Lithium-ion Digital 150

The Anton Bauer Digital has been on the market for about three years. It is available in both V-lock and gold mount option and is priced about $477.

    • 156Wh Lith-ion V-Mount Battery
    • 10A Maximum Load
    • Increased Airflow & Heat Dissipation
    • 1000 Charge / Discharge Cycles
    • Built-In Over-Current Sensors
    • 1 P-Tap Accessory Port
    • Load Run-Time Display in Hours & Minutes
    • % Run-Time Display with No Load Attached
    • 14.4 Volts
    • Weighs 2.6 lbs
    • Size:  84 x 165 x 112 mm (3.3 x 6.5 x 4.4″)
    • Price: $477 (as of 9/12/2017 with bhphotovideo.com)
Anton Bauer Lithium-ion Digital 150

Blueshape Lithium-ion 140Wh Granite Mini

The Blueshape Lithium-ion 140Wh Granite Mini was released in early 2017 at a price point of about $472.  It comes in V-Mount as a standard, but Blueshape has started manufacturing their 3-stud version, which is compatible with gold mount.

    • 140Wh Lith-ion V-Mount Battery
    • Supports up to 12A Continuous Draw
    • Wi-Fi Smartphone App Control (iOS/Android)
    • 5-LED Power Gauge
    • 2 x D-Tap Accessory Outputs
    • Supports Charging via D-Tap (via separate D-tap charger)
    • Max Discharge Current: 7A
    • Voltage range of 10.8V ~ 16.8V
    • Weighs 1.96 lbs
    • Size is 95 x 116 x 58 mm (3.7 x 4.6 x 2.3″)
    • Certified for IATA and TSA flights in carry-on luggage
    • Price: $472.15 (as of 9/12/2017 with bhphotovideo.com)

It has come as a step up from the medium sized 180Wh Granite Blueshape. The size and weight are considerably smaller with the price of around $470.

Blueshape Lithium-ion 140Wh Granite Mini

The Test

We put both batteries through a simple test. We stood them side by side with all necessary accessories plugged in and rolled them until they died. We had two RED Weapons rigged with LCD monitors and EVFs, with a Movcam Remote Focus system and Teradek Wireless plugged in – a standard studio setup. We repeated this process three times under different conditions.

The Results

Run-Time

The Anton Bauer consistently lasted a little longer than the Blueshape, but that’s no surprise considering the Anton Bauer is rated at 150Wh as opposed to Blueshape’s 140Wh.  Now, keep in mind, it only outlasted the Blueshape by 5-10 minutes each time. Not bad for a battery half the size and weight! On average, both batteries lasted around 1h 50min. That was in controlled conditions.. In the field, while rolling repeatedly and checking playback and changing settings, the run time might be different.

Size & Weight

For me, Anton Bauer’s slightly better endurance does not outweigh the advantages of the Blueshape. Blueshape’s size being half of the Anton Bauer is without a doubt a major advantage. Your whole camera team will be eternally grateful for that fact. With the weight of only 1.96lbs, it lowers the weight of your camera substantially.

Chart comparing Anton Bauer and Blueshape stats

Ergonomics

Another step up on the new Blueshape compared to its predecessors is the placement of it’s D-Tap inputs. On previous versions, they were in the lower half of the battery on each side. So  when I was using RED Weapons, it made it really difficult to use the D-Taps together with the SDI port on the right side of the camera and then on the left side when trying to take out your memory card. Blueshape has listened and this has been fixed. The D-Taps are in a great spot now.

Old Blueshape D-Tap Placement
New Blueshape D-Tap Placement

Anton Bauer has its D-Tap port placed well, but comes with only one port. You could use a D-Tap splitter, but my ACs prefer to have the camera rigged with as little accessories as possible, and two D-Tap ports help with that, especially if you’re using the RED DSMC2 Base Expander, which gives you an extra D-Tap port.

The ergonomics of the Blueshape Granite Mini battery are perfectly made for the RED. The height matches the camera perfectly, just look at it!

Blueshape Mini sits beautifully on the RED

Blueshape’s Remote Monitoring

Now, the biggest upgrade (besides the size) that Blueshape has come up with is the battery’s remote monitoring via Wifi. You can connect to it with your iPhone or Android and receive all data from the battery remotely. That means you could leave your batteries charging in another room and when they’re finished charging, you’d get a notification. I tend to have my cameras flying all over the place, on MōVIs, up on cranes, hanging down from ceilings, you name it I’m flying the camera up on it!  With this app you’ll know exactly how much time you have left without having to bring the camera down. That’ll make your AC’s life so much easier and they’ll love you for it.

What other battery system lets you actually see everything going on inside of that battery?

The Conclusion

I love these new Blueshapes. Those extra 5 – 10 minutes of power on the Anton Bauer just does not compare to all the added features that Blueshape is offering. They keep the camera’s form factor as small and streamlined as possible and my ACs are just absolutely loving how lightweight they are and the fact they can check on the batteries that are charging without having to leave the set – which is priceless. By the time you’ve read this article, you can bet that I’ve already added dozens of them to my arsenal!

We figured that if we had to wait for the cameras to run out of power, then we might as well wait by the pool!

For all you gearheads out there, here’s the gear we were using:

     
     
     
 

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