Works With: Various Cameras
The modern digital camera is a miracle. It can take photos in light so low that you can’t even focus the lens manually. It can record thousands of images onto a single SD card, or it can shoot RAW and let you make incredible adjustments back in the comfort of your own home.
But one thing that has driven me crazy with pretty much every digital camera I have ever owned is its charger. They’re almost universally terrible. Which is why I bought this Digipower alternative. But is it actually any better?
What It Is
The charger is marketed as a “Travel Charger,” thanks to its quick-changing US/Europlug prongs and built-in USB charger. I bought the version that charges Fujifilm NP-95 batteries, but there are several models available which don’t really differ externally.
The battery slides into a slot in the bottom and is held in place by a sprung plate. To remove the battery you just pull it out (it protrudes slightly and there’s also a cut-out to grab it easily). The charger has a backlit LCD display to indicate charge level, and a standard (non-2.1-Amp) USB port in the side.
|Fujifilm with U.S duck head||77g|
|Fujifilm with Euro duck head||82g|
|DigiPower with Euro adapter||114g|
|NP-95 battery only||39g|
The unit has fold-out prongs for the US market, and ships with and adapter that slides over these prongs to make it fit plugs Europlugs. Once this is attached it seems like part of the unit, and you could leave it there permanently (although it does stick out a bit too much for packing purposes).
The best part of this charger is that the battery doesn’t fall out
The best part of this charger is that the battery doesn’t fall out. The Standard Fujifilm charger that comes with the X100s holds the battery very loosely indeed, so much so that somebody passing by could easily knock the battery and disconnect it from the charging contacts. The DigiPower won;t let the battery go unless you grab it and pull.
The other neat part is the indicator. The Fujifilm charger has a single green LED that glows on when charging, off when charging is done or when there’s no battery/connection. It also flashes when something is wrong.
The DigiPower, on the other hand, has a glowing screen with a battery icons that steadily fills up in steps as the charge nears capacity. It’s a much better indicator of doneness. And speaking of doneness, the Digipower seems a little quicker than the Fujifilm, but that’s anecdotal. I tried to time the chargers several times but always missed the point where they were done.
Finally, that USB port is great, letting you juice two things at once, or leave a second USB-only charger at home.
It could easily keep you awake at night
First, it’s big. It’s as thick as the Fujifilm charger, slightly narrower and much longer. And while the fold out prongs are great for the US, the Euro adapter makes it a little bulky. In contrast, the Fujifilm charger ships with an AC “small kettle” cable, but this can be replaced with the little white adapters (“duck heads”) that come as part of all Apple chargers (except the iPhone ones).
On the other hand, the addition of a USB port might avoid carrying another charger, so you’ll have to decide for yourself here.
But by far the worst part is that LCD panel. It is permanently lit while charging, and even when fully charged. The sections flash as the battery gets fuller, and this flashing lights up the whole room at night. And considering that this is meant to be a travel charger, and will therefore be used in your hotel room, this could easily keep you awake at night.
The quickest way to tell you what I think is to tell you which charger I took on a camping trip this weekend (camping in the grounds of an old mill and taking part in a wedding. This meant lots of photos (and battery charging) and also plenty of power plugs. It also meant that I wanted to travel light). I took the Fujifilm. It’s smaller, lighter and as I was already taking a full iPad charger I figured I could share the duck head between them.
Then again, I was able to just duck inside and swap batteries when I needed to (which, with the X100S, is pretty often). If I was on a vacation and had to quickly charge lots of batteries back at my hotel after a day of shooting, I’d take both, especially as the USB port on the DigiPower is ideal for charging the GPS logger I always take with me.
In short, it’s a good charger. If you need a spare, then buy it. After all, if you own a camera then you already own the charger that came with it. If you are thinking of using this to replace your existing charger, don’t bother.
Product Name: : Travel ChargerThe Good: Does it’s job, Packs a spare USB port, reliable.The Bad: Big, annoying lights.
The Verdict Great if you need a spare/extra, but if you already own and use the one that came with the camera, don’t bother.
Buy from: DigiPower