It could be good riddance for Sony’s proprietary camera chargers. Nitecore, which is known for making replacement camera batteries, revealed a Sony-compatible battery that recharges via USB-C.
There’s already a bunch of third-party companies making replacement batteries for cameras, but they really don’t offer anything beyond a cheaper price and lower reliability. Nitecore’s UFZ100, however, shows us that replacement batteries can offer improved designs. In this case, the improvement is convenience, since it doesn’t rely on the proprietary charger that comes with cameras.
With the UFZ100’s USB-C port, you’ll no longer need the blocky charger that comes with your Sony camera. And this way, you’ll never have to sweat losing the expensive proprietary charger ever again.
Similar capacity — Nitecore’s UFZ100 is designed to replace Sony’s NP-FZ100 batteries, so those shooting on Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, or any other system are still stuck with their chargers. According to Nitecore, the UFZ100 is compatible with Sony’s a7 III, a7R III, a&R IV, a7S III, a9, a9 II, a6600, a7C, a1, FX3, and the latest a7 IV.
Compared to Sony’s camera batteries, the Nitecore UFZ100 has a slightly lower capacity at 2,250mAh and takes four hours to fully charge. Nitecore said they were able to shoot roughly 500 photos on a single charge cycle, testing it by shooting manual on a Sony a9. Since you won’t be using a charging block, the Nitecore battery has a button you can press to gauge how much charge is left in it. A green light means that the battery is more than 50 percent charged, a blue light means less than 50 percent, and a red light indicates less than 10 percent battery.
There’s usually some concern about quality control with third-party brands, but Nitecore said they build the UFZ100 with overcharge protection, over-discharge protection, overvoltage protection, overcurrent protection, and short-circuit protection.
Future of battery design — Even though the UFZ100 is live on Nitecore’s website, there’s no pricing or availability. If they set the price anywhere near the $80 retail for Sony’s NP-FZ100 battery, there will probably be some photographers willing to try Nitecore’s innovation out.
The built-in USB-C port is a welcome change for camera battery design and it should definitely be the way forward. The current design feels behind the times, since most cameras can charge a battery internally if plugged into USB-C. Besides, you’re more likely to always have a spare USB-C cable, whereas if you lost your proprietary Sony camera charger, you’d be out $100 for a replacement.