Disclaimer: there are many USB chargers out there and not all of them have performance level adequate to support your underwater photography needs. Make sure that each USB-Type A outlet is at least 10W and that the total power equals 10xnumber of outlets as a minimum or your USB charging will be slow. If you get an USB-C charger make sure that the power allocated to the USB-A outlets is enough or your laptop will charge very fast but your batteries will take forever. The product I am suggesting here have been researched and I have tested them on the field I do not take responsibility if you get something different because it looks cheaper or newer. In case of doubt happy to take questions.
Few months ago I booked a shark diving trip. Looking at the boat specs I realised the vessel was smaller than those I have travelled in the past and therefore I was concerned that with many photographers on boat it would have really been a struggle to have all my chargers especially as there were only shared cabins. Furthermore many boats do not allow anymore to charge batteries in your cabin to reduce the risk of fires,
I put my items on a scale and I realised how much this whole set up weights
I contacted the boat that told me strips were available for power but of course US format so not good for me. 1.8 Kg for a single AA battery fast charger, laptop power supply, phone charger, camera batteries charger. 1.8 Kg without even including the back up AA charger in the image below. Of course I can find a lighter strip or have a number of US adapters but you can see this is not heading in the right direction.
I recently bought a new MacBook Pro that only has USB C ports this has made me realised how powerful USB has now become with USB C you can deliver power to charge a large laptop as well as transfer at light speed images and especially videos. I will write another post on how to make your physical media management more effective but for now let’s focus on power.
At the same time in our home there is competition for charging tablets, phones and all sorts of other portable equipment by USB.
I thought would not be nice to have a multi USB charger? Do they even exist and the answer is yes. See below a product I bought for home and travel use that can power up to 4 devices.
£15.99 to end all our struggles seemed a great deal. You can directly click the image above to buy it on amazon.
In US this is $16.99 so even cheaper
From there I started thinking is there a way to charge AA batteries using USB after all the current requirements are quite low?
So I found this other product that did the job and can charge 4 AA or AAA batteries for £14.99 on Amazon. Note that despite the misleading description the two chargers are identical except one has micro USB and the other also USB-C. The USB-C version is slightly bigger (70x90x23 mm USB version vs 97x114x34mm USB C)
Links to Amazon.com
From there I moved to camera batteries and I found another product that allows to charge two batteries at the same time as battery consumption for video is huge. £8.49 seems a bargain click and see for yourself!
The above for the Panasonic GH5/5 etc the following for other cameras
Sony FW-50 for A7 series on Amazon UK
Sony FW-50 for A7 series on Amazon US
Olympus BLN-1 for OMD series on Amazon UK
Olympus BLN-1 for OMD series on Amazon US
Canon LP-E6 for 5D series Amazon UK
When you hit the page you can also buy compatible batteries this is not recommended please buy original batteries there is a whole world of difference.
At this stage my travel charger was using 2 ports for AA batteries 1 for camera dual battery charger with one spare for the phone or other devices.
I though is there a charger that also has a UBC charging port so I can also get rid of the laptop charger and there is £27.99 on amazon click on the image to go directly there.
At this point streamlining was complete. As additional benefit the desktop charger has a removable power plug so you can get your cable for EU or US or any other country the device will work anywhere. The only item still to be worked on are video lights but with batteries of 99 Wh this is not yet possible.
I put all on the scale well it speaks for itself 1 KG less
Of course many people do not have USB C powered laptops yet but this is changing so I would recommend getting a charger with USB C however if you don’t want or need that there is also a charger without with 4 or 6 ports
Of course you have put all eggs in one basket now but frankly it was the same also before if one of the charger would fail and besides you will find USB chargers on a resort or a boat as anybody as a phone. Worst case you can bring two power suppliers however this looks unnecessary to me.
I hope you find this useful feel free to share this page with your friends and use the links on here. I have looked into products in details those are the best ones that have the features you need (2.4A current at least 45W USC B won’t bore you with details but trust me this is what you need).