As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been mulling over battery options — partially because OEM batteries are fairly expensive, and partially because some 3rd party options have potentially attractive additional features.
I’d gotten busy with regular life activities, and almost forgotten about my promise to do some testing, when I ran across this interesting video on YouTube. In the video, a Finnish gent tests an OEM BLH-1 battery and some 3rd-party replacements for it, using an OM-D E-M1 camera. I liked his approach, with a few provisos — namely, that I think using the internal intervalometer was causing him some of his issues (camera stops recording before the battery is fully discharged, residual charge level varies from battery to battery).
When the folks at OM System (formerly Olympus Imaging) released their new flagship camera, the OM-1, it came with its own new high-capacity battery — the BLX-1. As is usually the case with new battery designs, supply was tight at first. But pandemic supply chain issues (and maybe other problems) have helped keep supply tight since then, and prices for BLX-1 batteries have only gone up in the meantime.
So what’s an OM-1-loving / cost-conscious photographer to do? Plenty of 3rd-party batteries are available on various websites, with varying price, performance, reliability, and safety. I’ve seen good results from ProMaster accessories in the past, so I thought I’d give their batteries a try, particularly since they’ve recently introduced BLX-1 “equivalents” with a twist — built-in USB charging. What follows is a “first impressions” view of the situation (more details will follow in a later post).
Let’s start visually. Here’s a bottom view of three batteries that I’ll be comparing — an OM System BLX-1, a ProMaster replacement, and a ProMaster battery with built-in charging. If you were curious, I purchased all of them — no vendor-provided stuff here.
A view northeast along the Grand Canyon’s south rim, looking past the Desert View Watchtower.
OM System OM-1 camera, 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II lens
12mm, f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/5000 sec
Back in February, I preordered one of the new Olympus OM System OM-1 camera bodies, and after a few weeks of waiting, it arrived at my local camera store. There are plenty of full reviews of the camera available for your perusal online, so I won’t attempt to compete with / duplicate them.
Just the same, I’ve spent a few weeks traveling with the OM-1 (using it daily), and I’ve got some thoughts: