- Nikon Z8 uses the EN-EL15C battery; older versions aren’t fully compatible.
- SmallRig offers a cheaper aftermarket EN-EL15C battery with USB-C charging.
- Multiple charging methods: standalone charger, in-camera USB, or via MB-N12 grip.
- Official Nikon USB chargers: EH-8P and EH‑7P.
- Non-Nikon chargers can work, but results vary.
- Z8 has two USB-C ports: one for charging (PD) and one for data.
- MB-N12 grip has a USB-C charging port and can be used to charge batteries.
On paper, the battery the Nikon Z8 uses is straightforward. As is the charger. It’s simple if you stick to Nikon original batteries, but much less so if you’re looking for cheaper aftermarket batteries or chargers.
After trying quite a few combinations, here’s what I’ve found.
Table of Contents
Nikon Z8 Batteries: The Basics
The Nikon Z8 uses battery model Nikon EN-EL15C. It’s rated for 7V and 2280 mAh.
This is the fourth version of the EN-EL15 series of battery. (The previous versions were the EN-EL15, EN-EL15A, and EN-EL15B.) They all look basically the same, with the same shape. And the EN-EL15C is backward compatible, which means it will work in older cameras that also use the EN-EL batteries (for example, the Nikon Z7, D850, D7500, or D500.)
But older versions are not forward compatible. In other words, while both the EN-EL15A and EN-EL15B will physically fit in the Nikon Z8, they won’t power the camera up. The top screen will partially work by showing the shot count, but the camera will remain otherwise non-operational.
Aftermarket Batteries for the Nikon Z8
When I first posted this, I strongly recommended sticking with genuine Nikon batteries despite their high prices. That was because, despite having tried several aftermarket batteries, I was yet to find one that worked with the Z8.
I have since found an aftermarket battery that does work for me with the Nikon Z8 (more on that below). So I’m softening my recommendation a little, but still recommend being cautious in choosing aftermarket batteries.
I’ve tried several of my usual go-to aftermarket brands, including Watson, RAVPower, Enegon, and so on, but they don’t work in the Z8. Instead, you get this warning screen.
But I’ve since found a new battery that does work. I bought one and tried it out in my Z8, and it’s working well for me.
It’s a new battery from SmallRig, a company better known for camera cages, mounts, and grips. But they’ve recently been branching out into some camera batteries as well. And in this case, they seem to be onto a winner.
There are two things I like about this battery. The most obvious is that it’s compatible with the Nikon Z8 while also being much cheaper than the genuine Nikon battery. SmallRig has set the MSRP at $44, which is a significant improvement over the MSRP of $69 for the genuine Nikon battery.
The second thing is a feature that I hope more batteries adopt: it has its own USB-C port built-in, so you can charge it directly without needing a separate charger or charging the battery in the camera or the option grip.
- EN-EL15C compatible replacement battery
- Built-in USB-C charging port
- 2400mAh 7.2V 17.28Wh
I’ve written a post with more information on this battery separately. After testing one for a while to see how it went, I’ve since bought a couple more, and they’ve been working well for me.
Nikon Z8 Chargers: Genuine Nikon Chargers
There are a couple of different ways to charge the battery for the Nikon Z8. You can charge the battery outside the camera in a battery charger. The camera comes with a basic AC wall charger.
Or you can charge the battery inside the camera using the camera’s USB PD port (or in the optional MB-N12 battery pack grip). But you can’t use just any USB power source (more on that below).
Charging Batteries Separately in a Standalone Battery Charger
These are standalone chargers, where the battery comes out of the camera and charges separately.
MH-25a. This is the basic AC charger that comes with the Z8. It’s a single-battery charger that plugs directly into the wall. It’s the same general design that Nikon’s been using for a while. It’s simple. It works. But it’s also quite bulky for taking in a minimalist travel kit, and I don’t like that it has to go directly into an outlet–I find rarely find that convenient.
There is also a variation that comes with an AC cord, which gives you some extra reach for placement.
- The MH-25A is a battery charger designed specifically for recharging Nikon EN-EL15 Lithium-ion batteries
Again, if you need a spare or replacement, I recommend sticking with the Nikon original. That’s because I’ve had very mixed results from aftermarket chargers with Nikon-branded EN-EL15C batteries. In some cases, I’ve been able to charge one EN-EL15C but another in the same charger won’t charge at all. And several of my usual EN-EL chargers won’t work at all with the newer EN-EL15C.
USB Charging & External Power Delivery
It is possible to charge the battery in the camera or in the optional grip using USB. Both the camera and the grip have built-in USB-C Power Delivery ports.
These also work as methods for charging the Z8 with external power, such as when doing extended shooting such as shooting time-lapse or long video shoots.
But there are two important things to know:
- It’s not as simple as just using any old USB power source. There are specific requirements.
- If you’re using the USB port for continuous power, it’s worth knowing that the battery won’t charge while the camera is being used. (You can find the specific operations that prevent or allow battery charging while attached to external power delivery here.)
Official Nikon USB Chargers
Nikon has two AC power chargers that are officially supported for the Nikon Z8.
- EH-8P AC Adapter. This is a Nikon-branded PD-compatible AC adapter and is the preferred option for the Z8. The EH-8P does not come with a USB cable, and Nikon recommends their own UC-E25 USB cable, which, once again, comes at a premium price point.
- EH‑7P AC Adapter. This is an older and different design, but it is also a PD-compatible AC adapter. The EH-7P includes the USB-C cable, but it’s of a different design.
- Compatibility: Nikon Z8 Mirrorless Camera
- For Charging Batteries Inside Cameras
Non-Official USB Chargers
The safe bets are obviously to stick with Nikon’s official chargers and cables. They come with the assurance that they’re officially supported by Nikon and the confidence that they’ll work. The catch is that they’re not cheap.
If you’re after a less-expensive option, I know from personal experience that it is possible to use non-Nikon chargers and cables to charge the EN-EL15C in a Nikon Z8.
But this is where things can get complicated and mileage might vary quite a lot. It is possible to use a different charger via USB, but not just any charger.
It’s worth repeating that these are not officially supported by Nikon, and I haven’t and can’t test every combination that’s available. But my objective here is not necessarily to recommend specific chargers but just to share some of my own experiences using non-Nikon USB chargers with the Z8 in the hope it might provide some useful leads.
I have yet to nail down precisely where the threshold is–I’d need many more chargers to experiment with to work that out.
But the PD label on the Z8’s USB port is probably a good clue that the charger should be at least PD compatible. And if you’re looking to buy a charger or use one you already have on hand, that’s an easy thing to see on the box or on the device itself. Typically, a charger that specifically has PD compatibility will have “PD” marked next to the ports. You can even see an example on the Z8 itself, next to one of the USB-C ports.
I have also had good results with high-output GaN chargers even if they don’t specifically carry the PD specification. Some examples I’ve tried include chargers from Anker, Hyper, and RAVPower. Anker, for instance, doesn’t use the specific PD nomenclature separately, but it’s one of the charging technologies encompassed by their PowerIQ umbrella technology, and this Anker 100W charger has worked well for me with the Z8.
USB Power Bricks
And it’s not just AC-powered chargers. You can also use USB power bricks as a mobile power source, but you’ll need a battery that has high-output power. Many power bricks don’t have high-output charging, but there are some that do, and they’ll specify that in their product descriptions.
As an example, I take a Zendure SuperTank Pro with me when I travel, which is a high-output USB power bank. It works well for me with the Z8.
Charging via Computer USB
I haven’t tried this option, but since it’s in the manual, I’ll include it here for completeness.
Specifically, the manual says:
Computers will supply current to power the camera or charge the battery only via an optional UC‑E25 USB cable (which has Type C connectors at both ends) connected to a built-in Type C USB port on the computer.
The reality is that the USB power output from many computers is going to be too low for this to be a viable option. But if that’s your preferred method, the manual says it’s possible if you have the right hardware.
NB: The Z8 also comes with a UC-E24 USB cable. That is designed for data transfer, not power delivery. It has not worked for me for providing power to the Z8.
Nikon is quite insistent that the UC-E25 cable is required for charging the EN-EL15C in the camera. It’s a 12-inch USB-C cable with an MSRP of $39.95.
That’s quite expensive for a USB cable. In my own experience, I’ve found other USB-C cables that work just fine when used with aftermarket chargers (I have not tried other cables with the EH-8P charger).
But the key thing to know is that not all USB-C cables are created equal. You’ll want to specifically look for one that supports fast-charging power delivery. That’s not necessarily the same thing as data transfer such as video output; some cables support one or the other. Fast-charging cables are often marketed for devices like high-end phones, tablets, and laptops.
Things Worth Knowing
- This is a post that I will keep updating as I come across new information or run into new issues. Battery and charger manufacturers will come out with new models. Firmware will be updated. And who knows what licensing agreements are being made behind the scenes that govern the compatibility of third-party accessories?
As an example of what I mean, several years ago GoPro suddenly blocked compatibility with all existing replacement batteries made by other manufacturers. They subsequently started allowing some third-party manufacturers to produce (mostly) compatible batteries. So I’m referring here to at least some precedent, even if it’s a different company in this case.
But my objective here is to report my own findings, not predict the future. In other words, while I’m doing my best to present accurate information so far as I know it, it’s also quite possible that your mileage might vary. And, if in doubt, just stick with the original Nikon accessories.
- There are two ways to see whether the camera is charging or external power is connected. Firstly, there’s a small orange LED light on the side of the camera (same side as the charging port, at the top). Secondly, there’s a small AC plug icon that comes on the top panel or back screen (if you’re using the status screen) next to the battery status indicator.
Nikon Z8’s USB-C Power Delivery Port
If you’re using the USB method of charging the battery inside the camera, make sure to use the correct USB-C port on the camera. The Nikon Z8 has two USB-C ports side-by-side. Use the one with the small PD label next to it (PD stands for power delivery). The other is for data transfer.
Nikon MB-N12 Grip’s USB-C Power Delivery Port
If you’re using the MB-N12 battery pack grip), it has its own USB-C Power Delivery port built into it. Use that port for charging the grip (there’s no USB data port on the grip).
Fun fact: You can charge EN-EL15C batteries in the MB-N12 grip even when the grip is not attached to the camera. Which makes it functionally a standalone dual-battery charger (via USB).
The safest option for charging the EN-EL15C batteries for the Nikon Z8 is to use genuine Nikon-branded batteries and chargers.
So far, I’ve only come across one aftermarket version of the EN-ELC battery that works in my Z8: the SmallRig EN-EL15C replacement battery.
But I have found several aftermarket charger and cable combinations that have been working well for me to charge the battery in the camera via USB Power Delivery. The key seems to be that the charger supports at least PD specification output and that the cable support fast-charging.
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