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What is it? The NP-BG1 is a Sony rechargeable lithium ion battery designed for use in a variety of their compact cameras including the HX20V (my current compact camera). From doing a little bit of digging around online it appears the NP-BG1 is being classed by Sony as an 'old model' (even though it's used in their new cameras) and it would seem they have replaced it with what they call an FG1 - this seems to be the exact same battery in all but name. Unfortunately Sony have a frustrating habit of constantly changing battery model numbers, which can make things very confusing when trying to source a spare or replacement. Where can I buy it from and how much will it cost me? You can order the FG1 direct from Sony's website for £39 although I'm unaware if postage applies or not. I've been unable to find an original Sony NP-BG1 for sale online, although in shops it tend to retail for around £50-60. You can get third party equivalents and I saw one for as low as £3.76 + 99p P&P on amazon market place, but to be honest I wouldn't trust something this cheap. You have some reputable battery manufacturers marking equivalents eg. Ansmann and Park Cameras are selling a version by them for £45.90 How do I charge it? My Sony HX20V charges directly from the camera when plugged into the mains so you simply leave the battery in the camera. This is good from the perspective of space saving, but a bit of a pain if you have multiple batteries and want to charge one up while using another in the camera. I haven't seen a Sony original, stand alone, docking station that will do the job, although I did come across a third party one online for £11, again I'm not sure I would trust it though. Knowing a little bit about Sony, they apparently put chips in their batteries which can impact on use - they only like you using their products and I have heard of instances where third party chargers have been used, but they have been unable to charge the battery more than 57%. In general a full charge should take less than 2 hours although I've honestly never timed it! How long does it last? This is such a subjective question as it really depends on what you're doing with your camera - video, lots of play back etc will all serve to decrease the battery life sooner than simple photo taking. I've owned my camera since last October (so about 3 months now) and I've charged it approximately once a month in that time, having taken around 1000 photos and maybe 10 minutes worth of video in that time. While this is no where near as impressive as the batteries from my SLR (which can easily do that amount on an individual charge) I'd say it's pretty decent for a compact camera battery as it is of course a lot smaller than one from an SLR. All that said, sods law dictates that the battery will always run out at the most inconvenient time so I find it is quite useful to have another one fully charged as back up, although you still have the possible charging issue to get around. In terms of how long it should hold up before the need for replacing - they say the average life of this type of battery is 3-5 years, being that I haven't owned my camera anywhere near this long I have no way of knowing how long this particular one will keep on going. If you think about it though - very few people own their compact cameras for this long, so the chances are that the battery will last for the life of the camera concerned. So is it a good battery? I'd say yes - it lasts well for the type and it's not too big or heavy. My main concern is that it can be very expensive, finding it to purchase doesn't seem to be very easy and it would seem the cameras it fits don't come with a stand alone charger, so whenever charging is in progress you'll be unable to use it (the camera). Right I'm off to charge mine up!
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