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Testing the MB-D200

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by Retief, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. A friend of mine got his MB-D200 on Friday, but of course, like me, currently only has 1 EN-EL3e battery. The "manual" for the grip is, to say the least, rather sparse and doesn't really give much information regarding how you can tell which battery is being used or how much total power is available. So, we started by draining my battery to about 50% in my camera before starting our testing.

    After putting my battery in the Right position, his was the Left, we could see on Battery Info that his battery was at 100% with 0 pictures, mine was at 50% with a number of shots taken, as expected. Unfortunately the battery indicator on the top LCD showed full. So, we then went on a "shooting and chmping" spree to see when the camera would switch to the second battery, watching the top LCD as well. The top LCD never changed, but when my battery went to 0%, per Battery Info, we saw shots start to appear on the left battery. I was at about 290 shots on my battery at this point, but at least 40-50% were using the internal flash and the modeling light.

    The grip itself is really solid, feels great, I am really looking forward to mine showing up in a few days. As advertised it switches batteries smoothly, this is all good. The REALLY BAD parts are that you can't tell without looking at the Battery Info via the menu which battery is being used, it does use the "most used" first, nor does the top LCD reflect the total power in the grip, it seems to disply the highest level in either one of the batteries. This can be very misleading, in my opinion. My friend has an email in to a Nikon resource now to try to clarify this more. This is one that really does beg for a frimware upgrade.
  2. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi bill-

    thanks for the info. ritz has shipped my MB-D200 but not the spare EN-EL3e that was part of the same order, so your test is informative for people like me who only have one battery at this point.

    one question, was the fit tight or loose? the MB-D100 wasn't that solid a mate to the D100, and i hope this combination is better.

  3. You are most welcome, that is exactly why I figured I'd let folks know. As to the fit, all I can say is "really tight and solid". Felt great when I held my friends with the grip, not that I mind it without the grip either, but personally I find it quite easy to hold with the grip. The other nice thing is that all of the controls are in the right place and the attachement wheel is nicely out of the way.

    One thing to note is that the AA holder is a bit of a tight fit, seems like you have to tilt it up to slide it in.
  4. cybertec

    cybertec Guest

    I also own the MB-D200 and have had NO use for the Nikon battery, ever since I put in 6 Energizer 2500 Ni-Mh AA's, they just keep going and going and going, damn they are still going, they outlast the EN-EL3e threefold, and that's no lie, try it yourself and you will be amazed. When I purchased these 2500 Ni-Mh batteries I also got the 15 min quick charger with them, the thing is though with the quick charger only the 2200 Ni-Mh's come with it, so I use those with my SB-800 Flash "which still lasts a LONG time", and got a pack of 2500's for the MB-D200, ever since I got these babies the Nikon battery has been in my bag, take care.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2006
  5. I expect that I will be using mine most often with rechargeables as well. I already have a dozen Radio Shack 15 minute rechargeables which I am now setting aside for the MD-D200, but I will also carry a couple of EN-EL3e's as well, for times I don't want to use the grip and as backup as well. Being the overly paranoid fool I am, a brick of Costco AA's will be in my car as "last resort" backup, and my inverter is there as well :eek: 

    Not that I don't like to have any chance of not having power or anything....

    I sure hope that Nikon gets things in better shape regarding what is shown for the EN-El3e's, the way they display the info now is, to say the least, rather dumb, especially for such a smart battery and system.
  6. MarkM


    Dec 20, 2005
    Tampa Florida
    My grip arrived saturday and overall I am pleased with it. It does fit tight, but there is a noticable relief since the dimensions are not exact. I planned ahead and had already purchased some 2500mah NiMH batteries at the local camara shop. They are labeled SUNPAK and are listed as being 1.25v instead of the typical 1.2v. Haven't put them through the paces yet but I will be curious to see how they stack up to the others.

    Happy New Year to all
  7. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    thanks to all for the info regarding AA's. prior experience with the D100 and AA's made me discard this option, but everyone's experience sounds promising.

    looks like i'll stock up on some, makes it easier for travelling when i need to bring an external flash.

  8. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Just a little nit picky note of (I think) correction Bill. According to the manual, the modeling lamp selection in the menu is for the SB800, and doesn't do anything when the built-in flash is used.
  9. petert053


    Nov 19, 2005
    Austin, TX
    On a related note, if you press the DOF Preview button with the onboard flash "up", the modeling light will engage. I think I remember a setting that would turn that off, but I can't remember what menu item to point you to.
  10. DOF preview does activate the modeling ash as Peter said- something that was a bit of a surprise for me as I didn't know the built in would have that capability- same goes for the SB600 but it does.
    And the Custom Setting for it is E4.
  11. Since others have already corrected Steve, I won't :wink:, but I must say, someone correcting ME, of all the nerve.......:biggrin:

    What is really cool, and I am not a flash guy at all so this was news to me, is how neat the commander mode works with multiple flashes. A real trip. If you haven't tried it, do.

    As to the grip, my plan is to have 2 or 3 EN-EL3's plus AA's hanging about. As noted above I am paranoid about power. I can always chimp and make space on cards, but without the "juice" that doesn't work very well.

    To those who are using this, what are you finding on the life of AA's? Both standard and rechargeable? Given 2 EN-EL3's at 1500mAh each, I would expect this to be a bit better for total shots that a set of 2500mAh AA's. If not, this may give a clue as to how conservative the battery meter is on the EN-EL3's. One thing I did notice during our testing is that when my battery was at 0% we turned the camera off, but hadn't noticed that it was still writing the buffer, which continued until completed. I seem to recall reading somewhere that all of the Nikon batteries reserve a bit to ensure that all data in the buffer can be written.
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