I’ve been using PAG batteries forever, well at least for as long as I have worked in film and TV and that’s a very, very long time now. Pag batteries have always been known for their robustness, reliability and performance, all things that are vitally important to me as often I find myself shooting in some very remote and very tough environments.
For around 7 years I have been using the Pag Link battery system. Pag link allows you to quickly link together multiple batteries. This has many benefits. For a start you can charge many batteries at once with a single channel battery charger. This is great for me when travelling as I can use the tiny Pag travel charger to charge several batteries overnight. Or back at base with my 2 channel Pag charger I will often put 3 or 4 linked batteries on each charger channel so that all my batteries will charge in one single session. And you are not limited to using a Pag charger, you can stack the Pag Link batteries on almost any charger.
Another benefit is being able to link a couple of batteries together when you need a higher current output, perhaps to power a big video light or to run a higher powered digital cinema camera. If using more than one battery on a camera it is even possible to hotswap the rear most battery without needing to turn off the camera or stop recording.
The Pag Link batteries have served me extremely well and even after 6 or more years of use are only showing very minimal capacity loss. But as modern cameras are getting smaller and smaller and need less and less power, even the already relatively compact Pag Link batteries sometimes seemed like overkill.
Enter the MPL series.
The Pag Link MPL batteries have taken what was already a great concept and miniaturised it. Using the latest battery cell technologies Pag have managed to produce new smaller and lighter stackable batteries with the similar capacities to the original Pag Links. Pag have also listened to customer feedback adding D-Tap ports to the tops of the batteries as well as an additional USB output. The USB output module can be swapped to other outputs if you need them such as Hirose or Lemo. In addition, the MPL batteries are fitted with industry standard ¼” mounting points. These can be used to either mount accessories to the battery or to mount the battery on to something that doesn’t have a standard battery connection.
My first real test for the MPL batteries was a trip to Iceland to shoot the Fagradalsfjall Volcano. When travelling by air you must take your Lithium batteries as carry on luggage. The MPL’s are built to very high standards and UN tested, so you can be confident that they are as safe and as flight friendly as possible. The smaller size and light weight makes it nice and easy to travel with these batteries.
To get to the Volcano you have to hike up a small mountain using rocky, slippery and sometimes very steep routes. It’s around 2.5 miles from the nearest road to the closest places from where you can see the volcano crater, so a minimum of a 5 mile round trip. I was working on my own, so had to carry camera, lenses, tripod and batteries in a backpack. Plus spare clothing, food and drinks as the weather in Iceland changes frequently and can often be quite nasty. So, every gram of weight counted. I was shooting with a Sony FX6 using an Atomos Ninja V raw recorder and needed enough power to run everything for a full day of on and off shooting. The Pag MPL’s had just become available and were perfect for the job. The built in D-Taps could be used to power the recorder. I used a V-Mount adapter plate for the camera and the USB port in the MPL batteries was perfect for topping up my phone for the live streams I was doing.
I spent several days up at the Volcano, often hiking even further from the road, seeking out different camera angles and different views. A single 100Wh MPL 99 ran the whole setup for most of the day. By adding an additional 50Wh MPL50 on to the back of the MPL99 I had power in reserve. The diminutive size and light weight of these batteries made a big difference for this shoot. Then back at the hotel I could use the Pag travel charger to charge all of my MPL batteries overnight by connecting them together on the charger, no need to get up in the middle of the night to swap batteries over.
Since then, I’ve used the MPL batteries for many different applications. Their small size is deceptive, they don’t look like they would be able to power anything for a long time, but they can. On a shoot using a Venice 2 I used a stacked MPL99 and an MP50 to power the camera while walking around London to save weight. The batteries ran the camera for close to 2 hours and the capacity display on the battery as well as the run time indicator in the cameras viewfinder was highly accurate.
I can’t recommend the Pag Link system highly enough. The only negative is that the original larger V-Mount Pag Link batteries and the new compact V-Mount Pag Link ML batteries can’t be connected together. A new mating system for V-Mount was require for the new smaller batteries. The Gold mount versions both old and new can be stacked together. Stacked together, despite their diminutive size a pair of MPL99’s can deliver up to 12 amps of power, enough for most video lights. The intelligent linking system means there is no issue connecting a fully charged battery to a flat battery. These are very clever, small, light and compact batteries.