The popular family of Dionic batteries evolves — with two new XT models that were on view at Cine Gear Expo.
As a next-generation replacement to the venerable Dionic-HC, released 15 years ago, as well as the more recent CINE battery ranges, introduced in 2015, the Dionic XT from Anton/Bauer improves efficiency while adding a capacitive touch menu and a number of specs accessible directly from the battery.
Announced on May 29, a few days prior to Cine Gear Expo in Los Angeles, the company had the new batteries, already available for rental and sale, on hand at the show.
“I think we sold about half a million units [of the Dionic-HC] over a very long production run, and these are kind of the spiritual successors,” explained Andrew Butler, Anton/Bauer Product Manager, regarding the transition to the new XT family. “But at the same time we've been able to do a ton of stuff to modernize the product and improve.”
For 14.4V cinematic and broadcast applications, the Dionic XT comes in V Mount, compatible with Sony and many other camera, charging or accessory systems, as well as Anton/Bauer’s own Gold Mount. Engineered as the “longest lasting and most reliable” Li-ion models in their class, each has estimated lifespans at more than 1,200 cycles, backed by two-year conditional warranty.
With 12-amps of continuous powering plus a 2-second burst of 20-amps for inrush on challenging load starts, the battery is available in either 99Wh or 156Wh versions, as Dionic XT90 or Dionic XT150, respectively. Like the CINE and Dionic-HC batteries, there is an LCD display capacity gauge. This new version can be stepped through via touch, however, to unlock a number of other specifications.
“When the battery's just sitting here in my hand,” Butler continued, “it’s telling you how full it is in percentage. If I clip this onto a camera or fixture, that will then go to a runtime clock in hours and minutes. Now, with these batteries, if you don't like seeing the runtime clock for any reason, you can just touch them and it will resort back to percentage. When you touch them, you also get a backlight on the display.”
“And if you triple tap them, it goes into a diagnostic mode. So now we can see pack voltage, how many amps pulling from the battery, how many watts you are pulling from the battery, and cell pack temperature. It’s getting warm here in L.A.!” laughed Butler. “And firmware reference. We can put additional fields in here, as well. There are other fields that we can embed with other useful information. But this is the first firmware version, with these sets of fields. And as customers require more, we can put stuff in.
“If you drop them, they know they've been dropped and the charger can alert you to the fact the batteries had a knock… It remembers everything about itself throughout life. And that allows fleet owners, rental houses and bigger broadcasters to get an overview of performance. Which actually allows them to plan forward for future purchasing and to check that they're buying the optimum type of product for them, as well.”
The Dionic XT models have 5.0V, 2A USB alongside P-TAP connections to power accoutrements. At 55mm x 130mm x 97mm (2.1" x 5.1" x 3.8"), the Dionic XT90 is the exact same size as the Dionic-HC, making it compatible with previous power chargers, rigs, and carrying cases. Construction includes “ultra-high-strength” ABS and rubber to cushion from damage and inclement weather, with operative support for a temperature range of -20°C to +60°C (-4°F to 140°F).
“The three things that stand out for me are they work really well in the cold, and it’s extremely cold here, they have great power capacity, and they allow me to save weight and space,” said wildlife filmmaker and photographer Bertie Gregory, host of the National Geographic Wild show Wild_Life, via press release. Gregory tested the new Dionic XT 90 batteries on the island of South Georgia in the Antarctic. “My setup is big and heavy, so the fact they're so thin and weigh barely anything is key, and makes my job much easier.”
With respective weights of 2.42 lbs and 1.76 lbs, both Dionic XT models have been certified for air travel.
“It’s very high performance. It's designed to work well on the demanded cameras like the Alexas and the Reds, and it works beautifully on LED lighting as well. So this is a great show for us to debut,” finished Butler at Cine Gear, also mentioning possible delivery by end of year on a version of the Dionic XT that will be more affordable and lower capacity:
“My position is that I want to build a battery that is a good investment over a long time. If you want a smaller battery and you're very weight sensitive, or size sensitive, there's a sister range to these coming out, which will be a smaller eight-cell battery. But we’ll only rate that at 71Wh so we don’t try to overstretch the cells and get 90 or 100 watts out of a tiny package.”
The Dionic XT series currently starts at a price point of $499.
Anton/Bauer is a Vitec Group brand. The Vitec Group is the U.S. distributor for a litany of companies relevant to the filmmaking and broadcast industries, including Wooden Camera, OConnor, SmallHD, Litepanels, Gitzo, Teradek RT, Vinten, Sachtler, Manfrotto, Avenger, Gossen, Metz, 360Rize, Shoulderpod and National Geographic. The company employs roughly 1,700 in 11 countries. Follow them on Twitter.