Anton/Bauer ElipZ EssentialZ Battery System, Camera Grip and Light  Accessory Review

Accessory EssentialZ

Anton/Bauer makes an amazing number of products for the professional news gathering market, but they’ve only recently started to foray into our prosumer world. Enter the new Anton/Bauer ElipZ EssentialZ. This is a system of products made to work together to help you produce better-looking videos. The ElipZ battery rating is a whopping 10,500mAh, which powers both a camcorder and the ElightZ on-board light. The EgripZ rounds out the group by offering a unique stabilizer that bends into many shapes. Build quality and design are top notch, and, without the pro price tag of other Anton/Bauer products, you can still afford lunch. So, if more power, stability and lighting are topping your list of needs, read on to learn about the ElipZ EssentialZ.

Outta the Box

We received the ElipZ EssentialZ as a kit in three small boxes. However, each product is available separately. The entire system includes the ElipZ battery, wall charger, camcorder adapter, ElightZ light, color gels and the EgripZ stabilizer. Packaging is about par-for-the-course, with enough bubble wrap and cardboard to keep the ElightZ light bulb well intact. The ElipZ battery has a single-fold instruction page. Although it’s double sided, most of the back page covers the limited warranty information. We frowned at the meager instructions, but we realized that the setup is so easy that we didn’t really need any more.

Powered by ElipZ

The Anton/Bauer ElipZ battery system is unique in a couple of ways. First, it features a bottom mounting design. This way, the large battery acts as a counterbalance to stabilize shooting. It also serves as a nice, wide base when you set the camcorder. While the battery adds about a pound to our camcorder, it doesn’t feel too heavy. The ElipZ system also features a quick-release system similar to the one found on many tripods. A small plate attaches to our camcorder, which locks into the battery when you activate the long blue release switch. Anton/Bauer includes a few “sticky pads” for the small plate, to make a rock-solid attachment. However, we had to re-tighten the plate before we got a good fit. There is a small amount of play where the battery meets the camcorder. We think this is quite acceptable for general use, but it may be a turn-off for the discerning videographer. Where the ElipZ battery really shines is its efficiency. Not only does this single battery take the place of more than 2 camcorder batteries, it’s also your battery for other accessories. The ElipZ uniquely supplies up to 6 amps to power both your camcorder and light, using its proprietary plug. This design makes for a really clean setup that doesn’t leave extra battery packs in your pocket or cables running everywhere.

We ran the gamut in our real-world tests, trying to see both how fast and how slowly we could drain the battery. The worst we could get was 4 hours of recording time. This test was conducted using our Sony FX7 camcorder with the flip-out LCD on, recording to Mini DV tape in HDV mode, along with Anton’s ElightZ shining the whole time. Four hours. The best we could get was a little over 7 hours of recording with one ElipZ battery. This test had our camcorder recording to Mini DV tape in HDV mode without using the flip-out LCD or the ElightZ light.

Charging the ElipZ back up to “Full” takes some time and is best done overnight. Our ElipZ took six hours to charge. Plugged into a wall outlet, the charger displays a colored LED readout that is clear and accurate. The charger is made in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Seen by ElightZ

The ElightZ light really offers a cool compact design which is especially good for anyone who travels. It features an articulating arm, replaceable 10w bulb and a nice stack of gels. The arm makes the ElightZ quite small when packed up, as the head and arm fit nicely together. When mounted on-camera, the articulating arm is a great feature too. The light can be brought closer to the subject for more intense light, and it can be raised up for a higher angle. Adjusting it up and down, as well as front to back, is smooth and straightforward. The light thrown by the ElightZ is soft and even. According to Anton/Bauer, the supplied 10-watt bulb throws 30 foot-candles at a distance of five feet. This is great for most situations; however, we think there’s room for a brighter light for those utilizing HDV camcorders in low-light situations. One drawback is its difficulty in connecting to our camcorder’s accessory shoe. A small plate that should slide firmly into the accessory shoe is a rotating one, and it is loose enough to cause some concern. Luckily, this was fixed in a matter of minutes when we finger-tightened a mounting screw into place. Using the included gels, we were pleasantly surprised by the number and variety. Five each of CTB, Fluorescent, Frost White and Spun gels are in the box. Adding the CTB (Color Temperature Blue) gel will make nicely outdoor-colored light, while adding the green gel will create even lighting underneath fluorescent conditions. A major benefit of the ElightZ is its ability to plug into the same ElipZ battery that powers the camcorder.


Bent on EgripZ

Our camcorder outfitted with the entire ElipZ EssentialZ looks like a whole new device. It’s quite a feat of vertical construction, with our camcorder being the patty of the EssentialZ sandwich! The EgripZ stabilizer is a welcome addition. It connects to the bottom of the ElipZ battery or to the bottom of any camcorder featuring a tripod mount. The EgripZ looks like an airplane propeller as shipped, but it easily bends into a few handy shapes. The rubber grips are soft like an old bicycle grip, and they stay firmly in place. Anton/Bauer suggests a few positions that show the EgripZ bent downward to provide stability. We found this to be a great start, but not ideal when you have to set the camcorder down. We bent the grips forward to make a steady rest for our tricked-out cam, and we bent them upward to aid in shooting low-angle situations. In certain configurations, the grips even protected our flip-out LCD display.

TECH SPECS

ElipZ
Type: Lithium ion, 7.2V

Capacity: 10,500mAh

Maximum output: 35 watts

Dimensions: 6.43″ X 3.17″ X 1.7″

Weight: 1.25 lbs.

Warranty: 1 year

ElightZ

Number of Lights: 1

Type: Halogen

Accessory: Shoe mount, 20-piece gel pack

Weight: 6.4 oz.

Dimensions: 4.5″ x 2.4″ x 2.3″ (folded), 3.75″ x 2.4″ x 6.6″ (extended)

Power Draw: 10 watts

Light Output: 30 foot-candles @ 5 feet

Warranty: 1 year

EgripZ

Weight: 12.8 oz.

Tripod Mount: Yes

Warranty: 90 days

Strengths

  • Overall construction
  • Easy to assemble
  • No cable mess

Weaknesses

  • Works only with Anton/Bauer
  • Camcorder adapter is pricey

SUMMARY

The Anton/Bauer ElipZ EssentialZ system offers a great improvement for a stock prosumer camcorder.

Andrew Burke is Videomaker‘s Community Engineer.

Anton/Bauer, Inc.
14 Progress Dr.
Shelton, CT 06484
www.antonbauer.com

$299 Elipz 10k battery/charger

$79 cable

$149 Elightz

$129 Egripz

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