Saturday, 12 April 2014

Third party battery for the Lumix GM1

A spare battery for a digital camera is a good thing to have. If the battery runs out, the only way to charge it would be to remove it from the camera and place it in the charger, provided you are somewhere with a power outlet. This means not being able to shoot for an hour, at least.

If you carry a spare, charged battery with you, you can just exchange the battery in a matter of seconds, and be ready to shoot again. However, original batteries often cost a lot. The GH3 battery can easily cost US$80 new.

With the GH2, the third party batteries did not let the camera see how much power was left, hence, you would not get any "power bars" in the camera display. And even worse: When the battery eventually run out of juice, the camera would just die instantly, and the images in the buffer, not yet written to the memory card, would be lost. If you were recording video while the battery died, you would lose the video footage.

With the Lumix GM1, though, third party batteries are available cheaply, and they let the camera see how much juice is left. So, from the point of not losing data when running out of juice, they are safe to use. Just like when using original batteries, the camera will warn you that the battery power is low. And, eventually, the camera will stop video recording and write the data to the memory card before shutting down.

The battery I tested is marked with "FOR PANASONIC DMW-BLH7E", indicating that it replaces the original battery called Panasonic DMW-BLH7E. Just like the original battery, it is marked with 860mAh, i.e., the same power reserve.

Here it is next to the original battery, original to the right:

And from the side:

The third party battery is a bit lighter. It appears that it is covered by a plastic film, rather than the solid plastic body of the original battery. So it is probably not as rigid.

I have not formally tested if they carry the same amount of power reserve, but so far, the third party battery appears to be as capable. It charges in the same charger as the original battery.

The third party battery is a good alternative to the original version. It appears to perform as well, and is good to have in the camera bag as a replacement power, for the times when you need it. At the low cost, I would recommend getting a second battery for spare power.


  1. I have a Panasonic GX7 and was advised by Panasonic in the UK that if I used any third party battery, and not a genuine Panasonic one, then this would invalidate the warranty for the camera. I decided that using at third party battery was too great a risk and bought a Panasonic one. That said, I do not understand why Panasonic batteries are so expensive.

  2. Just take out the generic battery before sending the camera in for service.

  3. I've tested these aftermarket batteries and they usually run 70-80 percent of the Panasonic battery. So I recommend if you are going to write and article, that you test the batteries. You can safely ignore the printed capacity on the battery.