Lose the Battery Bulk with the Atomos Power Station

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Heading out on the road or flying across the country for a video project isn’t exactly a paid vacation (as much as I’d like it to be!). It usually means I need to streamline my kit in order fit it all into baggage, and I always cross my fingers and hope that I packed everything necessary. One of the heavier collections of items, and often bulky, tends to be the extra batteries and specialty chargers I’ve included for devices like GoPros, smartphones, monitors, external recorders and, of course, my cameras. I recently heard about the Power Station from Atomos, and it sounded as though it might be a solution to traveling with all that battery bulk!

What it does

The Atomos Power Station is a power supply that attaches itself to the bottom of your DSLR or video camcorder, providing three DC (via splitter cable) and two USB power outputs. It can host two batteries (Sony L-series, but you get an adapter for Nikon or Canon DSLR batteries) with bright LED indicators that conveniently reveal battery life. The two 2600mAh batteries, which are hot-swappable, will power any device you plug into the DC or USB ports.

Features

It may sound like a simple device, but that’s the point. Imagine having to bring only a set of Sony batteries with you for using the Power Station, rather than a variety of different camera batteries + charger for your monitor, a GoPro charger + spare batteries, an iPhone charger, and battery bricks for an LED light. It’s a space saver and a weight saver.

"...you can switch one battery out at a time without interrupting the flow of power to your devices."

The fact that it’s hot-swappable means you can switch one battery out at a time without interrupting the flow of power to your devices. If you’re in the middle of a long take on your camera, or perhaps an audio recorder that you’re powering, there’s no need to hold up production and restart things for a battery change. In multi-camera productions, which I do a lot, it could save me (and everyone else!) time potentially because I won’t have to power down my camera, write new slate info, re-focus the camera, and stop the flow of a shoot.  

Aesthetic

The device’s appearance is in line with the way I like most of my production gear: it’s black and simple. For those of you who like Apple products, the Power Station’s design omits hard corners, so it should match the look of your iPhone while packing easily. The all-black case has white letters and numbers that stand out to indicate battery percentages and label the different ports, so it’s highly readable without any extra fluff to get in the way or distract.

What makes it unique or useful?

The DC and USB ports are for powering various devices, but just because it has the 1/4"-20 screw doesn’t mean you must attach it to your camera. It looks to me like it would be a convenient power source for my smaller accessories, and it would save me on a job if I forgot to bring one of the several different cords/packs/batteries that come with all of these different devices. It packs small and can get tossed into a backpack with a few cables, and voilà! I’ve got a single power solution for multiple pieces of gear.

I think what I dig the most about this product is an afterthought of its primary function. By removing the heavy batteries that often are attached to the back of camera-mounted monitors or LED lights, and using a camera-mounted Power Station to power them, you’re changing the center of gravity of your setup. When shooting handheld, it’s really bothersome to have a heavy accessory attached to the shoe mount. It’s a necessity sometimes, but by taking the weighty part of that and putting it on the bottom, I can shoot video that is more stable. Very cool.

Final Verdict

This product is for you if you’re doing a lot of multi-camera shoots with camera-mounted monitors, or if you do a lot of field work and need to charge your phones, GoPros, and other small items without bringing additional gear. Or, if you just want to shift the weight to the bottom of your camera, rather than rendering it top-heavy from monitor or LED batteries.

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