Zeikos Battery Grip for Nikon D600 Review

My battery grip just arrived for the new Nikon D600 (my initial review of it can be found here) and I feel like I can breathe again! The added battery power and vertical grip are something I have grown quite accustomed to with the MB-D80 battery grip for the Nikon D90. For my D90s, I opted for the genuine Nikon grip, though there were quite a few available at highly discounted prices on eBay due to the age of that particular model. The same cannot be said just yet for the MB-D14, the Nikon grip for the D600. They are new and they are pricey.

Zeikos ZE-NBGD600 Battery Power Grip for Nikon D600

Zeikos ZE-NBGD600 Battery Power Grip for Nikon D600

Having just dropped a pretty penny on the D600 itself, I really couldn’t justify spending over $300 on a “genuine” Nikon grip (not to mention the positive experience I’ve had from the third-party grip I purchased for the D3100). Seeing as the grip I had in mind was almost twice the price on B&H’s website, I chose to order mine from Amazon here: Zeikos ZE-NBGD600 Battery Power Grip for Nikon D600 (Black). Since Amazon was out-of-stock of the grip when I placed my order (and still is when I last checked) with no idea of when it would be available, I went with another vendor, Cameta Camera (for $59.95).

First impressions

I was quite surprised first that the item arrived two days early from Cameta and that it appeared quite sturdy and well-put-together upon first examination. The leathery grippy pads are well made and though they match the appearance of the grip pads on the camera body, they are made of a different, spongier material that makes them far more grippy.

Had I not been aware of it beforehand, the image on the front of the box would have confused me to great length. While the image on the front of the box resembles the D90 grip, the D600 grip does not connect to the camera in the same way. The images on the reverse are more product specific.

The box includes the grip, instruction manual, and two trays, one that holds the EN-EL15 and one that holds 6 AA batteries. The trays and latches are all plastic, but seem to be a bit hardier than the latches on the MB-D80 grip. Like that grip, I’ll probably never use and certainly never carry the AA battery tray, but it’s nice to have.

When connected to the camera, the grip cups (for lack of a better word) the body nicely and provides a nice balance to it. Compared to the MB-D80, the D600 grip is a bit wider and curves up and around the body a bit more. The connection itself is quite different from the D90 grip, though it may be fairly standard for full frame bodies. While the D90 grip has a shaft that connects to the camera body through the battery corridor, the D600 grip has no such shaft, and connects through a small portal so that it is more flush with the body. I was worried that this would make the connection seem less secure, but it’s not noticeable as of yet.

The main difference that comes from the new design is the fact that the D600 grip only holds one battery. The other battery remains inside the camera body’s battery compartment. I’m not sure why the grip is designed this way, and it seems a bit odd. If you drain both batteries, the grip will have to be removed in order to charge them both. The design of the D90 grip seems much more logical, especially for someone who rarely removes the grip. However, for those wishing to quickly alternate between shooting with the grip and shooting without, you won’t have to go digging around for the battery compartment door (which needs to be removed before the D90 grip can be connected) and you’ll already have a battery in the camera. That’s the only reason I can think of as to why it’s constructed in such a way.

The form and function of the grips are very similar, both having a lockable vertical shutter, an AE-L/AF-L button, as well as front and rear adjustment dials. The D600 grip, however, incorporates a multi-directional knob and button that mimics the function of the knob and OK button on the back of the camera so you can quickly adjust the location of the focus point without having to rotate the camera body.

If you’re interested (or got here through a search for the Nikon D90 grip), you can get it here: Nikon MB-D80 Multi-Power Battery Pack for the Nikon D80 & D90 Digital SLR Camera – Retail Packaging. Better yet, dig around on eBay and you’ll surely find a much better deal.

Here are a few side-by-side shots showing the Zeikos D600 grip along with the MB-D80 D90 grip.

 

From my precursory examination of the unit, I can see no real difference in the construction or it compared to the MB-D80 grip. I wish I had the MB-D14 to make a real side-by-side comparison, but the point was to save money! Of course, if you’re a stickler for genuine parts, here’s the Amazon link to the Nikon MB-D14 Multi Battery Power Pack for Nikon D600 Digital SLR.

Enjoy and shoot ’em up!

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for a detailed review and product shots! Just ordered the same grip at B&H. While I’m impatiently awaiting for the shipment could you let me know whether the command dials on the grip are rubbered like on the d600, or just a bare plastic like those on d90’s body?

    • Magellan

      Thanks Alex! Unfortunately, the dials on the grip are just hard plastic similar to the D90 dials. Though, strangely enough, the dials on the grip seem to mirror the tension of the dials on the D600 body, where the front dial has slightly more tension and has more well-defined “clicks” than the rear dial. Of course, this could just be my imagination!

      On a completely different note, I noticed that B&H has started using UPS Mail Innovations on some of its smaller shipments (this is the UPS equivalent to FedEx SmartPost wherein the main shipper takes the parcel most of the way, then hands off to USPS to complete delivery locally). I have nothing against the idea (and I’m sure it’s helping the USPS from crumbling), though UPS needs to take a few notes from FedEx. Both times I’ve had items shipped via UPS Mail Innovations (from two different companies), I have encountered issues with service. In the first instance (far worse), UPS MI mislabeled the packaged and it ended up in a different state completely. The second time (from B&H), USPS apparently didn’t know how to handle the delivery and it ended up sitting in the local postal annex (despite not having any markings indicating a signature was required).

      Just saying. Keep an eye on the tracking!

  2. Pete Maverick

    Is it secure to attach a Joby Sling Strap to the battery grip?
    Do you think that the battery grip is well built? I mean, will it break?
    Thank you.

    • Magellan

      It’s a pretty sturdy accessory, Mav. I’m not familiar with the Joby Sling Strap, but I’ve used the first-gen Carry Speed sling strap with it since I bought the grip (recently switching to the Carry Speed FS-Pro) and it’s held up just fine (going on nearly eleven months now).

      Actually, seeing as it has been almost a year since I first started using the grip, it seems like a good time for an update on my post. The verdict? Couldn’t be happier with the grip. It’s still in one solid piece, shows very little wear, and still functions like it did on day one. I understand the reservations some have in buying third-party accessories like these having picked a few duds myself over the years, but the Zeikos grip is a great value for the price and has held up magnificently.

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