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Nikon firmware update breaks support for third-party batteries

By dpreview staff on Dec 9, 2013 at 23:01 GMT
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Owners of some of Nikon's entry and mid-range DSLRs are reporting that a recent firmware update broke support for their third-party batteries. The firmware update for the Nikon D3200, D3100, D5100, D5200 and CoolPix P7700 cameras claimed to report remaining charge more accurately for the EN-EL14a lithium-ion battery. However, on installing the update, some owners found their third-party batteries suddenly incompatible. 

Curiously, this comes on the heels of a service advisory from Sigma warning that the Nikon Df (and D5300 before it) would not fully support third-party lenses. The advisory states that auto focus and image stabilization in Sigma lenses may not work correctly, and a firmware update has been issued to correct the problem. 

Are the events a coincidence, or is Nikon making a move to reduce compatibility with third-party lenses and accessories? This isn't the first time Nikon owners have found themselves having to rely solely on Nikon for services. Several years ago Nikon encrypted white balance information in its .NEF Raw files, meaning third-party Raw conversion services weren't able to correctly interpret white balance data. And more recently, Nikon's official service centers became the only places to receive spare Nikon parts, making it more difficult for customers to get equipment repaired by independent service centers.

It could be argued that Nikon is doing its best to make sure customers have consistent experiences with their products and services, though others would view it as unnecessarily tight control over the brand and its customer's choices. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Via: Engadget, Source: Nikon Rumors
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Comments

Total comments: 297
123
Justa Phella
By Justa Phella (3 weeks ago)

Nikon blows for this move. my battery no longer works, i never downloaded anything

0 upvotes
ConanD
By ConanD (3 months ago)

Diverting resources to work on projects where the idea is to force users to use propitiatory goods will kill any company and/or project in the long term. If those energies were instead spent on delivering better tech and quality compared with the competition, there would be no need to worry about the competition.

1 upvote
John Usa
By John Usa (4 months ago)

I have a great, very helpful and free advice to stupid Nikon:
Fire the idiots who came up with this horrible firmware idea and then release a new firmware that does not block any third party batteries.
This is your only good PR that you can do Nikon, so don't blow it.
If you don't take my fantastic advice then you prove that you are real selfish, morons and truly do not care about your customers.

1 upvote
Hagey
By Hagey (4 months ago)

I have a P7700 and after reading this article I loaded my spare battery which is a Hahnel and nothing, dead as a Dodo.

I know people will say "Should have got a Nikon" but there are a lot of people who love their hobby but on a shoestring.

I cant afford to try and reverse the firmware update in case the camera decides not to work so its tuff I suppose!

0 upvotes
Nemo06
By Nemo06 (4 months ago)

As a consumer I have pretty much moved away from Nikon cameras, though I have bought too many of their inferior ones to be embarassed. I don't need a high-end DSLR and find that they seem to be out of touch with the needs and desires of non-pro enthusiasts. Their lower end cameras do not generally match the image quality or features of most of their competitors and Nikon has maintained a product line that seems to scream "we don't care, buy because of our superior name-plate!" This problem should come as no surprise.

0 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (4 months ago)

Hey DPR staff:

http://www.canonrumors.com/2013/12/eos-5d-mark-iii-third-party-batteries/

You going to run a front page story on Canon batteries? Maybe you can throw in another paragraph about Canon failures.

Interestingly, very few threads in the FX forum about Sigma lens not working with Df or batteries failing.

BTW, what owners are reporting this? How many? Have you actually talked to any of them? Have you tried replicating the issues your self? Considering your the largest camera site in the world, maybe that would be the thing to do, instead of just reporting Endgaget or Nikon Rumors fluff. You know, journalism? Have you tried contacting Nikon for an interview?

Of course, maybe I'm just being "silly", just like the camera designers at Nikon.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
submarine
By submarine (4 months ago)

It's a free world and competition is of benefit to users.
When a producer have a monopoly it becomes more expensive and not necessarily better for us users.
Free competition keeps manufacturers on their toes.

0 upvotes
imoan
By imoan (4 months ago)

I really cant see the problem, nobodies forcing you to download the firmware, if you have already cant you reinstall the older version? someone must have access to it somewhere?

All major manufactuers batteries are expensive, its easy money for them, but I dont hear people complaining when camera bodies come down in price, and you get alot of camera for your money these days.

look at the bright side, at least you did'nt pay alot for the batteries you cant use anymore!

Sure the lens issues are a pain, but again not many people slagging off Sigma for ripping off nikon's/canon's technology in the first place to make the lenses compatable!

0 upvotes
beavertown
By beavertown (4 months ago)

Do you have any idea about how much a battery from Nikon for D7000 cost in USA?

1 upvote
imoan
By imoan (4 months ago)

I never said the batteries were cheap or even good value. My point is for what you pay for and get, cameras have never been such good value
All major camera brands charge too much for their batteries.
I'm sure all the third party battery manufacturers are currently looking into beating this upgrade, they did it once, they'll do it again.

0 upvotes
digiart
By digiart (4 months ago)

Your are forgetting that newer cameras will be shipped with the latest firmware! Very soon it will not be an option. Yes, it would be interesting to know if it's possible to roll back the firmware.

79 Euros for a tiny 1030mA battery? No way!!!

0 upvotes
imoan
By imoan (4 months ago)

by the time new cameras with this firmware are shipped, it defiantly would have been cracked.
Nikon are not going to waste time recalling 1000's of units just to install a upgrade which users will hopefully do for them
Check Nikon Hacks, as previously stated they seem to have beaten it already, panic over people! we can start living our lives again!

0 upvotes
brancaleone
By brancaleone (4 months ago)

$54 on Amazon a new Nikon battery.

0 upvotes
stevens37y
By stevens37y (4 months ago)

EOS 5D Mark III has also such issues:
http://www.canonrumors.com/2013/12/eos-5d-mark-iii-third-party-batteries/
( a new epidemic among manufacturers )

0 upvotes
Nuno Souto
By Nuno Souto (4 months ago)

Way to go, Nikon marketing!
Grab loaded gun => take aim at foot => pull trigger.
Glad to see the old idiotic ways have not changed one bit...

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
camera221
By camera221 (4 months ago)

When I considered to buy my first DSLR between Canon and Nikon brands I knew with the all the gear and gadgets to come over years I'd probably stick with the brand for the rest of my life. I had some old MF Nikkor lenses but surprisingly, with an adapter ring, they worked better in a Canon body than my friends Nikon DSLR. If I remember right, the Nikon refused to do most basic things when the communication with the lens was not available. However with Canon you could use the Av-program mode and the most other automatic modes as well. Canon won my money clearly. Now I am a pro photo- & videographer using 5Dm3 + L-series lenses. However I still use the 3rd party batteries from ebay. So far they haven't let me down ever :-)

1 upvote
fuego6
By fuego6 (4 months ago)

Stick with one brand the rest of your life!?! WHY??? I have Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras and lenses... don't like something - sell it and move to another one. Brand loyalty is great - if the company throws its users bones....

3 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (4 months ago)

@fuego6
Yes, the term 'brand loyalty' is widely misused. It ought to mean the loyalty shown by the brand, towards its users.

1 upvote
camera221
By camera221 (4 months ago)

It's just my personality: I don't like to change too often once I build confidence to my gear. You are welcome to disagree. However sticking to one brand doesn't mean you cannot use the others too.

1 upvote
photophill
By photophill (4 months ago)

Good to hear this info. I will ensure I will not update to version 3 on my P7700. Thanks dpreview!

1 upvote
Janoch
By Janoch (4 months ago)

What 3rd part batteries?
All of them? Reports say some, but is there a list anywhere?
Some 3rd part batteries are really poor. I mean, really, really REALLY poor...
Would love to see a list, and would love to see brands like JapCell, Duracell, Hähnel a.o. *not* to be found there...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 35 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
tomjar
By tomjar (4 months ago)

Well, I can confirm that it affects the Patona battery (a German company) on P7700. Luckily, reinstalling the previous firmware on this camera removed the problem.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Dvlee
By Dvlee (4 months ago)

One of the virtues of the Nikon and Canon systems is the wide availablity of third party accessories. When weighing the decision of which brand camera to buy, the option to use third party accessories is a strong selling point.

With each new camera I have purchased in the past ten years, the batteries have changed, and I can easily burn through three or four batteries in a day. The cost of extra batteries and accessories add up and could be a deal breaker. Being able to buy aftermarket brands makes the camera more affordable, or leaves more in the budget allowing one to buy a better model camera, ir perhaps a quality lens instead of the kit lens.

Nikon is shooting itself in the foot on this one by makeing the Nikon system a little less desirable, at least with the specific models affected. Since all these models are the less expensive models, this has a more significant impact than it would for the top models

3 upvotes
Prairie Pal
By Prairie Pal (4 months ago)

THUGS.

2 upvotes
sharkcookie
By sharkcookie (4 months ago)

Dear Nikon,
just sell your batteries at a reasonable price. You will still make a lot of money on those and we are all happy to buy the original over some cheap 3rd party ones that go bad after only 6 months.

What you are doing now doesn't help you and just makes users angry and hurts your image.

9 upvotes
digiart
By digiart (4 months ago)

Could not agree more. For example EN-EL14 "normal" price is around 75 Euros (can be bought on sale now for about half the price)! That's more than half the price of a Nikon 18-55 VR! A good compatible battery can be had for about 10 Euros.

4 upvotes
Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (4 months ago)

This reflects very poorly on an otherwise great, innovative company like Nikon.
I hope they rapidly correct this very stupid move.

3 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (4 months ago)

The number and displeasure expressed in comments is not a surprise to me. I've always thought that in order to establish the top position is best achieved by providing the customers with superior product and service at a reasonable price- instead of worrying about the little guys trying to offer improvements to mediocre and overpriced product.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
Mike Walters
By Mike Walters (4 months ago)

Is it that the 3rd party batteries do not work, or just that the reporting of the remaining charge doesnt work? If it is the latter, then what do you expect with a 3rd party battery. The remaining charge reporting is a firmware function and if Nikon decide to change that (which they are within thier rights to do) then the camera may not have the ability to report the remaining charge of a 3rd paty battery....what a surprise.

1 upvote
expressivecanvas
By expressivecanvas (4 months ago)

Reports are that the firmware update renders some 3rd party batteries useless. And by 'some' that means that enough batteries had this problem that this was a well known problem around the globe within hours.

0 upvotes
Ormerod
By Ormerod (4 months ago)

Earlier this year I moved from APS-C to FF (Pentax K5 to Nikon D600 & D7000) and am concerned at this possible development. In the end this cannot be to Nikon's advantage because people will surely move away from Nikon to open systems from other manufacturers.

3 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (4 months ago)

Nikon is on a roll, first the D600/D610 embarrassment and now this.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (4 months ago)

Closed architecture is why I NEVER began purchasing iApple products in the early 1990's.

In the PC world, the open architecture of MS Windows based PC's fostered 3rd party competition (better video cards, sound cards, RAM boards, etc.), which grew the base product. Similarly, I suspect that that open Android OS is today, more innovative than iApple's closed system.

Nikon, by closing architecture will likely stifle or at least slow down competition, thus innovation will slow down.

Though I have a love/hate relationship with MS. MS Werd (mis-spelled on purpose) is just as stupid and un-intuitive, with respect to auto-paragraph/sub-paragraph numbering conventions..compared to Word Perfect v6.0 for DOS was in the mid-1990's...and still, in 2013, no native dual pane browser like Norton PC Tools for DOS offered in the mid 1990's...despite the fact that everyone ingests/exports files to/from external devices. Sorry, but I digress...end of MS rant.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
skyrunr
By skyrunr (4 months ago)

I thought I was the only one who ever used and LOVED PC Tools. I kept using it in XP even though it didn't support many image files.

It is pretty simple; don't gouge us by charging twice as much for something. I really don't mind paying a little more for name brand in general, but not twice as much.

It is just like those HP print cartridges that expire electronically.

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (4 months ago)

I've been a Nikon fan for years, but this is ridiculous. This smacks of something Apple would do. I avoid Apple like the plague for this very reason.

I now use Sony NEX vs Nikon DSLRs due to the size/quality combination, it equals my old D5100 (and the D7000) in image quality, but is way smaller. Nonsense like this only makes me more glad I've changed. I have 2 separate generic batteries for my NEX-F3 and they do just as well as the Sony one.

The only Nikon I still have is the J1, & that's only because my older Sony C3 was getting too banged up taking it everywhere on my hip, so I got a J1 brand-new for only $155 as my "don't give a crap" camera. Imagine that, what a slogan--"Nikon, for when you don't really give a crap."

And for the record, I have 2 generic EN-EL20s for the J1, and they do just fine, even with the J1 having up-to-date firmware. But if they ever change the firmware, I'll remember to look out for this (I still have the current J1 firmware on my PC).

9 upvotes
EvokeEmotion
By EvokeEmotion (4 months ago)

"This smacks of something Apple would do."

After upgrading to iOS 7, my iPhone started to report that the charging cable I am using is not original Apple. But it still works; I can charge my phone like before.

So nope, Nikon is worse. They actually render those batteries useless.

0 upvotes
Mike Griffin
By Mike Griffin (4 months ago)

Nikon Rumors is now reporting that after the firmware update some brands of third party batteries are working and others aren't. Isn't that interesting?

0 upvotes
stevens37y
By stevens37y (4 months ago)

They might use some tricks to identify the batteries (fingerprinting through the communication protocol: e.g. a response for an otherwise illegal command or state) and response of some batteries might be very similar to the Nikon.

0 upvotes
digiart
By digiart (4 months ago)

Most likely because those 3rd party batteries are fake Nikon batteries. Like I wrote a few posts below, this firmware update can't stop use of a 3rd party battery if the manufacturer programs the chip to say it's an original Nikon battery. If a 3rd party manufacturer does that it's called counterfeiting. I would never knowingly buy a fake Nikon battery (or any other product). Someone who manufactures/sells fake products does not care at all about product quality and safety!

0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (4 months ago)

How is it counterfeiting to make a compatible product? I use compatible inks, they have a chip in them which keeps the printer happy, but no way are they counterfeit inks, they make no pretence to be original Canon products. Same for batteries.

1 upvote
JWReagan
By JWReagan (4 months ago)

Seems more likely that there are certain 3rd party manufacturers that come closer to making the batteries to proper specs than others. It's entirely possible that some of the third party batteries are manufactured in the same factory as the the batteries with the Nikon logo. It happens allot in the electronics world, sometimes the only thing separating the brands is the design of the plastic case on the outside and the software on the inside.

0 upvotes
digiart
By digiart (4 months ago)

@wetsleet,
You misread my comments. I made a clear distinction between compatible products and counterfeit products! What I said is if a manufacturer manages to program said battery chip making the battery "tell" the camera it is an original Nikon battery without proper licensing from Nikon, that is counterfeiting! Compatible products don't pretend to be original products of course.

As for the compatible inks example that you use, I was made that same comparison many comments below! Compatible ink cartridges have the chip but are not programmed to pass as an original product, if they do they are counterfeit even if it's written in them or in the box that is a compatible product. Understand the distinction?

2 upvotes
babalu
By babalu (4 months ago)

Since the advent of advanced MFT systems such as Olympus and Panasonic, I have stopped looking at Nikon as a potential supplier . Might go back to them when they do some innovation that includes price spans below $2500.-

3 upvotes
EvokeEmotion
By EvokeEmotion (4 months ago)

Relevance of bringing your puny cameras into this conversation? That's some powerful koolaids you MFT fanboys are drinking.

1 upvote
medicus
By medicus (4 months ago)

Nikon really sucks. They are frightened to go busted, and therefore they are squeezing out the consumer like a mature lemon.
Another very bad example is the new 58mm. The reviewers did not find a significant gain in performance over the 50mm, but it is 5 times more expensive. The fat barrel send,to be a fake, because the lenses seem do be not significantly higher in diameter.
The new Df is a nice try, but as well a retro style fake.
The new 80-400mm is related to the old version much more too expensive.
I have the strong feeling that due to the poor stock exchange rate, the investors putting a lot of pressure onto the operation.
BUT, the only way to boost the business is not to fool the customers, but to speed up innovations. They should make a fierce look to Sony. There happens the future of digital photography.
Nikons way is the classic one into bankruptcy!

6 upvotes
JPR.lda
By JPR.lda (4 months ago)

Hey Nikon... this is the wrong way to go.

I have used many 3rd party batteries since d2x, D3, D3s, D3x, D7000, D800, V1, V2 on all cameras and never had a problem.

If you want to sell more equipment give us more features on cameras and lenses and do not limit my choice of accessories.

I bought all the D pro models, but skipped D4, it does not offer enough over a D3s.
I will only upgrade my cameras when you give me built in WiFi (Canon does it)

Where is AFS fish-eye for FX? make it I buy it.

Give me a universal charger, I buy it.
Stop introducing a new battery with each model.
V1, V2???

Give me a wireless flash control that can be used without line of sight and I will buy it.

Give me better support, or I will have to look somewhere else. In Portugal there is no support for Nikon.

I know you don't listen and you don't care, but the more you make life difficult for users, the more you force them to look elsewhere.

Open up you system and software, you will gain a lot from it.

7 upvotes
AlexRuiz
By AlexRuiz (4 months ago)

can you tell us what other top brands offer a) universal batteries and chargers, b) wireless flash that don't require a line of sight, c) support in every corner of the world?

Just saying. I am sure your complaints are applicable to every top brand, not just Nikon.

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Salvatore Castrovinci
By Salvatore Castrovinci (4 months ago)

Bad, Very bad Idea !

Fortunately I possess only a D70s and Micro Nikkor 55mm f: 2.8 ......

all the batteries of my cameras (RICOH GXR, PENTAX K10, SIGMA SD14 / 15 etc ... etc ...) except the one purchased in boundle are compatible batteries that I used for years without any problem ....... and their price ranges is from 1/10 to 1/5 of the original battery!

We know that Nikon does not have the technology and industries to produce batteries and probably its batteries are manufactured by companies that also sell on their behalf .......

And is unbearable to spend so much money for an identical product, with same or little less features, to own!

We have come to a creeping form of begging industry to exploit its monopoly!!

I hope, for Nikon for a reformation on this idea.

Best regards

Salvatore

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
inorogNL
By inorogNL (4 months ago)

indeed what nikon is doing here is telling us that only Duracell can make bateries and varta, energiezer and others can not, hopefully people will not be fooled by this behaviour from major companies like Nikon

1 upvote
Kelvin L
By Kelvin L (4 months ago)

It could be worse, they might decide to build cameras without user replaceable batteries - like on my phone and laptop

3 upvotes
garyknrd
By garyknrd (4 months ago)

IMO, which means nothing to Nikon for sure. No one likes to be forced into anything. Look at the CC issues. I would also buy the Nikon batteries. But hate to be told or forced to do something.

0 upvotes
Mike Griffin
By Mike Griffin (4 months ago)

Nikon don't release their hardware communication protocols so third party suppliers have to reverse engineer the software. A difficult task I'm sure and sometimes they will not quite get it right. That is why future compatibility of third party lenses and accessories can't be guaranteed. I can't imagine that Nikon would purposely change things to block third party items as wouldn't that likely also block their own old lenses and accessories.

0 upvotes
stevens37y
By stevens37y (4 months ago)

There are clever people who can properly do such a job (->protocol sniffing - well known activity) . Just check Magic Latern for Canon it's a much more complicated thing. Anyway with with Sony and Panasonics I use a lot of 3rd party. With the Panny camcorders even the biggest batteries work (with proper charge status) which are not officially supported according to the spec. The chargers also 3rd party.

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (4 months ago)

@Mike, unfortunately I think you lack imagination.

1 upvote
Mike Griffin
By Mike Griffin (4 months ago)

So how come if they get it right first time, third party lens manufacturers occasionally have to update the firmware on their products to comply with Nikon firmware updates when Nikon's own products don't have to be updated even though they have been manufactured decades ago.

0 upvotes
Zdman
By Zdman (4 months ago)

Because Nikon can identify those old lenses and revert to the old protocol. Sigma could get around this by making their lens identify itself as an old Nikon lens but it would be grounds for Nikon to sue them. Your argument makes sense if its a once off but they've just done this on lenses and batteries after years of firmware updates without breaking anything. The balance of probabilities is that they're doing it on purpose.

1 upvote
Mike Griffin
By Mike Griffin (4 months ago)

So when Sigma release lens firmware updates to make their incompatible lenses compatible again what do you think they are doing? I don't think Nikon blocks non Nikon lenses per se as the only way around that would be for Sigma to make all it's lenses report as Nikon branded. Isn't it true that recently some Sigma lenses wouldn't work with the D7100 even though they worked properly with all previous Nikons and all previous Nikon lenses worked with the D7100. I believe Sigma haven't correctly interpreted the hardware communication protocol. There is a conspiracy theorist in all of us but sometimes it has to be tempered by logic.

0 upvotes
hectorsm
By hectorsm (4 months ago)

I currently own nine 3rd party batteries for several different cameras. Some of the batteries are around 10 years old. None of them have ever failed or overheated. I'm yet to see any statistics or numbers that point to 3rd party batteries causing damage to Nikon cameras.

I believe Nikon reason for the firmware block are pure marketing. Nothing else, just that.

6 upvotes
expressivecanvas
By expressivecanvas (4 months ago)

I agree... I use 3rd party batteries for my Fuji and Oly gear... been using them for years because I get more shots per charge and the 3rd party batteries cost significantly less. I have never had a problem with my batteries nor do I know of anyone having any problems other than age and no longer taking a charge after years of use. This Nikon nonsense probably has nothing to do with warrantees... maybe, however, about crappy, cheap voltage regulators in Nikons if Nikon cams are seeing a lot of power issues. Seems to me this nonsense is just about Nikon trying to block other manufacturers' sales rather than taking care of their customers and subsequently boosting their own sales. Maybe they are blindly under the assumption that ANY ink is good ink... meanwhile more and more customers get annoyed and jump ship. Sorry Nikon fans, but I am seeing desperation and poor decisions while leaving customers in the dark...

5 upvotes
ffnikclif
By ffnikclif (4 months ago)

If a Nikon user wants to take a "chance" they should have the choice! I think it is better for Nikon sales if they don't try to restrict their customers choices. The best way to restrict their customers choice would be to make sure that they offer better choices at better prices. I became a Nikon user because because of the fine optical standards. Lately I see a lot of 3rd party glass that is higher quality & at almost half the price of Nikon brand lenses. That is not good if they want to put up hurdles so I have to use Nikon second rate products!
Come on Nikon, get your act together.

Fred

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

B787 should use 3rd party batteries that never overheat.

1 upvote
GPW
By GPW (4 months ago)

Bottom line is that 3rd party accessories are cheaper for a reason!!! Why take the chance?

1 upvote
inorogNL
By inorogNL (4 months ago)

the only reason 3d party accessories are cheaper is that price on original is 4 to 5 higher than it should be. Are you forced to use energizer brand batteries in your TV remote control? what all of the sudden duracell can not make batteries?

5 upvotes
SteveCooper
By SteveCooper (4 months ago)

Nikon cannot be held accountable for not making sure third party equipment is compatible with Nikon's improvements or firmware updates. It is bad enough that Nikon gets blamed or even pays for a repair when the problem may have been caused by using a third party device in the first place. Everyone knows all batteries are not created equal. With a material like lithium, it is imperative that Nikon is able to make the camera and it's software or firmware work within their tolerances and specs. If you use a fly by night battery that came from a factory that did a single run of cheap batteries, and the battery characteristics are not within Nikon engineered tolerances, it could not only cause the camera to malfunction, it could cause a fire in either the camera or the charger you place the battery in. That third party company doesn't care what happens to you, your camera or your warranty- their stuff is cheap for a reason- no warranty and they don't have a reputation to maintain.

3 upvotes
digiart
By digiart (4 months ago)

It's true. Lithium is a dangerous material that can a fire. Lithium batteries use a fuse device for protection. Quality control is very important.

But brands overcharge to much on batteries. These modern batteries have a chip inside them. When you put them in your camera the camera firmware will read the chip and detect if it's an original battery or 3rd party product. Instead of rejecting the battery the camera maker can display a message warning the user that the battery is not approved and allow to use it at the user's risk. This is what some printer manufacturers do with third party ink cartridges. It would be simple for Nikon (or any other brand) to do this.

3 upvotes
digiart
By digiart (4 months ago)

continued...

The only serious problem a bad battery can cause to a camera is overheat and start a fire. If this is caused by a 3rd party product, it would be easy for the camera manufacturer do know that and warranty would not cover such damage of course.

Also, mind you that this firmware can't stop use of a 3rd party battery if the manufacturer programs the chip to say it's an original Nikon battery, which of course would be a counterfeit product!

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (4 months ago)

@Steve, but they came be blamed for deliberately changing the firmware so that 3rd party accessories stop working.
Yes, deliberately punishing their customers.

As for the elusive fire argument, let's call it a hoax until atleast two persons using 3rd party batteries step forward and say:
"It happended to me!"

I think 3rd party vendors care, I'd say it is highly probable that they would replace the camera to protect their business.

2 upvotes
Ben Ramsey
By Ben Ramsey (4 months ago)

Eleson,
It's hardly a hoax. Perhaps you've heard about the recall of Sony manufactured Li-on laptop batteries of not too many years ago. The batteries were used by Apple, Dell and Toshiba among others and were indeed overheating and causing damage and fires. You can do a google image search if you like.

And that was Sony made batteries, not a cheap battery produced with questionable manufacturing. Imagine the outrage that would occur when preventable damage took place to thousands of dollars/euro/pounds, etc. takes place. People would be up in arms about why Nikon or whomever allowed the batteries to be used.

I am uncertain as to the scope of the problem and what batteries are affected, though from various reports, it doesn't seem to be all 3rd party batteries. I'm not defending the choice Nikon (and it seems Canon) made, nor do I outright condemn it. As a disclaimer, I don't own any Nikon gear, excepting a pair of binoculars, so don't really have a horse in this race. Of course, I don't think most of the people who have been on an anti-Nikon and Canon tear lately, have ever used any of their gear either. It looks like attacking others to make one's self appear better. I don't accuse you of that, since I only know you from this one post and you most likely don't fit that description.

0 upvotes
egk4260
By egk4260 (4 months ago)

I never even considered a third party battery until the V1 battery issue with OEM batteries branded both Nikon and Sony showed early failure and no support or recognition by Nikon. In correspondence with them they sent me this link:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=EN-El15

which you will note carries order info for OEM batteries with no warranty and third party batteries with up to three year warranty. OEM 70USD batteries with 2-3 month life span in a throwaway like the V1 was unacceptable.

3 upvotes
expressivecanvas
By expressivecanvas (4 months ago)

Holy moly! Approx $60 for one battery!?! Why, oh why, oh why, would anyone in their right mind by a Nikon if that is the legitimate cost of batteries? Thanks Nikon for all this nonsense which brought this to my attention (and which you caused yourself)... now, not only will I never buy a Nikon, I will never recommend a Nikon to family/friends. That price is absolutely insane for a battery! One battery!!

1 upvote
Nightwings
By Nightwings (4 months ago)

Just upgrade the lens firmware portion, and leave the camera firmware alone. Problem solved.

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (4 months ago)

Then you are also saying "no" to all future firmware upgrades.
That would be a camera I would avoid.

2 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (4 months ago)

For me, my D7000 and my wife's D5100 work fine the way they are. (shrugs)

2 upvotes
Mike tn
By Mike tn (4 months ago)

It doesn't bother me. I plan to buy the gear made by the camera body manufacturer when I buy the body. If I don't like the manufacturer's gear or pricing then I'd buy a different body. Batteries don't cost much compared to lenses. And we live in a free market. If any company pours on the costly surprises down the road I would point to Sony. However this kind of thing should generate some Internet flaming.

4 upvotes
GPW
By GPW (4 months ago)

>QuarterToDoom, Let me ask you and everyone on here a question. If you bought a camera and used 3rd party batteries and the batteries damaged the camera, who should be responsible(pay for) to have the camera fixed?

1 upvote
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (4 months ago)

By GPW >QuarterToDoom, Let me ask you and everyone on here a question. If you bought a camera and used 3rd party batteries and the batteries damaged the camera, who should be responsible(pay for) to have the camera fixed?

Obviously the user would be but that's their choice to use what they want. If the manufacturer all of a sudden updates software to battle consumer choice then they'll pay in the end with loss of market share.

Simple fix give a user an option to set a flag that allows third party batteries, it then keeps a record of this flag in memory but voids the warranty if damaged is done by after market battery.

If the manufacturer was smart enough they'd allows licensing for official third party batteries/accessories. The amount of good will they would get out of this would probably overshadow the amount of profit they would lose from people not buying their batteries.

Happy customers are much easier to part with money.

0 upvotes
GPW
By GPW (4 months ago)

That would be fine, but those things you mentioned would mean more cost to the manufacturer of the camera. Software and quality control to ensure that the 3rd party accessories are up to par. I worked for the auto industry and seen what kind of costs are associated with 3rd party QA.

0 upvotes
awb1000
By awb1000 (4 months ago)

I have given up on Nikon producing a fast and lightweight pro 16mm for DX. So their obtuseness with regard to third party lens makers is damnable. Stupid-pricing on batteries, combined with too many variants of them is what drives people to buy the knock-offs.

2 upvotes
abcdefghijklmnop
By abcdefghijklmnop (4 months ago)

Wrong! Most third party battery buyers I know are just cheap.

3 upvotes
Adrian Gopal
By Adrian Gopal (4 months ago)

Not really. I am forced to buy 3rd party EN-EL3E batts for my D90, coz the shops here are not stocking the originals. My original lasted me almost 3 years.. And believe me, I have gone to over 20 shops to find the original batts, and get the same answer. Old models, no stock.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (4 months ago)

>By GPW (3 min ago) >> I agree with Nikon. 3rd party batteries might not be top quality and damage the camera. If I were Nikon I would include this in the warranty. Sorry folks

That's called FUD.

7 upvotes
GPW
By GPW (4 months ago)

I agree with Nikon. 3rd party batteries might not be top quality and damage the camera. If I were Nikon I would include this in the warranty. Sorry folks

1 upvote
digiart
By digiart (4 months ago)

This is bad for Nikon users, 3rd party manufacturers and Nikon itself. Someone thinking of buying their first DSLR will think twice before buying into the Nikon system. No one likes to be forced to buy brand accessories, such is the case with batteries, specially when you can buy similar quality for much less money.

And since it's not just batteries but also lenses, the issue is much more serious. Now it's only the D5300 and Df (with some Sigma), but one can suspect that more cameras will be affected in the future. I suspect this will hurt Nikon and help Canon DSLR sales, that is, if they don't follow Nikon is this path of forced brand loyalty!

And of course, it will affect Sigma because someone with a Nikon camera will think twice before investing in Sigma because there is no warranty whatsoever that the lenses will keep working in future Nikon bodies or with future firmware updates.

IMHO, a new firmware "re-enabling" 3rd party batteries is likely if this hurts Nikon sales.

2 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (4 months ago)

And just when I was considering buying a D3200 before Christmas... Ah well, I guess that TV needs upgrading anyway...

1 upvote
3LPC Photography
By 3LPC Photography (4 months ago)

This seems completely in violation of anti monopoly laws.

0 upvotes
Ken Johnes
By Ken Johnes (4 months ago)

can you imagine the fun if nikon´s firmware accidentally consider the sensor and the battery they use (both made by sony) to be 3rd party crap? ;-))

8 upvotes
fred b. palagonia
By fred b. palagonia (4 months ago)

Nikoncare! lol!

0 upvotes
Ph1ogiston
By Ph1ogiston (4 months ago)

Thank you for the warning.

I stopped looking for Nikon cameras for my christmas family gifts.
It will be new iphones then...

Perhaps next year - I will watch the next moves from Nikon.

0 upvotes
Ken Johnes
By Ken Johnes (4 months ago)

he he, goodluck with your move ;-)..... nikon learned it from apple i bet.:-))

4 upvotes
stevens37y
By stevens37y (4 months ago)

Iphone with a 3rd party batterie.

0 upvotes
Ken Johnes
By Ken Johnes (4 months ago)

Nikon moved to North Korea ?

2 upvotes
xfoto
By xfoto (4 months ago)

Maybe I shouldn't update the d3200 I just ordered then

2 upvotes
Paphios
By Paphios (4 months ago)

Perhaps this is related to the large numbers of counterfeit Nikon batteries and battery grips that have been in the market.

0 upvotes
abcdefghijklmnop
By abcdefghijklmnop (4 months ago)

Help me here, Nikon did not change anything on the existing batteries or lenses we already own. I know since they did not recall mine, at least. So nothing about how the lenses and batteries operate was changed. If the third party makers had done their jobs right and accurately reverse engineered a product this would not have happened. Some of the lenses were sold with a port for lens software update which pretty well confirms to me that the maker knew everything had not been figure out about those lenses by that company. And since all third party lenses and batteries apparently, from reports, have not been affected does that not also point so sloppy engineering by some.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Biowizard
By Biowizard (4 months ago)

The whole point of allowing firmware updates is to allow unforeseen issues to be fixed and/or new features to be added. Designing a lens (or anything) with the ability to update firmware is NOT a sign of shoddy design - quite the opposite: it suggests a manufacturer with at least half an eye on future-proofing. The shame here, is that NIKON (not the third parties) has taken the opportunity to render some third-party stuff incompatible. And that is naughty.

7 upvotes
hikerdoc
By hikerdoc (4 months ago)

agree with the biohazard, these are not new batteries which do not work, but batteries which were functioning properly and are now rendered obsolete. I have had lenses which needed to be updated by Sigma when purchasing a new body, but have not had an occurence where an updated and functioning lens is suddenly, and likely intentionally, rendered inoperable. That would seem to cross the line in regards to customer relations and respect.

If someone changes the locks and my old key does not fit it does mean it was poorly cut (sloppy engineering).

2 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (4 months ago)

This is pretty rational and in many cases is the whole story. Cheap knock-offs taking shortcuts (like my DSTE EN-EL18 pretends to be a pack of AA's, causing issues with LV). However sometimes there's more to this, like there could be obscure commands / features in the communication protocol that the manufacturer had built for the future but wasn't using. Or using differently / without combining with other data. If the cloned battery replicated only the previously observable usage, it could lack forward compatibility with such alterations.

I believe in another way forward - as I wrote in my entry "Dead Battery: the Future of OEM Obstructionism" at http://karasevstudio.com/o2/2013/155

0 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

3rd party cannot reverse engineer 'properly'. First, because it's way too difficult. Second, because they can't use stuff that is patented or copyrighted. Therefore, the 3rd party products literally CAN NOT work exactly the same way as the originals. The idea behind them is to do something that works but not close enough to attract OEM's lawyers.

Nikon already sued Sigma over some patent in stabilization. 3rd parties cannot risk getting a court order to stop making their products for being too similar, not can most afford a long process (see Apple vs. Samsung for both examples). So they actually have no other choice but to make their products inferior in compatbility.

1 upvote
allan teo
By allan teo (4 months ago)

Sigma/Tamron should make their lens firmware PUBLIC DOMAIN so that it can be maintained by the internet community. Lawyers cannot go after Sigma if the autofocus becomes deadly accurate because of public domain firmware.

0 upvotes
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