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Nikon firmware update prevents use of third party batteries

Sam Loveridge


Nikon D3100
You can forget about third party battery compatibility for the Nikon D3100

Nikon’s latest firmware patch has rendered a number of cameras incompatible with unofficial battery packs.

Nikon customers have reported that the latest firmware update from the Japanese corporation has brought with it some unannounced alterations, affecting how they’re powering their cameras.

The recently released patch for the D3100, D3200, D5100, D5200 and Coolpix P7700 was described as an update to alter the way in which camera’s battery life was displayed.

However, some users have been left confused and angry at what they perceive as a hidden agenda behind the upgrade.

After the update, third party versions of the EN-EL14 and 14a lithium ion battery packs are no longer compatible with the models listed above.

Many customers have commented on Nikon’s official website, with one user remarking that the update was nothing more than a “villainous vendor lock in”, whilst another suggested that an update that “limited the functionality” of a device could hardly be deemed an ‘update’ at all.

Nikon are not the first to have attempted such a move however, with Panasonic releasing a similarly intentioned patch in 2009, which rejected any third party batteries that failed to stand up to the company’s meticulous safety standards.

As there is no reported way to reverse the effects of the firmware update, many users will simply have to wait and hope that a new update will fix the issue, or that Nikon will release an explanation and solution for a compatibility fix.

This third party battery issue may well have been an unintentional side-effect of the latest firmware update, as there was no mention of it in the change log for the update.

We’ll keep you posted of any updates from Nikon for this problem.

Read more: Best cameras of 2013

Via: Nikon Rumours


December 10, 2013, 11:40 am

Nikon have done this before. My compact P7000 camera's firmware was updated and that broke the functionality of third party batteries I'd just bought. It was a very minor update too. In my view, unless there's a good reason to prevent people using compatible batteries it's a very nasty business practise and did nothing to warrant a return to buying their products from me.

I don't buy that Nikon need to protect their profitability or that Canon are just as bad as I've got loads of Canon cameras and so far they've never blocked the use of other non-official batteries. If Nikon et al want people to buy their batteries in preference to other brands they should sell them at reasonable prices. On the other hand, if they're reliant on such after market purchases to make their cameras profitable then they should just raise the prices of the camera.

The difference in price between official camera batteries and cheap clone ones can be absurd: £65 for a Canon LP-E6 vs £29 from Hahnel (reliable make). You can probably buy non-branded ones for a tenner on Amazon. And the non-branded ones often have higher capacities too and are equally reliable. It's very difficult to think camera manufacturers weren't merely milking their customers on accessories when you consider the hugely inflated prices.

Disgruntled of Dorchester

December 12, 2013, 8:29 am

Nikon you are out of order!
My next camera will not be one of yours that is for sure!

Any manufacturer who makes a blatent attempt to tie in their customers in this fashion deserves all they get, I hope perhaps you will find yourselves in the same sittuation as Microsoft with the IE web browser and before anyone asks, yes I use Ubuntu now and will never buy another Microsoft product any more than I will buy another Nikon.
Discraceful conduct, at least have the decncy to own up to your deciet!

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