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Fake MB-D12 battery grips for the D800: are they worth it?

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Fstoppers published a video review on the fake battery grips for the Nikon D800 DSLR that can be purchased from Amazon - the Pixel version is $100 and the Meike copy costs around $70. For comparison, the original Nikon MB-D12 is priced at $400.

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  • Char

    Nice. Good to know that there is a cheaper version and it is not just crap, but actually works quite well.

    • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

      those reviews are pretty useless because they are way to short time to carry any meaning.

      my noname battery grip’s screw broke and i dropped the cam holding it. luckily i had another holder on the body self so it just bounced on my body and was ok, but screw got stuck in camera, i had to fast remove battery from the grip and put it in the body and then at home remove the broken screw with the tools

      • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

        but for those 400$ i would not buy the original either, i just got used to not need it and save the weight.

      • allen23

        it is not like the generic nikon grip will never break like a piece of rock mate. I have the Meike flash and grip for my D7000 and D90, from my own personal experience, they are very durable. Don’t try to save another 10 bucks and buy those no brand versions, Meike and Pixal are different these guys are established brand names that makes 3rd party battery and grips for DSLRs and they design and test their products well before releasing them.

        • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

          good to know. it might come on handy one day.

          before i bought battery grips mainly for the ability to use AA bateries when i was in longer african trips.

        • Richard

          You make a very valid point! There are “fake” (or what Nikon call “counterfeit”) and there are branded compatibles. Whoever buys the counterfeits and unbranded takes a risk, but the compatibles usually give as good service as the Nikon originals, but at a fraction of the price, and expose Nikon’s accessory pricing policy.

      • Greg

        Harold Ellis,
        …way _too_ short…
        Also, please chaptalise the start of your sentences.

        • Soap

          Also, please chaptalise the start of your sentences.

          capitalize

          Throwing rocks. Glass houses. Pot. Kettle.

          • Lars

            Well, capitalize and capitalise are both correct. It’s down to whether you are a U.S. english or a British english fan, more than one being more correct than the other. In the U.S. the -ize ending is propably only accepted, whereas in British english both are accepted. In Australia and New Zealand the -ise would probably be more common.
            This is what I got off of Wikipedia, so I could be incorrect.
            P.S. I’m from Denmark, so I have no preference.
            I do like the reveiw of the “fake” battery grip and also think that it’s nice to know that they are a lot better than just ok for the price.

            • Ren Kockwell

              In neither language is an ‘h’ acceptable in the word.

      • http://www.ghstarkphotograpy.co.uk George Stark

        I had a grip fail on my nikon F6 a few years ago and it was a original nikon grip so even the real ones fail but it was also made in China.

  • Ed

    My Meike copy is doing a good job on my D800E :-D

    • Aldo #2

      I got the meike too… works just like the original. And oh man does it help you comfort wise when you are using the camera handheld, even on the horizontal position.

    • Jan

      But Meike doesn’t work if you have battery in the body but not in grip

  • Richard

    Just as I thought! The Nikon grip is just a rip-off. I own many accessories from Nikon but they all are not really convincing. Especially additional battery packs, shutter releases, cables etc. they all are simply on the same quality level as non-brands but for a premium price. Better invest your money in quality lenses and body’s as in parts with Nikon branding.

  • http://www.actualcolour.com Brian

    Very happy with my Pixel grip that arrived yesterday. For £60-£70 Vs £350 it’s a no brainer.

  • Matt

    I have owned both the real (MBD10grip) d700 and fake (MBD12) d800 i can honestly say the Nikon one is nicer and feels better than the fake but at the end of the it was money that made me buy the fake 70/80 dollars can’t complain

    • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

      Pretty much my exact thoughts.

      I had a Nikon MB-D10 as well as the Zeikos third-party version. I always described the Zeikos as 80% as good for 1/4the the price.

      BUT… and it’s a big but… That extra 20% is worth it when you’re working with it day-in-day-out. As a professional, I absolutely prefer the feel and finish of the Nikon version. That extra 20% is the difference between being a decent accessory and being an actual extension of the camera.

      And in case anyone is wondering, the difference is noticeable immediately to anyone.

  • choob

    Just cuz it’s third party doesn’t make it fake. Are Sigma lenses fakes?

    • twoomy

      Agreed! “Fake” is a derogatory word. “Third-party” is the term that should be used here. Third-party grips are only “fake” if it’s a counterfeiting operation and they are pretending that they are actual Nikon product.

      • Andrew

        Why let a few words mess-up a great story. I may not have read the article if they had said “third-party”, but “fake” conjures up feelings of things that are more intriguing – like goods entering the country in unmarked, undocumented ships.

      • Luis Santos

        I agree at all! The term ‘fake’ is been completely unappropriated used here…

        • Worminator

          It’s not just a battery grip for the D800, but one that looks *exactly* like the Nikon one. That’s gotta be infringing on something..

          • ali

            did you watch the review at all? the guy has just shown you both grips and you can clearly tell the Meike one is a bit larger and bulkier and even the color is different. I think they sort of designed and tested their grip rather than just copied exactly what nikon does and it has its own brand there.

        • blogger

          It’s “inappropriate” Luis

      • JorPet

        This was my thought as well. Fake is when a knock-off producers tries to sell it to you as a Nikon grip. After market is when they brand it as their own and sell it that way. You know going in that it isn’t made by Nikon, but it sounds like they are well built and work just as well.

        My only question, and time will tell, is if you use a BlackRapid or other strap that holds your camera by the tripod connector, will the all plastic version hold up? I let my D700 and 70-200 f/2.8 swing upside down while using another camera. Will the plastic models hold up to this over time? If they are nylon, they are probably bullet proof and won’t have an issue. If a more brittle plastic they might fail over time.

        • Frankie

          That is my biggest concern with the third party grips. I wouldn’t hesitate to save $300, but not at the expense of a bottom mount strap breaking at the grip, and having a heart attack as a $3,000 + camera hits the ground along with $1-2,000 + worth of glass. That’s a tough call, and I would trust the magnesium chassie of a real Nikon grip when using a Black Rapid/Sun Sniper type bottom mount strap versus a hunk of cheap plastic.

          • Aldo #2

            good point, but I have the meike version of the third party grip and trust me, It’s not going anywhere. You have to hit it with a hammer to break it off.

            • Andrew

              Most people will not trust you because they do not know you. People only trust people they know or have reasons to trust. They may trust Nikon as a brand, but it is hard to expect them to trust some other brand. This is where risk comes in, some are willing to take the risk while others will simply go with the insurance policy. The same thing happens with extended warranty. The cheapest option is $0; that is, you do not get it! But when something goes wrong…

            • Aldo #2

              There is little margin to justify spending 325 dollars more on a nikon brand grip. Its really not a matter of trust but where you rather invest you money. This nikon brand you speak of put a battery on your face that could have exploded. This is who you trust? In the end you should trust your own instinct. Trust no one. I was simply saying that the grip won’t rip off your hand unless you put it to extreme conditions. But then again anything can break under extreme conditions.

          • Graham

            Frankie – don’t worry too much. My D700 hit the tarmac hard and lens first when I slipped on ice last year. Other than a broken lenshood, the camera and lens survived in full working order with hardly a scratch. I was going to say that it’s not made of glass but that’s not entirely true. Nikon gear is tough though.

        • Funduro

          JorPet Stated it exactly how I feel. D700, 70-200 f/2.8 with grip while using a RS-5 sling. I feel the construction of the Nikon built battery grip justified the price. The Nikon grip is made from Mg alloy, same as the D300s, D3s, D700, D4 or D800. Would you buy a D800 manufactured out of plastic or Mg alloy? Many make a big deal of the solid Mg alloy construction of “Pro” bodies, then say Nikon is overpricing the MB-D’s made out of Mg alloy also. Well go buy the plastic ones if you want.

          • Adam

            “Would you buy a D800 manufactured out of plastic or Mg alloy?”

            This grip is $70, the real one is $400 – so it’s 17.5% of the price and the only difference is plastic vs Mg. So, the question is whether one would buy a D800, with the only change being a plastic build, for $525. Yes, I happily would!

            And yes, I realize other people won’t neccarily agree.

            • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

              It depends on my needs, and this is exactly why I much prefer the Nikon brand grips, and it’s worth the extra as a working professional who is putting wear and tear on my gear day-in-day-out.

            • rs

              When the third party grip shorts out your D800 and Nikon won’t cover the warranty then you will understand why the Nikon grip costs more. The better build quality is not necessarily apparent but its significant. A few raindrops on a third party grip on my D700 taught me this lesson.

          • ali

            I somehow suspect that you even own a D700/D800 70-200mm and the original nikon vs Meike grips. if you hate platic then you should probably go back to 80-200mm f2.8 because that is a real piece of solid metal

          • danei

            If meiko makes a D800 like camera with same sensor and function but plastic feel for $500, I’ll buy 3 maybe 5, sure.

          • Geoff_K

            With that much on the camera you should be using the tripod collar not the battery grip anyway to hang your camera

            • JorPet

              I’ve tried that. Well actually to the mounting point that the foot covers when it is there. The D700 with grip and 70-200 still balances better with the connector at the tripod mount on the battery grip. It hangs a 5-10 degrees lens down that way. It hangs about 25 degrees lens up when connected to the lens, so I feel less protection for the front element that way.

              To each his own.

          • Calibrator

            > Would you buy a D800 manufactured out of plastic or Mg alloy?

            Mg alloy – because it houses expensive and delicate electronics like the image sensor, processor board, mirror cage etc.

            > Many make a big deal of the solid Mg alloy construction of “Pro” bodies

            And rightfully so.
            If the body breaks it’s usually game over for you. You not only often can’t continue to work but a repair is sometimes not economical, especially with older bodies.
            If a grip breaks you simply replace it. Damage on the body is less likely and what can break inside the grip? A battery? Big deal…

            > then say Nikon is overpricing the MB-D’s made out of Mg alloy also.

            They are.
            This simple grip costing 10-20% of the cost of a body is a clear ripoff as it houses only a battery (not even two, nowadays) and a few knobs and buttons.
            Like the Nikon GPS and WLAN units this is a profit product, raking in the money for Nikon and the dealer.

            > Well go buy the plastic ones if you want.

            You know – I’m mostly dissatisfied with my original (!) D7000 grip because of the shoddy quality of the buttons, dials etc.
            I really thought I get a better grip when buying an original part but in fact I’m somewhat weary to use it! It doesn’t handle as well thanks to the buttons, dials and directional stick being much worse compared to the original ones (on the body).
            But what good is an original grip if it doesn’t handle well? To give me that warm fuzzy feeling in my pants that I have an “original part”?

            Yes, the next time I’ll get myself a cheapo clone made out of tin and plastic because I’m not a warzone photographer and I don’t need to “support” Nikon and the dealer more than I need to.
            And as lots of people already said: And if it breaks I buy another one and will still have some money left over…

    • Ben

      Every Sigma lens that I’ve owned seemed fake when you compare the image quality to the real thing. But a grip is not a lens it’s just a place to put your hand, so I will buy a fake grip.

      • ad

        You are a bad, bad photographer.

        • Michael

          Either that or he’s too cheap to buy the good Sigma lenses

    • Allen W.

      Fully agreed. These are third-party, not “fake.” Fake by definition means not fully functional.

      • trialcritic

        Or copying the brand name.

    • Jan

      You think the word ‘fake’ is bad, look at the forums where whenever a conversation like this comes up people come out of the woodwork and proclaim they never buy anything made in China because they’re destroying the world.

      • turkey

        Gee that’s a shame, I guess these guys will never lay their hands on a mobile phone, Ipad, laptop or a TV in their life time. So you want it cheap and yet you don’t want it from countries that have lower labour cost, then who is gonna make them? Japan? Good luck with that, just look at what happens to all the D800 with left focusing issues and supply shortages (since the D800′s announcement until today)
        It is a real shame these days that a consumer has the cash in his pocket but can’t purchase the camera he or she wants because there is constantly not enough supply and he or she is forced to either pay more from the local rip off camera shops (D800 retails for around $3800AUD in Sycdney) or buy a 3000 plus camera off grey market overseas risking postage damage, tax and no warranty

        factories are moved to China for the simplest reason and motive, becasue they are capable of mass production at low cost. I don’t believe Nike or Apple open factories in China to help with their local unemployment, or do they?

      • rocket300

        I bet these guys are the Americans.

  • FDF

    Who needs a grip with 36MP? You can always crop from landscape to portrait.

    • Neil

      Cropping is a poor substitute for actually getting the shot correct in camera.

      • BartyL

        Rote responses are a poor substitute for comprehension or a sense of humour.

        • terry

          No need to bash on Neil, his comment is not out of line. Not knowing who FDF is, his comment is not necessarily or obviously interpreted as sarcasm or jest, but could just as easily and reasonably be read as a serious comment. Printed words often fail to convey the intended tone of the communicator. Cut Neil some slack.

          • JorPet

            Ok, Neil gets this much slack |-|

            Now back to the bashing… :P

      • Faizon

        Cropping is the artistic right of any and every artist

        • Manuel

          +1

    • Aldo #2

      No thanks I much rather spend more time shooting and not in front of the computer lol.

      • Faizon

        Just because you can crop doesn’t mean that you have to. I never shoot without a grip but the Nikon grips for D800 are too costly. Since there is no speed to be gained by using the original, why buy it?

        • Aldo #2

          Well I’m pro the third party grip so I’m with you not buying the nikon one.

    • Gary Fong

      In fact, with 36MP you don’t even need a zoom lens anymore.

      • terry

        Exactly! Just toss on, say, a fisheye lens, turn the camera vaguely in the direction of your subject, then push the button. “Point and click”? Not anymore, now it’s down to just “Click”!

        Also probably don’t even need more than one shot, since you’ll simply crop all the individual closeups and variations you need in post production. Heck, I’m selling off my collection of now-surplus multi-gigabyte CF cards, just keeping one 32MB card to cover all my photo shoot needs.

        Now if we could only get a camera that eliminates the workflow bottleneck of having to “click”…

  • Discontinued

    I have the real one for my D7000 (MB-D 11) and none so far for my D800E. Why not ? ? ? Because the MB-D 11 is not entirely convincing as it does not perfectly melt into one piece with the camera. There is always a tiny but noticeable movement between body and grip that just freaks me out …

    I don’t expect the MB-D 12 to sit perfectly tight either. No way I’am going to spend a fortune on something original that somehow already feels as if it was a fake. For a quarter of Nikon’s price a grip still might become something to consider for long and handheld sessions.

    Thanks for the vid.

    • Seamaster

      I have both, D7000 with MB-D11 and D800 with MB-D12. The tiny movement between body and grip is only on the D7000 noticeable, on the D800 with MB-D12 it’s really perfect tight….absolutly no movement.

      • Cincinnati MD

        I have exactly the same experience–the D7000 grip tends to be just a little loose but the D800 grip is rock-solid.

    • http://www.malphotography.net Michael Laing

      I have found the MB-D12 grip to be great. No problems at all.

    • Discontinued

      @ Seamaster and Cincinnati,

      totally unexpected (as the design of MB-D 11 and 12 is similar) very interesting, and good to know. In that case I should give the MB-D 12 a closer look. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Geoff_K

    I have bought 2 off brand grips for my D90. The first one lasted 3 years before I could not take it off my camera. I had to take the grip apart because I broke the connection between the screw and the plastic housing and it would not unscrew from the body. Took me 20 mins but it was likely my fault as it was getting harder and harder to remove and i tend to crank the grip on as i hate when it wiggles.

  • Heli-tech

    These grips are for pros that run big lens on VR all day at a sports event . Lots of folk that “think ” they are pros use them . Problem the highest profit accessory sold . Never had a need on my 3 nikon bodies .

    • Jaron

      I’ve used an off-brand on my D90 for a couple of years. It was a huge improvement for handling my bigger lenses (ex: 70-200 VRII) as they don’t balance that well without the extra weight of the grip. However, I don’t need a grip for my D700 as it already has enough weight to balance my larger lenses as-is (although I do miss having the vertical shutter release!).

    • fiatlux

      I have a MB-D10 that I exclusively use when shooting sport with my big lenses, a situation where I mostly shoot in portrait orientation. I am very happy of its good build and I’m glad I did not go for a cheap copy. Considering I used for over three years on my D300 and I still use it on my D700, it was a good investment IMO.

      • Aldo #2

        You can always buy the nikon brand one once it goes down in price… But right now any grip is a must on the d800 if you shoot a lot of handheld for hours. As much as I love my d800, its not the most comfortable camera to hold without the grip, especially since I mostly shoot with the 24-70 lens. I also have small hands so this is definitely a design thing.

    • http://www.johnbrunjes.com JB

      I really disagree with you here. There are two huge benefits to me…. as a non-professional.

      First and most is the ability to run your camera via AA batteries. Even with spares of the Nikon Battery….it is very nice to know you can get batteries anywhere. Also, the additional battery life has been a real plus to me when in remote locations and not easily able to recharge batteries. Using a D4 and being dependent on Nikon’s batteries…I really miss the ability to use AA batteries.

      Second for me is the ability to hold the camera. For me, the D7000 with a 300mm f/4 of 70-200 f/2.8 lens is incredibly awkward to hold with my big hands. I simply hated holding that camera until I got the additional grip. Now it’s not a problem.

      • John_IGG

        +1
        I totally agree.

        I have grips for my D2oo, D300s and D700 (who they share the same grip) and the D800E – the real thing. I also have the ReallyRightStuff L-plates for all of them to be used on a RRS bullhead. They feel and function like a charm. I wouldn’t even consider of buying an off-brand grip.

        But then, it’s just me (non professional – collector) and NO, I don’t have all the money in the world…

        • John_IGG

          Sorry, I mean ballhead… (The demon of the auto correction was the culprit here…)

          But then its is so rigid … one could easily call it bullhead!

        • ninpou_kobanashi

          +1

          I have Nikon grips for both my D200 and D700. I’m glad that they changed the design to that of the D700, as the older one would have disconnect issues with heavy lenses attached due to torquing issues.

          I shoot mostly portrait mode, and don’t like risking running out of power at “inopportune” times. I fully charge both batteries before every event, and 90% of the time, I completely drain one.

          There are a LOT of pins on these connectors. I’m paranoid that a third party / knock off would not be completely compatible.
          i.e. power fail overs, being able to change batteries while taking an exposure, etc. etc.

          Also, UI is very high on my priority list, and that’s one reason why I shoot Nikon vs. Canon [Nikon works better for me]. I have debated moving to a D4 vs. the D800 simply for the integrated body.

    • Ray

      Yeah, people who shoot portrait format all day couldn’t possibly benefitfrom this at all… or anyone who needs longer uninterrupted power supply… No, its only for sports shooters? Idiot.

  • Mike

    I bought a Meike version. It’s fine but has one flaw that previous Nikon versions do not…. I need to have a battery in body and in grip always. If I have a battery in body but not in the grip, it shows that the battery is too low to even turn the camera on. Interestingly, if I take the tray out of the grip, its fine. But to put an empty tray into the grip confuses the connection into thing the tray battery is empty. I can work around it, but the problem exists that if I tell the camera to use the grip battery first, and through the normal course of shooting it drains, and I want to take it out to recharge, I can’t, or I have to leave the tray out to do so (not too practical). Other than that glitch, it works as it should, as a Nikon version would. Not bad for $79.

    • http://micahmedia.com Micah

      In the knockoff MD-D12? Hmm. My knockoff MB-D10 (by Meike) didn’t have that problem.

    • Aldo #2

      You can operate the camera with no battery inside the camera and a battery in the grip. You can charge your battery now. Whaaaalahh!

  • That Guy

    Not a word about the most important part of the batterygrip, how the shutter button feels?!?!?!

  • Oleg

    Original mb-d12 increases shutter speed up to 6 fps.
    Does fake one do it?

    • http://www.frescoglobe.com David

      Answered in my review, here:
      http://www.frescoglobe.com/2012/07/17/pixel-vertax-d12-grip-for-nikon-d800/

      Yes, the Pixel grip unlocks 6fps in DX mode. The maximum is FX mode is still 4fps, regardless of grip (Nikon, Meike or Pixel)

      To answer other questions:
      The grip will take ONE EN-EL15 d800 battery OR 8xAA batteries

      Control dials work 100% and respond to camera controls (i.e. if you set the camera dials to reverse direction, the grip does too)

      It doesn’t take the d4 battery

      • aznpoet

        Thanks for the comprehensive and informative review!

      • francisco

        what does the D4 battery + original MB-D12 offers for the D800?

        • danei

          You need to buy an extra battery chamber for D4 (a piece of plastic for $30 to $50), only grip+camera don’t work.

        • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

          it is just slightly higher capacity. still less then 5000mAh LiPo i have for my video dedicated D300s :-)

  • http://isn.co.il Aaron

    I shoot football during the wintertime, when it is rainy snowy muddy and cold. Does the “fake” battery grip have the rubber weather sealing strip like the real one does?

    I already bought the real one-I’m just wondering if these fakes have the strip. Sure it’s cheap, but would you risk shorting out your camera in the snow?

    • David

      Where exactly is the strip of rubber? I’ve got the Pixel grip, so I can let you know whether it has it or not!

    • Funduro

      From this image it shows that the value one does NOT have the o-ring on from this particular manufacture. http://www.flickr.com/photos/21218145@N03/3777146166

      • http://artier.us Aaron

        Wow, it is worth the money for me to know that my gear is safe…

  • http://www.frescoglobe.com David

    Here is a detailed review of the Pixel MB-D12 grip:
    http://www.frescoglobe.com/2012/07/17/pixel-vertax-d12-grip-for-nikon-d800/

  • http://cuccaresephotography.com/blog phosgene

    I like saving money as much as the next guy and I agree the Nikon battery grip is horribly overpriced.

    However, Chinese knockoff products are usually sold in direct opposition to patents rightfully held by the original manufacturer (think fake iPads, knockoff sunglasses, etc). If you can afford it, buy stuff from people that actually invested the work in building the product and hold the patents for it, rather than reverse-engineered, poorly-remade knockoff products. Supporting these illegitimate ‘companies’ overseas is miserable for the economy (US and Japan alike) and harmful to the company that originally designed it.

    • Larry c

      If Nikon has issued US patents covering the design or utility of the grip, they would go after amazon for selling the counterfeits through their site. That amazon has been enabling the sale of knock-off grips for a long time suggests that Nikon patens are not being infringed. The fact that the battery trays are not interchangeable with the Nikon brand may be how the knock-off circumvent Nikon patens.

      • JonMcG

        I think both of these posts are spot on and I appreciate that there are people who are also interested in protecting the creator of products

    • Smudger

      In buying Nikon you are supporting an “illegitimate” knock off company!

      Nikon started out in the camera game producing Leica+Contax knock offs.

    • Remedy

      Sorry mate but paying 600 when new and 450$ now for a piece of plastic with 3 buttons is where I draw the line. It’s a fking joke to pay for something that can be made in a shed during one night as much as for an entire entry level DSLR or a smartphone!!!!! I am NOT gonna get screwed by Nikon or any other company just to support their theft.

      • David

        Compare that to the price of the excellent 85/1.8G. A lens with precision glass elements, AF-S autofocusing etc. And the grip – a glorified box with a simple circuit board in it. And another £65 for the battery.

        • Remedy

          Exactly. Same goes with underwater housings which cost twice or triple as much as the camera itself. What a fcked up world :/

  • bob d.

    Anecdotal evidence here but I had a third party grip on my D700 that had problems with the battery sagging out when it was getting low, even though the camera had a battery in the body too. Eventually during one of these “episodes,” the main board on the camera fried. Of course, not under warranty. I got the Nikon version of the grip after that and it was built a lot better. If the third party manufacturers make something that works 100% that’s one thing, but it would be interesting to see someone testing what happens if the grip battery dies – can the camera seamlessly cut over to the body battery, or does it stop?

    (I had the same third-party company version of the D90 grip and that one had the same problem, as soon as one battery got too low the camera would die and you’d have to turn it off and back on.)

    • Dweeb

      Don’t go overboard on the beneficent Nikon. Many of use had broken battery catches in the D200 grip that Nikon would do nothing about. Pay top dollar, get junk.

  • Josh

    I see your point. But it’s considered fake because it’s not their own version of a battery grip. It’s a direct copy, meant to look and function identical to it’s inspiration. Even the arrows on the dpad are the same font.

    That being said, I agree that we shouldn’t cast these products in a negative light at all. We save money, yes it’s a lower quality item to some degree, but it’s at a lower price point too. Now, if we were getting a copy and it was the same price as the original, or heck, even close to $400, it would be alarming. But I don’t think it’s valid to complain about Chinese products, on the whole. They are significantly cheaper, so we are getting our money’s worth. Good products and quality will not go away just because there are Chinese versions. People will always want good quality and pay a premium for better stuff. And if a made in China product is made at a premium quality, the price will be higher likely, why wouldn’t they charge more in that case. But they know there is a difference, and so they don’t. It’s not hard in any way, shape or form, to make a battery grip and add buttons to it that “click” instead of “clack”, it’s not like the Nikon version is made by better people, it’s just a more expensive process or the materials cost more to start with.

    I watched a documentary once where the journalist went to China, and in the back alleys, some Chinese locals had a street sale going on, and they were giving out awards to each other based on who made the best replica watches. When the journalist asked what the point was, the Chinese sales people said, “In China, it is considered a great honor and a complement to copy your work, the vendors do not consider this insulting or wrong, in fact, they are proud of their work and are trying to give complements to the original.”

  • Ken Elliott

    I’d like to know how well the grips work on a tripod.

    The D200′s grip (MB-D200) had plastic construction, and it flexed when mounted on a tripod. Nikon solved this issue with the MB-10 by constructing it from metal (magnesium if I recall). I use one on my D700 and it is very solid. I’d expect the same with the D800 and MB-D12.

    Could those of you with the MB-D12 and a clone grip compare the two mounted on a tripod?

    • http://artier.us Aaron

      I used the real grip on my tripod for an extended period using a 70-200 2.8 without tripod collar and it seemed fine. Wouldnt recommend doing that though.

  • dave

    Based on weight and current market value, I have to believe the Nikon grip is made out of pure silver rather than magnesium alloy. I’ve noticed that as the cost of silver has come down, so has the cost of the grip. Coincidence? I think NOT!

    • JorPet

      Actually it is an alloy of magnesium and unobtainium. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find unobtainium these days?

      • JLK

        It is practically unobtainable these days.

        • Anti-Joke-Chicken

          Which is why it’s called unobtainium.

  • http://www.xPressoStudios.com Greg Reese

    Slightly off-topic, but I have been looking for a review of 3rd party speedlights forever now. My sb-600 had a few batteries explode in it ( :*( ) and i’ve been looking for a replacement for months now. Does anybody have any good suggestions without dropping 500+ on an sb-910? Anybody have that Meike MK900 that was referenced a few weeks back or a Nissin?

    • David

      YongNuo YN560. Manual only, but that’s ok with me for off-camera flash work with radio triggers. It’s excellent and I have several.

      Or you can get the YN565 which has focus assist light and TTL. Still costs 1/3 of the Nikon.

    • Allen W.

      Nikon SB-800 flash units are still available and still excellent.

    • Aldo #2

      sb-910 on ebay for 440 (this is what I have, seems to communicate better with the camera than the sb-800 when used in auto modes)… sb-900 (if you dont do burst shooting at full power) even cheaper. sb700 if you don’t plan to hook up your flash to external power. The key to buying third party stuff and take advantage of the savings is to know what components are best to be nikon. Creative lighting, TTL mode and other automatic and wireless features of nikon flashes paired with your SLR make third party flashes a not so smart choice. I would stick to nikon on this one.

  • Tokenhi

    Does anyone know if the RRS plates will attach to the bottom of either of the “fake” grips? Thanks!

    • Jonas Härter

      Every side of the Pixel – Grip is sligthtly different in shape to the original…
      The Bottom of the original nikon MB-D12 is different in shape, it has up to 2/3 a deepening on the back side, and the RRS Plate is formfitting, so it should not fit the different shape.

  • Vic

    From my experience I wouldn’t recommend any third-party grips to be used on tripod or Subouce-type harness.

  • Tonio

    Who pays $3k or more for a top notch body, and then cheaps out on the grip? This seems like a bunch of products squarely targeted at idiots.

    • Aldo #2

      …sigh. If you have money to spare by all means get the nikon version. I personally would feel like an Idiot overpaying for something I don’t “need”.

      • photoguy

        Buy what you can afford – just don’t try to tell us that the knock-offs are built to the same standards and quality of materialsas the OEM grip because they are not. However, if it works well for you and you need to save the cash, then by all means go for it and buy the knockoff.

        • Aldo #2

          I never said they were build the same… this is obvious.

    • Capt. Obvious

      Because the grip is overpriced and the body isn’t.

  • don

    Which is why I love the pro bodies with the vertical grip integrated into the body. Problem is: shoot with a pro body for any length of time and everything else feels too much like a toy, even with the add-on grips.

    • tnt

      ymmv – a “pro” body with built-in grip sticks out like a sore thumb for walk-around shooting when out and about with spouse and kids…

    • Heavy

      I know what you mean, but it also kills your wrist when shooting for a while (especially with the 70-200 attached.

      I use to have to wear wrist braces when I shot events.

      Now I just use D800 x 2 and I’m much happier all round.

  • Ben

    3rd party grip with 3rd party d4 larger battery. en-el18
    The larger battery should give you the 6fps. And more shots per charge.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/MB-D12-MBD12-Battery-Grip-for-Nikon-D800-D800E-Camera-EN-EL18-ENEL18-Battery-/170880791720?pt=Batteries_Chargers&hash=item27c949f4a8

    Has anyone tried this one?

  • http://Purbread.com Faster master

    My meike copy was defective from the get go; the led on the d800 back kept flashing like a write was happening. Foolishly I left it attached overnight and it drained all the AA’s and the battery in the camera.

    I just sent it back to get a replacement.

  • FanBoy

    What the Chinese version can be so inexpensive? The plastic, metal and rubber are NOT the same in terms of chemical components, metal purity and rubber grade. To unsuspecting eyes, it looks and feels almost identical to the real thing.

    • Not a Fanboy.

      I wonder more why the Nikon version is so expensive, not why the Chinese version is so cheap.

      You pay for the brand-name for sure.

      • http://artier.us Aaron

        I would pay 600 dollars just for the weatherproofing that the grip offers. No way am I going to shoot with a fake grip in the snow without the weather sealing strips.

        • Geoff_K

          for the ~$400 difference in price I can come up with a way to seal the end IF i think it is a problem.

          I use rain gear on my camera when it is raining, so not sure i would bother.

          • http://artier.us Aaron

            The issue isn’t really when it is raining, I use rain gear for that too. But in the snow, when the snow isn’t falling but there is snow on the ground, things can happen while you aren’t using your rain gear…

    • http://ninpou_kobanashi@yahoo.com ninpou_kobanashi

      You can get the Canon version that causes allergic reactions! (^_^)

  • Frank Williams

    What’s a “Naikon version”? The guy kept saying “Naikon” is that what they call the fake version of the Nikon grip?

    • danei

      Nope, nikon is pronounced /naikon/
      The word comes from roman form of Nike

      • tim

        Actually although it’s pronounced /naikon/ in US English, in British English it’s normally /nIkon/. In Japanese it’s written ニコン which is pronounced the British way.

        • danei

          Yes you’re totally right.
          But as far as the guy speaking looks like a U.S English speaker, it makes sense.

      • ninpou_kobanashi

        “The word comes from roman form of Nike”

        Er, the last time I checked, Nikon was a Japanese company. Take a peek on Wikipedia for the Zeiss Ikon connection for the name origin.

        The “proper” pronunciation is the Japanese way (^_^)

  • Kame

    Sorry, but Nike is pronounced Neekeh in Greek.
    Yes, it is a Greek word not roman.
    Nevertheless, Nikon name comes from Nippon Kōgaku (Japanese Optics).

    To come back in topic I have a Meike MB-D10 battery grip, it has served well but for my D800 I bought the original one. After a couple of year of use the Meike copy is in a really bad shape.
    The original one is far more solid and sound.

  • john stevens

    I am going to pay that extra..and I don’t mind..Had a D300 with the MB-10 and never had an issue…I have always heard horror stories of the cheap knock offs..THAT is why they are called Cheap Knock Offs!!! Just Ordered my D800 from Best Buy..while B&H and Adorama cannot send out their pre orders!!!

  • Martijn

    i’m getting the d7000 version he mentioned. would love a grip for shooting sports.

  • Stephan

    Does the 3rd party grips also enable the 8fps on the D700?

  • Prime

    I just don’t trust third party accessories, especially these Chinese made ones, they never last. Not to mention grip is very important, especially when I shoot vertically I tend to just wrap the strap around my wrist and hold the camera by the grip exclusively. If I do that with a 70-200mm lens and the plastic grip just snaps open from the weight/pressure, there goes $5000. I rather pay extra $300 for Nikon grip as insurance lol

  • dilbert

    Isn’t there something more to the grip than just the look&feel?

    I know from a D2X we used in an industry project that it drew >20Amps on AF initiation, so I’m quite sure the pro battery gives more punch, allowing the motors and electronics to draw more amps and run at higher FPS. I assume to focus faster, too, with more amps to the AF-motors in body or lens.

    Wonder if there’s a difference in the electronics between Nikon and alternative grips that allows camera control to make use of the plus in amps.

    Petty The MB-D12 does not allow to use the D4 battery (unlike the MB-D10, which allowed use of D3 battery, too)

    However, this is just an engineer’s view and guessing. I’d love to see a test providing details on AF speed between like D3/D700/D700+grip or D4/D800/D800+Grip? I’d

  • Thang Phan

    That s guy in the video looks so sexy with the gripssssssss

  • vampyren

    Great review.

  • John

    I’ve used knock-off grips for years, and my only problems with them are:

    1- quality control. Usually in the switch gear. The aperture wheel on one I have now is not always accurate, so I have to watch the meters as I scroll as 3 clicks doesn’t always mean 3 stops.

    2- plastic construction means the tripod mount is not so strong, there is flex in the system, so they come off before going on the tripod (and I certainly wouldn’t trust my gear on a strap that used the tripod mount)

    Other than those two points, they work just fine. The money is better in my pocket.

    And for those complaining about weather sealing? Seriously? You’d pay Nikon a $350 premium for a rubber o ring? Either get a rain cover ($5 for 2) or take it off when the going gets tough. A fool and their money are easily separated, and clearly Nikon thinks if you can afford a D800, you’re a fool with money.

    I spend mine on beer……who’s the fool now?

  • Master_D

    Obviously English is not his first language. Chastising someone for their spelling and grammar, then asking them to ‘chaptalise’ their letters… What a pleb.

  • Larryc

    Cameras and grips are commodities. I have never owned camera more than two years and I will replace my d800 with a d900 when it comes out. I only need a grip to last two years. If the knock offs last one year Ill buy two and still come out ahead. And I can figure out a weather sealing solution for a lot less than $350. knock off flash triggers, cable releases, syn cables, remote shutter release, batteries- I’ve never had a problem with home and I’ve saved a ton. I’m sure I will be very happy with my cheap knock off meike grip, just like I was with my knock off d300s grip, for the 1.5 years I owned the camera.

  • john stevens

    If you are spending 3 grand on a Nikon D800…what is 400? I just ordered my D800…I don’t mind spending that extra money…When I had my D300 and MB-10 …I never had a problem..but I have always heard horror stories about those knock off grips…This is just me…I will stick to the original. This why I don’t use Sigma, and Tamron Lens…Cheapo Knock offs…

  • linghu

    Just received my MB_D12 yesterday, not as good as what i thought for $400 , a cheap one can do a job. save the $$ on glasses

  • benmillerphoto

    Great review, thanks. But dude just do a written review of this already. A written review can be skimmed for what I need to know in 30 seconds, instead I have to listen to you yakking for 7 minutes. At least make a tighter edit, sheesh.

    • just me

      Some folks would complain if you hung them with a new rope

      • Per-Erik Makitalo

        OMG, you just made my day :)

  • FramingMyLife

    I am just starting with a generic third party grip oiff ebay it works for normal photos but now finding an Err message when I press the Live View button for video. Problem goes away when I add the original Nikon EN-EL15 battery and comes back when I remove it again. Maybe something in the firmware looking for the original battery chip signature?

  • Alin Virsescu

    I have the following situation and do not know if it’s the problem or not:

    if you remove the battery from the grip and put empty holder , the camera sees as such as low battery, and if you make the order first on the batteries from the camera or remove the holder out of everything working properly

  • wolferl

    jus got a xit battery grip looked okay it ended up draining both batteries without me ever using the camera its a piece of you now what , not worth it

  • Charlie

    “Fake”? “Conned into”? Fake would be a product sold claiming to be the Nikon grip, i.e., a counterfeit one. These are 2nd party products, and don’t claim to be Nikon but their own product. (Like the non-Ford water pump; it’s not “fake” it’s just made by someone else.) This guy tries to make a big deal of “fake” and how he was “conned”, Well, he’s disingenuous in the first and naive in the second. Do your homework, and see if the cost – benefit of the product is worth it to you. It’s always the buyer’s choice. He didn’t do his homework before he bought the “fake”.

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      Yes, fake because they are an exact copy of the original Nikon grip. Do you actually think that those companies developed those grips from scratch and they just happened to look exactly like the original Nikon version?

      • Raw-G

        The third party grips look exactly the same as the Nikon grip because that’s what they need to look like for them to attach to the camera and function right. A fake product is something that bears an unauthorized usage of brand name. These third party grips are not advertised as Nikon grips and thus are not “fake” grips. Get your terminology right before you start running a website.

        Also, just to add to this discussion, there are magnesium alloy grips for around $100 or so on Amazon, if only you’d look for it.

  • h30134

    Just weighing in here. I read all the comments and much of it is about spending unnecessary cash, vs visual/physical appearance. Has anyone considered the power conditioning aspects. For example, UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) help power surges and conditions electrical currents into your computer, preserving the motherboard and components, staving off wear and tear. The Chinese battery grips may look and feel like the real thing, but there may be a reason why people are getting ERR messages, and batteries are getting drained. Resistances, cheap contacts, circuit boards, all work together to deliver questionably dirty power to the circuitry of your expensive camera. There may be no problems now, but in the long run, it may wear out your camera faster.

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