Nikon fails the brand promise of trustworthiness (for me)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mahesh Singh, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. Mahesh Singh

    Deedee Tee Guest

    On Sun, 03 Jul 2005 05:58:35 GMT, Mahesh Singh


    Given your use of the camera, I think it is realistic to expect that a
    fully charged and operational battery will last much less than one
    day. Some cameras (including some Coolpix models) allow the use of an
    external battery back (for the Coolpix 5*** and/or 8***, there might
    be one that attaches under the camera)

    From what I read elsewhere in this thread, you compounded the problem
    by regularly overcharging your batteries and by recharging them before
    they were fully discharged. Years ago I ruined several perfectly good
    NiCD video accumulators and my first laptop's battery in much the same
    way in the space of a few months. Now I recharge camera batteries only
    when the charge gets so low that the camera switches itself off. I
    have never had to throw a rechargeable battery since (although
    eventually they _will_ give out - it is a fact of life).

    My first digital camera used four AA NiMH batteries. They need just
    the same care as proprietary NiMH ones, and you should use an adequate
    charger, too (old chargers for NiCd batteries are a no-no with NiMH).
    My wife inherited it last year and she is still using the same two
    sets of batteries I bought 5 years ago together with the camera.
    5 minutes is more likely the default. Probably you can shorten that to
    1 minute (but I don't remember the exact settings). To wake up the
    camera, all you have to do is press the release button halfway and
    wait a couple of seconds (if your camera is like the 5700).

    Both LCD and flash eat quickly into the batteries.
    Also assuming your camera is like the 5700, you can use almost any
    generic flash in non-TTL auto mode (i.e., using the sensor built into
    the flash unit), or in manual mode. The 5*** series does not do true
    TTL flash metering anyway, so the advantages of a proprietary Nikon
    flash are few.
    Indeed: the way you treated your batteries.
    Don't do that yet. With the D70s you must carry around twice the
    weight and size of a 5700 (maybe three times that of your model) and
    probably a backpack full of lenses and accessories, or at least a
    second zoom and a macro if you want to get the same optical range of
    capabilities of a 5700. Results often are technically better than with
    any Coolpix, which for some users may justify the back ache. A longer
    battery life alone is not a good reason to buy a DSLR rather than a
    point-and-shoot. With almost all DSLRs, for instance, you kiss the LCD
    preview goodbye (which is one reason why their batteries lasts

    There is no "best" camera for all uses and all users. In fact, I
    believe there are no bad cameras, only bad photographers (which I am
    not implying you are). My recommendation would be that you keep your
    present camera if it provides the technical capabilities you need, and
    just buy two new batteries. It will be far cheaper than buying a new
    camera, and doing the latter would also force you to learn anew how to
    use it. Don't buy a new camera because of its better technical
    capabilities just because "they are there", but only if you really
    need them and can't do the job any other way. There will always be
    some big guy with a thicker wallet and a flashier camera around. You
    don't need to play that game, show him and yourself that you are a
    better photographer instead.
    Deedee Tee, Jul 3, 2005
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  2. Mahesh Singh

    Nostrobino Guest

    Where's the disagreement, Charlie? Metric for camera stuff, wine and booze,
    English for everything else. ;-)

    (Excluding science, lab and hospital stuff, of course.)

    Why we ever went to metric for wine and booze I don't know. The fifth was
    such a nice size for a bottle of Scotch.

    Metric, phooey.

    Nostrobino, Jul 3, 2005
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  3. Mahesh Singh

    Nostrobino Guest

    Apples and oranges. The 1/10 C charging rate is for *NiCd* batteries, not
    Li-ion batteries like your EN-EL1. Li-ion rechargeables take a much faster
    charging rate and from what I've read they *should not* be slow charged.

    Obviously you cannot possibly get more energy out of any rechargeable
    battery than you put into it through charging. If you charge a depleted
    battery at 1/10 C for only the two hours or so typical for Li-ion batteries,
    you could not get it above 1/5 capacity even disregarding heat and other

    You keep saying this sort of thing, "given the knowledge" etc. Please
    provide some *authoritative* source for this "knowledge" that you say we're

    You seem absolutely determined to do that in any case.

    Nostrobino, Jul 3, 2005
  4. Because they expect you to read the manual, rather than assuming the
    product works they way you "expect" it to. Granted, the statement to
    remove the battery after charging could be emphasized more.

    I used to be a working pro, and got a lot of experience with battery
    and charger technology. This also applies to the computer industry I'm
    in now. There are a few ways to approach this:

    1. A really dumb charger will simply apply a voltage to the battery
    until you remove it. Most of these charge very slowly, to keep from
    exploding the battery when "full".

    2. At one time, there were chargers that simply charged for X hours
    after activated. These are (as far as i know) no longer used; though I
    do own an old portable printer that works that way.

    3. A really smart charger (as in many laptop computers) will have a
    thermal sensor and a memory chip in the battery. The charger will use
    not only the current voltage and temperature of the battery, but also
    that particular batterys usage history to determine how to best charge

    The Nikon charger in this case appears to be the most common type. In
    these, the charger "fast" charges until the battery voltage begins to
    rise, then switches to a "slow" rate. This is when the charge complete
    light goes on, but does NOT usually correspond exactly to a "full"
    battery - it's usually more like 80% - 90%.

    it's quite difficult to detect when a battery is exactly "full" and
    most chargers are not that smart. Nor do they have the capability to
    actually shut off the current; they stay on slow charge and any
    excessive charge is dissipated as heat, with predictable results.

    As stated, MOST chargers work this way. The largest variable is how
    strong the slow or trickle charge is; at a guess I'd say the Nikon
    charger may have a higher than average "slow" charge rate.

    Now, you've used up several hours of many people's time; it's time to
    go buy a new battery and use it according to instructions - even if
    they don't make sense to you.
    Scott Schuckert, Jul 3, 2005
  5. Mahesh Singh

    Nostrobino Guest

    [ . . . ]
    I do. It's the setting I use most of the time, on all of my digital cameras.
    For e-mailing photos I used to use the "economy" setting (some people I
    e-mail to have dial-up connections so file size becomes important), and
    frankly, on a computer monitor the "economy" setting looks just fine. I
    don't do that anymore simply because Hotmail now automatically downsizes all
    such files when I send them, and does a satisfactory job of it for my

    Well, why does the camera maker give you a "normal" setting in the first

    Nostrobino, Jul 3, 2005
  6. Mahesh Singh

    Mahesh Singh Guest

    Oh. I thought the lower quality settings provided fewer pixels than the
    higher settings? Looking it up in the online Nikon Coolpix 5000 manual at I see the section on
    Image Quality (page 72) states the 4 settings of HI, FINE, NORMAL, and
    BASIC "determine how much space each photograph occupies on the memory

    On page 73 the Nikon Coolpix 5000 instruction manual says:
    HI: Image stored ... with no compression.
    FINE: File size reduced to roughly 1/4 of original.
    NORMAL: File size reduced to roughly 1/8 of original.
    BASIC: File size reduced to roughly 1/16 of original.

    Before you mentioned that, I had thought the quality setting was only
    related to pixels, but, apparently you are wholly correct. The effect of
    image quality settings affects the compression but NOT the number of pixels
    as stated on page 74 "Image size refers to the physical dimensions of the
    image, measured in pixels. Smaller sizes require less space to store".

    The section on " Image Size" shows 6 settings of FULL, 3:2, UXGA, SXGA,
    XGA, and VGA with image size drastically increasing in the settings from
    FULL to VGA. I never used this setting (I don't even know what it was set
    to). No wonder my pictures were all about 2.5 Mbytes instead of the 5Mbytes
    I would have expected off hand without doing any math!

    Now I'm learning something you all knew in your sleep! My modus operandi
    was to take the picture at as high a PIXEL SIZE setting as possible since I
    have many large compact flash cards and since I transfer the files to a
    very large hard disk the very day the photographs are taken. After lossless
    rotation with IrfanView, I use JPEGSIZER to automatically shrink & sharpen
    the photos, on the fly, when intended for email or presentations, sometimes
    annotating with LView Pro text & always keeping the proof pristine.

    Now I realize from your statement that my MO of using the FINE setting (HI
    is virtually unusable) to control the number of pixels is seriously flawed.
    I should have been using the FULL (2560x1920), UXGA (1600x1200), SXGA
    (1280x960), XGA (1024x768) & 3:2 (2560x1704) settings to store pixels. My
    oh my! How much I don't know. How much you have taught me. Forget anything
    I've said about "sizes" in the past as I did not understand this basic

    I would tend to agree that the NORMAL setting for compression (vs any other
    setting) should not materially change the battery life for a Nikon Coolpix
    5000 camera so I take what I said about that back.
    Mahesh Singh, Jul 3, 2005
  7. Mahesh Singh

    Nostrobino Guest

    [ . . . ]

    And thanks for the info, Scott. What you've said about the common type of
    charger confirms what I assumed but never really knew for sure.

    Nostrobino, Jul 3, 2005
  8. Mahesh Singh

    Mahesh Singh Guest

    I now see I was wrong with my trustworthiness expectations for Nikon

    Apparently a Nikon Coolpix 5000 camera only gets 50 shots (100 minutes) on
    a battery (under conditions provided in prior posts). That means for a
    vacation, I'd need at the very least about 500 minutes of trust that the
    Nikon camera can provide. This would indicate I'd need 5 proprietary Nikon
    EN-EL1 batteries (unless they make a higher-capacity size that nobody knows
    about yet). That means at least two or three of the not-smart Nikon
    chargers (the manual specifically says the battery warranty is void with
    any other non-Nikon smart charger) because I can't be waking up every two
    hours in the night to feed a single Nikon not-smart battery charger for a
    thousand-dollar camera kit set of expectations.

    You have made me realie the error of my ways. Initially I trusted in Nikon
    to deliver in the Coolpix 5000 that trust that the camera can take pictures
    for at least a full day on a single battery. Since all it can deliver is
    100 minutes (under test conditions), I'd need five EN-EL1 Nikon batteries
    and more than a couple of Nikon MH-53 or equivalent Nikon not-smart battery
    chargers. Obviously that is an untenable expenditure and equipment onus.
    The security people at the airport alone would hang me in all the wires &
    unecessary equipment just to keep the Nikon Coolpix 5000 alive for a single
    If a Nikon Coolpix 5000 camera can't realistically last a day on a single
    battery, and if the Nikon EN-EL1 battery is both proprietary (ie not easily
    bought at a local supermarket) & it can't last more than a year or three in
    use, then, the fact is, like a thrice-jilted lover, I'll be left in the
    lurch more often than not if I continue using this Nikon Coolpix 5000
    cameras with non standard batteries - and it will be my fault for trusting
    in this untenable setup in the first place.

    I now see that my next (and all future) cameras must use cheap rechargable
    $1.25 AA batteries. Luckily, I see *some* of the Nikon Coolpix series
    cameras DO use standard batteries! So Nikon isn't out of the running after
    all. This is good news (as the features in my Coolpix 5000 are great).

    Which brings us to a different kind of trustworthiness question for all

    Assuming a single-cell charge situation is vastly different than that same
    cell charge situation in a fixed battery pack (where single cell
    reliability is, in my guess, ten times more reliable than that same cell in
    a fixed battery pack), I will have to research whether single-cell $1.25
    2200mAh Ni-MH or Everready Lithium AA 1.5v standard batteries can be safely
    left in a smart charger until needed.

    If so, then all I need to do is find a Nikon Coolpix which uses AA
    batteries and which provides at least 5 MP of size and I can have my
    vaunted Nikon trustworthiness back!

    Thanks for all the help. You have taught me a lot and we all now know
    exactly what direction to go for our next camera purchase, Nikon or
    Mahesh Singh, Jul 3, 2005
  9. Mahesh Singh wrote:
    Are the specifications that Nikon give for the camera accurate? Do Nikon
    claim that you can use the camera all day on a single battery irrespective
    of use? Of course not!
    You can get an add-on battery holder which allows the Coolpix 5000 to take
    AA cells as well, should you wish.

    David J Taylor, Jul 3, 2005
  10. Mahesh Singh

    Mahesh Singh Guest

    Actually, to be polite, I think that isn't the main conclusion at all (it's
    the opposite of the conclusion anyone can reasonably come to given the
    conditions proposed).

    The main conclusion was that my use model of charging the Nikon EN-EL1
    batteries in the Nikon MH-53 not-smart charger was a wholly unrealistic
    expectation for me to place upon Nikon.

    A second fundamental conclusion we came to was that my trustworthiness
    expectation of a thousand-dollar Nikon Coolpix 5000 camera to shoot
    pictures for 8 hours on a single set of batteries was also an unrealistic
    expectation for me to place upon Nikon.

    In fact, in the stated manufacturer tests with fully functional Nikon
    batteries, the thousand-dollar Nikon Coolpix 5000 can only get 100 minutes
    or approximately 50 shots (at two-minutes per shot setup time) per battery.

    So, a third enlightening conclusion we came to here was that we'd need
    about five Nikon EN-EL1 batteries and at least a few Nikon MH-53 or Nikon
    EH-21 battery chargers just for a single day (500 minutes, 250 shots) of
    vacation trustworthiness. (Daily trustworthiness can be gotten for as
    little as one or two batteries and a single battery charger though.)

    Wrapping all this up, I think we've pretty conclusively determined that the
    Nikon Coolpix 5000 delivered expectations were nowhere near the expected
    expectations (expectations always measured at the time of purchase, in this
    case in March of 2003).

    The only rationale conclusion one can take out of this is that the Nikon
    Coolpix 5000 camera is the wrong camera for the given set of expectations -
    therefore, running out blindly to buy five batteries and two more not-smart
    chargers is almost assuredly NOT the correct approach at all.

    The correct approach is that this camera is not the camera for the set of
    expectations I initially had. Now the task at hand is to find a camera that
    DOES meet the expectations - and I can't imagine that that camera won't be
    one that runs on AA Lithium or Ni-MH batteries (given what I now know about
    Camera battery life).

    The final conclusion is that we exonerate Nikon for breaking a
    trustworthiness promise that it didn't make and couldn't keep. Some Nikon
    camera may be able to shoot more than 50 pictures on a proprietary battery
    and some Nikon battery chargers may not cook its batteries when left on the
    charger ... but not this Nikon Coolpix 5000.
    Mahesh Singh, Jul 3, 2005
  11. Mahesh Singh wrote:
    It's OK. Obviously there is a learning curve in digital photography, and
    a lot of new terms and concepts. I'm delighted that you have now learned
    more about your camera and its capabilities.

    I've mainly used FULL and 3:2 resolution, and on my Nikon 8400 I've found
    normal compression to be acceptable. What you need very much depends on
    the end use for your images (Web, viewing on the screen, print size etc.),
    but I would advise always using the maximum resolution, with a compression
    level appropriate to your needs.

    David J Taylor, Jul 3, 2005
  12. Mahesh Singh

    Mahesh Singh Guest

    I think all we have to go on is the DP Review lamantation to that effect at

    "One thing to note about Nikon's battery charger is that it's not "smart"
    like Lithium-Ion chargers from other manufacturers. That is it does not
    sense the charge state of the battery and instead runs through the full
    charge time. Although I'm sure this does the battery no harm what it does
    mean is that it's difficult to 'top up' a battery which isn't fully flat."
    Mahesh Singh, Jul 3, 2005
  13. Mahesh Singh

    Mahesh Singh Guest

    I did like the Nikon Coolpix 5000 for its mix of features & small size.
    I have no intention of carrying a ton of extra supplies with me on a trip
    even if that trip is just to the garden. :)

    What I really need, I guess, is a Nikon Coolpix 5MP (or equivalent) camera
    that uses AA batteries so I can be rid of the Nikon not-smart charger
    proprietary battery pack once and for all.
    Good points. I'd actually need five batteries and two or more chargers to
    handle the peak load for one day at vacation time. But two new batteries
    would do for my normal garden shots daily.

    Thanks for the balanced recommendations.
    Mahesh Singh, Jul 3, 2005
  14. Mahesh Singh

    Mahesh Singh Guest

    Excellent point.
    In fact, that is probably the BEST option if I had any trust left in the
    Nikon Coolpix 5000.

    I wish I could change time and restate the original subject line not as
    Nikon failed my trustworthiness expectation, but, that the Nikon Coolpix
    5000 in the stock configuration is what was untrustworthy.

    The more accurate subject line, as you've shown us is:
    "Nikon Coolpix 5000 stock configuration fails MY expectation of

    With the optional $150 battery adapter, I could throw away the not-smart
    MH-53 Nikon battery charger and the now-cooked Nikon EN-EL1 battery pack
    and go back to snapping wonderful pictures (after readjusting the PIXEL
    SIZE settings I had been ignorant of for the past two years)!

    I've learned a lot from all of you. Thank you very much.
    Mainly I learned my expectations did not match what the Nikon Coolpix 5000
    performance can deliver in a stock configuration - but with an extra $150
    expenditure, I can finally obtain the vaunted Nikon trustworthiness &
    creativitiy promise I haven't received yet!.

    Mahesh Singh, Jul 3, 2005
  15. Mahesh Singh

    Mahesh Singh Guest

    Actually I'd like to amend that to say the "stock" Nikon Coolpix 5000
    camera is the wrong camera for the given expectations.

    A Nikon Coolpix 5000 with the optional $150 AA battery adapter might just
    be the perfect camera for the given set of expectations.

    I did not realize that was an option until late in the game.

    I've certainly belatedly come to realize, just like I'll never again
    purchase an American car in my lifetime, I'll never again buy a camera
    (Nikon or otherwise) which has nonstandard sized batteries & not-smart
    battery chargers ever again!

    Thanks for the wonderful advice!
    Mahesh Singh, Jul 3, 2005
  16. Mahesh Singh

    Sheldon Guest

    Remember, it was US laws that kept us from having decent headlights for
    years and years.
    Sheldon, Jul 3, 2005
  17. Do not put another penny into that rusted old Nikon CP5000 camera!

    Instead of compromising on your expectations, donate the Nikon to the
    Salvation Army (deducting the $1000 initial cost or some calculated
    depreciated value thereof, however that tax system works). Think of it
    this way. That 150 dollar addition expenditure just to get a Nikon that
    works for you is a whopping 15% of the initial cost of the Nikon camera
    and probably 50% to 100% of its current worth! That's way too costly
    just to get a reliable Nikon out of the deal.

    Save your money. Buy a new digital camera that meets all your
    requirements out of the box. There are plenty out there that take AA
    batteries and the compact flash cards and readers you already have,
    with swivel out LCD and loads of features even better than what your
    2002 Nikon ever dreamed of.

    It does not make economic or technical sense to patch up this failed
    Nikon and its failed Nikon accessories. Buy a working camera, out of
    the box.
    Karan Deitreich, Jul 3, 2005
  18. Wasn't it REALLY the manufacturers, not the consumers, who fought tooth
    and nail to keep the sealed-beam requirement - until - of course - they
    themselves had the extra year or two to design the brighter-beam

    In this case, I'd expect the camera manufacturers to fight the
    regulation tooth and nail (to the detriment of the consumer just as in
    the case of the headlight ban but at least nobody will get killed over
    a camera battery like they did in the years when yellow-beam headlights
    were mandated over bright white).
    Karan Deitreich, Jul 3, 2005
  19. Mahesh Singh

    Roger Guest

    Don't forget cars either.
    Now days you need wrench sets in both metric and inches to work on one
    car. We not only settled on a much more complicated system than
    metric, we mix them together. At least we don't find whitworth (sp>)
    in there as well although I used to work on a mass spectrometer that
    did. (MS-13)

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger, Jul 3, 2005
  20. On this date, David J Taylor extended this wisdom for
    consideration of other readers...
    I can't speak to your 8400 but when I tested Normal and
    Fine on my 5700 at all the resolutions, I settled on
    Fine because I could easily see JPEG artifacts in maybe
    20-30% of the Normal-compressed images. CF cards being
    as cheap as they are, I'd rather double the file size
    than risk irreparably damaging an image I really want.

    Still, as you say, what is "acceptable" depends largely
    on subject type and personal preference as it does on
    any technical definition. And, ultimate use of the image
    is also an important factor.
    All Things Mopar, Jul 3, 2005
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