Steve's Digicams

Quantum Instruments

QB1c Rechargable NiMH Battery Pack

Quantum QB1c Rechargable NiMH Battery Pack

You say you're tired of those whimpy AA size batteries going dead just when you want to take that important shot?

Here's the $199 (MSRP, usually discounted) Quantum QB1 Compact, a small (5 x 2.25 x 1.625 inches) and powerful 1450mAh NiMH rechargable battery pack for digicams. It weighs just 12 ounces and yet delivers four to six times the power of typical rechargable batteries. Even though the power rating is the same as that of AA-size NiMH batteries, the QB1 uses much larger cells and delivers 6v, not 4.8v of output power.

The normal QB1 Compact outfit includes the self-contained battery and a QB-26 117vac 9vdc wall transformer. Other chargers are available for use in the UK, Europe, Scandinavia and Australia.

Pictured is the optional $30 (MSRP) XDC2 cord that fits Kodak DC200, DC210, DC220, DC260, DC265, DC280, and DC290, Olympus D300L, D320L, D340R, D400Z, D450Z, D500L, D600L, D620L, and Nikon Coolpix 900, 900s and 950 cameras (as well as others using the same size coaxial power plug.)

Quantum QB1c Rechargable NiMH Battery Pack

On the back of the QB1 Compact is a four LED "gas gauge" that quickly and visually lets you know what the charge or discharge status of the battery pack is. The QB1 attaches via the tripod socket screw for a firm and secure mount on any camera with a flat bottom.

The QB1's "no-memory" nickle metal hydride cells charge reliably in 3-4 hours. You can use it and charge it whenever you want.

Quantum QB1c Rechargable NiMH Battery Pack

Here's the QB1 Compact securely mated to a Kodak DC290 and ready for a day's shooting no matter how many pictures you want to take.

Typically, you can expect around 800 shots on the DC265 or DC290 (with the LCD off.) It's impossible to give exact numbers on battery life when dealing with digicams -- everyone's useage varies, some folks use the LCD all the time and others hardly ever turn it on.

Quantum QB1c Rechargable NiMH Battery Pack

Looking at the rear of the QB1 you can see the "gas gauge" LEDs all lit up indicating a fully charged battery pack.

The button just to the left of the LED turns them on or off as desired. Over on the far right is the input jack for the charger.

Quantum QB1c Rechargable NiMH Battery Pack

Here's a closeup view of the camera power cord going from the QB1's twist-lock connector to the DC INput jack on the side of the Kodak DC290. The other jack is used for powering a flash unit, Quantum has many different cords to fits various photo strobes.

Quantum QB1c Rechargable NiMH Battery Pack

When the QB1 is used with the Nikon Coolpix 950, the poor design of the Nikon becomes painfully obvious. The DC power jack is on the top of the Coolpix 950 and the bottom of the camera is not perfectly flat so it's not what I would call a really sturdy mount.

Steve's Conclusion

Quantum Instruments is a well-known name in the world of professional photography. They have been making battery packs for the pro cameras and flash units for quite some time now and are well regarded by those who use their products. Recently they expanded into the area of digital cameras seeing as how they're notorious power hogs and need all the battery power they can get.

The QB1 Compact is but one of many portable battery packs that Quantum makes. It is the one most suitable to the vast majority of my readers so it is the one that I asked to evaluate. At a weight of twelve ounces it is going to just about double the weight of any consumer priced digicam that it is mounted on.

No matter what your operating habits are you're going to see a three to five time increase in useable battery life with the QB1 pack.

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