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CAME-TV Mini-99 V-Lock Battery Review

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CAME-TV recently announced its new Mini-99 V-Lock Batteries. Power is crucial to everything we do. Without it, cameras don’t fire up, lights don’t come on, and everything else stays dormant. Batteries are a key component of any system, so it is important to make sure we don’t take them for granted.

Concept

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Lots of companies have come out with Mini V-lock batteries in the last few years as battery technology has improved and higher capacity, smaller sized units have become possible to make.

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The Mini-99 is a 6.8Ah 14.4V battery that is flight safe and compact enough that it can be used on a wide variety of cameras. Its low profile suits smaller digital cinema cameras. Above you can see how well it sits on a Kinefinity MAVO LF.

Size & Weight

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The battery tips the scales at 550g (19.4 oz) and while it may not be the lightest 99Wh battery on the market, however, the low weight is still reasonably impressive.

Here is how the weight compares to some other similar capacity mini V-lock batteries:

WEIGHT
CAME-TV Mini-99 V-Lock550g (19.4 oz)
Core SWX Hypercore NEO 9 Mini 98Wh640g (22.5 oz)
Intellytech Pocket-V 98Wh453.6g (16 oz)
Hawk-Woods Mini V-Lok 14.4V 98Wh500g (17.6 oz)
Bebob Factory GmbH V98MICRO600g (21.1 oz)
FXlion Nano Two 98Wh520 g (18.3 oz)
IDX System Technology Imicro-98550g (19.4 oz)
Dracast 90Wh Compact Li-Ion BatteryNA
BLUESHAPE GRANITE MINI 14.4V 92Wh870g (30.6 oz)
POWERANGE PR-AN-N98 98WhNA
GLOBAL DYNAMICS UNITED 98Wh550g (19.4 oz)

Please note that all of these weights are what is being specified by the manufacturer. I cannot verify all of these claims.

Build Quality

This is often a hard one to judge when it comes to batteries. The CAME-TV Mini-99 seems solidly made and the battery housing looks and feels very similar to any other battery you may come across.

It is nice that the battery has gripping points on both sides. When batteries get moisture on them or if it is cold and you are wearing gloves they can be very hard to grip properly, that’s why it is nice to see that CAME-TV added these raised bumps on their battery.

The battery does come with a 2-year warranty. Any failures caused by the design of the battery will allow yo to get it repaired for free.

Outputs

The Mini-99 features two D-tap outlets that are located on either side of the battery, as well as a 5V 2.1A USB output that is located on the top.

This is a good assortment of outputs, however, it would have been nice to have seen a USB-C port instead of a regular USB.

What cells is it using?

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The Mini-99 gets its power from 8 Samsung 18650 batteries. A lot of companies selling batteries don’t want to disclose whose cells are actually inside their batteries.

If you are not familiar with Lithium-ion batteries, most of them are made by companies such as Samsung, Toshiba, and Sanyo. Regardless of who makes them, all cells are be divided into three levels of A,B, and C. The lower the rating, the cheaper the price, and of course the worse the performance.

The Samsung INR18650-35E batteries being used in the CAME-TV Mini-99 are level A batteries.

Lanyard

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The battery also comes with a lanyard so you could use it to attach the battery to light stands, etc. This is handy if you are running a light through some type of D-tap power cable. This lanyard is easy to detach if you don’t want it on the battery.

Charging

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CAME-TV recommends charging the battery with the CAME-TV BZ-2C charger, however, found it charged without issue on the few different V-lock battery chargers I tried it with.

What I didn’t realize is that you can also charge this battery through the D-Tap interface. I didn’t have a D-tap charger to see how this worked.

Real World Use

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I tried out the battery on cameras, lights, and monitors. It worked as advertised and I didn’t encounter any issues or problems.

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I liked that the height and size of the battery made it a seamless fit on the Kinefinity MAVO LF.

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It was also a nice size for directors’ monitors and lower power draw lights.

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They also work well on wireless RX units that have built-in V-lock plates.

The lanyard is actually really handy for attaching a battery to light stands etc. if you are powering lights or other accessories that don’t have v-mount plates.

Price & Availability

The Mini-99 is now available for $145 USD which makes it very affordable if you are looking for a V-lock battery. If you buy two you can purchase the pack for $245 USD.

How does that price compare to the competition? Well, let’s find out. Below you can see how much other competing batteries retail for:

PRICE
CAME-TV Mini-99 V-Lock$145 USD
Core SWX Hypercore NEO 9 Mini 98Wh$275 USD
Intellytech Pocket-V 98Wh$199 USD
Hawk-Woods Mini V-Lok 14.4V 98Wh$345.60 USD
Bebob Factory GmbH V98MICRO$325 USD
Fxlion Nano Two 98Wh$279 USD
IDX System Technology Imicro-98$249 USD
Dracast 90Wh Compact Li-Ion Battery$145.10 USD*
BLUESHAPE GRANITE MINI 14.4V 92Wh$424.65 USD
POWERANGE PR-AN-N98 98Wh$263 USD
GLOBAL DYNAMICS UNITED 98Wh$249 USD

*On sale. The usual price is $233.10 USD.

Conclusion

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The CAME-TV Mini-99 V-lock batteries offer tremendous value for money. They work as advertised, and their small size and weight, coupled with the three power outputs make them a battery that is very much worth considering.

I can’t speak for long term reliability, but they are using good quality Samsung batteries.

The CAME-TV Mini-99 V-lock batteries look to be a really good option if you are after a compact, lightweight solution that dooesn’t cost a lot of money.

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