Review: XTAR SN4 modular camera battery charger
The XTAR SN4 modular charger has replaced not one, but three OEM chargers for me.
One of the worst things about being a photographer or videographer is the sheer number of things you must keep charged up. Oh, wait, I mean the number of chargers you must lug around. I’ve been testing a solution, in the XTAR SN4 modular battery charger, and I must say, I’m a fan.
See, normally on any given day, I could have to charge the following: batteries for my camera, batteries for my lights, batteries for my on-camera monitor, and batteries for my recorder. Each of these takes different battery types, I need spares, so I don’t run out of power, and every OEM charger only fits one battery at a time.
It’s a pain in the ass to deal with, having to wait for one battery to charge, then swap in the next of the same type, and can take all day sometimes. So, what’s so different about the XTAR SN4?
What’s the XTAR SN4 charger all about?
At the heart of this system is the SN4 charger body. This small box takes a USB-C power input of up to 45W and distributes it to up to four batteries being charged. Each battery has a corresponding four-segment charge indicator, which is a huge improvement over the one LED indicator that most OEMs use.
It’s got all the protection circuits you’d expect from a modern charger, like over-current, over-voltage, short-circuit, over-charge, over-load, and temperature. It also uses an intelligent three-stage charge protocol, so no more pulse charging that can shorten your battery’s effective life.
XTAR has a dizzying array of clip-on charging docks for the SN4 charger body. Most batteries for the most common camera bodies are represented, with more being added all of the time.
I’d like to see more options for Panasonic shooters in the future. The batteries used most by lights and other accessories like monitors are all accounted for right now, with the Sony NP-F970
- Canon: LP-E6/E6N/E6H, LP-E8, PL-E17/E17A/E17B/E17C
- Fujifilm: NP-W235, NP-W126/W126S
- Sony: NP-FZ100, FP-FW50, NP-F970, F770/F750, F570/F550
- Leica: BP-SCL4
- Panasonic: DMW-BLK22
- Nikon: EN-EL15, EL15a, EL15b, EL15c
XTAR sent over a bunch of the NP-F970 docks (which are mostly used for my LED panel batteries, and an on-camera monitor), but that was before the Fuji compatible docks came out. I’ve since bought two NP-W126 docks as my primary camera these days is a Fujifilm X-T3.
Charging up your tech
Paired with a 45W USB-PD adapter, you can charge one battery at up to 3A. The SN4 will also do two batteries at 2A each, or four at 1A each. That’s crazy to me, as my existing faster-than-OEM charger tops out at 1A even with only charging one battery out of the two it supports.
The best part for me isn’t the speed though, as I often need to charge multiple batteries so never really hit that 3A max. It’s the ability to pop in three Fuji batteries at once, without needing a full power strip worth of outlets to power the chargers.
The ability to use a power bank or even my laptop as an impromptu charger away from any wall sockets is also a major plus.
So, should I buy it?
The real test of any charger for me is if it completely replaces the OEM. That’s an easy one to answer here, as the XTAR SN4 modular charger has replaced not just one, but three chargers for me.
No longer do I have to fight for space on my power strip to plug in multiple chargers, and I can put two batteries into each modular section.
If you’ve got multiple different camera battery systems at home, you can’t really go wrong here. I’d recommend the $89 Set-B, not just because you get the NP-F970 dock and three of your choice, but also a nicely put-together zippered carrying case.
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