Canon EOS 550D Compatible LP-E8 Battery

Here in Sweden the original batteries LP-E8 for the superb Canon EOS 550D/Canon Digital Rebel T2i are priced quite high at around 600 SEK/€ 60/$80 so I googled after some lower priced alternatives and I came upon Deal Extreme Compatible battery (SKU 35588) for only 10% of the original battery cost (free freight) … and after some consideration I ordered two. After waiting close to two weeks the batteries arrived! In the meantime I had read on several forums about “compatible” batteries and there seemed to be different opinions about whether the batteries were really compatible or not and whether they could actually damage the camera or not

NOTE! This test just shows the results from the two samples that I got and that I give NO GUARANTEE that any batteries bought by you will work as the ones I got! The fact that I got two different capacities might indicate that batches have different properties! Any tests that you make are your own responsibility!

This “make or break” was a worry on my mind and I did not dare to put the batteries in the camera when I got them!  I decided to try to compare them to the original battery. The two batteries I got were stamped with different capacities as you can see in the table below.

The batteries arrived boxed in small red&yellow boxes (above). They were also put in small plastic bags and had on their underside a snap-on cover. All in all they had a trustworthy feel to them. The plastic seemed as sturdy as the original. No text at all on the top. The grey colour were ever so slightly darker grey i colour than the original.

Turning them over they were printed with voltage, capacity and other info. The contacts were also visible and looked very much as the originals except that you could see the “gold-plated” contacts glimmer a little clearer than on the originals.

Now I set about checking weights and sizes. The compatibles weights were 18% and 4% lighter than the original. No visible difference in sizes. Having done this I thought it worth the risk of charging them. Charging them with the original charger posed no problems and after less than an hour they were both fully charged. (I guess they were partially charged from the beginning.) To get comparable results I charged the original battery also.

Not knowing that much about battery science I googled to try to find out what the different specification voltage meant 7.2/7.4 Volts. I found no easy to understand explanation – might depend on different materials for anode/cathode – but it is still a little of a mystery to me what the voltage actually stands for

These were the results I found when measuring the voltages under different loads.

As the no-load voltage of all three batteries were the same with 8.32 Volts I decided I would test them in the camera. Also helped was the fact that the the difference under load was just 1-2%!

I tried them and there was no problem with fitting, all three batteries felt similar in fitting them in the camera so I (with some excitement) turned the camera on – and it worked as usual! 🙂

I have now been using them for a few weeks and I have seen no real difference between the batteries – original or compatibles. I have not really measured or kept a proper eye on capacity – but my feeling is that the batteries last the same time. (If I get curious I might do a proper capacity measurement…) I have read comments by other buyers that the low charge warning does not work so well with the compatibles. I do not know if it is like that – I tend to not notice the battery charge indicator until I see the flashing red low battery indicator – and then I change battery! I will try to keep an eye on that in the future and report back here with an update! With three batteries I tend not to worry too much – when one goes flat I just change to a new one! 🙂

Canon original battery lasted an impressive 827 pictures total – spread out over a rather intense 4 hour photo shoot – checking most pictures on-screen. Of the total about 50 was flash pictures.

UPDATE!

After a few months of rather intense use I can now report the following average capacity figures for the above batteries – both compatible and original. Used by what I would describe as a “keen” photographer (me).

Normal usage, lots of focusing (without taking pictures),  checking the majority of the pictures on-screen for 1-2 secs (no automatic image review), info display switched off, a mixture of lenses used but mostly the 18-55 mm kit lens and just 1-5 flash pictures per charge, camera never switched off. I have taken 300-500 pictures each day so this was much less intense then the above mentioned photo shoot.

Original battery lasted 1000 pictures – with two battery level warnings at 2 bars with 200 and at 1 bar with 100 pictures before empty.
Compatible battery lasted 800 pictures – ONE battery warning at 1 bar with 10 pictures before empty.

It was no surprise that the original battery was the (slightly) better of the two – but at a 10 times higher price …  

The battery level indicator works well with the original battery and there is not really any warning with the compatible – it just goes flat! BUT as I usually – in practice – have the info screen switched off I am as surprised with both batteries when they run flat! Having the info screen on I would definitely have a better chance of picking my moment to change the battery – if I have the original. Either way I would really appreciate a more forceful way of warning for low battery – one that is seen even when the display is switched off!

Till next time…

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  1. #1 by Adam on September 17, 2010 - 01:31

    Nice article. Thanks for sharing. Some people are worried that if one of the aftermarket batteries malfunction / get stuck / leak that their camera warranty will be void. I’m not sure on the details of it, but a 3rd party ‘Battery Grip’ can be purchased with little extra cost and might be a good idea for safety precaution when using 3rd party batteries.

    • #2 by sfennl on September 18, 2010 - 16:45

      Good idea with a battery grip as a precaution!

  2. #3 by Jeff Wikstrom on March 20, 2012 - 23:35

    Hello Photoman from Jeff in sunny, rainy, snowy Oregon. Looking forward to July.

    • #4 by sfennl on March 21, 2012 - 20:54

      Hello Jeff,

      Nice that you dropped by! Hope you like the blog!
      Also looking forward to July – will be fun to take all the photos!
      Photoman

  3. #5 by Pavel on September 20, 2012 - 11:44

    Comment on DX:”Unfortunately, it runs out of power quickly when shooting video. However, it is no wonder since it was a Full HD video. Maybe in the filming of lower quality wouldnt be much discharging. This is probably the only drawback”
    Can you confirm or refute it?

    • #6 by sfennl on September 20, 2012 - 23:14

      Hi Pavel,

      I have not done much filming but I also have seen that shooting video uses up the battery relatively quickly.
      But, I am sorry to say, I have not really taken note of which battery I was using. I will keep better track and report it back!
      Please tell me if you do any test!
      Photoman

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