D200 Batteries - 3rd Party or Nikon

Started Jan 10, 2007 | Discussions thread
bob elkind
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,802Gear list
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OEM vs. 3rd party - my take
In reply to MindInRewind, Jan 12, 2007

A few months ago, there was a very compelling reason to buy 3rd party batteries for the D200 -- D200 batteries from Nikon were in VERY short supply. I haven't looked lately, but it looks like the supply aspect of this issue has gone away.

So clear this up for me... is buying a non-Nikon lens for use on my D200 OK, or will it void my warranty ? Why would anyone buy a 3rd party lens for their Nikon camera ?

These are rhetorical questions, and I think the questions (and answers) apply just as much (if not more) to batteries as lenses. For some people, if it doesn't say "NIKON" on it, it isn't worth buying... right down to the lens cleaner cloth. If this lifestyle helps them sleep well at night, then let them be.

On the other hand there are some among us who are predisposed to buying the cheapest solution available.

And then there's the rest of us!

These are the time-honoured qualities to be balanced:

  • COST

  • QUALITY (and suitability)

  • AVAILABILITY

It's safe to say there is a cost savings in puying 3rd party batteries for the D200. You can buy a battery PLUS charger (with 12V car adaptor) for less than $28 on eBay. The $30 - $50 savings over two OEM batteries (keeping in mind that the D200 tends to "eat" batteries") may not buy a new lens, but it helps.

The QUALITY question is less cut and dry than the cost issue. Consider that Nikon does not make their own LiOn batteries... or their chargers. They are re-badged units designed and/or manufactured by a 3rd party. Certainly Nikon has strict quality standards that may (or may not) exceed those of 3rd party manufacturers. Is there a risk that a 3rd party battery will be garbage ? Yup, there is. But don't think for a moment that the Nikon label on the battery is an iron-clad security blanket. Anyone remember the Nikon EN-EL3a recall ? Does anyone recall (pun intended) why Sony was in the news this past autumn (besides the Playstation 3) ? (Hint, it had something to do with LiOn batteries made by Sony for many MANY camera and laptop companies).

For those people who will only purchase automotive gasoline from SHELL stations, and wouldn't dream of patronising a LEATHERS station (even though the same gasoline tankers fill their underground tanks), these arguments will not be convincing. I wouldn't be surprised if the 3rd party batteries (or at least their LiOn cells) are manufactured in the same building in which Nikon's LiOn are manufactured.

It took a while after the D200 was introduced before 3rd party batteries appeared on the market, no doubt due in part to the "smart" aspects of the battery. 3rd party product has been around long enough, by now, for the 3rd party folks to have ironed out any design bugs.

The argument that the D200 is too good a camera to "insult" or "risk" for a pittance in savings is simply annoying. If the battery works, then the D200 pictures are no less sharp, well-focused, and properly exposed with 3rd party batteries as with Nikon OEM batteries... there simply isn't enough room on the electrons to fit a Nikon sticker. Is a $30 saving any less a saving if your camera (or house, or car, or TV) cost you $1700 instead of $1300 or $900 or $300 ?

  • Bob Elkind

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