Sharp-eyed users may have noted that Canon’s EOS-1D X camera is equipped with a slightly different battery pack than previous versions of the EOS-1D or EOS-1Ds. There may be some confusion regarding the differences and compatibility of older and newer cameras and batteries, so we’d like to take this opportunity to clarify matters a bit, and help prevent any misinformation from occurring among owners or dealers.
Canon introduced the Lithium-Ion battery pack LP-E4 in 2007, with the launch of the EOS-1D Mark III camera. Significantly lighter than the Ni-MH type pack it replaced, it also powered the camera for longer periods of time, and was noticeably smaller as well. The LP-E4 battery pack has been used in the EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS-1D Mark IV cameras as well, and remained available until well into 2012.
With the launch of the newest EOS-1D X camera, however, the LP-E4 has been replaced in the Canon line by its companion LP-E4N battery pack. The new LP-E4N battery is readily identifiable by its gold-on-black lettering, compared to the previous LP-E4 battery’s silver lettering.
Aside from the gold-colored labeling, there are two fundamental differences to be aware of:
Higher battery capacity
The new LP-E4N is rated at 2450 mAh, vs. 2300 mAh for the LP-E4 pack. In spite of this difference, it remains compatible with the EOS-1D Mark III, Mark IV, and the EOS-1Ds Mark III (as explained below)
Compatible with new Japanese safety regulations for Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries
Some minor changes have been made in the interest of safety, to conform with the latest laws in Japan for rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery packs
With the new LP-E4N battery, Canon has introduced an updated battery charger, the LC-E4N. Virtually identical in appearance to the previous LC-E4 charger, which was marketed at the same time as the original LP-E4 battery pack, the new charger has been slightly modified to accept the slightly more powerful LP-E4N battery without any minor malfunctions. The new LC-E4N charger replaces the LC-E4 in Canon’s line-up.
Since the LC-E4N charger’s shape and electronic contacts are the same, it definitely can charge the older LP-E4 battery packs, as well as the latest gold-labeled LP-E4N batteries. It also uses the same type of removable AC plug, and is multi-voltage, so a simple plug adapter is all that’s needed for virtually any AC input from 100~240 volts. No voltage converter unit is needed for international travel!
LC-E4N will charge a battery pack in roughly two hours (about 130 minutes for the slightly higher-voltage LP-E4N battery pack). Two batteries can be inserted simultaneously in the charger; the pack installed first will be charged first, an then the second one will be charged. LEDs indicate the approximate level of charge; all three LEDs illuminate green steadily (no blinking) when a battery pack is fully charged.
Canon LP-E4 battery pack:
- Can be used in the EOS-1D X, as well as EOS-1D Mark III, Mark IV, and EOS-1Ds Mark III
- Can be charged in original LC-E4 charger, as well as LC-E4N charger unit
Canon LP-E4N battery pack:
- Included with EOS-1D X; can also be used in EOS-1D Mark III, Mark IV, and EOS-1Ds Mark III
- Can be charged in LC-E4N charger without qualifications
- Can be charged in older LC-E4 charger, but be aware of the following:
- If an LP-E4N battery pack that has been charged and discharged many times is charged- up in the LC-E4 charger, all three of its charge indicator LEDs may blink repeatedly, which indicates a battery malfunction. If this occurs, press the Calibrate/Performance button on the charger, which changes the three LEDs to temporarily indicate a battery’s recharge performance level — in other words, its ability to take and hold a charge. If one or more LEDs display without blinking as the button is pressed, the battery is still OK.
- If an LP-E4N with significant charge/discharge cycles during its life is charged using the previous LC-E4 charger, it’s possible that it may not be fully and completely recharged. The LC-E4N charger has been modified slightly to avoid this issue.
Canon LC-E4N battery charger:
- Can charge newest LP-E4N as well as previous LP-E4 battery packs
- Includes Calibration/Performance test button, and red CAL/Charge LED to alert user that the battery pack being charged should be calibrated — press the “Calibrate” button to start the calibration and re-charge process. A full calibration, which involves a slow and full discharge and subsequent re-charge, takes up to 10 hours.
- For safety reasons, if the charger cannot communicate with an installed battery, all 3 charge LEDs as well as the CAL/Charge LED will blink repeatedly.
Canon LC-E4 battery charger:
- Can charge original LP-E4 battery packs, as well as newer LP-E4N packs
- As noted above, the older LC-E4 charger may not completely charge a newer LP-E4N if the battery pack has been used many times. Also, its LEDs may falsely indicate a malfunctioning battery, as outlined in point #1 above.
Refreshingly, the advent of a new Canon battery pack and charger for the EOS-1D X provides benefits of slightly greater battery power, with virtually no penalty for the working professional in terms of compatibility with cameras, battery packs or chargers he or she may already own and use. As the “N” versions of the LP-E4 battery pack and LC-E4 charger become more commonplace, users and dealers can take comfort in knowing that previous versions of either remain almost totally interchangeable, and that they can be mixed and matched with very few issues or qualifications. For the individual photographer as well as business users with “pools” of equipment, this is good news indeed.
The CDLC contributors are compensated spokespersons and actual users of the Canon products that they promote.
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