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Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10

A complete reform, to improve usability and functionality

How was the give and take between the electronics systems, design, and mechanics?

Watanabe:

Slim design has been achieved by
eliminating the smokestack on the
MB-D200 (right).

On the MB-D200, two batteries were inserted into the battery pack from the rear. On the MB-D10, however, we were able to keep the grip section thin by having a single battery inserted from the side. In response to complaints from users that the MB-D200 was too bulky to grip easily, we attempted to make the grip section slimmer. This also enabled us to fulfill the wish of Ms Ogasawara for a high degree of portability.

Yasuda:

First, with the D300 there could be no compromise on coming up with a thickness that fitted comfortably in the hand. Accordingly, when we decided to make the battery pack thin like the camera, we plumped for a single battery. This meant that we would have to use the same battery as the camera, in order to achieve the fundamental goal of producing a battery pack that would increase the number of photographs that can be taken. Accordingly, we decided to dispense with the so called smokestack, which had previously been used to connect the camera and the battery pack, since this also facilitates storing into the camera bag. Building the first Nikon model without a smokestack was quite a challenge.

Dispensing with the “smokestack” means that both the camera battery and the battery pack battery are available for use, right?

Yasuda:

We have set it up so that you can select from a menu which battery to use first. The default setting is to use the battery pack battery, or batteries, first, since if both batteries ran out at the same time it would be a problem. We designed the system so that as soon as the battery pack runs out, a mechanism switches seamlessly to the camera's own battery, and from the higher frame speed to the lower speed, so that the batteries will run out at different times. Another major feature is that power consumption remains low, even if a dead battery is left in place.

Making the battery pack the flagship of the DX series

What are the key points that make this device the flagship of the DX series?

Mr Watanabe enthusiastically talks about points he was meticulous about in designing an accessory of the flagship camera.

Watanabe:

We have manufactured the battery pack out of a magnesium alloy. The old MB-D200 was made of engineering plastic, but we heard from users that its texture made it slightly uncomfortable to grip and that it was impossible to stop it wobbling around when the camera was attached to a tripod. We thought that we could eliminate this by using a magnesium alloy that was light and robust. The D300 is also made of magnesium and we judged that this made for an appropriate balance. This would prove fairly expensive; however, we decisively stuck to it-despite the cost-this was the way to go, for reasons of rigidity and quality-two vital factors on which there could be absolutely no compromise with this camera.

Ogasawara:

We were highly focused on the feel of the grip, as well as on the material and the shape, in that we wanted a moist non slip rubber specification and a higher thumb position. We also designed the battery pack in such a way as to obtain stable operation-irrespective of whether it is used in a horizontal position or a vertical position. The extensive use of curves is not simply for aesthetic effect-it has a practical purpose. We hope that people will take the time to handle the camera and battery pack together as a unit at their leisure, and feel for themselves just how good it is.

How have users responded?

Watanabe:

We have received a number of comments. Some users report that the battery pack's improved rigidity and the ease with which it can be held mean that they can grip it without worry. Others report that, due to the use of AA batteries, it brings out the very highest levels of performance from the D300, yet still displays great durability.

Yasuda:

User comments run the entire gamut of improvements over the MB-D200, so naturally I, as the person in charge of electrical systems, Mr Watanabe, who oversaw the mechanical system, and Ms Ogasawara, who handled design, are all quite satisfied. The very fact that the battery pack is an optional extra for the D300 made us want to put that little bit extra into it. Please be on the lookout for it.

Thank you very much for this interview.