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Nikon D200 battery drain

A friend of mine, Blake Shaw, writes that he’s having trouble with his D200 battery life, reminiscent of the problems I reported last year with my D200, though under different circumstances. He reports:

The syndrome consists of the following: when using a long lens with heavy power drain (like the 70-200 with an extender and VR or the Sigma 120-300 2.8), and a fresh battery, and shooting a tennis tournament with the world's top players, suddenly your camera becomes inoperable and the battery meter reads zero. Usually you can restore function by turning on and off the camera and/or remounting the lenses, sometimes not. But in the meantime, you've missed the shot. Or, if you're shooting a wedding (thank goodness I don't!) your clients stare at you as though you are incompetent. It never happens with my Tokina 12-24, it might happen, rarely, with my 18-200 vr...

Here's one of many threads at dp review (others at Nikonians) which detail the syndrome. It occurs with regularity on one of my D200s purchased in early 2006 and my other D200 purchased in April 2007. Otherwise, of course, I love the camera, but this is becoming a deal-breaker...

One fellow on a forum says that on a recent African safari, four out of five owners of D200 cameras had this problem!!!

There are lots of putative causes and suggested solutions, but Nikon is mum and I am VERY frustrated. I'm going to try cleaning all of the contacts with a special contact cleaner and see if that helps, before sending them to Nikon (which only helped a few of the forum members).

If you’ve had similar problems, I’m interested in hearing about it.

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