Those of us who own digital cameras know the price we have to pay for official accessories. Generally we don’t mind ‘too’ much because the official ones are generally better than anything third-parties make, right?
In the case batteries this may not hold true. OEM batteries are often exceedingly expensive because of the brand name that is attached to them, and sometimes a third party battery can offer very similar (or sometimes even better) performance than the official one.
In this instance we’re looking at the the Sony FW50 (NPFW50) compatible RAVPower FW50 Compatible two-pack of batteries with an included twin battery charger.
- Cyber-shot RX10 (DSC-RX10)
- Cyber-shot RX10 II (DSC-RX10M2)
- Cyber-shot RX10 III (DSC-RX10M3)
- Alpha 7 / a7 (ILCE-7)
- Alpha 7r / a7r (ILCE-7R)
- Alpha 7rII / a7rII (ILCE-7RM2)
- Alpha 7s / a7s (ILCE-7S)
- Alpha 7sII / a7sII (ILCE-7SM2)
- Alpha a3000 (ILCE-3000)
- Alpha a5000 (ILCE-5000)
- Alpha a5100 (ILCE-5100)
- Alpha a6000 (ILCE-6000)
- Alpha a6300 (ILCE-6300)
- Alpha a6500 (ILCE-6500) (assumed)
Rule of thumb; if it accepts a NP-FW50 Sony battery, assume it will work fine…
I’m afraid I was only able to personally test these on the A7rII and with the VGC2EM Battery Grip. Please don’t leave me a message asking me to test them with Camera X, but if you have or purchase these batteries and want to feedback, then please leave a message in the comments below.
Let’s start off with the main reason most people will want to look at this third-party FW50 alternative. Price. At time of writing on Amazon, a single official Sony FW-50 will cost you £50.99 (down from the list price of £65.00).
The RAVPower Sony NP-FW50 kit costs just £25.99, and comes with two FW50 batteries and a twin battery charger. So a single RAVPower battery works out at 1/4 the price of the official Sony battery. Bargain!
At time of writing, I purchased this product for £21.99 on an Amazon Today Only special.
But are they any good? Let’s unbox these bad-boys and see if they’re worth it.
The RAVPower box that I received from Amazon UK had a nice pleasant heft to it that feels like you’ve purchased a quality product. The box is nothing to write home about but RAVPower have tried to make it visually nice. Inside you get the ‘Please Review Me’ and ‘If you have any problems’ contact card (not pictured), a USB Type-A to Micro-USB cable (approximately 30cm), a Micro-USB powered charger for two FW50 batteries, and a pair of the RAVPower NP-FW50 compatible batteries.
The batteries themselves are very good quality. They have a matt finish and are simply labeled ‘RAVPower’ on the front, and the statutory information label on the back. They feel solidly built and not dissimilar from the official Sony FW-50’s.
The charger that is included in the box is a nice touch. It has two battery bays and two LED indicators (one for each bay) to indicate charging status. Compared to an official charger it feels a bit plastic, but its certainly more than suitable.
Comparing the RAVPower Batteries to the Sony Batteries
Comparing the RAVPower Sony NP-FW50 Compatible batteries to the Official Sony NPFW50 batteries doesn’t really reveal much. They’re very similar in design, both with the two-tone Matt/Gloss finish.
There are some minor physical differences (click the above photos for a closer look). The most noticeable is along the top (connector) side of the battery where the RAVPower has a curved cutout vs Sony’s little notch. The bevels on the edge of the battery are also slightly different, with the RAVPower using a stepped bevel vs Sony’s smooth 45-degree bevel. These differences appear to be entirely cosmetic and dont affect the batteries when in use with a Sony A7rII, or the official Sony VGC2EM Vertical Battery Grip. Given the vast list of compatible cameras this battery, I can’t ever imagine these causing a problem.
The biggest difference is the capacity of the two batteries. Here the RAVPower has an advantage:
- Official Sony NPFW50: 1020mAh
- Compatible RAVPower NPFW50: 1100mAh
Given the poor battery life that most users experience with the mirrorless Sony Alpha range, this small but notable increase in mAh may just be the decision maker for most on-the-fence buyers of these batteries. In the real-world it probably won’t make much difference as I’m sure the cells in the RAVPower will be of lower quality than that of the official Sony cells (That said, they could be the same company inside, so who knows).
Batteries: In Use
So how do they work? Well the batteries arrived out of the box with around 70% charge in them – a nice bonus if you receive a delivery at zero-hour before your next shoot and dont have time to charge them. Slotting them into my A7rII resulted in the camera powering up first time with no error messages and displaying the battery percentage on the screen.
I then tested both of the batteries using the official Sony VGC2EM Vertical Battery Grip. Loading both batteries into the magazine was straight forward. Once they were loaded into the grip and the camera powered on, both batteries displayed their percentages to the camera. No errors or warnings about third-party batteries were received at all.
Performance wise, so far they’re absolutely fine. I can’t say I’ve noticed that they’re better than the official Sony batteries, but they’re no worse. Only time will tell how long they last, but given the high cost of the official Sony batteries I think its worth paying out for a pair of these.
Charger: In Use
The charger included in the box is nothing special, although it does offer charging for two NPFW50 batteries and is powered entirely by USB. This could be useful for those on-the-go photographers who often need to charge batteries from cars.
When charging, the LED Lights are Red. When fully charged these change to green. When a battery is not present in the associated slot then the light will remain green.
For those of you who have official Sony chargers, it is worth noting that the batteries load into the charger differently than with the official Sony chargers. On the official chargers you insert the battery (contacts first) into the charger at an angle and then push the bottom home. For the RAVPower charger the batteries just drop in exactly square and push down. There are reports of users on Amazon breaking the charger trying to insert the battery like they have on the Sony Charger, so purchasers of this kit be warned.
I see no reason that the RAVPower batteries couldn’t be charged on the official Sony chargers (or that the official Sony batteries couldn’t be charged on the RAVPower charger) so if you’re not keen on the charging solution then feel free to just use your existing charger.
It is also worth noting that you do require a 2.4amp USB port to charge both batteries simultaneously. If you try to charge both on a lower capacity port then the charger lights will go from green to red and then off, and repeat this pattern. A single battery will charge on a lower capacity port though. I found this by initially testing the charger on my Surface Pro 4 adapter (which evidently doesn’t provide enough amperage) before switching to my charging station that I use by my bed. This worked fine and resulted in two fully charged RAVPower batteries.
Official Sony NPFW50 (FW-50) Battery via Amazon UK
RAVPower Sony NP-FW50 Twin Battery and charger kit via Amazon UK
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This review is not sponsored or commissioned by RAVPower, Amazon or any of their affiliated companies.
TheRAVPower Sony NP-FW50 Twin Battery and charger kit was a personal purchase from Amazon UK, and not supplied as a review sample.