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MB-D200, the good, the bad and the REALLY

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by Retief, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. obnoxious.

    OK, mine arrived today, and after the testing I did with my friend the other day with 2 EN-EL3e's, his and mine, I was anxious to get mine and test my rechargeable AA's. So, here, in a nutshell, is what I found, and if anyone can point me to more info I'd certainly appreciate.

    The good:
    It arrived in great shape from B&H
    Fit and finish are great, fits like it should, nice and tight, on the camera and feels like it belongs.
    The base is deeper, front-to-back, then the D200 itself to accomodate the length of the batteries.
    Good news is that RRS is making a camera plate that accomodates the camera both with and without the MB-D200
    Feels great in the hand, did I say that yet????
    Yield on both the AA's and the EN-EL3e pair is good, no issues at all, I'll post the AA numbers below for reference

    The REALLY good:
    Feels superb in the hand :smile: , balances well, just as good a feel as I had on the D2H.

    The bad, or at least not so good:
    I was using rechargeable AA's. The battery meter held at 100% through most of my testing, went to 50% for a short time, not very many shots at all, and then just dropped off the edge, camera shutdown. I really don't like how quickly this drops off.

    The Used To Be REALLY obnoxious, but now moved to the category above....:
    Since I was running the interval timer, I couldn't tell if there was any indication in the viewfinder, so I replaced 1 battery in the pack and started to shoot manually. When I put the battery in the meter immediately showed Full, after 1 shot dropped to half, another shot or two and then BANG, shutdown. No indication in the VF at all, nada, zip nothing. Now, the display on the top LCD did blink, whoopee, that is difficult for me to see when I am looking through the VF, and isn't that what we are normally doing????
    Update 1/5/2006:
    OK, not quite so obnoxious, make sure the d3 is set to ON, viewfinder warnings. This is the default and when the battery gets ready to quit a warning starts to blink. Same will happen for "Card Empty". Not sure why I didn't see this before, I didn't think it was turned off, but now I have no REALLY obnoxious bits at all, just some I don't like...

    I have not tried standard AA's yet, but with what I have seen, I will use my EN-EL3e's as primary so that I have some margin on battery, as well as for ease of changing. Then the AA's will be used next, and I will have to be sure to keep an eye on things.

    Now, on to the numbers. The way I set this up was not at all scientific and not meant to be at all scientific, just something that I could do easily while sitting around this evening being "football depressed". I setup to shoot uncompressed NEF with the Internal Flash. 18-70 kit lens shooting a Diet Cola can about a foot away. Set the interval timer for 999 shots at 10 second intervals. Since I was using a 1gb Sandisk Ultra-2 card, every 63 shots I had to do a reformat and I chimped now and again on the way as well. I figured this would be a pretty good load, and using the flash every time would chew up juice as well. Also shot at ISO 100 to force as much flash as I could.

    So, my first test only yielded about 350 shots. I had charged the batteries the day before yesterday and I was surprised I didn't get more. So, back on the 15 minute charger they go and I start the run again, this time with 646 images before shutdown. The batteries I used were Radio Shack IC3, 2000mAh, the 2500mAh should yield more images commensurate with the added capacity. For comparison, when we did the test with the EN-EL3e's, I had 290 shots on my battery when it went to zero. Now, this was really more of a drain test than my test tonight, as were were using the LCD and the menus a lot more, at least 50-60% of the shots, as well as using the flash. If we extrapolate a bit, my guess is that the 2 EN-EL3e's would have easily exceeded the AA's I used tonight, as would be expected since that is 3000mAh versus 2000mAh. What I don't know, but can test maybe tomorrow night, is how many shots I'll get with one EN-EL3e as I tested tonight. Double that and it should give an indication of what a "full grip" will give versus the AA's.

    The big advantage to the EN-EL3e's is that you do have battery info available, and the power level seems to degrade much more gracefully.

    I should also emphasize that this is in no way meant to even look REMOTELY what the number of images you would get in the real world. That is going to vary but so many variables that I am not even going to try to figure it out :wink: . My biggest gripe is that with the AA's not only do they not degrade gracefully, but the only real clue I have the I am "about to die" is when the camera stops. Based on this the only safe method is to change batteries as soon as the power meter leaves Full, at least that is my opinion, and dangit, I'm stickin' with it.....
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2006
  2. Just my opinion, forget those 15 minute chargers! They create to much stress on the recharchables. And in 15 Minutes they only reach about 70-80% Charge!

    There are also Major differences in the different Brands, Never mind the Labeling.

    I have Ansman 2300mAh that last much longer then 2600mAh from another Brand.

    If you want to use them buy a decent Charger (I can only recommend the Anmann Energy 8, Charges in approx 1 hour to 100%).

    Keep in Mind, that even NIMH begin fading after 1-2 Years of constant use.
    I've been using them for some years now, and buy a new set every year or so, to replace the oldest ones. (Older ones are very useful for remote controls and Gameboys)

    So in the end I find the LiIon (EN-EL3e) much more convenient over time. My EN-EL3 from the D70 shows no signs of loosing capacity after 2 years of constant use!
  3. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    All those shutter clicks just to test?

    You know I have to take you to task on this Bill, since in an earlier thread, you seemed to object to testing the single battery's capacity using clicks of the shutter. :biggrin: You do remember saying this don't you? :biggrin:
    "Does anyone know of a better way to fully discharge other than with shutter clicks? Seems like a waste of a few hundred. I guess you could do things like turn on the LCD Preview all the time and never time out the dispaly's, eh? Just trying to save my shutter".
    ANyway, thanks for doing this "torture" testing for me. If I ever decide to go with the batt pack, I'll definitely use the EN-EL3e's and bring along some AA's for final backup.
  4. there is a VF overlay that should have blinked- you may have turned this off though and that would explain the lack of a VF icon.
    And remember the '50%' point of NiMH AA's on the D200 meter is stated in the MB-D200 manual as being the low batteries -ready spares icon.
  5. Hang on a minute here, Steve-o-roonie old chap, I was asking about "discharge" you know :biggrin:.

    Per the post after yours, it looks like I need to take another look at my manual to see what i don't have set right in order to get VF indicator going. As long as I can tell, while shooting, that things are getting close it isn't so bad. That will be tonights task....
  6. It's a darned good thing I have you around to read the manual for me :biggrin: :biggrin:

    I'll go and look for that. As long as I can see an indication in the VF that removes one really major issue for me. As to the "ready spares" part, I just wish Nikon had been a bit more conservative on that with a warning a bit sooner. Now, that may actually occur with different types, or even brands, of batteries, but at least with these it is a very short "get ready" period.

    Thanks for the pointer, I'll look for that this evening.
  7. Do you have any references where I could learn a bit more about this? In the case of this test, I was more concerned with how the whole thing operated rather than how many shots I could get. I do agree with you on the issue of longevity of the Li-ons and I can't discount the ease of use of the EN-EL3e's vs the AA's when it comes to swapping batteries in and out. Then again, in defence of the AA's, this is sure a great backup to have available. AA's of one sort or another can be found in many MANY places where buying an EN-EL3e is problematic. Right now that includes most places in the Good Old US of A :wink:
  8. Nuthin' quite like RTFM

  9. something I wonder,.

    while getting lost in the d200 menus I recall some option about the 'type' of AA battery in the grip,. now I might have imagined but I think it was something along the lines of choosing rechargable AA or alkaline?

    might or might not make a difference :smile:

  10. does make a difference, sil, but both of us have ours set to NiMH and it does that.
    Try leaving it on alkaline and it'll read it as half dead with NiMH- perhaps because Alkalines are 1.5 rather than 1.2v...but with far worse results on the D200.
  11. Hmmm, let's see know Read The Manual.....can anybody tell me what the F is for?

    F-stop, doesn't work
    F-Funny, yeah, maybe it is that one.....
  12. d3 is the option for Viewfinder Warnings. Make sure this is set to On, which is the default, and you will see a blinking icon when the battery needs to be replaced. You get no display up until that point.

    Guess that RT(F)M thing worked :biggrin:
  13. jgrove


    Apr 13, 2005
    I wont be getting a MB-D200 in a hurry becuase the WT-3 will be the same sort of thing except more expensive, so i may hang of till then, while i would like a vertical grip on my D200 i also like the WiFi option which i also use on my D2hs.

  14. While the WiFi of the WT3 would be nice though, it apparently sacrifices one of the battery compartments and itself draws a fair amount of juice.
  15. jgrove


    Apr 13, 2005
    Yeah that would seem logical, it would suck a load of juice as my WT-1 does on my D2hs.

    I think alot depends on the price, there is a premium mark up on the WT-2 in comparision to the WT-1 which was nearly half the price of the WT-2 so it will interesting to see where Nikon place it in price given the D200 user base.

    But having used the camera a bit already, i may end up with a MB-D200 as i think this will be a far cheaper option!
  16. Picked up an MB-D200 too and I agree that it's a good fit with the D200. I only wish it weren't plastic.

    While the ability to use AAs is nice, I see it as more of a last resort. Having a pair of EN-EL3e's effectively doubles your battery life because the D200 will completely drain the first before going to the other. I guess another option is to just carry a spare battery if you can't find the grip.
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