Starting earlier this month, Digital Camera Battery began shipping its namesake product with 40 watt cells, an increase in capacity of 10 watts over the original version's 30 watt rating. The change, says company founder Tim Dodge, should result in nearly a 33% increase in, for example, the number of frames shot or flash bursts per charge.
The 40 watt Digital Camera Battery is identical in size and appearance to the 30 watt version, and accepts the same chargers, cables, soft case and other accessories. It's about the same weight too, says Dodge. The only notable difference is on the inside, where a slightly larger, increased capacity battery pack now resides. Owners of the 30 watt model can have it upgraded to 40 watt status for US$75 by sending the entire unit to Digital Camera Battery in Odessa, FL.
In addition, Digital Camera Battery is offering a 100-240 VAC FASTCHARGER for US$40 direct from the company to anyone who purchases the 30 watt model from a dealer starting in March 2004 (the Digital Camera Battery ships with a standard overnight charger). This is about 1/3 of the typical US selling price for this charger. A coupon describing the details of the offer is to be posted on the Digital Camera Battery web site soon, says Dodge. The offer is expected to last through at least the end of 2004.
The 60, 90 and 120 watt models have also been upgraded, to 80, 120 and 160 watts, respectively.
In addition, Dodge indicates that they've completed a prototype of their next battery offering. Utilizing Lithium Polymer in place of the NiMH cells found in the current Digital Camera Battery lineup, the new battery will offer 80 watts of capacity in a somewhat lighter pack that is the same size as the current 40 watt NiMH model. It will accept the same cables and accessories, but will not use existing AC chargers. As a result, the face plate's charging receptable will be slightly different, to prevent accidental connection of an AC NiMH charger.
The new version of the Digital Camera Battery is expected to be considerably more expensive. The reason, says Dodge, is that Lithium Polymer cells are considerably more expensive than NiMH. Both 80 watt and 160 watt versions are planned; the ship date is perhaps 6 months away. The Lithium Polymer models will not replace the current NiMH lineup, which will continue to be manufactured and sold.
Digital Camera Battery has also recently begun to ship the ultra-rapid CARCHARGE 12V car charger (shown in the graphic at left).
Dodge indicates that everyday use of the charger would likely cause the battery's cells to wear out prematurely, owing to the intensity of the approximate 1-hour charge cycle. More intermittent use, however, when an extended charging period isn't an option, is not expected to harm the cells.
A cable for the Nikon D2H, whose power port and voltage is different from D1-series cameras, is also now available. Other Nikon, Canon and Kodak cameras that have recently been announced or have started to ship can use existing cables, notes Dodge. The Nikon D70 requires the same cable as the D100, the Canon EOS-1D Mark II utilizes the same cable as the EOS-1D and the Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n accepts the same cable as the 14n. The company is currently determining if the upcoming SLR/c's power needs and power port are the same as that of the SLR/n.
The Digital Camera Battery web site has not yet been updated to include all of the additions and changes noted here. A June 8, 2001 article on this web site describes the Digital Camera Battery in greater detail.