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Some thoughts on D200 battery life

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by virtuamike, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. I've been shooting nonstop in Hong Kong for the last week with the D200. Picked up an MB-D200 and an extra pair of EN-EL3e's the 2nd day I was here. Figure it'd be nice to have some real shooting done to go with all the tests.

    I can get 400 uncompressed shots on a single EN-EL3e if I'm shooting with my manual focus gear. That's with image preview enabled. When I shoot with the 17-55, the numbers drop - in some cases almost in half. I'm guessing that the stronger AF motor is just killing the battery.

    That said, running an MB-D200 with a pair of batteries is more than enough to get through the entire day. If you don't have a pack then get a spare if it'll put your mind at ease.
  2. Mike, this is interesting. I am finding that shooting NEF I am getting around 300 images on a single charge and that is shooting with a Sigma 500mm f4.5 HSM lens, AF-S equivalent. I do not have image review turned on. Have you tried to see how much difference you get with image review turned off?
  3. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    I have. It will cut at least 50% off the capacity.
  4. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005

    I've had about 400 images per single charged battery using a mixture of the 28-70mm AFS and the 12-24mm AFS, with modest chimping, but no automatic image preview on. I haven't had it out for a full bore 200-400mm AFS/VR image-fest as yet however.

    I'm wondering seriously about the extraordinary variability in these batteries.

    I have a couple more batteries due to come later this week or early next, so I'll test further.

    John P.
  5. Bjorn, thanks, it doesn't surprise me at all that image review would be a drain, I just didn't expect THAT much.

    John, in my case I am sure it is due to "excessive chimping", which will, I am sure, drop as I become more familiar and more comfortable. Given that so much of what I have been doing is in far less than ideal light, I am looking more than required, which has to be a drain as well.

    As I noted in a different thread, the performance of these batteries compared to my old D2H really isn't any different, certainly not in any significant way that I can see.
  6. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Bill :

    There's no question in my mind that I'm not getting the battery performance that I did with the D100. < shrug > But I'm getting better camera performance from the D200, larger files, faster response, better buffer, larger LCD, etc.

    Trade-offs, eh ?

    John P.
  7. I was out this afternoon at -10C (15 F) for a couple of hours. Again, no problem whatsoever with the camera but the battery had something to chew on, as I used mainly my Sigma 70-200 HSM. I reviewed maybe 1 picture out of 5, trashed maybe 1 out of 10. I made 72 compressed NEF from a fresh battery that is now showing 52% left. That's more or less 150 under these conditons.
  8. fotoguy

    fotoguy Guest

    Anybody know how long it will last using AA NiMh batteries ???

    I heard people swearing they can go all day and more than that using AA NiMh batteries (specifically the 2500 mAmps) using the MB-D200. But does anyone know specifically how much time those 6 batteries in a MB-D200 last ?

    Any info on that?
  9. I have asked this question directly to one of the people who claime "just goes on and on" but I have not yet seen a number. By my math, as a simple-minded fellow, it seems to me that if an EN-EL3e is 1500mAh, then a set of 2500mAh AA's ought to yield around 1.66 times as many shots. Wouldn't surprise me that Nikon shuts down the works a touch before "empty" to ensure that the buffer can be written, but I'd hope that is the case no matter what the batteries are. My MB-D200 is supposed to be here tomorrow, I'll have some idea in the next day or two myself, and I'll be checking the counter for sure.

    By the way, this also tells me that 2 EN-EL3e's in the grip give me 3000mAh, which again by simple math says "more than 2500", hence my plan as outlined above in the thread.
  10. Just before I sent my test unit back to Nikon, I was getting about ~500 jpeg-fine images with around 60% charge remaining, modest chimping, and a MF lens. Battery life improved *markedly* after putting it through maybe a total of 15 charge/discharge cycles.

  11. Don't have exact numbers but I do notice the less I use the LCD the longer the battery lasts. For the last half of this week I had image review disabled because I got tired of people trying to peep and see what I was shooting. It was easier and less conspicuous to shoot and review later.

    I'm guessing the increased file size has a lot to do with it too. Just transferring 2GB of NEFs via USB knocks 7% off my battery.
  12. I got about 170 shots out of the Li battery, and had similar number of shots (probably around 200) from my 2100mAh NiMH (6x). Conditions:

    - 17-55/2.8 mainly
    - no flash
    - compressed NEF + Med. Normal JPG
    - moderate chimping (preview off)
    - AF-C with AF-ON button
    - Ultra II 1GB card
    - mainly ISO1000

    170 shots with one charge is very little. Thom suggested CF writing consumes a lot of power. Now we also know AF-S in 17-55 also drains battery. chimping of course. (But many digicam got large LCD which is on all the time, right? :Confused:) 

    I start wondering if high ISO (i.e. high amplification?) drains power too...

    Maybe all these factors add up to my 170 shots?
  13. USB connection drains battery extremely fast. It's a pretty well-known behaviour. It's better to use separate USB card reader.
  14. BubbaBob


    Feb 28, 2006

    I agree. There seems to be wild variation in quality in these batteries. I'd blame it on Nikon's obvious inattention to quality control in the last two years but I really don't think that they are the manufacturer of their batteries. What is sure is that when using an autofocus, VR II lens, they are inadequate at best an useless at worst. I hope that the 3rd party batteries start showing up soon. The ENEL3's from 3rd party suppliers were almost always of better quality than the Nikon badged ones and usually had 200 mAH more capacity and noticeably longer working lifetimes (at 1/3 the cost).
  15. BubbaBob


    Feb 28, 2006

    160 NEF frames on the first charge. Auto review on. 18-200mm VR II zoom. I expect a little improvement after the 5th or 6th charge.
  16. 21farms

    21farms Guest

    i think you may be confusing AF-S with VR. AF-S should actually use less power to autofocus than the older servo motors. VR, however, will suck battery juice rapidly.

    regardless, battery life is the one area i am most unhappy with on my D200. whereas others report 300-1500+shots, i get in the low 200s with careful usage (no flash, no VR, light chimping, turning the camera off when not in use, etc.). just a few nights ago, i put in a freshly charged battery, took about a dozen quick shots, read the meter at 92%, turned it off and went to sleep. the next afternoon, i turn on the camera and i'm at 37%. what the heck?? i'm now trying to do some more focused testing to narrow down if the problem is my camera or my batteries. my camera has already been in to service once for this...i don't want to have to send it in again :mad: 
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2006
  17. BubbaBob


    Feb 28, 2006
    Mine did the same thing. The chip in the battery is dying. If it survives the next charge, I'll be surprised.
  18. Guess I must be the shot king. I got 736 images on one EN-EL3e. 18-70 AFS lens, some chimping, maybe 30-40% of the shots. The battery meter in the menu said it all, 0% charge left, 736 shots and it had switched to the other battery in the grip. Shot NEF compressed, no jpegs.

    I just checked the battery meter for the battery in my camera now. I've been reading the manual and learning more. Shooting without the grip and one battery and have been shooting various things this weekend, going through the menu a fair amount and doing maybe 25% chimping. It reads: 49% charge left and 310 shots so far.
  19. brianjb

    brianjb Guest

    I typically get around 300-350 shots using uncompressed raw, af, image preview on (turned to shortest duration), sb-800 or no flash, and the meter set to the longest duration.

    There ws one time I got somewhere around 400, and some of those pictures were continuous shutter sequences at the 5fps setting. My guess is that the increase had to do with the camera not previewing each picture that was taken when I was doing rapid fire.

    I am going to turn the image preview off and hope I consistantly get around 400. I will be happy with that.
  20. Well in normal shooting I leave the preview on and almost always at least look at the RGB histogram. It seems to be easier for me to quickly detect blown highlights due to the color change at the edge of the right side. Anyway I never get more than 200 shots using uncompressed raw. I do use VR quite a bit and maybe that contributes. It is nothing like the D70's battery life which I could never drain in a day no matter what I did. But I would not trade that terrific display for more battery life. I just carry a spare.
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