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| p.1 #1 · Those of your who don't do 3rd party batteries |
There have obviously been many threads here and elsewhere about using aftermarket batteries in cameras, and the jury is generally split. Everyone seems to be in agreement than going absolutely bottom dollar is an unnecessary risk. From there, though, there's the camp that says "well-known generic brands are perfectly fine", and the camp that says "why would you risk your $2000 camera to save a few bucks".
It's that last point I want to ask about first. The last few Nikons I've owned I've bought (Nikon) battery grips for. All of those grips have come with AA battery sleds. For those of you who won't use 3rd party batteries, do you just never use those sleds? People claim all the time that you void your warranty using non-Nikon batteries. How else would you use the AA sleds? Nikon doesn't make any AA batteries, and these sleds can accept NiMH, Li-ion, and alkaline batteries. I've never heard of anyone who voided their warranty using the sleds with a third party batteries. In fact, I don't think I've ever even heard of someone having a problem as a result of using them. And we're talking about all the different brands, capacities, battery types, etc that have been put into these sleds for years. Not to mention that you have the risk of eight cells being bad, not the the two or three than most Nikon batteries tend to have.
Am I missing something here? Are the fancy cartridge-style batteries with integrated electronics for some reason more of a liability than AAs? (That's not rhetorical. I'm not too up to speed on battery tech. I know that some of Nikon's more expensive batteries will, like, tell you when they need to be refreshed and stuff. The AAs will probably never do that, but in my experience the battery meter with them has been just about as accurate as batteries with ICs.) Why are third party EN-ELs so divisive, and third party AAs basically endorsed by Nikon?
So my next question, which isn't just for anti 3rd party people, is this. I was organizing my batteries today, and a Phottix ENEL4 replacement that I use a lot (and has been rock solid) happened to be sitting next to a pack of 18650 LIBs. It was painfully obvious that the Phottix battery is pretty much just a container for three 18650 cells (can't confirm that for sure, but the size is pretty much exactly correct, and 3 x 3.7V (18650) = 11.V (ENEL4). So my question is, if someone made a 18650 sled, allowing you to actually choose the Li-ion cells your putting into the camera, would you still be worried about using non-Nikon batteries? It seems like you'd be at least as safe as using AAs, if not more so, since going with SANYO or Panasonic 18650 protected cells is more or less the upper tier of LIBs at the moment (for this kind of thing). If not, what would be keeping you tied to Nikon branded batteries? Some real technical advantage (better reporting, etc) or just the peace of mind that Nikon has to stand behind their own batteries?
Edit: The reason I bring up the second question is this: if there's no significant technical advantage to ENEL batteries vs generic LIB cells, the cost savings becomes a major factor. Upgrading, for example, a D700 to ENEL4 batteries in a "professional capacity" with all Nikon brand equipment, would cost, for having two batteries for two bodies, at least ($100 * 4 + $200 + $70) ~$700. If there were a 18650 sled, you'd be looking at more like $70-100 for four "batteries", maybe $60 for the sleds, and $20 for the charger. $500 is a lot of money to save. And before anyone says "if it's for work, you should be able to afford the Nikon brand", real life doesn't always work that way.