D200: incompatible batteries. Scammed again.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Paul Rubin, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    According to Thom Hogan (www.bythom.com) the D200 uses a new EN-EL3e
    battery and old EN-EL3's won't work. D70/D100 owners with multiple
    EN-EL3's are delighted to hear that, I'm sure. Looks like the
    proprietary battery runaround is not slowing down. The new battery
    apparently has a charge level display function like Sony InfoLithium.
    That means the battery itself has a microprocessor inside that
    undoubtedly sends some secret crap to the camera, shutting out the
    third party battery manufacturers and keeping prices high.

    Paul Rubin, Nov 11, 2005
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  2. Paul Rubin

    A. Longor Guest

    If you can't afford a few batteries, you certainly can't afford the camera.
    A. Longor, Nov 11, 2005
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  3. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Irrelevant. I can -afford- to hand out $50 bills to do-nothing
    panhandlers once in a while too, but that doesn't make either
    proposition attractive in the least.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 11, 2005
  4. Paul Rubin

    Scott Chapin Guest

    I kind of like the added features, and I don't need a third party battery,
    as I don't need to buy enough for the savings to be material.

    Scott Chapin
    Scott Chapin, Nov 11, 2005
  5. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    The issue is they went out of their way to make the old batteries
    incompatible. They could have simply not supported the new features
    with the old batteries, as was the case with Sony camcorders for a
    while. What I don't know is if the new Nikon batteries work in the
    old cameras (D70/D100). It will be really peachy if they're
    incompatible in both directions, so if you have a D100 and add a D200
    and want to go somewhere with both cameras, you have to bring separate
    sets of batteries and maybe even separate chargers for each one.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 11, 2005
  6. Paul Rubin

    This old Bob Guest

    Sounds like the point was they made the battery much better.
    This old Bob, Nov 12, 2005
  7. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    I don't know that it's so much better. I have a Sony camcorder with
    InfoLithium and it has that capacity display that's nowhere near as
    accurate as it pretends to be. Simply measuring the voltage works
    perfectly well.

    Anyway, while the new battery's extra feature may be useful, that's no
    reason to prevent use of old batteries without the feature.

    I notice they restored metering capability for non-AF lenses, because
    people with older Nikon lenses that the D70 couldn't support were
    switching to Canon. Well, if you have a D70 or D100 with 3 batteries
    and you want 3 batteries for your D200, that's $150 or so worth of
    batteries, which is like a lens or flash. Nikon has already had
    several incompatible flash systems and they DIDN'T do that again (this
    time) with the D200. They're seeing where they can get away with it
    and where they can't.

    If I get a D200, I'll probably get the AA battery pack (holds six NiMH
    cells) even though it makes the camera considerably bigger.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 12, 2005
  8. Paul Rubin

    Scott Chapin Guest

    I don't see where they have to be compatible. When I get a D200, I will want
    new batteries for it anyway. It's not a problem keeping them separate from
    my D100 batteries. Now the separate chargers might be an issue, but for me,
    I would rather get the battery grips and have some AAs on hand.

    I've never had a single battery give out in the course of a day. I have two,
    so a charger is not important to me unless I'm gone for days. You're suppose
    to get 1200 shots per battery right? I haven't seen where my 70-200 VR sucks
    down much juice either.

    They didn't go out of their way to make them incompatible. They went out of
    their way to make them more useful. A battery meter would let me know just
    how far I can go without changing batteries. You know, should I change them
    during my break, or do I wait til they crap out?
    Scott Chapin, Nov 12, 2005
  9. It's worth it. Knowing how much charge you've got left is wonderful.

    Once again, Nikon edges out Canon with worthwhile features (like the grid
    lines and spot metering on the D70).

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 12, 2005
  10. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Why on earth would you want new ones if you have several perfectly good ones?
    Yeah, the AA pack just makes the camera a lot bigger. I'd have liked
    it if they made the camera use AA's natively but I'm in a minority on that.
    I like having at least 3 batteries, so I can have one battery in the
    camera, one on the charger, a charged spare in the camera bag. With
    two cameras, why should I need SIX batteries?
    That 1200 shots per battery seems to only apply if you just click away
    without using AF much, without using the LCD much, without using the
    built-in flash, etc.
    Uh, no. Preserving compatibility means just not turning on the extra
    feature in the camera unless the battery supports it.

    Anyway, the proof of the pudding will be in whether 3rd party vendors
    start offering low priced batteries compatible with the new system
    If you've ever used a Sony camcorder, you'll know that the battery
    meter is better than nothing but it's not THAT reliable. Simply
    displaying the battery voltage under load gives you a pretty good
    sense of the charge state. 8.4 volts = fully charged, 7.2 volts =
    getting low, below 7 volts = swap it out. No microprocessor needed.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 12, 2005
  11. Neither do I. They _might_ have messed up the implementation. But...
    The readout on the S85 and F707 was simply wonderful. It gave a very good
    rough estimate to how much you had left. If it said roughly 1/3 full, it
    really was.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 12, 2005
  12. Paul Rubin

    Rich Guest

    So sell the proprietary old ones with your old D series camera
    and buy new ones. If you really want to get mad, ask yourself WHY
    you had to buy a whole new camera instead of just being able
    to upgrade what you have with a sensor swap.
    Rich, Nov 12, 2005
  13. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Try leaving the camera in the bag for a couple months and see if it's
    still so accurate.

    Anyway, I don't understand why you keep rationalizing this. Sure, the
    battery meter is a swell feature if your batteries support it. That
    doesn't justify removing support for the old batteries for people who
    don't need the battery meter. The only reason to do that is to force
    users to buy new batteries that they otherwise might not want, and
    also to keep them away from 3rd party vendors. Imagine how much of
    the DSLR market Nikon would have kept if it used a lens mount
    incompatible with its 35mm AF lens system.

    Next thing I'll want to know is whether they messed with the RAW
    format again, to prevent dcraw from reading the NEF files.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 12, 2005
  14. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    I don't think swapping sensors in this level of camera is technically
    feasible. It would make the camera a lot more complex and expensive.
    That's much different from this battery issue. I would, however, like
    to see various sensor configurations available on these cameras. For
    example I'd like to see a monochrome DSLR in the D70 or D200 price class.

    I certainly did get mad when the D70 didn't support exposure metering
    with MF lenses. The D200 fixes that and that's the main reason the
    D200 interests me.

    Old batteries don't have much resale value either. It's sort of like
    buying dairy products at a garage sale.

    I don't know the resale value of a D70 or D100 these days but I'll
    guess either one is in the $500 range, while a new D200 will be about
    $1700. So that's $1200 extra expenditure, plus the hassle of selling
    your old stuff, if you want a two-camera system with two D200's
    instead of a D200 and your old D70/D100.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 12, 2005
  15. Paul Rubin

    Scott Chapin Guest

    I'd only have 4. One in each camera and 2 spares. No big deal

    It wouldn't be as inconvenient of a spare accessory, as say a charger to
    carry around and needing to find an outlet.

    Well, you shoot differently than me. I don't like being married to a
    charger. Besides, why three batteries? When one dies, you put it in the
    charger and use the spare. If you burn through the spare before the spent
    battery is recharged, you are doing some hellashisly serious shooting!

    I've got 5 Sony Cancorders, 3 Pannys, and a Canon. The meters aren't
    absolute, but good enough to let me know when I should change batteries.
    What do you want mw to tell my cusomers? "Hold on while I field strip my
    camera, fetch my VOM and check these batteries out. It will only take a
    moment, seriously."

    Scott Chapin
    Scott Chapin, Nov 12, 2005
  16. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    If you have 4 batteries that are the exact same size and voltage, why
    don't you see it as an unnecessary nuisance that you can't use all 4
    batteries in both cameras? That's what's baffling me.
    I dunno, it looks like it makes the camera almost as big as a D2H/X.
    Also, I may be confused about this but I think I saw some mention that
    it costs around $300. I hope I'm wrong about that.
    As you say, it's a nuisance to carry a charger and have to find an
    outlet. And if the batteries are that long-lasting, why should you
    need separate spares for each camera? Two cameras and one spare
    should be enough. But nooo, the spare won't work in both cameras.
    The camera should display the voltage, obviously. They usually have
    those silly bar graphs instead. But those aren't so much worse than
    the microprocessor-type battery meters. I carry cellular phones
    around all the time that don't have microprocessors in the battery
    packs, and the bar graphs are enough to know when to change batteries.
    Anyway, that's what the spare pack (and 2nd camera) are for.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 12, 2005
  17. Often one keeps the old camera as a secondary or backup.

    My previous experience with "smart" batteries, with a friend's Apple
    laptop, was absolutely horrid, so I tend to distrust the whole
    enterprise. And, like another poster, I suspect the main reason is to
    make them harder to compete with, and hence more expensive.

    If I do ever buy a D200, it'll be the first camera I've ever bought
    that uses proprietary batteries, and I hate making that step.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Nov 12, 2005
  18. Paul Rubin

    Scott Chapin Guest

    That would only be an issue to me, if I had to deal with a lot of batteries.
    B&H says $169.85
    Now you're whistling a different tune, down from six batteries to three. One
    spare, two spares, no big deal. Ten spares and I'd start agreeing.
    The D200 is supposed to show % of remaining charge, so I'm not expecting a
    bar graph. I would certainly think it is linked to the voltage.

    Scott Chapin
    Scott Chapin, Nov 12, 2005
  19. Paul Rubin

    Paul Rubin Guest

    OK, that's not quite as bad as $300; it looks like it provides a
    vertical grip and some remote operation functions too. So I'll
    probably buy it if I get a D200. It does also look like the D200
    charger will charge the older EL-EN3/3A batteries although I don't
    know if the reverse is true. So at least you won't need separate
    chargers for the D70 and D200 (unless you use the AA grip with the
    D200, since none is offered for the D70). I wonder why the D100 and
    D200 vertical grips aren't compatible, but maybe there's some sensible
    Well, I'm going by your notion of the batteries being
    ultra-long-lasting. You're right that these cameras are bulky enough
    that one extra spare is no big deal. Still, you go out with your D100
    and D200 with a spare for each one, and it turns out that you do
    almost the whole day's shooting with the D200 (because you have an MF
    lens on it). It would sure be nice to be able to use both spares in
    the D200.
    If it's like a laptop computer ACPI system, the microprocessor
    actually measures the total amount of energy drawn from the battery
    over time. I think Sony InfoLithium also works like this. Of course
    it doesn't notice self-discharge through the protection circuit, so it
    gets confused and sometimes thinks a battery is charged when it isn't,
    and then thinks the capacity has decreased when the voltage drops
    faster than expected. Anyway I think it's better to put any such
    smarts into the camera and/or charger, rather than into the battery

    There's another possible scam involved too, at least reportedly in the
    case of some Motorola cell phone batteries, namely that the processor
    deliberately makes the battery's capacity get lower and lower over
    time, so you have to buy new ones more often than you'd otherwise need
    to. I hope the D200 battery doesn't do that but I won't be surprised
    if it does.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 12, 2005
  20. I found no problems. I'd still pull out the F707 occassionally over the two
    years after I retired it, and the readout was as spot on as ever. I let one
    of my nieces use the F707 last summer, and it's still working fine.
    It's not rationalization: they're simply better. If I forgot to recharge,
    the readout would tell me how much shooting I had left. With every other
    dcam/dSLR I've ever owned, shooting with anything other than a full charge
    indication meant that the camera would go dead while I was shooting.

    I don't see how anyone could fail to understand how important this is. If
    you are shooting, say, a figure skating routine, the F707 would tell you
    correctly whether or not you needed to change the battery. But the half
    setting readout on every other camera I've used was so inaccurate that you
    can't be sure of even 5 minutes of shooting.

    Nikon got this one right. Assuming they've implemented it as well as Sony,
    of course.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 12, 2005
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