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EN-EL3e over NiMH AA

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by K-loader, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. K-loader


    May 31, 2005
    Maryland, USA
    I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject:

    The scarce availability of the EN-EL3e’s has had me, and I expect many of you, trying out NiMH AAs in their D200. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been bouncing back and forth on which battery option to use as my primary power source. I’ve thought I might go with the NiMH AAs as I keep a stock of them charged for my flashes anyway, and they are of course much cheaper than the EN-EL3 route. However, my mind is made up that the way to go is with the EN-EL3es for the following reasons:

    - Two EN-EL3e batteries provide approximately 25% more energy (Watt-hours) than six 2500 mAh NiMH-AAs

    Where volts * Ah = Watt-hours:

    2 each 1500 mAh EN-EL3e = 22.2 Watt-hours
    6 each 2500 mAh NiMH-AA = 18.75 Watt-hours

    Swapping out an EN-EL3e is much cleaner and quicker than the AAs.

    I like the additional info the camera provides on the charge status of the two EN-EL3e’s, and the also the way the camera uses them sequentially. It removes some of the guess work on where you stand with your battery power.

    Case in point: this weekend I made a trip out to my local bird blind. I had the battery grip loaded with NiMH AAs that I had put in the day before. I quick check of the battery meter on the LED showed slightly less than full charge. I made the decision to take along an EN-EL3e instead of a half dozen AAs as my backup. Ten minutes into my birding journey I was surprised when the shutter wouldn’t fire due to low battery power. I pulled the spent AAs out and dropped in the EN-EL3e and remember thinking how quick and easy that was compared to the alternative of messing with swapping the AAs out in and out of the MS-D200 cartridge in the field.

    Comments anyone?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2006
  2. mf44


    Jun 4, 2005
    NJ & MD

    I use EN-EL3es in my grip, but if you want to keep using the rechargeable AAs, you can buy a second AA cartridge that fits in the grip and pack it with spare batts, so you only need to change that.
  3. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Dan :

    Interesting discussion, and from a theoretical perspective, spot on.

    Where I have questions on all of this relates to the software algorithm that Nikon uses to decide when the camera needs to shut down to avoid battery damage, and, the degree or number of faulty batteries out in the field. Let's address the latter point first.

    Anecdotally from this forum and DPR, there appear to be a substantial number of batteries that are underperforming to some degree. In several cases, the battery seems to allow a minimal number of shots and then the camera shuts down. It's unclear if this is an energy storage problem, a battery circuitry problem, a camera software problem, or even some combination of these. Making this more complex is that we don't have a statistically significant sample size to review for battery performance, hold aside all of the various environmental and photographer shooting conditions. We just know that there are batteries that underperform for some people.

    The camera software issue, which crosses back to the battery circuit issues, is a complicated question. If it's just the camera's interpretation of the data, a firmware upgrade could (possibly) address this. But if there's a hardware component, we'd be looking at a recall of the cameras and/or batteries, with all of the subsequent issues.

    We just don't have the data yet to draw any reasonable assessments. In my case, I'm getting passable battery performance so far, but I haven't been out using my bigger lenses with VR function this last two weeks. Insufficient data if my battery is good or not as a result.

    I think the dust's going to have to settle a bit more before we can determine the issue of the AA batteries vs. the EN-EL3e batteries. You might well be right about your assessment, based on rated mAh conditions. However, until we know if there's a relation of the battery circuits in this issue, that's not resolved either.

    Sigh. I'd like to be able to just throw the Nikon batteries in the grip as I did with the D100/MB-D100 and not worry for a full day of outright rock'n'roll shooting with big glass, just have a spare for a little night shooting. I think we're a bit away from that level of assurance, AA or EN-EL3e or what-have-you.

    John P.
  4. K-loader


    May 31, 2005
    Maryland, USA
    Hey Mike,

    I had a look on the Nikon website they list the AA battery cartridge as an MS-D200 and I’m guessing it will be available separately. I agree with your recommendation, if I were going to go with the AA solution I would likely get at least one spare.
  5. K-loader


    May 31, 2005
    Maryland, USA
    I’m certainly not complaining about the D200 battery consumption...I’ll trade it in a heartbeat for the extra features I get over my D100. I have to say though you are right on right on about the way a D100 will roll on and on with two EN-EL3’s in it. I went on a 10-day trip to Africa a couple of years ago and didn’t even bother to take the charger with me.
  6. fotoguy

    fotoguy Guest

    It is funny. People are reporting 800 shots or more with 6 AA NiMh batteries on the grip. And it is everywhere.

    Also, did you change in the menu, the type of AA battery you were loading into the unit? You have to specify it was AA NiMh and not any other kind because it will give you an incorrect reading.

    One more thing, you need to start with fully charged batteries because once they drop to a certain voltage no matter how many mAmps you have left, it will no longer provide you with the right power.

  7. I used my Sanyo 2500 for a couple hour with lots of "chimping" it looks like a great alternative
  8. And this would be about what I would expect, depending upon what is being shot. 400+ conservatively from an EN-EL3e x 2 in the grip equals what you get from a set of AA's. I'll be doing my own testing once my grip arrives today.
  9. I came to very much the same conclusion in the thread I started the other day on MB-D200 testing. One point, I believe the EN-EL3e is 1500 mAh, not 1600, but that is a real nit.

    I plan, as noted before, to carry both a couple of EN-EL3e's as well as AA's, can't go wrong with power that way.
  10. K-loader


    May 31, 2005
    Maryland, USA
    Just as you plan Bill, and as I did with my D100, I’ll carry AAs as well…although I’ve never had AAs in my D100 grip in the three and a half years I’ve had it!

    You’re right Bill the EN-EL3e is 1500mAh, I guess saw the typo on the B&H web site one too many times and started to believe it I guess…
  11. Same here- ran my camera 90% of the time on the Sanyo 2500 MAH AA's since Friday, over 600 shots including multiple long exposures (<30 seconds with 30 second MLU beforehand and long exp. NR) with a ton of chimping and settings changes, and I used the batteries in my flash for many shots at full power as well while using the E battery.

    Of course my 2 brand new EN-EL3Es should be here tomorrow. Then i'll send mine off to Nikon (as my helpful tech support agent Chris U. said would be best once I mentioned I now had the MB-D200 with NiMH AA's and 2 spares on the way) for checking.
  12. Just a note:

    I was lucky to get 50-100 shots off with my original battery in the D-200...however it eventually failed totally. I went for the grip and used some NiMHs I already owned and the next day the store replaced my original battery plus I bought one spare. Now I get 600-1000 uncompressed NEFs on a single EN-EL3E battery.

    Very interesting.

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