Nikon D200 Battery question

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Scott W. Harvey, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. I recent bought a used Nikon D200 from an acquaintance who had recently
    upgraded to a D300. Great camera, I'm having a lot of fun with it. I've
    already had a D50 for a couple of years.

    The D50 uses a type of Li-Ion battery called the EN-EL3. The D200 uses a
    very similar-looking battery called the EN-EL3e. I had hoped that they
    were interchangeable since I already have four EN-EL3s that I had
    purchased earlier for the D50. No such luck...the EN-EL3s will not fit
    in the D200, they are notched differently from the EN-EL3e. The EN-EL3e
    also has an extra contact on it that the EN-EL3 does not have.
    Interestingly, they both use the same charger.

    A couple of days ago I bought a Targus battery grip for the D200 so I
    could operate the camera on AA NiMH rechargeable batteries. It works
    fine for that, I shot hundreds of pictures with it today with the AA
    batteries and it is still going strong.

    The grip also comes with a tray to accommodate two EN-EL3e batteries,
    the idea being that when one battery poops out you can just flip a
    switch on the grip and in less than a second continue shooting with a
    second fresh battery. Because I bought the grip to free myself from the
    proprietary Nikon Li-Ion batteries (which will likely be scarce in a few
    years as new technology passes them by), The dual EN-EL3e tray wasn't
    that big a deal for me.

    I have discovered that the D50's EN-EL3 batteries will actually fit in
    the tray, but when the tray is placed in the grip with those batteries,
    the camera will turn on for a couple of seconds, display a flashing "low
    battery icon on the LCD display and then turn off as if the battery is
    exhausted even when freshly charged.

    After some examination, I discovered that it is possible to easily
    modify the tray to fool the camera into thinking that an installed
    EN-EL3 battery in the tray is a set of AA batteries. When I did that,
    the EN-EL3 battery works fine in the D200. It's the same voltage and
    only 100 mAh less than the "proper" EN-EL3e. The EN-EL3e will also work
    just fine just fine in the modified tray. The modification took all of
    five minutes to do and is completely reversible, the only downside to it
    is that two batteries can no longer be used in the tray and switched
    back and forth by flicking the switch.

    Now my question(s):

    The EN-EL3e has three contacts on it, marked + - and S. What does that
    third "S" contact do? The charger doesn't use it and the D200 works OK
    without it connected to anything (It's not connected to anything when it
    is in the modified tray).

    If the D200 works with the EN-EL3 batteries and the specs and shape are
    so similar, why didn't Nikon simply make the D200 backward compatible
    with them?

    Scott W. Harvey, Jun 1, 2008
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  2. Scott W. Harvey

    ASAAR Guest

    The "S" contact is used to provide battery Status information to
    the camera. The D200 can show the "Current battery level as a
    percentage", the number of times the shutter has been released
    since the battery was last charged (or possibly since it was last
    inserted in the camera) and the charge life of the battery (i.e.,
    whether the battery is new or may soon need to be replaced.)

    If the Targus battery grip is like Nikon's MB-D200 battery
    pack/grip, the D200 can also show the same status information for
    EN-EL3e batteries in the battery pack. Perhaps this status
    information won't be available for EN-EL3e batteries in the
    pack/grip unless the modification is reversed? In any case, the
    current battery charge level should still show in the viewfinder and
    LCD control panel.

    As you've discovered, Nikon *could have*, but chose not to do so.
    The reasons may be good, bad or mixed. I think that Nikon's choice
    was a reasonable one, but then I habitually read camera news items,
    reviews and such, and so I made sure to only buy EN-EL3e batteries
    for my D50. YMMV :)

    FWIW, the new MB-D10 battery pack/grip for the D300 is
    substantially improved. The only downside is that it will hold only
    one EN-EL3e battery, but that's mitigated by the fact that the
    number of shots it provides for a D300 can be up to several times
    greater than the number of shots possible on a single charge for the
    D200. Unlike the MB-D200, the MB-D10 is made of magnesium, not
    plastic, also accepts improved EN-EL4 batteries (but requires the
    BL-3 adapter), and lasts far longer when using AA batteries. Up to
    a couple of thousand shots vs. several hundred using the MB-D200, or
    so I've read.
    ASAAR, Jun 1, 2008
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  3. Scott W. Harvey

    Frank Arthur Guest

    If you shot "hundreds of" you are probably shooting
    most, if not all, trash. It's lilke going to a firing range and firing
    a machine gun from your hip.
    If you can't shoot a days worth of images with one battery- even if
    all are Raw, then you need to reconsider why you are taking pictures
    at all.
    Frank Arthur, Jun 1, 2008
  4. On 01-Jun-08 15:48:19, Frank Arthur said
    So nothing actually constructive to offer on Scott's query then?
    Great sermon though.

    All the best,
    Angus Manwaring. (for e-mail remove ANTISPEM)

    I need your memories for the Amiga Games Database: A collection of Amiga
    Game reviews by Amiga players
    Angus Manwaring, Jun 1, 2008
  5. Scott W. Harvey

    Frank Arthur Guest

    Gosh Angus. We both contributed nothing constructive to the original
    writer as far as his querry went. But we both had good sermons. I
    liked yours because of its brevity.
    Frank Arthur, Jun 1, 2008
  6. Scott W. Harvey

    Don R. Guest

    That is the most stupid, ridiculous, idiotic statement I have ever read in
    this newsgroup or just about anywhere.
    Don R., Jun 4, 2008
  7. Scott W. Harvey

    medico Guest

    Hi Scott
    Have a look at
    You won't find better value anywhere.

    Nikon Compatible Digital Camera Battery - EN-EL3E (For Nikon
    D200 &
    D300) - PL136G-855 (DB45)
    battery is specifically for some Nikon digital cameras. It has been a
    time c ... [read more] ... [more images] ... [#101547] £24.99 £16.99
    medico, Jun 5, 2008
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