I would like to purchase a spare battery for my new Canon EOS 550D\Rebel T2i for a trip abroad.

I've found this battery on DealExtreme. It costs 6.90$ (with shippment), a small fraction from the street price.

What are the chances this battery will damage my camera?

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The chances are high. Nikon started putting holograms on their batteries so they would be recognized as originals because some fakes burst into flames after some use.

Most importantly, is why are you even considering this? You paid good money for a nice camera and you want to risk it by saving some money on a cheap battery? If the one you have is not enough, even one more will give you at least another 400-shots per charge unless you use the flash more than you should.

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    I think the actual chances of damage to your camera are quite low. More likely it will just be lower capacity than advertised and not last for many cycles. Nikon's addition of the hologram has more to do with protecting their bottom line than protecting consumer interests. And this particular model is just a generic replacement; it isn't a "pirate" knock-off blatantly masquerading as the real thing. But that said, I do agree with @Itai's conclusion — the manufacturer-branded batteries aren't that much more expensive and you do get something for your money. – Please Read My Profile Aug 30 '11 at 13:37
  • The chances are HIGH that it will damage a camera? So as in over 50% of the time that you get a generic battery you think it will do damage? – dpollitt Aug 30 '11 at 13:47
  • Actually, to keep cost down manufacturers apparently use less internal shielding, causing more heat dissipation. From what I read, you are right they last fewer cycles though, although sometimes they have a higher maximum capacity. I'm guessing since they save room on shielding ;) – Itai Aug 30 '11 at 13:47
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    Scrap that couldn't find them on amazon US, but they're Energizer CA-LPE8 if you want to google. Much much cheaper, and at least a proper brand rather than some scary random chinese one – Dreamager Aug 30 '11 at 18:31
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    @Itai - I have never seen a battery with shielding, and batteries do not need shielding. What are you talking about? – Fake Name Aug 31 '11 at 5:16

Maybe, but Probably Not

Third party batteries vary in quality and capacity, but their actual danger is massively exaggerated.
Furthermore, the Chinese battery failures generally happen when the device is charging. Unless you have a camera which lets you charge your battery in the camera, even a spectacular failure will not likely damage the camera itself, and such an event is very rare.

Consider how many batteries you have heard of failing, versus the number of third party batteries that have ever been sold (Millions!). I would rate the risk as quite low.

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