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Clever youtube DIY filmmaker Chris Winter posts this great how-to for easily extending your DSLR battery life.

Normally DSLRs do not have input for external power, which is incredibly frustrating if you try to shoot video or time-lapses for more then a few hours. To get past this limitation, Chris explains that all you need is a dummy battery that has a power cable extending from it (also called a DC coupler, cheaply and easily sourced online) and external battery (he recommends the 10,000mah EZOPower/Anker battery). A DIY hot-shoe mount, connected to the battery with velcro, allows it to be mounted on top of your camera for convenient all-day shooting or video.

While this is an awesome project and something I will definitely try out, you might have to make a few extra modifications. Depending on your camera, you may need to bust out an X-acto knife out and cut away a part of the battery cover to let the cord through. Also, the the video may give you the impression that this extends the limited video recording time of your camera, but it does not — it only extends battery life. Still, a sweet project that DIY filmmakers will appreciate.

Nikon_125x125_jb1If you have any projects like this you’ve been keeping hidden in your film bag, make sure to submit them to our Make: The Shot contest and enter to win some fantastic Nikon camera gear, including a grand-prize kit valued at $3600.
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Gunther Kirsch

Gunther Kirsch

I am a photographer at Make: magazine


  • Olympus_user

    You use more power by using the back screen to shoot with, use the eye piece viewfinder to get more battery life.

    • http://makezine.com Mike Senese

      That’s very true for shooting photos, but most DSLR video function uses the back screen. This seems useful for both.

      • itschriswinter

        Absolutely correct mike!

    • itschriswinter

      Yep that’s right. For still it’s best not to use it so much, but unfortunately for video we always need to have it on!
      Cheers
      Chris WInter

  • Olympus_user

    If you do this mod; mount the battery parallel with the camera body and not inline with the lens. As you can see in the video the cord will block you from using the eye piece viewfinder.

    • itschriswinter

      Exactly! For Still shots, you can just turn it sideways and it won’t protrude at all.
      Thanks for watching :)
      Cheers,
      Chris Winter

  • sstankus

    I see on the Amazon reviews for one of the DC Couplers that a few people have had problems with the additional voltage. As he notes in the video, the EZOPower battery has a switch for 12-volt or 9-volt. However, the Canon T4i battery (LP-E8) is only 7.2 volts. Have others tried this and had problems?

    Thanks.

    • http://makezine.com Mike Senese

      The creator of this video answers the same question in the Youtube comments, saying it’s fine, but be sure to get a good DC adapter: “The battery adapter does bring the voltage down to a regulated level. You do want to get one made by Lanparte as they are a trusted brand. Have an awesome day!”

      • sstankus

        Thanks, Mike – I totally missed that. I appreciate it!

      • itschriswinter

        That’s right Mike!
        Thanks for watching :)
        Cheers,
        Chris Winter

    • itschriswinter

      Absolutely, the T4i battery is 7.2v, but the DC coupler does bring it down to the acceptable level. I’ve been using it for a few months and it’s worked fantastically!
      Thanks for watching :)
      Cheers,
      Chris Winter

  • Really

    My Canon has an adapter for AC power that feeds right through a slot designed in the camera body for about the same amount of money. No need to worry about cutting into batteries…