“How’s the battery life?” is a common question this week. The Z 9 EN-EL18d battery is basically a 2021 version of the D6, D5 & D4 battery and like that tradition, is a powerhouse! Personally, I figure the battery is going to receive the greatest amount of abuse when the body is brand new. That’s when in test and experiment mode, I pound the camera shutter, menus, and LCD while I chimp and learn. My warmest shoot so far with the Z 9 was 21 degrees. Even cold temps aren’t making a dent in its power. Both of my Z 9s EN-EL18d have performed just like their predecessors, working with tons of power to spare. I have not even ordered a spare EN-EL18d and I doubt I will.
My EN-EL18ds started off by being in the charger (which is new for the Z 9) charging up until the charger said it was full and then left in the charger for an additional minimum of fifteen minutes. While they were charging, I used the EN-EL18c from the D6 to start inputting settings. Yes, the older EN-EL18 batteries can be used but can’t do one thing I’ll cover in a moment. Then, for the first few charges, I wait until the battery is on its last breath before I put them back in the charger. Old habits I still follow. What’s really cool is what the Z 9 can do with external power!
The Z 9 has the ability to accept power via its USB c port (pictured above). For example, you could plug the Z 9 into your MacBook Pro and charge the battery while you work. That’s why you need the EN-EL18d battery, can’t charge via the USB c port other batteries. You can charge the battery right in the camera. This opens up a whole bunch of possibilities. You can power the Z 9 via 120v with the EP-6a (the older unit for D6/5/4 doesn’t fit in the slot). I’ve always had 120v power for my bodies for doing my 12-hour time-lapse shoots. But with the Z 9 USBc power option, at this point I’ve not ordered one. Instead, I got a soluser solar-charged USB power block. Talking with my power expert (Thanks Eric!) I was able to determine the power out needed to operate the Z 9 (18watts). The Omni 20+ also powers the Z 9 via the USB c port. What’s the point? The soluser can be charged from the sun, it then powers the Z 9 (battery must be inserted to work). You can charge the Z 9 (camera turned off) with the soluser which brought the EN-EL18d from 18% to 100% in 59 minutes! It only weighs 13oz so when I head up to AK for Kodiak Bears in May where there is NO 120v, I can charge the Z 9s at night with the soluser (with power left over for iPhone/iPad charging), and then I can set it out in the sun during the day to recharge. I’m waiting for clear skies to do a 12 hour time-lapse for my final power test of the soluser and USB c port.
The bottom line, the EN-EL18d powers the Z 9 all day long and now with the USB c option, running or charging it when there is no 120v power is not an issue. I really appreciate how well the Z 9 power has been thought through. One less thing to think about!