Soonwell PH70 announced – Built-in Battery Top Handle

August 26th, 2019 icon / message-square
Soonwell PH70 announced - Built-in Battery Top Handle

The Soonwell PH70 is now available for pre-order: The Shenzhen (China) based manufacturer Soonwell has just announced their new PH70 top handle battery grip for DSLR and DSLM cameras. Let’s take a look at the available information on this newly introduced piece of gear.

 Soonwell PH70 - Top Handle with inbuilt Battery (Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema 4k)

Soonwell PH70 – Top Handle with inbuilt Battery ( Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema 4K)

Soonwell PH70 – Features and Powering Options

Soonwell introduces this battery top handle to be compatible with all sorts of DSLR and DSLM cages in the market. The company claims that it matches with most of the available cages. The handle has a 1/4 20″ screw to connect to those cages. As a top handle, it will provide DSLR shooters with features that often lack in their standard setups. These options include two D-Tap (14.8V, 5A each), one USB (5V, 2.1A) and two DC (12V and 8V with 3A each) connectors, just mounted on top of their camera setup. Thus, this top handle could be attractive to take a closer look at for a lot of people.

Overload: The product comes with a safety “Overload” indicator on the handle which lights up when the power draw on the dual D-Tap port exceeds 10A. This enables the user to reduce the power draw.

These powering options can help users to power their camera and other attached accessories such as lights, audio gear, small monitors or audio/video transmitters. All of these pieces of equipment can be powered at the same time if they are in line with the prerequisites of the battery grip. Users can provide power for other types of devices with this as well, of course.

Aside from these features, the PH70 has long standby times and stays operable at low heat for long hours of operation. They also say that it’s resistant to powering problems and outages. In addition to that, the grip is covered at least partially with anti-slip rubber. Five LEDs with a “Check” button to display the actual battery charge level helps the user to prevent a sudden power outage.

Another handy feature is that the manufacturer has included a cold shoe on top of the device to attach further accessories to the top handle.

Soonwell PH70 - Top Handle with inbuilt Battery and accessories by Tilta

Soonwell PH70 – Top Handle with inbuilt battery and accessories by Tilta

First Ideas and Impressions

First of all, it is great to have such a device as a possible option for DSLR or mirrorless shooters with their respective camera setups and the constant needs for such powering options. With a weight of 623 grams however, the top handle is almost as heavy as a lot of the smaller DSLR cameras. With a size of 72mm x 183 mm x 41 mm (H x L x W) and from the first impressions of photos available, the handle seems to be a bit bulky. This detail is understandable though since there is a battery pack and connectivity options available inbuilt into the handle.

It is reasonable to assume that if the user powers multiple devices with the 70 Wh battery, the battery won’t last that long. Another challenging question arises at the same time. If the MSDS qualified Class A rechargeable lithium battery cells are inbuilt: What do you do, when you run out of power during a shoot? Do you detach your handle to recharge? What do you do without a top handle?

There is another critical side note regarding sturdiness. Needless to say this explicitly: You’d always want to prevent batteries from falling! In their product description text, the manufacturer asks its customers to please “use it carefully and avoid falling”. All of us filmmakers know that products need to be firm and sturdy for all the types of productions that we do daily. From covering motorbiking events with dust, dirt and sudden shocks, to field documentary, to independent cinematic work, we usually want gear without a “handle with care” label.

Maybe the manufacturer only wants to be on the safe side here. To my mind, a top handle shouldn’t only be lightweight, anti-slip covered and ergonomic. I would also want to use it safely under intense pressure. In addition to that, I often work in difficult environmental situations and harsh conditions. Thus I would like my gear to meet the needs and expectations of such projects.

Since we’ve not tested the handle yet, these are only first thoughts and impressions, of course.

The product is available for $380 on pre-order now. Customers can currently get 20% off with the “soonwell2019” coupon code in their store.

What do you think about Soonwell’s last announcement? Are you also interested in testing the product? Let us know in the comments below the article!

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