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I've got a 7D with the LP-E6 battery that came with it, but would like to get some spares (along with a battery grip)

With my previous camera (450D) I used generic batteries (and generic grip) and had no issues with charge/usage, but apparently the LP-E6 batteries have a proprietary Canon chip in them, which means that there may be problems charging or using (in terms of battery metering) in a 5D or 7D body.

What are the specific problems? And are there any 3rd party batteries that have the Canon chip or a reverse-engineered chip to avoid these problems?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I haven't yet found any third party batteries that has a chip in them.

As you say, using a battery without the chip doesn't provide the camera with power level metering. Not knowing exacly how much power there is left is of course a bit inconvenient, but that can also cause other problems. The camera uses the power level information to shut down safely when the level gets critically low, and without that information the camera might run out of power in the middle of an I/O operation. If you are shooting pictures the risk for that is not very high, but if you are shooting video when the power runs out that is quite likely to corrupt the video file. It may also corrupt the disk system data, which will make all the files on the card unreadable.

The third party batteries I have seen comes with a special charger, as they can't be charged with the original charger. That means that you have to bring two chargers if you have both types of batteries.

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Valid points about the I/O, I think I might give some generics a try since I really don't shoot video that much... and my experience with computers makes me think general write operations won't corrupt the filesystem, so I'll just take that risk ;) – drfrogsplat Nov 22 '10 at 2:51
There are several 3rd party batteries with a decoded chip to allow camera communication (and charging with the OEM charger). I picked up two generic 2100mAh batteries with decoded chips for 19 bucks each. They have about the same run time as the standard 1800mAh canon battery in my 60D but cost 60% less and they show battery charge information and charge in the canon charger without issue. I think you'll find that there may be issues with 3rd party batteries but not often enough to worry about. – Ron Warholic Nov 22 '10 at 22:06
I use high quality generic LP-E6 batteries as well as my genuine Canon ones. They function the same: They charge on the same charger, the camera reads the serial # in the battery, and displays the charge level, number of shots, recharge performance, and remembers the date and charge state the last time each battery was used in the camera. The brand I use are still about 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of Canon OEM. – Michael Clark May 31 '13 at 18:45

7D: $1600.

Canon battery: $60.

3rd-party battery: $40.

Difference as percentage of camera price: 1%

I've seen several different investigations of generic batteries, and while many of them are quite good, the actual capacity varies wildly. In some cases, when you factor that in, you're actually getting more for your money for the brand-name batteries. It's an unfortunate situation and it's too bad there's not better standardization (and honest labeling), but I think it's best to just consider a few extra batteries to be an extra couple percent on top of the purchase price and, basically, just suck it up.

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I've seen $7 batteries on eBay for the 7D. I've bought and used $5 eBay batteries on my 450D (3 different batteries) and had no problems with them. They seemed to perform as well as my Canon battery, except that the Canon one stopped recharging after about 18 months. – drfrogsplat Nov 21 '10 at 1:19
I picked the $40 from B&H. But I think the basic point still stands. – mattdm Nov 21 '10 at 2:52
For $40 generics, I'd agree, but I don't think either point still stands for $7 batteries: If I buy 2 batteries, I save a little over $100, which is now about 8% of my 7D cost. And from my experience, the batteries which cost about 10% of the Canon price are at least 80% of the capacity. – drfrogsplat Nov 22 '10 at 2:48

The Maxtek batteries when purchased directly through them on amazon are guaranteed to work. I bought two on 12Dec2013 and they work just fine and charge fine in the canon charger. They suggest buying directly from them right now to ensure you get the latest with the chip Canon will recognize as they can't be sure Amazon or other retailers have gotten rid of older stock that are not compatible.

Prior to the more recent firmware updates I didn't have any problem with another generic brand working but now it can't communicate with the body.

A recent major photography blog had an article about this issue and they had contacted Maxtek and their advice was as written above (buy from them to ensure latest with chip).

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