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Olympus Gray Batteries are Greener Batteries

When I opened the box to assemble my new Olympus E-5, I noticed the battery and charger is gray, not the traditional black. Since I’ve amassed a collection of the standard black batteries over the years, I wanted to find out what was behind the switch. I contacted Rich Pelkowski, Product Manager for the Olympus PEN and DSLR products.

It turns out, the change in battery color indicates a significant change in battery technologies. Pelkowski explained “The new battery and charger have an additional circuit to better monitor charging, and therefore the charger can charge the battery more efficiently for better run times.”

He also pointed me to a technical paper which outlines an additional feature of the intelligent batteries, their ability to stop the charging process when the battery is fully charged. This not only preserves the life of the battery by not overcharging, but it also prevents the charger from acting like a vampire power source, continually sucking power even when not actively charging.

Given that many new E-5 users also have the existing black batteries lying around, you should know the gray batteries are backwards compatible to work with your old cameras, but cannot be used with the old chargers. Nor can the old batteries be charged in the new chargers.

You may consider gradually phasing out the old black batteries and replacing them with the newer, gray batteries for better performance.


4 comments for “Olympus Gray Batteries are Greener Batteries”

  1. I’ve also read that the black and gray batteries should not be used together in the grip, have a matched set of either type to use in the grip.

    I bought 2 new black ones when I got me E5, because Oly hadn’t shipped extras to any vendors at the time (I hope that’s changed now) I get ridiculous battery life in the E5 with the old batteries (2000+ images, a collection of videos and liberal use of playback), I imagine that when I get a 2nd gray one that I’ll be able to take several thousand images between charges.

    Posted by Bill Jones | May 25, 2011, 2:21 pm
  2. I just got my E5 for just less than 2 weeks. I noticed that the battery life is very poor. Overall, I have only charged it twice and the battery power lasted me less than 250 shots. Generally, I don’t use Live View to shoot, and don’t use the LCD anymore than what most people would to check their pictures. Do you think there is a problem with the battery or camera’s motherboard?

    Posted by Peter | June 6, 2011, 12:00 pm
  3. Peter,
    I’m sorry you’re having troubles with the battery. My guess is that it may be a problem with the battery, though it may just be that it hasn’t received a sufficient number of charges to reach full capacity. I’ll forward your post to Olympus and see if they have any suggestions.

    Posted by Jay | June 7, 2011, 9:44 am
  4. Peter, I just heard back from Olympus. They suggest you call Olympus customer service at 800-622-6372 and they’ll take care of you. -Jay

    Posted by Jay | June 8, 2011, 10:54 am

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