Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cheap Battery from Hong Kong Review

I've been looking to buy a spare battery for my Nikon D300 and knowing that the original Nikon EN-EL3e replacement batteries are anywhere from $40 to $50 a piece, I decided to look into these cheap Chinese battery providers from Ebay. After all I had a pleasant experience with the remote control I bought from Hong Kong.

But before going on Ebay, I went to some forums to see what other photographers had to say about these cheaper options. Some people were very happy with what they got but a few of them were complaining especially those that use the D300.

They were explaining that the generic EN-EL3e batteries were working with their Nikon D200 or D80 but not with their D300. So apparently the problem is that while the D300 takes the EN-EL3e format, it has a chip that can recognize a generic battery and rejects it.

But, but, but, I found there is a company in Hong Kong that makes a generic model that DOES WORK with the D300: It's called "EN-EL3e New Version." Yes, make sure your generic is a "New Version"

So now I'm on a quest for this "Phottix EN-EL3e New Version". Well, it didn't take me more than five minutes before I found a pack of two batteries for a total of $25.90 shipping included. I wanted to get just one but at this price "what the hell" that's almost half the price of one Nikon Battery.
It took exactly 14 days for the package to arrive in a regular brown envelope with the content bubbled wrapped. If I was into postal-stamps I would keep the stamps too, they're pretty colorful. No?

The two boxes look pretty legitimate

At first the difference with the Nikon is that the Nikon included a plastic cap that can be put back on when it's not in the camera, the generic has just a plastic wrap that just protects it when new. I think the reusable protective cap is a must when you carry it along loose in your bag. I'm gonna have to find a couple of containers to keep them short-circuit.

I noticed that the specs were the same except for the Amps. The Nikon says 1500mAh and the Phottix 1600mAh. By the way "mAh" means Milliamp Hour a technical term for how much power a battery will hold. So, if what the generic says is true the battery will last even longer than the original Nikon. How about that !

First things first, I charged the battery like the box says. I think it took a couple hours until it was fully charged.

Well after all of that, everything is peachy. The batteries are working flawlessly, the charge seems to hold the same. I don't see any difference in performance between the original and the generic.

What can I say? Except for the missing protective cap and the fact that it took 2 weeks for them to arrive. Maybe with time I'll see a difference but at the moment they perform the same.
I'm not crazy about buying stuff from china, after all we hear in the news. I don't like the idea that some poor souls are making my battery for few bucks a day, while other companies are trying to stay in business and paying their employees a fair price.
At that price, I had to experience them myself and share with you my impression. But to tell you the truth. I prefer buying a brand I trust like Nikon, just for the peace of mind.

Cheap, cheap, cheap...
Perform the same so far (will keep you updated)

No protective cap
Takes two weeks to get them
The feeling that you are not doing any good for the humanity.

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