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9 January, 2009

Why you need a Sony AC-VQ900AM

In October 2007, I bought a Sony semi-pro digital camera (bridge camera) - Sony Cyber-shot DSC H9. It was a great camera, however, there was one thing I couldn't stand. The included accessory would take 4.5 hours for practical charging (the charging light goes off), and if you want to get the full charging, you have the leave the battery on for another hour which makes 5.5 hours in total for full charging. The problem is not just about the time, but the charger does not cut off the power. In plain words, without smart IC chip that controls the charging, leaving the batteries on the charger for too long will shorten the battery life.

The impatient Antony found a great solution: He bought BC-TRG Traveller Charger which only takes 1.5 hours for practical charging and 2.5 hours for full charging. this charger does not cut off power as well, but setting up a timer for 2.5 hours is certainly a lot easier than setting up timer for 5.5 hours. (to Don: Antony is poor.)

In mid November (2008), I bought my first Digital SLR camera - Sony DSLR α350. Not long after that, I got my first accessory for it... a charger (as pictured below)
Sony AC-VQ900AM box

(As usual, more photos follow... )

The Sony DSLR α350 package of course includes a battery charger. However, like the Sony DSC-H9, the included charger takes hours to charge the battery. It takes 3 hours for normal charge and 4 hours for full charge. Also like the included charger for Sony DSC-H9, the charge lamp has some interesting design:

Light on: Charging
Light off: Normal charge completed
One hour after the lamp is turned off: Full charge completed

In plain words, to get full charging, you have to leave the battery on the included charger for one extra hours after the lamp goes off, and it does not disconnect the power/charging if you leave the battery on it.

The solution? Sony AC-VQ900AM. It shortens the charging time down to only 1 hour! (or 2 hours for full charging), and it provides much more features.

Photo of Sony AC-VQ900AM contents:
Sony AC-VQ900AM contents

Although Sony AC-VQ900AM is not cheap, it does provide some great features.
Firstly, it allows me to charge two batteries (one after another). Secondly, it provides display on exact amount of battery left as well as exact time needed to charge.
Thirdly, it powers off automatically.
And finally, it can be used as an AC adapter (to the camera), suitable for indoor shooting.

You may argue that you can use a timer to set it 3 hours or 4 hours for battery charging. But if you are on the move (e.g. on holiday), do you really have time to set a timer just for battery charging?

The main Sony AC-VQ900AM:
Sony AC-VQ900AM

If you are a user of Sony DSLR camera, I recommend you getting this useful accessory.

(to Don: Antony is poor.)

This entry has Lightbox effect enabled. Click on the thumbnails for larger photos.

related blog entries:
one more Sony (Sony DSLR α350, 15 November, 2008)
5.5 hr to fully charge a battery? (5 January, 2008)
goodbye Canon, hello Sony (Sony Cyber-shot DSC H9) (4 October, 2007)

Posted by Antony on 9 January 2009 7:38 AM | gadget

more January 2009 blogs. (or 2009 blogs)
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comments
*****DOUBLE YAWN*****
Posted by Rev. Dr. Wu Yi on 9 January 2009 1:25 PM.
Or I could just use a camera that uses removable batteries, and either pre-charge a couple of batteries before going away or buy a 16-pack of disposables at the store.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 9 January 2009 1:43 PM.
Using a camera that uses AA or AAA rechargeable batteries is a very bad idea... it makes photo taking extremely expensive. (to buy Alkalines or Lithium batteries.)
When you are on a trip for 2 weeks or longer, you'd better bring a good charger with you.
Also to Don: The rechargeable batteries for Sony DSLR cameras aren't cheap, AU$109 each. Antony is poor.
Posted by Antony Shen on 9 January 2009 6:25 PM.
You can buy the no name batteries for a lot cheaper?
Posted by Dave on 9 January 2009 10:01 PM.
$12.99 for a 16-pack of AAs at Home Depot doesn't seem "extremely expensive" to me... And usually, the two pairs (8 batteries total) of 2000mAh rechargables I take with me will last long after my memory card runs out of space.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 9 January 2009 11:37 PM.
Sony and many digital SLR cameras use special rechargeable batteries, not the AA's or AAA's. Using digital camera's special rechargeable batteries is a lot cheaper than keeps buying Alkaline or Lithium batteries in long run.
Posted by Antony Shen on 9 January 2009 11:47 PM.
There are also rechargeable AAs that give you the best of both worlds, such as I bought a few years ago and had been telling you to get.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 10 January 2009 3:47 AM.
When the equipment does not fit AA or AAA batteries to start with, there's no point in buying AA or AAA rechargeable batteries.
Posted by Antony Shen on 10 January 2009 9:19 AM.
Which is why I told you that I wanted to get a camera that used AAs.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 11 January 2009 1:26 AM.
DSL cameras with AA batteries are usually heavier, and bulkier than using special rechargeables. Furthermore, as I've told you numerously times, using alkalines or lithiums are expensive in long run.
Posted by Antony Shen on 11 January 2009 9:23 AM.
And here's me thinking this thread was just all about showing off his new camera?
But is seems to be a "battery fest"!!
Posted by Rev. Dr. Wu Yi on 11 January 2009 12:22 PM.
I'll have you remember that the last time I bought disposable batteries (they were lithium) was in August, because my batteries died at work just half an hour before I needed to take photos. Before that, the last time I bought disposables was a few years earlier.
Well, my camera is heavy and bulky... Not that big a deal to me.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 11 January 2009 1:42 PM.
Rev. Dr. Wu Yi,
It is about the very important accessory for Sony alpha-350 DSLR camera, not the camera.
Don,
I don't mind buying alkalines AA/AAA batteries (but not lithium as lithium batteries are simply far too expensive). But the bulky AA batteries is not a wise choice.
Most DSLR cameras that use AA batteries would require 4 AA batteries. Carrying 2 or 3 sets of AA batteries (8 or 12 AA batteries) plus the charger, and possibly also the timer to time the battery charging is clearly out of question. Most battery chargers would take 9+ hours to charge 2500mAh batteries. Timing 9+ hours just to charge batteries is a very difficult thing to do when you are on the go.
Posted by Antony Shen on 11 January 2009 7:32 PM.
My camera takes 4 AA batteries, and I've taken four changes of batteries (16 AAs) with me before without a problem. This is why I have the large notebook case that you didn't terribly like.
Again, if those die on me, I can go to the store and buy some disposable CR-V3 lithiums. You may want to take a look at this article from Steve's Digicams, where they show that in the long run, disposable CR-V3 lithium batteries are actually cheaper than disposable AA alkalines.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 12 January 2009 2:55 AM.
In case of one Sony NP-FM500H battery (for Alpha-350) runs flat, I always carry a second one with me. I also carry two Sony NP-BG1 batteries (for DSC-H9). On long photography trips, I also carry fast chargers out with me.
Two NP-FM500H batteries or two NP-BG1 batteries certain takes less room and weight than two sets of 4 AA batteries.
Posted by Antony Shen on 12 January 2009 8:51 AM.
Two things:
1) Again, this is why I like carrying around a bigger case.
2) I thought we were talking about price; now all of a sudden we're talking about "room and weight"?
Posted by Don_HH2K on 12 January 2009 9:26 AM.
When I looked for a DSLR camera, I tried to avoid the ones use AA batteries (and I chose Sony Alpha camera that does not AA batteries).
Price is one point to consider, room and weight are also important points to consider, and in conclusion, a special rechargeable batteries plus smart recharger is the best option - cheaper and taking less room and weight. A win-win choice.
Posted by Antony Shen on 13 January 2009 10:27 PM.
I'd be willing to pay another five dollars for removable battery capability to be able to carry around as many batteries as I wanted.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 14 January 2009 3:17 AM.
Sony NP-FM500H provides very long battery life in my opinion, each one is capable of taking up to 900 shoots. Further up, you are of course free to buy more Sony NP-FM500H battery packs, as well as a vertical grip which allows you to load two NP-FM500H batteries at the same time.
Since Sony NP-FM500H is designed with STAMINA super long battery life technology, it is very environmentally friendly. Less recharges required, less depletion. Unlike the mass alkalines.
Posted by Antony Shen on 14 January 2009 9:27 AM.
Why are you still comparing to the terrible alkalines that I don't even buy? They're not the only type of removable battery on the market.
Does "STAMINA" stand for, "Sony's Trickery and Maneuvers with Interestingly Needless Acronyms"?
Posted by Don_HH2K on 14 January 2009 11:30 AM.
The award for the largest number of comments on any of Antony's postings, surely must go to this one...LOL!!
Posted by on 14 January 2009 3:16 PM.
Well, I usually save these conversations for AIM/iChat with Antony, but seeing as he's been on holiday in Tasmania, they seemed to have moved to his blog comments.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 14 January 2009 4:15 PM.
Duracell or Energizer's most basic alkaline batteries are the alkaline batteries I can afford. Rechargeables can not replace regular AA completely.
to Rev. Dr. Wu Yi, this is not the entry with most number of comments.
Posted by Antony Shen on 15 January 2009 2:18 AM.
And you buy name-brand batteries too? No wonder you can't afford them. Even then, in the long run, lithium batteries are cheaper than alkalines by virtue of getting more power out of each cell (refer again to the article I linked earlier).
In most situations, rechargeables can replace AAs completely. Unless you have one of those battery-powered soldering irons or something that really depends on having 3v instead of 2.4v, they're a suitable substitute in many cases.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 15 January 2009 4:17 AM.
There are devices that specifies alkaline AA batteries or 1.5V batteries. I don't bother to put 1.2V rechargeable batteries in. In general, rechargeable (AA) batteries last less than alkaline AA batteries. That is based on 2500mAh rechargeable vs basic alkaline AA batteries.
Posted by Antony Shen on 15 January 2009 10:38 AM.
In the time I have been reading your Blog, I have never seen as many replies or as much activity as this one? Most of the stuff you post is egotistical tripe!
Posted by Rev. Dr. Wu Yi on 15 January 2009 10:44 AM.
And again, this is the whole point of being able to carry as many cheap spares as you want. Even then, if you happen to run out, you can just go to the store and buy replacements, then put the batteries back on the charger when you get back to wherever you're staying.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 15 January 2009 11:21 AM.
I understand the benefit of using regular AA batteries, such as can easily obtain new AA batteries.
4 AA batteries weigh a lot more than one NP-FM500H battery, taking up more rooms, harder to pack... Also alkaline batteries cost more in long run.
Posted by Antony Shen on 15 January 2009 11:39 AM.
So why are you still assuming that I use alkalines?
Posted by Don_HH2K on 15 January 2009 12:44 PM.
For me, unless there are good reasons to use rechargeable batteries (or other type), I would get alkalines. Lithium batteries are simply far too expensive.
Again, rechargeable batteries aren't suitable in all situations.
Posted by Antony Shen on 15 January 2009 12:48 PM.
But you just said that alkaline batteries cost more in the long run, so why would you get alkalines instead of the cost-saving rechargeables or lithium-cells?
Posted by Don_HH2K on 15 January 2009 1:00 PM.
It is not just alkaline batteries, I am pretty sure that regular batteries (AA) would cost even more (for long run).
Rechargeable AAs may save some money, but does not last long. Lithium is simply too expensive to start with. Hence, the Alkaline batteries is the best solution for regular AAs.
Posted by Antony Shen on 15 January 2009 1:29 PM.
You switched from long-run to short-run... In the long run, the more expensive lithium batteries would be cheaper than alkalines.
Something tells me that the cost of one of the Sony batteries is much, much greater than the cost of a couple of pairs of rechargeable AAs, at which point you'd offset the "doesn't last long" part for the same price.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 15 January 2009 10:23 PM.
Don,
You have to consider all factors: cost, size, weight, and portability (carrying one Sony NP-FM500H battery is of course much easier than 4 alkaline/lithium or even rechargeable AA batteries). Hence the win-win-win-win solution is to get a smart charger!
Posted by Antony Shen on 16 January 2009 1:03 PM.
Or I could just use the bigger case that you hate.
Posted by Don_HH2K on 16 January 2009 3:48 PM.
Got to agree that there are many factors for buying a DSLR. We went with Nikon D3000, btw.
Posted by Pat on 30 August 2010 8:01 PM.
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