Use Aftermarket Batteries in my D2x???
Digital Darrell Blogs
© Darrell Young  

There are all sorts of good deals on lithium batteries these days. On eBay there are no-name EN-EL4 style batteries selling for just over $20.00 USD. Many places online sell nice brand-name batteries for merely $35.00 USD or thereabouts. So, can I use those EN-EL4 knockoffs in my Nikon D2x camera safely?

What I must tell you may be painful. Buy the $100.00+ USD Nikon® brand batteries, and stick with them on the Nikon D2x. They are expensive, but they have the correct chip to work with Nikon chargers and the new battery metering and lifespan testing circuitry in the D2x.

I have tried several different brands of aftermarket batteries for my D2x, with no success. There are a few on internet forums who report using certain brands successfully, but generally they report back later to say that the battery is dying after only a few weeks of use.

Lithium batteries are carefully controlled in how they charge, or they will die quickly. In addition to that, I have read that Nikon has a special chip in the Nikon brand batteries that the D2x uses to know how much battery life you have left, and when they need to be recalibrated. As you know, the D2x has a more sensitive and quite accurate battery meter, and in the menus tell you how much longer the battery has to live before needing complete replacement.

If you do not stay with the Nikon brand:

1. You are taking a chance that a cheap battery will kill your camera.
2. It most likely will not last very long on Nikon chargers, who are looking for the chip readout.
3. Your battery meter may not be accurate as to the remaining charge.
4. Your internal battery lifespan guage may not be accurate.

The actual lithium cell and case of the aftermarket batteries are probably made in the same chinese factory as Nikon batteries. It is the Nikon CHIP in Nikon brand batteries that are critical to the D2x, and probably the D2Hs.

Why take a chance? The batteries will last for a year or three. I am getting by fine on two batteries. I can shoot an average of 1000 images with VR lenses and microdrives before my battery is completely exhausted. The only person who will really need more than two batteries, is one who thinks 8 frames per second is slow, and an 8 Gigabyte CF card is small. The rest of us will survive on two. (unless taking a trip into the desert for two weeks, then you might need three)

Finally, you have a megacamera, why use cheapo batteries? What if your friends or clients see you pulling a $20.00 battery out of a $5,000 USD camera. Nikon batteries are great status symbols. I carry one around with me so that I can play with it. When someone asks, "what is that?" I respond..."hey, it's a $120.00 Nikon battery for my $5,000.00 Nikon camera. Whoooeeee, are they impressed!

Keep on capturing time...

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