Nikon D7000 – Battery Tips


This article is an excerpt from Mastering The Nikon D7000, published by Rocky Nook and NikoniansPress.

Many of us have purchased or received new cameras recently. The Nikon D7000 is certainly one of Nikon's most popular cameras at this time. This article describes the care and feeding of the lithium-ion battery and how to use it in the camera. However, since all Nikon DSLRs use lithium-ion batteries and have similar chargers, menus, and insertion methods, the principles in this article can be applied to virtually any modern Nikon.

If you’re like me, you’ll open your camera’s box, attach the lens, insert the battery, and take your first picture. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to wait an hour to charge the battery, and only then take the first picture? Sure it would, but I’ve never done that, and I bet you won’t either. Nikon knows this and doesn’t send out new cameras with dead batteries.

Most of the time the battery is not fully charged, but it has enough power to set the time and date, then take and review a few pictures. Think about it. How would you test a brand new battery? You’d charge it and see if it will hold a charge. Do you think Nikon is in the habit of sending out batteries that are untested? No! So most of the time, you can play with your new camera for at least a few minutes before charging the battery. I’ve purchased nearly every DSLR Nikon has made since 2002, and not one of them has come with a dead battery.

When my latest camera arrived, the battery was about 68 percent charged. I used the camera for an hour or two before I charged the battery. However, let me mention one important thing. If you insert the battery and its charge is very low, such as below 25 percent, it might be a good idea to go ahead and charge it before shooting and reviewing lots of pictures. You may be able to set the time and date, and test the camera a time or two, but go no further with a seriously low battery.

Included in the box with the camera is the Nikon Battery Charger MH-25. The battery will only fit on the charger in one direction, as shown in figure 1.1. An orange indicator light on the charger will blink until the battery is fully charged. When the blinking stops and the light stays orange, the battery is ready for use.

Figure 1.1 – Charging the camera’s battery with the MH-25 charger

The D7000 uses a Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack. While this type of battery doesn’t develop the memory effects of the old Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad) batteries from years past, there can be a problem if you let them get too low. A Li-ion battery should not be used to complete exhaustion. It has a special protection circuit that will disable the battery if one of the cells goes below a certain key voltage. You’d probably have to run it all the way down and then store it in the camera for a few weeks to actually cause the battery to disable itself. However, a good rule of thumb is this: When your camera’s Li-ion battery gets down to the 25 percent level, please recharge it. I don’t let mine go below 50 percent for any extended use.

If you can hold yourself back from turning on the camera until after the battery is charged, that would be the optimum situation. 

Figure 1.2 – Examining and inserting the battery

Figure 1.2 shows how to insert the battery into your camera. On the left side of the image you can see the battery from the top and bottom. Notice that you insert the battery with the rounded side up and the flat side down. Below the word “Nikon” on the battery’s top is a small, faint arrowhead. Insert the battery in the direction of the little arrow, as shown in figure 1.2.

In the picture, the little door on the bottom of the camera’s grip is open and the battery is partially inserted in the correct orientation. Push it all the way in until the yellow battery-retention clip snaps into place, and close the Battery-chamber cover (battery door).

The yellow battery-retention clip holds the battery in place even when the Battery-chamber cover is open. To remove the battery you will need to open the Battery-chamber cover and push the retaining clip toward the door hinge. The battery will pop out when you have done it correctly.

Figure 1.3 – Battery info screen

Please use only a Nikon brand EN-EL15 battery pack in your camera. This particular battery has a special circuit that talks to the camera and enables the 0–4 Battery age scale shown on the Battery info screen (see figure 1.3). It tells you when a battery has outlived its usefulness and should be disposed of—going beyond just telling you when it’s low on power.

In figure 1.3, image 2, you can see a picture of the Battery info screen. Notice that it shows the Bat. meter, which gives you the amount of voltage charge or power the battery has left as a percent value. The Pic. meter shows the number of images taken since this battery was last charged and inserted. Finally, the Battery age scale tells about the life of the battery and whether it needs to be replaced. It uses a scale of 0 – 4, or five steps of life. The Battery age scale has nothing to do with the amount of power that the battery currently contains. It shows how much useful life the battery has left until you need to recycle it and buy a new one.

My Recommendation: A genuine, new Nikon EN-EL15 battery for the D7000 is usually less than $60 USD when purchased online. Why buy a cheap aftermarket battery made who-knows-where and use it to power the circuits of your expensive camera? How can you be sure that a cheap non-Nikon battery even has the correct circuit for Battery info communication? How can you know that the cheap cells won’t short-circuit and burn your camera to a cinder? Li-ion cells are somewhat finicky and require careful manufacture and charging control. Personally, I’ll only trust the real thing—a Nikon brand EN-EL15 battery—to power my expensive camera.

Keep on capturing time...
Darrell Young
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