The Sony A7S III was the first camera to support USB-C Power Delivery (PD) out of the box, allowing for faster charging, however, USB-C PD can now be used to power other cameras as well in a different way using a new cable accessory called Straw thanks to a recent Kickstarter project.
Arseniy Klimovskiy, an engineer based in Zurich Switzerland wanted to get rid of all those annoying camera batteries and chargers so he came up with a small USB-C cable you can connect to different types of dummy batteries and use with USB-C PD power banks to power the cameras.
This is not the first time that we are seeing these types of solutions on the market. We actually published here the Blind Spot Gear new power pipe series which also includes a USB-C PD cable designed to power batteries (as well as an interesting USB-C PD cable for monitors). Klimovskiy’s approach is a bit different but the goal is very similar.
A few months back, photographer John Aldred had a chance to try an early version of the new cable developed by Klimovskiy (see above video) and they seem to work well with the cameras that he tested (Panasonic G80 and Nikon D800). We have also been in touch with Klimovskiy and had a chance to try an early prototype of the cable. However, unlike Aldred we are using Sony cameras and those for some reason do not always play nice with those types of USB-C PD cables (so far this has been true with the Blind Spot Gear new power pipe cables as well although for both cables we are waiting for new power banks and wall chargers that include new technology and more output and we shall keep you posted if things changed.
Why would you want to power your camera using USB-C PD? well the answer has to do with how convenient and available it is (USB-C PD power banks are becoming more and more common and they are quite affordable), plus if you have several different cameras you can use the same power banks for all of them. The power bank itself depending on how much capacity it has can help you power your camera for many hours (which can be ideal for time-lapse, astrophotography, video work, and more.
As we have mentioned Klimovskiy decided to do things a little bit different and he currently offers on Kickstarter several versions of his products for Nikon or Canon. The Nikon version is a USB-C to a dummy EN-EL15/EP-5B battery (you can get it with a male USB-C or female if you want to use a USB-C to USB-C extension cord) and the Canon is a LP-E6/DR-E6 (again male or female). Both versions are coiled (50-120cm) for the male version, the female version has a short non-coiled cable.
At the moment there are no kits for Panasonic, Olympus or Sony but there is a DIY kit if you feel that you have the knowhow to connect your own dummy battery to the USB-C cable (mind you this is not some “dumb” USB-C plug, it has a special smart chip that controls the voltage so don’t try to connect just any USB-C connector to a dummy battery to power your camera…).
As for pricing – this is a pretty affordable product at about 25 Euros ($30 or so) and you can help fund it on Kickstarter now.
The Nikon version of the cable (coiled) with a male USB-C connector
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