Tether Tools Case Relay Let’s You Power your Camera from a USB

Tether Tools announced earlier today a very interesting product that is basically an external battery which can power almost any existing popular camera. Not only that but this battery can be charged using USB – so you can easily power your camera for a USB battery – a concept that is going to prove extremely useful for many photographers and videographers.

We have been looking for a way to power our camera with USB since we published our review of the PowerAdd Pilot Pro 32000mAh Battery – which can power a laptop and any type of USB device you can throw at it but can’t really charge a camera (at least not DSLRs and most mirrorless cameras).

The Tether Tools Case Relay – innovative accessory

crups110_tether_tools_case_relay_camera_power_system_6We actually talked to quite a few manufacturers about creating just this type of product – an accessory that will allow users to connect a USB power bank to a camera and power it for hours – something that can be extremely useful for our video work. Now Tether Tools has finally presented a solution – and surprisingly – it is not even that expensive (just look at the pricing of some of the camera manufacturers dummy batteries which can not even be powered by USB to get an idea of how expensive they are, although to be honest there are cheaper 3’rd party solutions but you have to be careful – after all you are talking about something that can potentially rack your gear).

So let’s talk about the Tether Tools Case Relay Camera Power System. The system has two main parts – the unit which goes into your camera (a dummy battery which is camera specific) and the case relay itself which is a small unit that can power the dummy battery (it has a small internal battery so that the power from any external battery or other power source won’t stop your shooting if you need to hot swap it).

All the parts you might need/want for the system to work

Case-Relay-Diagram-1The case relay has a USB input – this means that you can use either an external USB battery (either buy it from Tether Tools or use your own) or power it from any other device – for example AC wall adapter – like the one you use for your smartphone/tablet (Tether Tools also sells one).

Another important part of the puzzle is how you hold the case relay and the external battery – well, Tether Tools thought about that as well and came up with something called StrapMoore – a piece of stretchable fabric which you can put on your tripod and it will hold your case relay and battery together.

The system with the StrapMoore connected to a tripod

crups110_tether_tools_case_relay_camera_power_system_action_2-1So what is this product good for? well, basically any type of photography task which requires lots of battery use – timelapse, astro-photography, video, Photobooths and even just good old studio shooting when you are tethered on a tripod and don’t want to bother swapping batteries all the time.

As for pricing, Tether Tools is offering the Case Relay Camera Power System for just under $100 (but you will need to get the dummy battery (called Relay Camera Coupler) for your specific camera  and possibly the StrapMoore (there is even a full bundle if you don’t want to buy everything separately).

We have been talking to Tether Tools and we are hoping to bring you a full review of this important product in the not too distant future.

If you don’t want to miss any new photography product be sure to check out our product photography section on our photo gear channel.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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