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Magazine Of The Nikon World

Nikon Owner Issue 20

Technical Q & As from Simon Stafford

Which battery for the D200?

Question: Dear Simon, I am very excited at the prospect of collecting my new D200 tomorrow! I cannot wait to use it and was wondering if you can tell me the situation about the batteries.

I have heard that someone used D100 batteries and it was OK, but I am sure the official line from Nikon will be that one has to use a different model. I am, of course, not wishing to damage my new acquisition, but it would be very helpful to be able to continue using the D100 batteries that I already have. Do you have any info on this please? Thanks, Petrina.

Answer: Dear Petrina, Nikon has introduced a new battery, the EN-EL3e, exclusively for the D200; it is rechargeable Lithium-ion type rated at 7.4V 1500mAh, which Nikon claims has an improved battery life expectancy. The earlier EN-EL3 and EN-EL3a batteries are not compatible with the D200, and if you attempt to insert either of them you will find that they do not locate properly in the battery chamber of the camera. I have heard of some people who have modified their EN-EL3 / EN-EL3 batteries so that they can fit the D200 but in all cases they will have invalidated any warranty on the battery and most have reported that it was not worth the effort!

To differentiate the EN-EL3e battery from the other two versions of the EN-EL3 it has a light grey outer casing. The original EN-EL3 (7.4V 1400mAh) and the later EN-EL3a (7.4V 1500mAh) batteries are compatible with the D50, D70, D70s, and D100 cameras; the new EN-EL3e can also be used in these models. However, the D200 will only accept the new EN-EL3e, which has a third contact plate to support the "real time fuel gauge system" available on the D200 camera, which is a feature that is not available on the other cameras mentioned above.

According to Nikon the EN-EL3e will provide up to 1800 exposures on a full charge in the D200. By comparison the EN-EL3e will power the D70s for up to 2500 exposures. However, the condition of each individual battery, how the respective cameras are used, and the ambient temperature will affect battery performance. Based on my early experiences with the D200 I would certainly concur that the EN-EL3e has lower shooting capacity compared with the EN-EL3a but then it has to work a lot harder in the D200 than the latter type when used in a D70s for example. All three versions of the EN-EL3 battery can be charged in either the MH-18, or MH-18a chargers as supplied with the various camera models that accept the various versions of this battery type. Regards, Simon.

Flash for macro-photography

Question: Hi Simon, I am using both D50 and D70 and I am looking to purchase a flash for macro work; at present I have the Micro-Nikkor 60mm and am about to purchase the Micro-Nikkor 200mm. I have read on some forums that the SB-29s leaves a very flat-looking image and you would be better using either an SB-600 or SB-800.

Your advice would be most helpful. Thank you, Floyd.

Answer: Dear Floyd, The SB-29s does not support TTL flash control when used with Nikon digital cameras, so the only option is to use manual flash mode.

The twin flash tubes of the SB-29s are also fixed in relation to their position to each other and are mounted on the front of the lens; this can lead to a rather flat quality to the lighting if both tubes are used at an equal output.

The recently released addition to Nikon's Creative Lighting System the SB-R200 Remote Speedlight and SU-800 Commander Unit is a far more flexible solution that uses the wireless i-TTL flash control feature supported by both the D50 and D70. You can view full details at: www.nikon.co.uk

Regards, Simon.

High capacity memory card compatibility

Question: Hi Simon, I have a Sandisk Ultra II 4.0Gb memory card that has three settings on it. One setting is for 4Gb for cameras that support FAT 32, while the other two settings appear to partition the card into sections of 2Gb for cameras that only support FAT 16.

1. Can I use the card on the 4Gb FAT 32 setting in my D2x camera?

2. Also, does the D100 support FAT 32?

Kind regards, Graham

Answer: Dear Graham, All Nikon digital cameras support formatting memory cards to FAT16. However, this limits the camera's maximum usable capacity of a memory card to 2Gb (i.e. if a memory card with a capacity greater than 2Gb is formatted to FAT16 then only 2Gb of memory will be available).