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.
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).
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!