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EN-EL3E Performance FAR Below Standards!

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by AFS, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. Okay guys and gals.
    My D200 is the best camera in the universe.
    Everything is great.
    Including the fact that I can monitor my battery performance.
    But even in Miami, I noticed my battery life was a bit less than the 1800 shots/charge they claim. And just FYI, my shooting style with the D70 lined up just about perfectly with their battery life figures if not even erring on the side of more shots!
    Ok I mean a LOT less.
    I've charged my battery at least 5 times since the first shot. I'm 307 shots in.
    Almost always using available light or my SB-600. Used the built in maybe 10 times. AF assist light on camera is off.
    True, I'm using the LCD a bit more than usual, but i've got the brightness turned down to -2, and it doesn't justify the amount of battery drain i'm seeing.
    My counter right now is at 17 shots, 93% battery remaining. This is minimal image reviewing, and so on.
    My battery performance up to now has been worse...much worse.
    50 shots and down 26%, and the like.
    The cold weather up here may affect the battery in some ways...but not this much.
    In fact I had the same battery life in Miami- the first 100 shots or so brought me down almost 50%!
    I've noticed a few other posts on other forums complaining about poor battery life- maybe we've got a few defective batteries out there?
    I'm going to write Nikon about this ASAP.
    I wish i'd had a chance to get spare batts :frown:
    Anyone else?
  2. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Don't worry. Some of these batteries need to be recharged a few times before they "warm" up and deliver. What does the graph in the Battery Menu show? Is the charging life still set at the 0 point?

    While we're at it, take exposures per charge with more than a pinch of salt. These figures tend to be way above what you normally get. To wit, typical figures for me with D2X are in the range 350 to 450 per charge, while others claim much more.

    There is a theoretical possibility that your camera has a fault in its circuitry making the battery leak power continously. If so, the battery should drain completely in a day or two even without any shooting taking place. Test it (that is, if you can avoid tinkering around with your D200 for a couple of days).
  3. I was shooting yesterday, D200, and noticed that I was at 48% after only 183 shots, I had fully charged Friday night. Now I was working with menus and chimping extensively as well, so this may not be inidicative yet. I did not fully recharge before going out this morning, but I was down to 2 bars after about 350 shots today. Also, it has been very cold here this weekend, below freezing today and just above yesterday, which I am sure has something to do with it. But this does tell me that an extra battery or two is certainly on the A list.

    Love the camera so far, although I am finding that AWB is not as good as on my D2H.
  4. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    When I started this AM, I had a fresh charge, 100%. Now I have 46% remaining after 320 shots. These were all hand held with the 70-200 VR with the VR on. Not alot of chimping, just a little to check the histogram and flashing highlights. So far, not too bad, but it doesn't seem to have the life that the D100 has, but in all reality, likely better than the D1x. I wish the extra batteries were available, I think this camera is going to need a spare or two to go the distance.
  5. mf44


    Jun 4, 2005
    NJ & MD

    Not sure if this is a problem on the newer LION batteries, but I've always made sure to charge my batts fully before using them first. It's a habit I picked up from the refresh requirements whenever you got a new D1h battery. Did you maybe pop the battery in before it was fully charged the first time? I'll be getting my D200 on Tuesday so I'll see what works out for me. I do need some extra batts, though, along with the grip. Anyone know who's got them in stock?
  6. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Seems so far nobody has them. B&H did not have them either when I ordered the camera this afternoon :<((
  7. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

  8. Uh Oh - That is not good. Seems like the E batteries should last longer? Or at least they are suppse to? Can you use an older charger with these, if so, try charging them on a different charger. Maybe it is not the battery but, a problem with the new chargers? Just a thought?

    Way off topic-Hey Gale - I like the avatar you are using now. Pretty cool.
  9. caero

    caero Guest

    Didn't Nikon claim about 1800 exposures per charge for the D200 on their website?

    or was that with the grip and 2 extra batteries loaded?


    "The newly developed high-energy EN-EL3e rechargeable lithium-ion battery lets you take approx. 1,800 shots per charge. It can be recharged at any time and features an accurate real-time Fuel gauge system that displays the percentage of remaining charge, number of shots since last charge and overall status of battery service life."

    man, I am considering pulling my D70 off ebay and wait :( 
  10. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Cycle the batterries by fully discharging them

    I think these L Ion batts start performing their best after a few full charges/discharges in the beginning. Try to resist "topping them off" at 1st.
  11. I got the EN-EL3E in the recall program for my D70. I haven't used it all that much, but so far I've had no low battery signals. Performance seems to be about the same as the EN-EL3a that came with my D70s.

    Of course I did fully charge it before using it the first time. Seems I remember reading in AFS's thread about picking up his D200 that he started taking pictures immediately on the way home. When I read that I thought "uh-oh".:frown:
  12. Another possibility is that the battery's "fuel gauge" is not working properly and you may have more battery life than you think. This article points out that the gauges on these batteries lose their calibration if the battery is not fully discharged periodically.

    On the other hand, full discharges are not recommended for Li-ion batteries, as this shortens the battery life. :frown:

    Contradictions!:confused:  :mad: 
  13. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Good read Pa,
    Thanks a bunch. Puts all the theories to sleep for now. Sure hope that helps everyone and they READ this.

    Merry Christamas
  14. I didn't start shooting on my way home- i set the menu options- 5 mins max- then fully charged it prior to shooting.
    Bad to do? maybe.
    But 197 shots yesterday and the meter was at 11%.
  15. Phil Howell

    Phil Howell Guest

    AFS - Try running the battery down to cutoff (when, of course, the D200 no longer works), then fully recharge it until the light's no longer blinking on the 18a charger.

    I'm interested in seeing if the "fuel gauge" just needs to calibrate itself with a full discharge/charge cycle.

    Let us know what you find out!
  16. TOF guy

    TOF guy

    Mar 11, 2005
    I have one of the most recently released compact Sony camcorders. Sony has been selling batteries with a charge gauge for years, and yet I haven't found the gauge to be reliable at all ... it often grossly overestimates the remaining charge, though, so that's not very comforting to you.

    An additional battery is $30. The caveat is that it is not available yet: in the meantime this can be an issue for those who makes a living with their cameras.

  17. Just a thought. As many of you who had the D1/x remember the batterey was quite a problem. Not that I am comparing the D200 to the D1/D1x, but I found that a very good solution was to carry a 75 watt Digital Camera Battery on my belt or on a shoulder sling or in my vest pocket and connect it to the camera and flash when I used it. There are others I think Quantum has a good one also.

    I was able to shoot my D1x all day long with power to spare and I didn't find it that cumbersome, as it was pretty much out of the way. I know that there is an option to carry the vertical grip support which houses two batteries but this will make the d200camera actually heavier and larger than the D2x and the size/weight of the D200 was a big selling point for it. Also, I am not sure if you can use the Arca style L Bracket that many will use with the optional battery/grip.

    It's probably premature to talk about battery alternatives yet, but I have seen this issue growing in the forums. Also, if batteries are an issue, it is much cheaper to pick up an external battery than to upgrade to a D2x.

    I think that even if the batteries become a problem, the D200 is still a winner.
  18. Okay an update everyone:
    My battery life is about as good as the D1X right now!
    I've been recharging it every night, until the light stops blinking and then taking it off the charger.
    Last night I had fully charged it- I put it in the camera around 4PM, showed 100% charge in the camera. Then turned off the camera. It sat inside the warm house for a few hours.
    When we went out to dinner last night at around 7:15, the meter showed approximately 90% battery remaining. The whole time it was off and inside.
    Problem? maybe.
    I'd think though after just a few shots, less than 50, about 15 of which were taken in continuous mode at manual 1/250 to show off the framerate, and the rest taken in rapid chunks at different ISOs, the battery should not have gone down to less than 65%. Only one shot had the built in flash fire.
    I haven't finished a day shooting so far with my battery above 70%. Most of my shooting has been indoors, some out in the cold, but not for long.
    I've taken something less than 650 shots in the 5 days i've had the camera. rather light shooting for me :wink:
    It is a real attention getter.
    I didn't have much time to post last night. That little blurb up there is all I had time for. But two nights ago was the baby shower for my sister, who is expected to deliver in around 2-3 weeks. I did the shooting there. 197 shots that whole day, including some stuff afterwards. The shower was all indoors, except for a brief excursion to see snow falling for the first time in my life. While there, I used the built in as a wireless commander for maybe 10-15 shots. The rest used the SB-600. I did some portraits at the shower, of two families there including our hostess, and then of my own family, which I did tethered to my laptop and NC 4.4 (which threw off my sequential numbering! I will have to reset it by renaming a file on the card to the right number and hitting reset). By the time I was done, I had less than 1/4 of my battery remaining.
    Another 25 shots or so were done outside in the cold snow at a holiday lights display. By then my battery was at 11%.
    Today I didn't bother to take the D200 out. I figured the D70 required some exercise and I could count on the battery.
    Some people may not be having problems like this. But I'll say it again, even in miami my battery was worrying me.
    I'll try a few more things but if this keeps up I may have to send a letter to Nikon requesting more information. Maybe I should duplicate their testing procedures?
  19. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    you should keep shooting until your camera won't take any more pics, and then recharge it.
  20. I agree with Steve, because it may be a gauge problem, not a battery problem. If it is safe to put a D70s battery in the D200 it would be interesting to do so periodically as you shoot the D70s. Every 100 shots or so, put ithe D70s battery in the D200 and read the gauge. Again, I would want to be sure this is safe and will fit. Just a thought.
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