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04-27-2009, 10:31 PM   #1
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Slow AF? Slow TTL? Check 'em batteries!!!

Last Saturday I was shooting a friends dance recital with my K200. The room was about 70x30 ft and moderately to dimly lit depending on the performance. I figured that I'd use the ttl with my Sigma 530 super so I wouldn't have to worry about adjusting the power settings when using manual. (i normally go manual to match the ambient light in the room.) I guess I got lazy and decided to go thru TTL instead.

Anyway, when her routine started the room got very dim. The AF (DA 50-200) went hunting so I switched to manual. Some pictures came out fine but others came out VERY underexposed. I couldnt figure that out. It was like the flash was a split second later than the shutter. I was getting plenty annoyed and decided that I'd shoot straight on, but with the 17mm flash diffuser panel, but still in TTL. Again, more hit and miss. The dancers didn't get blown out by the flash but there was an obvious hard shadow on the back wall.

To add to the fun, every now and again I had to reset the flash because the zoom motor would mess up. I'd hear this constant whirring sound and there was an "Err" on the flash display.

I was plenty upset because this was a pretty important event for me to shoot. Out of 100 photos I'd say 30 were very good, 50 were acceptable and 20 were either blurred because the flash didnt recycle or they were pitch black. A few days before none of these problems were happening. In fact I tested everything and it looked like all was well.

Well, I had to get to the bottom of all of this. I put the cam thru the paces this afternoon. About 20 minutes in, the batteries were dead. I didn't expect the camera to shut off because I have a fully charged pack of Enerloops in the BG-3 grip. I guess I assumed that the grip batteries would take over but I guess it doesn't work that way. I can see now why the AF was slow to respond.

Later on I was testing the bounce range of the flash at 1/4 to 1/8 power and after a few shots the flash would take 30 seconds to recharge. Ahh, so those batteries were going too!

I replaced the batteries in both and lo and behold, everything was working snappy. In fact the AF was able to lock on to things in the room while just being lit by a table lamp on the other side! On Saturday it was roaming around like mad and I had to switch to manual or the shutter wouldnt release.

Take it from an otherwise experienced photographer that had a mental midget moment. Yes, batteries do last longer and keep a charge better now than ever but keep an eye out with them. When things start to seem like they're out of whack, check the batteries. It'll save you from a lot of frustration. Especially that now I got beat by some guy who was front and center with a Canon EOS and a Stofen on his speedlite!

04-28-2009, 05:01 AM   #2
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My batteries say "Canon" so I think I'm ok

Ba dum kssh...


But seriously, that's an interesting observation. I wonder if the voltage is dropping much as the batteries wear down?
04-28-2009, 08:54 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
My batteries say "Canon" so I think I'm ok

Ba dum kssh.............................
Isn't he great? Thanks, folks, he'll be here all week. And now for our next act.............
04-28-2009, 09:58 AM   #4
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So what good is the battery grip if the batteries there donīt take over once the 4 in the camera have run down?

04-28-2009, 11:40 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
So what good is the battery grip if the batteries there donīt take over once the 4 in the camera have run down?
Well, the good thing is that theyre easy to switch to. But yeah, youd think it would just switch over. I guess I'm just going to have to be mindful.
04-28-2009, 12:21 PM   #6
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If you dont have batteries in the camera but just the grip, would the battery grip work fine?
04-28-2009, 01:43 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
If you dont have batteries in the camera but just the grip, would the battery grip work fine?
Sure, you can either tell the camera to use the batteries in the grip, or set it on AUTO.
04-28-2009, 03:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jboyde Quote
Sure, you can either tell the camera to use the batteries in the grip, or set it on AUTO.
Even in auto mode the batteries won't switch?

04-29-2009, 01:55 AM   #9
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They don't seem to switch live; when you get the "low battery" screen, you cycle the power and it will start using the other set.

I haven't tried Auto mode, as I use two different battery types and so prefer one set to be used first, but I imagine it works the same way. The power system seems to test and choose the battery set only at startup.
04-29-2009, 04:59 AM   #10
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That's good to know. I just got a BG3 for my K200D.
04-29-2009, 12:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quension Quote
They don't seem to switch live; when you get the "low battery" screen, you cycle the power and it will start using the other set.

I haven't tried Auto mode, as I use two different battery types and so prefer one set to be used first, but I imagine it works the same way. The power system seems to test and choose the battery set only at startup.
I called them this afternoon and you're right. You have to switch off the camera and when you re-start it, it will switch to the other set.
04-30-2009, 06:41 PM   #12
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I looked in the K200D manual and it also says this in the memo on the bottom of page #215. I'm glad someone brought this up because otherwise I would have been wondering what was up. I guess I should RTFM!
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