Complete Guide to the Nikon D200- P4

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Complete Guide to the Nikon D200- P4

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Complete Guide to the Nikon D200- P4: As with all my books, a full draft was reviewed by volunteers to weed out unclear language and misstatements. This book is better because of them.

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  1. V1.03 Digital converters (ADC). These converters have a relatively simple job, which is to evaluate the number of electrons they see at each photosite and convert that into 12-bit digital values that are then passed on to the rest of the camera’s circuitry. Another wrinkle enters into play here, as well: Nikon is adjusting for white balance while the signal is still in the analog domain (i.e., before the ADC does the conversion to digital). Nikon calls this “color preconditioning.” More on that in the section on White Balance (see page < 272>). H Tip: For a fuller discussion of how sensors work, see http://www.bythom.com/ccds.htm. H Power The D200 uses two batteries, only one of which is user- 37 accessible. The main battery is an 7.4V, 1500mAh Lithium- F Ion EN-EL3e pack, which is similar to but not the same as the EN-EL3 used in the D50, D70, D70s, and D100. Each EN- EL3e battery weighs about 2.6 ounces (75g), which makes carrying multiple batteries painless. The differences between the EN-EL3e and the previous EN- EL3 and EN-EL3a are: 1. The EN-EL3e stores more mAh than the EN-EL3 (1500mAh versus 1300mAh; the EN-EL3a was also 1500mAh). 2. The EN-EL3e has a third connection terminal that the camera uses to monitor the battery condition. It’s this third connection that makes it impossible to use older EN-EL3 and EN-EL3a batteries in the D200: the camera will 37 What’s mAh mean? That stands for milliamp hour. In other words, the battery could provide a constant 1500 milliamps of current for an hour. Since the camera at idle draws less than 3mA, which would mean that the camera could be left on for over 20 days before the battery would go dead. Of course, once you start taking pictures and using the many powered features of the camera, that number drops considerably. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 91
  2. V1.03 not operate at all if it can’t get information about the status of the battery. However, note that an EN-EL3e battery works in a D50, D70, D70s, or D100. To keep the confusion to a minimum, EN-EL3e batteries—the ones that work in a D200—are gray instead of the black color of the earlier, incompatible batteries. Bottom line: gray Nikon batteries work in the D200, gray or black Nikon batteries work in the D50, D70, D70s, and D100. Note: Like all EN-EL3 type batteries, the terminals are exposed, so the risk of shorts that can cause battery damage, explosion, or generate heat that could start a fire are a small issue while carrying batteries without the protective cover. Keep the protective cover on the battery when it is outside the camera or charger, if possible. In the United States, the battery and MH-18a Quick Charger are supplied with the camera; in other parts of the world, the battery and charger may need to be purchased separately. In any case, you’re most likely going to want a spare EN-EL3e. The charger is light (3.6 ounces, or 100g) and modestly sized. The battery “docks” in the charger by sliding it into the charging position (don’t worry, you can’t do it wrong). The AC power cable is removable. The design of the EN-EL3e battery makes it impossible to insert it incorrectly into the D200’s battery compartment, so never force it. The same is true of putting the EN-EL3e into the charger. The MH-18a Quick Charger can fully charge a fully Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 92
  3. V1.03 depleted EN-EL3e battery in a little over two hours. The MH- 18a is fully compatible with 120 or 240 volt, and 50 or 60Hz outlets. Another point of confusion for D200 purchasers coming from older consumer Nikon DSLRs will be the MH-18 versus MH- 18a charger. It shouldn’t be. Technically, the MH-18a is the charger designed to work with the 1500mAh batteries (EN- EL3a and EN-EL3e) while the MH-18 is designed to work with the older 1300mAh batteries (EN-EL3). But either will charge a D200 battery. The only real difference between them is that the older MH-18 is a little bit bigger than the MH-18a supplied with the D200. For those of us who travel a lot, that was a welcome change. The fact that the charger only has two connection terminals while the battery has three also confuses some users. The charger just charges the battery—more sophisticated battery systems sometimes use extra connections to tune or balance cells within the battery, which the MH-18a doesn’t do—so the MH-18a only needs the two power connections. That third connection on the battery is only used by the camera, and it specifically is used to report the status of the internal power cells in the battery. Note: Unlike the NiMH batteries used for the D1 series, the Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e used with the D200 shouldn’t have to be “conditioned” prior to use. Still, it has been observed by many that new EN-EL3e’s seem to improve slightly with use, which means that they may have some storage or initialization effects that need to be rectified. I would suggest, therefore, that you fully exhaust the battery (
  4. V1.03 Changing Batteries õ The EN-EL3e battery is inserted into the camera as follows: 1. On the bottom of the camera, push the small indented button (green arrow points to it) on the Battery Compartment door towards the center of the camera (towards the PacMan-like symbol). The door should pop open. 2. Slide the EN-EL3e into the camera. 3. Once the battery is fully inserted, push the door closed. You should hear the door retainer click into place. õ To remove the battery: 1. On the bottom of the camera, push the small indented button on the Battery Compartment door towards the center of the camera (towards the PacMan-like symbol). The door should pop open. 2. Hold the camera so that the battery slides out of the camera. Don’t worry, it won’t fall to the floor; there’s Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 94
  5. V1.03 a retainer on the side of the battery compartment that only allows the battery to stick 3/8” (1cm) out of the camera. 3. Firmly grasp the edges of the battery and pull it from the camera. You’ll feel a bit of resistance at first, but the retainer should let go of the battery if you tug firmly. Note: The camera power switch should be in the OFF position before removing (or inserting) an EN-EL3e battery pack. If you change batteries and forget to turn the power OFF while doing so, the D200 sometimes thinks a new card was inserted and a new folder may be created. Multiple folders on a card are a problem that may cause you to forget to transfer images (you may have images in folders other than the current one). Charging Batteries õ To charge the EN-EL3e: 1. Remove the battery from the camera. 2. Plug the MH-18a charger into a wall socket. 3. Slide the EN-EL3e battery into the cut-out on the top of the MH-18a. The status lamp on the MH-18a should begin blinking, indicating that the battery is charging. Note: The legend next to the light on the charger confuses some people. If the charge light is blinking ( ), the battery is charging. If the charge light is in a steady on state (•), the battery is fully charged. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 95
  6. V1.03 Note: You do not have to completely discharge the EN-EL3e before charging it. Lithium-Ion batteries do not usually exhibit the “memory” effects that NiCad batteries did, and thus can be “topped off” at almost any time without consequences. That said, generally you’re better off not charging the battery if the level is at 90% or higher, as doing so repeatedly can reduce the overall capacity slightly. Likewise, you’re best off if you don’t run the battery down to
  7. V1.03 Clock Battery The D200 also has a small, internal battery for keeping the date and time. This battery has an expected charge life of about three months. Keeping the camera powered for two days (either with a EN-EL3e battery in it or by connecting the camera to the AC Adapter) fully recharges the internal clock battery. When this battery depletes, a & symbol appears on the top LCD and two other symptoms appear: the Interval shooting method doesn’t work properly, and image files no longer have a date and time stamp. To recharge the clock battery, simply make sure that the camera has a fully charged EN-EL3e in it for two days. Note that charging the clock battery is one of the reasons why D200 users reported that their battery life improved after the first uses of the camera. Once the clock battery is fully charged, it needs only trickle charge energy from the EN-EL3e to keep it healthy. Alternate Power Sources As an alternative source of main camera power, you can use the EH-6 AC Adapter, which plugs directly into the DC In socket on the left side of the camera. The AC Adapter provides the camera with 13.5 volts at 5A (i.e. any third party battery or adapter that would connect to the DC In socket 38 would have to supply the same voltage ). F Here’s the weird thing: the D200 uses the same battery technology (EN-EL3 series) as the D50/D70/D100, but uses 38 You’d also need to find the right connector which, unfortunately, is yet another Nikon-proprietary one. Here’s the trick to get around that: buy the EH-6. Cut the cable from the EH-6 to the camera in half. Wire the cut cable ends with a standard male/female connector set of your choice, and then use the same set on your external battery supply. You must be very careful to keep the voltages and polarities on pins correct. Failure to get these correct could fry the electronics of your camera, making it inoperable. Please read the legal disclaimer on the Copyright page before attempting to make your own external power supply. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 97
  8. V1.03 the same AC technology (EH-6) as the D2 series. It’s an important detail for those of us who travel with and own multiple Nikon cameras. Personally, this was good news for me, as at the moment I shoot with a D2x and D200, and the choice reduced the number of power gadgets I travel with by one (two chargers, one AC adapter instead of two chargers, two AC adapters). But it does mean that someone transitioning from a D50, D70, or D100 will have to buy a new AC adapter for their D200. Note: Note that when running the D200 from the EH-6 without a charged battery in the camera, if you accidentally “pull the plug” during shooting, any images in the internal buffer are lost, and the CompactFlash card may be corrupted due to an incomplete write cycle. I generally recommend that you always have a battery in the camera when using the AC adapter. Note: The camera power switch should be in the OFF position before removing or inserting any connection to the DC In slot. Nikon warns that the internal circuitry can be damaged if you unplug the EH-6 while the camera’s power switch is in the ON position, so this may be true of external batteries, as well. The D200 can also be powered by a variety of batteries in the optional MB-D200. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 98
  9. V1.03 The optional MB-D200 comes with a tray that allows you to use six AA batteries to power the camera. Alternatively, you can use one or two EN-EL3e batteries. The MB-D200 can hold two EN-EL3e batteries or six AA batteries (alkaline, NiMH, or lithium). õ To use the MB-D200: 1. Mount the MB-D200 to the D200 body. a. Remove the Battery Compartment door on the D200. Open the door to about a 60 degree position from the body and pull on it with a steady force. It should easily snap out of its restraints. Do not force! b. Remove the cap covering the contacts on the MB-D200 and place the Battery Compartment Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 99
  10. V1.03 door in the slot on the part of the MB-D200 that sticks into the battery chamber. This ensures you don’t misplace the door while the MB-D200 is on the camera. c. Remove the EN-EL3e battery. d. Slide the contact end of the MB-D200 into the D200 battery compartment. As you do this, make sure that the tripod socket and outer alignment tab on the MB-D200 are going into the D200 correctly. Do not twist the MB-D200 in relation to the camera. e. Use the large, knurled knob on the MB-D200 to secure the MB-D200 onto the camera. 2. Open the MB-D200’s battery compartment by lifting up the Battery Door Latch handle and then turning it counter clockwise. 3. Remove the AA battery tray by pushing the two white plastic Battery Tray restrainers apart and pulling out Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 100
  11. V1.03 the tray. 4. If you wish to use AA batteries in the MB-D200: a. Place six AA batteries into the tray in the orientation etched at each tray position (four batteries insert into on one side, two on the other side of the tray). b. Push the battery tray back into the MB-D200. Note carefully the white orientation arrows on the top of the battery tray; these point to the side of the tray that goes into the MB-D200 first (and they should be facing up where you can see them). c. Set CSM #D8 to the type of AA batteries you’re using. (I recommend using NiMH rechargeable batteries of at least 2000mAh.) 5. If you wish to use one or two EN-EL3e batteries in the MB-D200. a. With the AA battery tray removed, push a battery into either the left or right position in the MB-D200. The proper battery orientation is the curved side down with the connectors up Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 101
  12. V1.03 on the side that goes into the camera first. b. If you wish to use two batteries (recommended if you have two), put the other into the second position, same orientation. You don’t need to make any custom settings to tell the camera that you’re using one or two EN-EL3e batteries. 6. Close the battery compartment door on the MB-D200, turn the Battery Door Latch handle clockwise, then fold the Battery Door Latch handle back against the MB-D200. Note: The left-hand EN-EL3e battery (as you look at them with the door open from the back) is used by the camera first, and then the camera seamlessly switches to the right-hand battery. Battery Life You’ll probably be surprised to learn that the D200 uses very little energy when it sleeps between shots (
  13. V1.03 as a likely range you might encounter). More rigorous testing produces some more useful data: • Shooting any form of NEF reduces shots per charge by half or more. This is an unexpected result and unique to the D200. The only explanation I can think of is that something in the write-to-card mechanism is drawing power unexpectedly. But it’s clear and repeatable: the minute you begin to shoot NEF your shots per charge reduces significantly. This is not a manageable parameter; if you shoot NEF, you get reduced battery life, period. • A full image review on the color LCD reduces shots per charge by about half. If you have Image Review set to On and the Monitor Off time (CSM #C5) set to the 10s and don’t manually turn off the image on the color LCD after the shot, you’ll reduce your shots per charge by about half. This, however, is a manageable parameter, and the curve is predictable. Cut your image review down from 10 seconds to 5 and you reduce the battery impact by half (i.e. you’d get a 25% reduction in shots per charge). Note: Most D200 users use the color LCD to review the histogram, but there’s still a trick you can use to preserve a bit of power. After you’ve reviewed the shot for exposure, press the shutter release partway to activate the metering and autofocus systems. The camera thinks you’re getting ready to take another picture and turns the color LCD off (normally, the image would stay on the color LCD until the LCD time-out is reached or until you pressed the ² button to turn it off). No other factors are as critical to shots per charge performance as the two just mentioned. However, here are some additional tips on power consumption with the D200: • Use of autofocus lenses doesn’t significantly contribute to power drain. That’s because it’s a short draw of power. The peak may be over 500mA, but since it’s normally such a short time during which this load occurs, it isn’t a big deal (as long as you aren’t repeatedly using autofocus Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 103
  14. V1.03 between shots). The difference in power consumption using AF and AF-S lenses is negligible. But VR (vibration reduction) lenses reduce battery life by another 10% or more when the vibration reduction feature is used (the vibration reduction in the lens is powered by the camera). Since many users tend to keep VR active by holding the shutter release partway, VR use can shorten battery life. • Power consumption is highest when the camera is “active” (metering [200+mA], focusing [500+mA], taking a picture [1000+mA depending upon settings], transferring images to the CompactFlash, etc.). Reducing the amount of time the camera is active (metering and focus active) is another key to reducing power consumption. Thus, you’ll get fewer pictures per charge if you leave the camera active for longer periods. You can cut the active timeout to 4 seconds via Custom Setting #C3 (see “Meter/Camera Active Time” on page < 446>). H • Power consumption is also high when the camera is connected to a computer or to a PictBridge printer. This is one of the reasons I recommend using an external card reader for transferring files. While the camera is connected to the computer via the USB cable and the camera is ON, the camera consumes significantly more power than normal. It’s not unusual to see the battery indicator go from full to half or half to empty when transferring from multiple, large cards or shooting tethered for a long period. The same is true for PictBridge sessions: the camera is drawing significant power the entire time it is connected to the printer, so remove the connection when you’re not using it. Printing just 16 images with a Sony PictureStation printer connected dropped my battery power by almost half, for example. • The WT-3 Wireless Transceiver draws significant power from the camera. While the D200 is relatively smart about keeping the WT-3 in low-power modes when not active, if you’re using this option you will consume batteries much faster than without it. Unlike the D2h, where the file sizes are small, the D200 has the additional attribute of keeping the wireless transmitter active longer while transmitting a Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 104
  15. V1.03 single picture (at least at maximum resolution). Thus, if you’ve used a D2h with the wireless transmitter, be prepared to get fewer transfer images per battery charge with the D200. That’s because the USB port and its associated circuitry, when connected and communicating, is drawing power. You can minimize the battery hit by shooting smaller image formats (JPEG instead of NEF, which take less time to transmit), keeping the camera inactive except when shooting, and keeping your monitor review time to a minimum (the WT-3 is active when the color LCD is active). • The Lithium-Ion batteries of the Nikon D200 do not lose capacity over short periods of non-use. If you store the battery for a long period of time, it will probably lose some charge, though. It takes very long periods of time to see significant power reduction on a battery not being used (a month or more). See “Battery Storage” on page < 96>. H On the other hand, the D200 isn’t completely quiescent when the Power switch is in the Off position. In particular, the D200 uses an LCD overlay mechanism in the viewfinder, which requires a small, but constant power source. This overlay supplies the AF sensor markings, the grid lines and warnings (if enabled). You can verify this by looking through the viewfinder while removing the battery: the display will get darker without the battery in the camera. The consequence of the LCD overlay needing power is that if you store a D200 for a month, at the end of that month you’ll have either a discharged or low battery. Moreover, you’ll likely be running the battery fully down, which as I’ve already mentioned, is not the way to leave Lithium Ion batteries if they’re not going to be used for a period of time. Remove the battery from the camera if you’re not going to use it for long periods of time. • Microdrive storage uses more power than a standard CompactFlash card. A Microdrive is a miniature hard Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 105
  16. V1.03 drive, and has moving parts that must be moved. During standby the older Microdrives consume as much as 65mA compared to only 0.2mA for CompactFlash cards (newer Microdrives are more efficient than older versions, but still use more power than static cards). During write operations, a Microdrive takes longer to write the same amount of data than a solid-state card, increasing power consumption. In short, using a Microdrive results in shorter battery life than using a solid-state CompactFlash card (when measured in number of shots per battery charge). • Cold can affect apparent battery life. Lithium-Ion batteries have pretty good cold weather performance—I’d be surprised if you see any differences down to freezing temperatures—but they still will have a tendency to produce power for shorter periods in extremely cold conditions. If you must use the camera in sub-zero temperatures, carry a fully charged backup battery with you and keep that in a warm place (some outdoor apparel has inside pockets for just this purpose). As performance drops on the battery in use, swap it with the warm one. Cold doesn’t actually “drain” a battery; it’s the change in internal resistance at low temperatures that causes reduced function. So, once the replaced battery is again warm, it functions normally. You can usually juggle two EN-EL3e batteries this way and get the full number of expected exposures from each. • Fully charge your batteries. When the charger indicates the battery is fully charged, it may not be. I generally leave my battery in for a short time after the charger indicates that the battery is charged. The test: if the battery is cool to the touch and the MH-18a light is in a steady on state, the battery is fully charged. • 5% is about the point where you definitely want to change batteries. It is okay to ignore the battery level right down to about the 5% mark without any risk of losing the next picture (this is for a single EN-EL3e battery; users of two EN-EL3e batteries in the MB-D200 can let the first Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 106
  17. V1.03 battery run down completely but should follow this advice for the second battery). Below the 5% level you’ll want to switch batteries if you can, as VR, autofocus, and other major power drains can catch you unawares and leave you without the picture you just shot. I’d double that cut- off value if I were using the WT-3 or tethered to a computer. That said, I’ve run batteries down to the 0% mark—the meter is that accurate. What I’m trying to point out is that once you’re below the 5% mark, heavy current loads can make the camera power down suddenly, so you usually want to replace batteries to avoid potentially missing a shot, especially if you’re filling the buffer. In a pinch, though, you can take the battery right down to empty. If you do, I’d recommend you do it one shot at a time, though. Overall, it’s generally not a good idea to run your battery completely down (below 5%), as you risk a “deep discharge” cycle if you do and don’t immediately get the battery onto the charger. You can take batteries down until exhaustion if you have to, but you shouldn’t do this regularly, and you should immediately put a battery discharged this way on the charger, if possible. Overall, the D200’s battery performance is fair. By minimizing use of a few power-hungry features and shooting only JPEG, you can typically get by on one battery in a full day of shooting (and I mean full). Two fully-charged batteries are all I’ve ever needed shooting NEF images on my D200 during a full day, and that seems to be true for others I’ve talked to, as well. (Again, this might not apply if you’re using the wireless transmitter, Microdrives, or printing with PictBridge.) The problem for me comes with multi-day trips in the backcountry, where I used to be able to carry two EN-EL3 batteries with my D70 and come out the other end of the trail a week later still taking pictures. With the D200, that won’t happen unless I shoot JPEG, so I have to Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 107
  18. V1.03 carry five or six batteries and watch my power consumption more carefully. The good news is that carrying extra EN-EL3e batteries isn’t really a big burden. They’re small and light. But if you find yourself going through multiple EN-EL3e batteries regularly on shoots, you might want to consider getting the optional MH- 19 Multi Battery Charger, which can charge two EN-EL3e batteries at a time. It’s a bit pricey (more expensive than buying two MH-18a units, go figure), but if it lowers the number of gadgets you have to carry it might prove useful. Battery Notes The D200’s battery charger can be used worldwide, at any voltage from 100 to 250 volts. You do need to obtain the correct cables and/or adapters for the power socket, however. Sets of socket adapters can be found at any Radio Shack and most travel stores. Since the D200 uses an intelligent battery system, you’ll want to pay more attention to the information the camera tells you about the battery. Besides the usual battery status icon (on the top LCD), the D200 has the ability to tell you much more about your battery: 1. Press the MENU button to see the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SET UP MENU (yellow wrench tab) and press the > key on the Direction pad to enter the menu. 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Battery info option and press the > key to select it. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 108
  19. V1.03 4. The screen that is displayed next (below) tells you several useful things about your battery: One Battery Two Batteries • Bat. Meter (battery meter) is a precise value for the amount of power left in the battery. • Pic. Meter (picture meter) tells you how many images you’ve taken so far using this battery charge. If you’re trying to estimate how many batteries you need for an event and you’ve been paying attention to this number (hint: look at it just before changing batteries) you’ll have a very good idea. I routinely see values near or above 400 images when my battery is low when shooting NEF images. • Charg. Life (charging life) tells you about how many more uses you can get out of this battery before you need to replace it. When the small yellow triangular indicator is above the right edge of the bar and reads 4, you should consider retiring the battery and obtaining a new one, as it won’t be able to hold charges well. Image Storage While the D200 has an internal memory buffer that temporarily stores data obtained from the sensor, it uses a CompactFlash memory card to permanently store digital images. When you take a picture, the data is interpreted by the ADCs (Analog-to-Digital Converters) and image processor and then moved into an internal memory buffer. Images in the internal buffer are moved as soon as possible to the storage card. After an image is written to the storage card, the buffer space it Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 109
  20. V1.03 used is freed up. Put another way: on the one side the D200’s sensor and digital circuitry is filling up the buffer, while on the other side the storage circuitry is emptying it. Having a memory buffer is a very important concept to understand, as it has practical implications: • Internal buffer memory space is limited. The D200 can buffer up to 37 JPEG Fine Large images, but only 22 NEF images, and only 19 NEF+JPEG images. The camera cannot take additional pictures when the buffer is full. As images are written to the CompactFlash card, buffer space is freed. Any time that there is enough space remaining in the buffer for an image, the camera can again take a picture. When using the D200 set to a Continuous shooting frame advance, once the buffer is full the camera slows, essentially to the speed at which it can write a single image to the card. • Internal buffer memory is temporary storage. Images in the buffer are not accessible directly—only the camera’s electronics can touch the buffer memory—and until an image is written to CompactFlash, your photo has not been “saved.” If power is completely lost with images in the buffer, those images not yet moved to the storage card are also lost. When the camera is writing data from the internal buffer to the card a small green LED light on the back of the camera is activated (next to the door that provides access to the card). • Some controls impact buffer size. Specifically, both Long Exp. NR and High ISO NR reduce buffer size. Why does the camera need an internal buffer? Well, the D200 has to deal with a large amount of raw data for each image (~16MB for NEF, ~350KB for the smallest JPEG). Even at reasonably fast write speeds to CompactFlash permanent storage (~5MB/second), it takes a measurable amount of time to write these from the camera to the storage card. While JPEG images are much smaller in size, the camera still has to create that image from the original data, which also takes a small amount of time. Without a buffer, the camera would Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 110
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