Panasonic have released a firmware update for its digital camera range that blocks the use of third-party batteries. The update, which is now available for sixteen cameras in Panasonic's range, addresses "imitation" batteries that the company suggests "do not meet the rigid safety standards Panasonic uses".
"Panasonic developed this technology after it was discovered that some aftermarket third-party batteries do not meet the rigid safety standards Panasonic uses. Some of these aftermarket batteries are not equipped with internal protective devices to guard against overcharging, internal heating and short circuit. If these aftermarket battery packs were used, it could lead to an accident causing damage to your camera or personal injury" Panasonic
The nature of digital cameras means that the update is optional, rather than mandatory, but Panasonic have arguably not made the information about third-party power packs as obvious as it could have. Some of the updates also address other features and bug fixes, and do not clearly mention the battery limitation.
Three battery types are affected by the updated firmware, the DMW-BCF10, DMW-BCG10 and DMW-BLB13. The official batteries retail for around $40-50 online, whereas third-party alternatives can be found for as little as $10.