- The SmallRig EN-EL15C USB-C battery is the first aftermarket battery made by a third-party manufacturer that has worked for me in my Nikon Z8.
- It also has a convenient built-in charging feature, so you can charge the battery directly via USB.
I don’t normally write a whole post on a single model of camera battery. But I’m making an exception here for two reasons.
Firstly, this is the only aftermarket brand battery I’ve found so far that works with the Nikon Z8 camera.
Secondly, this battery has a neat feature that I hope is adopted by more batteries in the future.
SmallRig is a company better known for cages, mounts, and grips for action cameras and video cameras. But in recent years, they’ve been expanding into other areas, including camera batteries.
Table of Contents
Nikon Z8 Compatibility
I’ve tried several EN-EL15C batteries from third-party manufacturers in the Nikon Z8 but found them not to work. They work fine in other cameras, like the Nikon D850 and Nikon D810, but the Nikon Z8 is quite particular about the batteries you put in it. It throws up an error screen if you try to use most non-Nikon EN-EL15C batteries. Until now, that has meant only using genuine Nikon EN-EL15C batteries in the Nikon Z8.
And to be clear, I’ve got nothing against the genuine Nikon batteries. They’ve worked reliably for me. But they’re expensive, and it’s nice to have cheaper options available.
This is where this EN-ELC USB-C battery from SmallRig comes in. They’ve set an MSRP of $44, which is significantly less expensive than the $69 MSRP of the genuine Nikon battery.
And so far, I’ve found this new SmallRig version to work just fine in my Z8. No error screens, and no performance degradation that I’ve been able to detect.
I’ll keep using it and update here if there’s something to update, but so far it looks good.
Built-in Direct USB-C Charging
The other thing I like about this battery is that it has a built-in charging feature.
By that, I mean that you can connect the USB cable right into the battery’s own USB-C port and charge it directly. I’ve used both AC adapter and USB power bricks; both methods has worked well for me, which opens up more flexibility when traveling beyond the rather restrictive requirements of charging in the Z8 itself (requiring PD compatibility).
And that, in turn, means that you don’t need to put it in the camera or a separate battery charger to charge. Both are useful for convenience and great news if you’re traveling light.
It also supports fast-charging.
UPDATE: I’ve since seen some reports of not being able to charge these SmallRig batteries in cameras when the camera is connected to a USB power source. I’ve not run into that problem myself, and it’s working fine for me in my Z8 (which requires a PD power source). It might have something to do with different charging specs for some of the other Z-series cameras, but I don’t know for sure.
Things Worth Knowing
- The manual says to fully charge the battery pack the first three times you use it.
These are the specifications as listed in the manual. For comparison, the genuine Nikon EN-EL15C is rated for 2280mAh / 16Wh.
|Battery Type||Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery|
|Power Ratings||2400mAh 7.2V 17.28Wh|
|Cell Normal Capacity||2400mAh|
|Battery Nominal Capacity||2280mAh|
|Charging Current||Standard charging: 0.2C (480mA)|
Fast charging: 0.7C (1680mA)
|Maximum Charging Current||0.7C|
|Maximum Discharge Current||5A|
|Over-discharge Current Protection Point||4.5 ~ 7.5A|
|Discharge Cut-off Voltage||5.0V|
|Operating Temperature||0°C ~ 45°C|
|Battery Weight||80 ± 5g|
|Battery Case Material||PC + ABS|
|Indicator Light||When charging, the light shows red; when the battery is fully charged, the light shows green.|
What’s in the Box?
- Protective end cap
- USB-A to USB-C charging cable
- User manual
I’ve been testing this battery in my Nikon Z8 and so far have no complaints. And I’m looking to add more, especially since I often shoot with the MB-N12 Grip, which holds two batteries.
- Cheaper than genuine Nikon EN-EL15C
- Has a built-in USB-C port for direct charging
- None so far. It’s been working great for me, and I’ve since bought a couple more.
Price & Where to Find Them
SmallRig has set the MSRP for this battery at $44. That compares to the $69 MSRP of the genuine Nikon battery.
This is a new product which is still working its way into stores. I bought mine at Amazon. At the time it was still in preorder state at B&H, but they should be getting stock soon. After testing one for a while to see how it went, I’ve since bought a couple more, and they’ve been working well for me.
Find them at:
Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2023-12-01 at 17:13. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.