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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    A700 Battery issues

    Okay ... so there you are ... ordering your SONY A700 equipment ... the A700 comes with one battery, naturally, to operate ... but, it suddenly dawns on you ... "Hey, that VG-C70AM 'vertical grip' is an accessory ... and requires two batteries to operate."

    Ok, but BATTERIES ARE NOT INCLUDED! Strangely, in their marketing plan, they do not make a big deal about this, when you order over the Internet, and believe me ... when you are using proprietary batteries, it really is important. Chances are that they are not readily available at the corner drug store at $70 a pop!

    Q: What batteries do we need for it? A: SONY NP-FM500H (Buy at least 1, maybe 2 ... maybe even 3! You may not think so, now ... but there will come a time when you are going use up the power in this beast ... and you're gonna thank me for mentioning the idea up front, BEFORE you actually need it. They are "proprietary" .... which translates to ... you have no choice ... there is no "AA" backup rack. No one has them readily available. Like I mentioned above, one of these batteries actually does come with the camera, but you will need at least two with the grip attached to the camera.)

    "Well," you say to yourself, "I have a SONY A100 ... using SONY NP-FM55 batteries, what's the difference? Why can I not make use of those batteries?" Well, being the cheap-skate that I am, I actually asked that of the manufacturer and according to SONY, the difference is "battery life." Hey, if the infamous "they" are stessing "battery life", you can be darn tootin' the camera must be hungry for power.

    Fine. A goofy enough reason to sell new batteries. But, those batteries don't seem to be available on the SONY Style website. There were no offers for them as easily accessable "accessory parts", so that begs the follow-up question: "How do you order them?"

    At this point in time, you have to call ... 1-800-488-7669 (SONY's Parts number), and tell them what you want. $69/ea ... either on the web or straight from SONY, that price seems to be pretty tight at the moment. I have addressed the problem in an e-mail to the SONY Style website, but I have no idea how much that will move Heaven & Earth to get anything done about it.

    Anyway, my advice: Get those batteries, also, when you order ... otherwise ... you've got a useless device for awhile, after it shows up. That leads to frustration and depression, as you hold this rather 'lifeless' device in your hand and wonder ... "What was I thinking?"

    I caught it early, but some are not going to be as pro-active. It is just some non-experience I thought I would share, in getting this puppy, without problems.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 09-21-2007 at 03:24 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    20
    having worked for sony of canada, i have heard this sort of complaint time and time again, and believe me, its a pain in the butt from the salesman's point of view as well as the customers. I ended my tenure there just prior to the a700 coming out, having picked up an a100 in february or so, but it does not surprise me that the vert grip doesn't come with batteries.

    for reference though, any sony store has the ability to discount, talk to the salesman for a while, and work on him for price, if he won't budge, ask to speak to the manager. after having dropped 1600 on a camera, then $x.xx on the grip, and then having to drop another $140 on batteries, believe me, there is a little room to move. I won't say how much, but rest assured there are better deals to be had right in the retail store.
    Sony DSLRA100 w/ SAL18200
    Sony DSCW7B
    Sony DSCW80

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, Austraila
    Posts
    6

    A700 Battery issues

    Quote Originally Posted by DonSchap View Post
    Okay ... so there you are ... ordering your SONY A700 equipment ... the A700 comes with one battery, naturally, to operate ... but, it suddenly dawns on you ... "Hey, that VG-C70AM 'vertical grip' is an accessory ... and requires two batteries to operate."

    Ok, but BATTERIES ARE NOT INCLUDED! Strangely, in their marketing plan, they do not make a big deal about this, when you order over the Internet, and believe me ... when you are using proprietary batteries, it really is important. Chances are that they are not readily available at the corner drug store at $70 a pop!

    Q: What batteries do we need for it? A: SONY NP-FM500H (Buy at least 1, maybe 2 ... maybe even 3! You may not think so, now ... but there will come a time when you are going use up the power in this beast ... and you're gonna thank me for mentioning the idea up front, BEFORE you actually need it. They are "proprietary" .... which translates to ... you have no choice ... there is no "AA" backup rack. No one has them readily available. Like I mentioned above, one of these batteries actually does come with the camera, but you will need at least two with the grip attached to the camera.)

    "Well," you say to yourself, "I have a SONY A100 ... using SONY NP-FM55 batteries, what's the difference? Why can I not make use of those batteries?" Well, being the cheap-skate that I am, I actually asked that of the manufacturer and according to SONY, the difference is "battery life." Hey, if the infamous "they" are stessing "battery life", you can be darn tootin' the camera must be hungry for power.

    Fine. A goofy enough reason to sell new batteries. But, those batteries don't seem to be available on the SONY Style website. There were no offers for them as easily accessable "accessory parts", so that begs the follow-up question: "How do you order them?"

    At this point in time, you have to call ... 1-800-488-7669 (SONY's Parts number), and tell them what you want. $69/ea ... either on the web or straight from SONY, that price seems to be pretty tight at the moment. I have addressed the problem in an e-mail to the SONY Style website, but I have no idea how much that will move Heaven & Earth to get anything done about it.

    Anyway, my advice: Get those batteries, also, when you order ... otherwise ... you've got a useless device for awhile, after it shows up. That leads to frustration and depression, as you hold this rather 'lifeless' device in your hand and wonder ... "What was I thinking?"

    I caught it early, but some are not going to be as pro-active. It is just some non-experience I thought I would share, in getting this puppy, without problems.
    Don
    Reading your post, can one assume that the FM55 battery (from the R1) will still work fine in the A700, just last less time than the F500?
    Seeing I have 3 of them, and they last pretty well in the R1, it may be an option to consider?
    Thanks
    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Exclamation There are physical differences ...

    There are physical differences between the two types of batteries ... so the NP-FM55s simply will NOT work in the A700 body. SONY saw fit to cut a 1.5" groove down the back of the NP-FM500H battery pack and place a matching ridge inside the battery compartment to prohibit use of the NP-FM55.

    It was a bit more complicated than I or the consumer support representative were fully aware of. Jeff probably mentioned it, when he wrote the "preview", but it really didn't hit home until I got the camera and began looking at it closer.

    Nah, you're stuck buying new batteries for the A700, although the NP-500Hs will work quite well in the A100, so you'll have plenty for it.

    BTW: In regards to the VG-C70AM Vertical Grip, the battery compartment is wired a bit differently and clearly distinguishes between the two batteries inside it, using the first battery until fully discharged, then automatically switching over to the second. The A700's charge display clearly displays the status of each battery to you, so you can tell what's up at any time.

    Let me tell ya, the SONY A700 is some kind of body. It's a dream to shoot with and people who never considered it as their "next" camera, are having some serious second thoughts.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 05-18-2009 at 05:15 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,424
    what a stupid idea to not have the same battery.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Cool Money, money, money ... the root!

    Remember, Rooz, just like Canon ... it's a money machine.

    Where Canon nails ya, is in having to buy IS-in-the-lens ...

    SONY gets you in the Battery Division (they make them for other manufacturer's laptops, also). I'm pretty sure it was a cooperative opportunity to make some money, there, too. Personally, I saw this kind of nonsense going on at Motorola when I worked for them. Executives in suits coming down to the manufacturing floor and asking the engineers what could be done to keep everything "proprietary", so the customer had no recourse in a solution. They'd be stuck, unless they want to replace EVERYTHING.

    I mean, what better place to get 'em, after the "lens mount" than in the battery location? It's really the only opportunity left, after the proprietary flash unit, too. They already had that covered, way back in 1995. It looks really similar ... but cannot be altered without violating the manufacturer's warranty of the camera and/or the battery.

    Puts an extra $100 in the "profit column."

    Don't get me wrong, I don't appreciate this kind of RUSE on the public, either. Canon could put IS-in-the-camera body and make a lot of people more desirous of their camera systems ... but the greed factor and their comfort level of where they are precludes this kind of "helpful" thinking. As long as licensing protects and allows this kind of crap to go on ... the consumers and their wallets are just "sitting ducks."

    Personally, I cut my losses with Canon, because paying the cost for their IS-equipped lenses is a whole hell of a lot more expensive than a couple of stupid batteries. In fact, one IS-equipped lens' cost alone pays for the two batteries (I, personally, bought three, in addition to the one I got with the A700) I needed for my grip to work.

    Oh well, like they say, it's only money. As a general question to everyone: Have you seen any extra laying around, lately? Or are you still using a four-year-old XT-body for this year, too?
    Last edited by DonSchap; 10-30-2007 at 04:55 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, Austraila
    Posts
    6

    Sony batteries - A700

    Thanks Dan

    Appreciate the explanation. This "proprietary" stuff is a pain in the you-know-what. I have a Sony external flash for the R1, but as you know, that too will not work with the new Alpha series. C'est la vie!

    Have had the A700 for just on 2 weeks, and have not had much time outdoors with it. So far, I am pretty impressed. Its operation and functions seem quite logical, I do like the lcd menu system (quik nav)- it makes good sense. Most of my first pice were taken on default settings, xfine and jpg output. I did find the images a little soft. Will try to post 2-3 pics.

    Have played with the Vivid settings (contract and sharpness) and that does make a significant difference. This weekend I hope to play with RAW and see how that goes.

    Tamron 18-250mm lens arrived earlier this week, and its looks like a beauty! Works like a treat and is not too big, so camera does not look too conspicuous.
    Can't wait for the weekend.
    Thanks
    John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    6

    A700 batteries - can't use the A100's...

    Well, those (censored) engineers at Sony have done it again. I have the vertical grip for the A700 and removed the two little plastic tabs for the battery groove. The A100 batts physically fit fine now, but won't work in the camera. They don't have the right data stream that comes from the center contact. When you read voltage between the positive and center terminal on the A100 battery, you get a solid voltage. When you read it on the A700 battery, the voltage fluctuates wildly. The A700 has to "see" the right data from these overpriced batteries to work. Nice. Apparently Sony doesn't like losing revenue from knock-off batteries (which work just fine in my A100). Hopefully, someone will develop an inexpensive knock-off that works. Haven't found it yet, though.

    In the interim, I did find the A700 batteries at Cameta Camera (thru an Amazon search) for $45 and bought 2. Best deal I could find in Nov. 2007.

    Hope this info helps everyone pondering this issue.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,760
    YEH it stinks that the a700 needs all new batteries...personally i think it stinks that sony still calls them m batteries just to fool people into thinking theirs will work.

    i got my extras from adorama...$55 ish..no tax..free shipping

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Cool Real reasons for the battery change

    (This is a follow-up to an old issue)

    The new batteries (2007) were required for the "power-meter" feature of the A700, for both itself and the VG-C70AM Vertical Grip. The old battery, SONY NP-FM55, simply cannot be read by this feature and a lot of things happen when the camera decides a battery is exhausted.

    In the vertical grip, it switches over to the second battery. In the REMOTE CONTROL software, it declares the A700's battery is at less than 20% and really needs some attention. If they cannot be read, the camera's internal software shuts down the camera.

    Anyway .. there is method to the madness.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 05-18-2009 at 05:25 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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