Question about camera battery

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by BeBu Lamar, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. If you need a replacement battery for your Nikon camera do you think the Nikon brand batteries are the best if you don't care about price?
    If so I wonder why it is so? Nikon doesn't make the batteries themselves. They contract some battery manufacturers to make for them then why these manufacturers can't make even better batteries?
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I have used Nikon, Wasabi, Watson, Power2000, Kastar, etc. I do not see a great deal of difference in performance. Typically I have bought Nikon (rarely) or Wasabi. The other brands have arrived with used cameras I have bought. I have had one Nikon and one Kastar fail. Since I always have spare batteries and have loaded a fresh one at the start of shooting. I have never run out or power.
  3. Always used Nikon batteries and see no reason to make a change. A third party battery for my Sony swelled after some time and was discarded; now only buying Sony. Use third party batteries in my Ricoh GR - the first set appears to not hold charge well any more (neither does the original one that came with the camera).
  4. In a great variety of cameras with batteries I have found that the OEM brand batteries will sometimes last up to one-and-a-half times longer. They also cost as much as 3x the price.
    I have found no differences in functionality, just sometimes in longevity. They all go south after a certain number of rechargings. None is immortal.

    I usually buy on the basis of price.
    graham_evans|2 likes this.
  5. Back in the nicad D1 days, some of the off brands were good, maybe better than Nikon. Now, I could be wrong but I think Nikon puts chips in the batteries, some 3rd party batteries might not work with some of the cameras.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
  6. After all your response I really need to ask my original question. Correctly me if I am wrong, that if we don't care about price then the third party batteries are at best only as good as the Nikon ones. None is better is it correct? Now if that's true I must ask why so? Nikon didn't make the batteries some other companies did. Why couldn't these companies make better batteries than those they make for Nikon?
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    While Nikon doesn't make their batteries themselves, when they put the Nikon logo onto those batteries, you know that the are made to Nikon's standards. When there are issues, Nikon is responsible for them. For example:
    • Back in 2012, some EN-EL15 batteries had a very small chance to overheat, and Nikon recall the entire batch. That recall coincided with a major Sony computer Li-ion battery recall, and the one loaner battery I had at the time was part of the recall, and that battery had the Sony logo on it. I assume Sony was the actual manufacturer, and perhaps Sony was paying the bill for that recall: EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Service Advisory
    • In 2016, after the D500 was introduced, it was discovered the older Li-ion01 type EN-EL15 didn't perform as well on the D500. Nikon volunteered to exchange those batteries to the newer Li-ion20 types. At the time I had six Li-ion01 batteries but the exchange limit was five per D500, and I got five brand new EN-EL15 batteries in 2016: Nikon EN-EL15 Battery Exchange Program
    Guess we is paying for those battery recalls? Yes, genuine Nikon batteries are 2, 3 times as expensive as some generic batteries, and we are paying for those recalls should it be necessary. I did end up with 5 new EN-EL15 in 2016.

    Seems obvious that Sony makes some of Nikon's batteries. Is there an SDN brand, Samsung??

  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Yikes. I had two different iPhone 5, one from work and one personal. Both iPhone 5s had a swelling battery after like two years. Gradually the front glass cracked open and separated from the phone.

    So far my genuine Nikon EN-EL15 batteries are still working fine, but the oldest one from 2010 when I bought the D7000 is barely holding charges any more.
  9. If Sony or Samsung made the battery for Nikon why can't they make even better battery and sell them as third party? Because people simply never pay more for third party? Back in the old days nobody paid more for third party lenses but today they do pay more like the Zeiss lenses.
  10. Would you pay more for a third party battery than for one that is approved by Nikon? Would you risk damage to your camera because of the use of an "unauthorized" battery? Possibly have Nikon deny a warranty repair or a repair altogether?

    When Sony or Samsung make batteries for Nikon according to Nikon specs, Nikon takes responsibility when selling them with their cameras (though any malfunction because of manufacturing will surely in the end fall back on the manufacturer). Don't you think that Nikon specs their batteries to be the "best"? How could a third party make a "better" one - better in what regard? And prove to the customer that they are "better"? What does "better" even mean in this context? Longer-lasting? Seems to be quite hard to prove.

    I am now starting to throw out the first Eneloop rechargeables I purchased years ago (don't know how old they are - but some can't be charged anymore). I believe they are the "best" - but even they don't last forever. And I certainly can't check all on the market to determine which ones are "best". I had a few other brands and none lasted as long as the eneloops did. But it takes years to find out.
    Erik-Christensen likes this.
  11. "Nikon didn't make the batteries some other companies did. Why couldn't these companies make better batteries than those they make for Nikon?"

    Since the development of lithium batteries, there hasn't been any breakthroughs in energy density capabilities, which means that no one's lithium battery can store more energy than someone else's lithium battery of the same volume. In that situation, better battery life would have to come from better energy usage and battery management, which is not a battery function - it's a camera function. The only way to get longer battery life in your camera would be to fit a larger battery, which, of course, can't be done.

    Various manufacturers can also offer products of varying quality - if Nikon is using the best materials, then third party batteries can't store more energy, but they could store less. That's one risk when buying a third party product. Based on what I have read, that doesn't seem to be the case - differences among the manufacturers actually look more like variations from the mass production line than inferior design or materials.

    Nikon batteries do have some circuitry that connects to the camera and allows data to transfer between the camera and battery. Nikon doesn't release it's autofocus designs and software to other lens makers, forcing them to reverse engineer their lenses to work with Nikon bodies, and I expect the same is true for batteries. So another factor in battery performance will lie in how good a job of reverse engineering each manufacturer does to get its circuitry to work with Nikon bodies.
  12. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    If your photo activity requires more battery capacity than is usual, many Nikons (and others) offer extra battery grips which can take an additional battery specific to the camera or more common types. Can't comment on the new ones, but my two old Pro Nikons have large batteries which will handle a lot of work, as much as I can imagine using over several photography days. It is quick and easy to carry and change batteries, and forethought will provide the time in most cases.
  13. Nowadays, for a day's outing I carry at most one spare battery - and quite often none as on the D500, D810, or D850, one battery usually lasts for several days. That wasn't the case back then for the D200 - I often needed two for any given day. The Sony NP-FW50 for the 1st and 2nd generation A7 Series, the NEX bodies and the subsequent APS-C Alpha bodies only held 1050mAh; per camera, I often needed to carry four per day. The fact that they drained quite readily even when not in use didn't help matters either. I ended up having more than a dozen of those batteries - quite an expense that wasn't recoverable when I got rid of the bodies.

    Not certain - but I probably nowadays have two spare batteries for each camera body - that ought to be sufficient.

    I seem to recall that both Nikon and also Sony I some point released firmware upgrades that precluded the use of third party batteries. One more reason to stay away from those - any cost savings would certainly be eaten up by having to replace one's set of third party batteries in case of such an event.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Interesting, if someone gives you business, you’ll turn around and undercut them? :confused:
  15. I either don't make and sell the same products or making improved version of the products and sell for more. I wouldn't do what most of them doing now by making lesser products and sell for cheap trying to sell on price.
    But then again Nikon may make them sign an agreement not to make the batteries so only companies that didn't make the battery can make and sell as third party
  16. While battery technology has improved dramatically since I used the D1X every day I’m not finding any advantage to Nikon branded batteries over third party. I’ve managed to get through an eleven hour wedding day without needing fresh batteries in two bodies and a couple of years ago took a D300 with a battery grip to Europe and shot about 1800 images over 10 days without needing to charge my third party batteries. I suspect they are all coming from two or three sources worldwide if that many and there is no practical difference.

    Rick H.
    Erik-Christensen likes this.
  17. Sanyo is one of the biggest producers of Li-ion cells, and they can be found in most quality Laptop batteries and many camera-makers OEM batteries.

    Being curious I've prised apart many dead/dying camera batteries, and no 3rd party battery has contained name-brand cells. I've also noticed more frequent failure of some 3rd party batteries. However, this has to be weighed against the much higher cost of Nikon (Canon, Sony, etc.) OEM batteries, and I'm afraid the equation comes down in favour of the off-brand product.

    This has obviously come to the attention of said OEMs, since they now increase the price of their batteries even further by incorporating chips and firmware that restrict the functionality of off-brand batteries..... until the clone-makers crack the code! Which is usually just a matter of weeks.:p
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My wife used to have several Sony camcorders. Sony started using Li-ion batteries in the mid to late 1990's. This was about 15, 20 years ago. Once the Sony batteries were out of stock and my wife bought a third-party clone. It was all fine until she bought a new camcorder. When she used the clone battery, the new Sony camcorder would display something like please use a Sony battery and then immediately shut down.

    I might trust some third-party batteries with at least some brand name recognition, but I would avoid those unknown ones.
  19. Like ShunCheung's Sony batteries above, my experience with "chipped" or "intelligent" batteries has been that the so-called extra features are for the benefit of the OEM not the customer.

    It's like paying a worker in coupons that are only good at the "company store".
    Erik-Christensen and rodeo_joe|1 like this.
  20. You are missing one important criterion: functionality. The simple fact is that some third party batteries just don't work in some Nikon cameras. Presumably because there is circuitry in a Nikon brand battery that the camera wants to find.

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