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Nikon's MH-18 battery charger is easy to use and easily portable.
Jul 6, 2007 (Updated Jul 7, 2007)
Review by jvandegr
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Compact, low weight, good ergonomics, durable, generous cord length.
Cons:Nothing significant found so far.
The Bottom Line: Highly recommended for its compact size, ease of use, minimal weight, and durability. Not as full-featured as the MH-19, but it doesn't disappoint.
Recommend this product?
The MH-18a battery charger is included with such cameras as the Nikon D200. Every time I buy another camera body, I end up with another MH-18, which makes me happy. I've been collecting battery chargers for a couple years now. As a working (and therefore traveling) photojournalist, battery charging has become part of my workflow regardless of where I am in the world. Hotel rooms, automobiles, wherever - I need power. In my home studio, I use the MH-19, but this is just a little too bulky for someone who needs to travel with a minimal load. Instead, I carry one MH-18 in my camera bag, keep another one in my field vehicle, and so on.
From the manufacturer:
* AC 100-240V ( 50/60Hz)
* Charging Output: DC 8.4 V / 900 mA
* Charge Time: 120 min - 135 min
* Operating Temp: 0-40 degrees Celsius ( 32-104 degrees F )
* Cord Length: 1800mm ( 70.8")
* Weight ( without cord): 80g ( 2.8 oz)
Compared to the MH-19, the MH-18 can only charge one battery, loses 12V capability for use in a vehicle, and also loses ability to recharge a couple other Nikon battery types supported by the MH-19. Like the MH-19, price is highly variable on the MH-18. As of summer 2007, I've found it for $20, $60, and everything in between. Shop around and you can easily save some money over the big chain camera stores.
Included with the MH-18 is an AC cord, 1-year Nikon Warranty, and a brief instruction manual.
Nikon indicates a charge time of 2 hours (or slightly longer) for an EL-E3e battery. This is from an empty battery with no charge to full charge. I usually don't drain my batteries to zero, but when I have I've noticed that charge times are slightly less than 2 hours. Of course, this will vary depending on the specific type of battery you have, how old the battery is, etc.
In my review of the MH-19, I raved about its ease of use. The MH-18 is no different. Its flat platform design makes it very easy to slap in a battery and pull out quickly when time is of the essence. The only problem I've ever had with any of my MH-18's are their extremely low weight. Although this makes them easily portable, it also means they don't stay put on my desktop so easily This is really not a big deal and I'm happy to have to hold the charger down with a finger as I take out a battery if it means I don't notice the weight in my pack.
Unlike it's big brother, the MH-18 does not have an 80% indicator light to tell you when a battery is mostly charged. I miss this during times when I need to keep shooting and don't want to wait for a full charge. The LED light on the MH-18 simply flashes on and off to let you know when the battery is charging. When it is finished charging, the LED maintains a constant glow.
Nikon includes a substantial quality cord with a generous reach of around six feet. This allows the MH-18 to be easily located anywhere around my studio or hotel room. Cord length may seem like a trivial feature, but it's these features that sometimes make a big difference in the usefulness of battery charger.
After hundreds of chargings, I have never experienced a single mechanical problem with any of my MH-18's. Despite their low weight, plastic build, they take a beating and just keep working. I've dropped one off a desk, blasted one with hail stones, and had one bouncing around my car for months with no issues whatsoever. Of course, the solid state electronics of a battery charger make it more difficult to break compared to other electronics. However, mine have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the abuse they've taken. Once again, Nikon has built a quality, durable product.
If you own a Nikon D50, D200, etc., you already own one of the MH-18 battery chargers. If you don't, you won't be disappointed by spending a few bucks on this charger. Its compactness, durability, and good ergonomics make it one of the best chargers available. Don't waste your money on third party imitations - get the Nikon.
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