Finally, after over a year since its original announcement, the Blueshape Granite Mini battery line is now shipping. It’s the perfect companion for the modern day cinema camera – and I think it may just be my favourite Gold/V-mount battery yet.
Batteries are a bore – there are not many people in the world that will get excited about them. However, in filmmaking they are a necessary tool, and one of which there are many options in today’s market.
In my opinion, you can break down Gold Mount/V-Lock batteries into 3 categories:
- Compact (usually 70-95Wh): Small in size and low in both capacity and maximum load (around 6A or 70Ws)
- Mid (100-150Wh): Medium in size, maximum capacity for being flight-safe, high max load for lights and larger cameras (around 10-12A, 100+Ws)
- Large (180+Wh): High capacity and load, but you cannot fly with them
I’m usually interested in batteries that fall somewhere between the first two categories – I want a lot from batteries in terms of flexibility. Like many filmmakers, I travel a lot and am in situations where my rig needs to be compact, but need a high draw for cinema cameras as well as lighting.
There are really not many that do this. IDX announced a new compact line of batteries that effectively gives you the extra capacity within a smaller shell (i.e. 95WH of battery that is the same size as an old 73WH). These are great, but the smaller ones don’t have a high maximum discharge, so are not great for powering lights and/or hungry camera systems like ARRI or RED.
Anton Bauer’s Cine line was probably the closest thing for a while. They feature a cubic design with a nice low form factor and high max. discharge, making them good for lights and bigger cameras. But what you lose in height, you gain in thickness, so your rig ends up becoming quite long.
Announced back in April 2016, the Blueshape Granite Mini had my eyebrows raised.
They’re small, really small. High in capacity and draw – the thickness of your average Gold Mount/V-Lock battery – but also compact in height. In today’s market, I think this height is really important.
Cinema cameras are getting smaller, which contrasts a battery market that isn’t evolving half as fast. You end up with an imbalance in overly tall batteries for your nice and compact cinema camera rigs:
The Blueshapes fits the profile of modern cinema cameras, notably the new RED Dragon bodies that are notorious for having silly tall mounted batteries on the back.
With this form factor also come features. The Blueshape Granite Minis come in two capacities – 95Wh and 140Wh, both with a high maximum load of 12A (good for lights and high powered cameras), 2 smart D-tap ports (you can power accessories but also charge from) and all support Wi-Fi.
The latter is a handy feature – an app allows you to assign a nickname profile to all your batteries (I just number mine), monitor health, cycles, load and watch discharge drop by the milliamp.
You can also update the firmware on each of the batteries. Early adopters will have found a bug where batteries drop power after clicking the LED indicator on the side – Blueshape quickly provided an update through the app to fix this.
Blueshape Granite Mini – Tech Specs
- Mount: Gold/ V Lock
- Chemistry: Lithium-Ion
- Capacity: 95Wh and 140Wh
- Amp-Hours: 6.3 Ah and 9.9 Ah
- Output Voltage: 14.4 VDC
- Maximum Load: 12 A
- Accessory Port: 2 x D-Tap
- IP Rating: IP54
- Dimensions (W x H x D)3.7 x 4.6 x 2.3″ / 9.5 x 11.6 x 5.8 cm
- Weight: 1.92 lb / 0.87 kg and 1.96lb / 0.89kg
The Granite Minis have Blueshape’s trademark rubber cladding, and are apparently dropped-tested from up to 6 feet onto hard surfaces, as well as IP54 resistance-rated against moisture and dust ingress.
They’re not cheap, and Blueshape really need to release a simultaneous 2-channel charger as the 4-channel is huge and not ideal for travelling. However, they’re certainly my favourite batteries on the market at present.
Having owned and used them for the last few weeks, I’m very happy with the Blueshape Granite Mini batteries. I’d been eagerly expecting their release since the announcement in 2016, and they certainly took a while, but now they’re finally here.
In the market for new batteries? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!