Personally I see no reason to go to the EN-EL4's, I am more than happy with two sets of NiMH's and a spare tray for them for a fraction of the cost, that I can also use in my flash, and only have to take an AA charger with me when I travel to power everything.
I get well over 2000 shots out of a single set of rechargables. I've never used more than 2 sets in a day.
Now, if I also had a D3 in my kit bag and had the batteries/chargers anyway, then I wouldn't hesitate to get the cover and use the EN-EL4's for even longer battery life, but as you state there are other things you could use that money for - filters, lenses, CF cards, tripods etc, that will do more for your photography than a bit longer battery life you'd get from the EN-EL4a's.
I bought the MB-D10 primarily for the vertical grip. The ability to get much longer life between battery changes using AA batteries is definitely a benefit. I don't think it is worth the expense to purchase everything required to enable the use of EN-EL4a batteries.
Thanks for the great replies. Is there any limit on the capacity of the rechargeable AA batteries? Would having too high a mAh rating cause problems? Is there a specific brand of AA's that is recommended for this type of use?
I've personally settled on 2000mAh eneloops - because they don't self-discharge nearly as fast as most of the other brands - I can and have left a set on the shelf, fully charged for a couple of months, and it still gave me over 2,000 shots when I used them.
The disadvantage of eneloops is that if you use them in your flashgun, they won't cycle it quite as quickly as regular NiMH's, but that doesn't really bother me. They work perfectly in the MB-D10, and give the full 8fps for the duration.
>There is no limit. > >I've personally settled on 2000mAh eneloops - because they >don't self-discharge nearly as fast as most of the other >brands - I can and have left a set on the shelf, fully charged >for a couple of months, and it still gave me over 2,000 shots >when I used them.
This is my experience as well. I see no upside to the Nikon 4a battery for the grip (unless you have it already from a previous camera).
>The disadvantage of eneloops is that if you use them in your >flashgun, they won't cycle it quite as quickly as regular >NiMH's, but that doesn't really bother me.
>>I've personally settled on 2000mAh eneloops - because they >still gave me over 2,000 shots
This is consistent with my experience as well. I got well over 2,000 over three weekends last summer.
>HOW are you getting this out of AA Nimh's? I use 2500 >Ultralast & a Maha charger, I shoot wide open usually at >3.5 and I cannot get over 200 shots before I have to change >batteries - drives me nuts!
I have not heard of any Low Self Discharge batteries rated at 2500 MA, so I assume that the Ultralast are not LSD's. Your batteries may either be:
a) in need of "reconditioning" or "refreshing" (I don't recall the name, but it is a cycle on some chargers that repeatedly discharges and recharges batteries to restore their peak capacity),
b) discharged from sitting too long before use (the regular NiMH lose power relatively quickly), or
c) in need of replacement.
My older Maha charger does not recondition batteries (some newer Maha's do). I have a LaCrosse BC-900 that has this feature. If you have this feature, which takes days to complete, try it first. If that doesn't help, get some Eneloops, or other LSD (typically labeled as "Pre-charged") batteries; they are all nearly the same.
"Something really clever or profound should go here...I have nothing "
I'd suggest trying different batteries. I have a set of energizer 2000mAh and sony 2000mAh, and they both last that long also, providing I use them within a day or two of charging them. The eneloops last for months.
Hi Jim, I bought the EN-EL4a, BL-4, and MB-D10 with the D300. I already had a D2X so the extra arm and leg for the charger was not required. With EN-EL4's I consistantly get well over 4000 images per charge. If I had to buy the charger along with the battery I would have to think long and hard. Although it is cheaper than the MH-30 was for the F5.
I am in the very process that you are thinking about. I bought the MB-D10 for the vertical grip. I was using the AA alki. and very pleased with the performance. I never thought of the NiMh route because I never have luck with them. I still wanted the EN-EL4a for the even longer between recharge time. I do some all weekend photo shoots and don't like to worry about batteries. The long and short of it all is... I am piecing it as I can afford it. I have bought a used EN-EL4 for now and borrow a friends charger. The 4a is next then finally the charger.
Who thought it would be such a problem with so many decisions?
I used the AA's in the grip for 4,000 shots before getting a BL-3. I already have a couple of aging EN-EL4's for my D2H.
I also have 3 SB-800's, using the 5th battery door, and an SB-24. The only issue I have with AA's in the grip is that then I have an even greater need for massive quantities of AA's, mainly because of the speedlights. I need 27 AA's for one set for each device . I need 2 or 3 sets, minimum, for the speedlights.
I am being over-run by batteries. I have an 8 cell Maha C-801D charger and a 4 cell Maha C9000 charger/conditioner/analyzer. Those chargers aren't cheap and I don't have enough. The Maha analyzer is nice but it would take 6 months to run break in tests on just my existing stock of batteries.
There is something to be said for a simple 1 battery solution for the grip, even if it needs it's own charger.