Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why I’m Down On Nikon’s Lithium Ion Batteries For The Nikon L16

The Good: They can be used in other things that require a AA battery. . .
The Bad: Expensive, Fails to hold charge in a camera well
The Basics: A poor value, the Nikon Coolpix L16 batteries drain ridiculously quickly within the camera and are not rechargeable, making them a poor choice for photographers.

Ever since I did my rigorous testing on the Nikon L16 digital camera (reviewed here!), I’ve been hoping for the proper venue to tell more of the story which helped steer me away from that camera. That takes the form of the batteries. The shop I was at where I tested the Coolpix L16 took everything very seriously, as did I because I am looking for a serious piece of photographic equipment for my wife.

While testing the Coolpix L16, I took two test pictures and the camera died. I turned to the sales professional and as he popped the two Nikon AA batteries out of the camera, he shrugged and said, “They were old. Try these.” He then went into his refrigerator – film is preserved best in the cold and batteries, which operate on a chemical reaction, last longer when they are chilled to slow that chemical reaction – and returned with a four-pack of Nikon batteries designed for use with the Coolpix L16. They were cosmetically identical to the two he had removed from the camera. One of the nice things about them is that they are a lithium-ion battery which is AA size and they have very clear markings for the positive end (for those who might not want to feel their way through finding the + or – end of the battery.

But that’s all I have good to say about them. A pair of Nikon L16 batteries lasted 113 pictures before they were unusable in the camera. When that happened, the salesperson looked a little irked, but he dutifully popped the last two batteries from the four-pack into the camera and let me keep doing my test shoots. The “low battery” light came on with the first pair after the ninety-third picture. With the final two batteries (which had been sitting out), the low battery light came on after one hundred eleven pictures. For the $17.99 he wanted for a four-pack of Nikon’s special batteries, I managed to get less than three hundred pictures!

The problem here is that the Nikon L16 batteries are specifically designed and marketed for use with the Coolpix L16 camera and with a four pack being more expensive and working so poorly, it is impossible to recommend these. Serious photographers would do well to steer away from a battery that is so inefficient at holding the charge and users who need batteries for other purposes will find less expensive ones elsewhere.

The Nikon L16 batteries are not rechargeable, so this battery is both an environmentally problematic product (when it comes to disposal) and economically unviable for serious photographers.

For other power supply-related reviews, please check out my takes on:
Monster Cable AV600 Power Protector
Kyocera Travel Charger IV
Cables Unlimited KaBLING Pink Power Cord PWR-1000-06P


For other electronics reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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