My Knockoff MB-D12 Battery Grip for the D800

When I purchased my D800 I had fully intended on buying the grip for it, just like I had done with my D700 and D7000. I have pretty big hands and just like the feel of a grip when I shoot. It just feels more natural and allows me to get a better hold on the camera. Of course there are those who buy the grip for the added battery capacity, which I have to admit is an added bonus. I also like having a side shutter release button to make vertical shooting more comfortable. So you can imagine how disappointed I was to find out that the price was for the Nikon MB-D12 D800 battery grip; a staggering $500. Now, for those of you who have purchased battery grips in the past, you know that most of them run between $200 and $300 dollars, which is still pretty hefty for what they are. Nonetheless, I have spent the money because it was worth it for me to have a quality grip to enhance my shooting experience. I can’t say the same for the MB-D12. With a huge $500 price tag there was just no way for me to justify spending that much money, especially when I had just plunked down over $3000 for the camera body. But that’s not where this story ends. See, I knew that it would just be a matter of time until the 3rd-party accessory makers got in gear and started producing replacement accessories for the D800. It took a few months but eventually things like batteries and grips started showing up on the Internet.

The first battery grip I saw was listed on eBay for about $100 and was just taking pre-orders. Next came a grip from Flashpoint, who makes accessory items that are available on Adorama. Their grip lists for about $75 and looks exactly like the MB-D12. I was actually thinking of buying it but then a whole bunch of other low-cost grips started showing up from companies like Meike, Pixel, Phottix, Zeikos, and Smatree. Basically a bunch of companies that you have probably never heard of before. Truth be told, most of them are probably selling the same grip under different names but I decided to check out one of the least expensive options, the Smatree MBD12 Battery Grip for Nikon D800.

The grip costs $45 on Amazon and looks exactly like the Nikon version. Of course I completely understand that it is an inexpensive knockoff but I still wanted to give it a try to see just how good a grip I could get for about one tenth the price of the original. As an added bonus, I also purchased the Smatree EN-EL18 battery, which adds the same battery powercell found in the D4 for use in my grip instead of the EN-EL15, which is the standard battery for the D800. The combined cost for both of these items – an easy to manage $87.

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