I haven't had the Meike MK-DR750 Battery Grip and Wireless Remote for long, but I can already tell I'm definitely keeping it. Not only does it fit well enough and do everything as promised, but it also comes with a wireless 2.4GHz (not infrared) remote control that can trigger the Nikon D750 to which it's attached. Meanwhile, Nikon's grip costs upwards of $350, and their wired remote cable release timer clears the $150 mark. Naturally, there have to be a few caveats for a grip and remote package to come in at an astoundingly low $80, but I was hard pressed to find any at all.
Battery Grip Build Quality
Upon opening the package and taking the grip out of its plastic bag, I was admittedly worried about how it would perform. The plastic quality of the grip isn't the best, needless to say. And the shutter release button was lacking in a nice, smooth, and natural feel we're used to when pressing harder from the focusing position to release the shutter. Determined to see how it performed, however, I attached the grip to my camera and began shooting.
Attached, the grip is a completely different experience. The shutter button is the same cheap, plastic button, of course. Nothing changed just because I screwed it onto the body. A veteran Nikon battery grip user, I was a bit skeptical of the button. But it turns out that it's the feel of the shutter in the camera going off itself that sends that oh-so-satisfying, juicy, crisp, shutter-cocking double slap through your right hand. I didn't miss the built-in shutter release at all when using the grip in the vertical shooting orientation. As an added bonus, holding the camera from the D750's grip in the normal shooting orientation is markedly improved thanks to the grip's added surface area for my pinky and ring fingers — something that I'm used to from my D4 and happy to have back.
Furthermore, while the grip's plastic housing lightly crackles ever so slightly when I really try to squeeze it hard to test durability, the way a cheap car's interior trim might make a small creaking noise, it still feels incredibly solid attached to the underside of the D750.
In all, the grip performs very much as expected. There were no issues whatsoever with communication between the grip and the body. The AE-L/AF-L button was great, the thumb pad joystick felt the most like its OEM counterpart when selecting focus points through the viewfinder or changing menu settings, and the shutter and aperture dials — though also made of cheap plastic — work flawlessly and feel even slightly better than "good enough."
The grip itself works with or without the battery inserted (you only need one battery between the camera or the grip, but you can also use two, of course). In addition to the EN-EL15 battery holder that ships inside the grip, a second AA battery holder lets you use eight AA batteries in a pinch (or in a foreign country with unreliable power).
Wireless Triggering and Remote Function
And only now do we approach the best part. Unlike previous Meike battery grips, this one comes with wireless triggering functionality. When first reading about this, it was easy to be skeptical of performance and programming capabilities. Thankfully, Meike completely knocked it out of the park. Is it cheap? Yes. Is it small, plastic, and a little on the lightweight/flimsy side? Of course. Does it come with a few weird quirks that always come with Chinese "knock-off" brands? Indeed, it does. But does it work? You bet.
Putting in two AA batteries (not included) turns the unit on (no off switch apparently, but that's not unlike even Nikon's aforementioned multi-function cable releases). Immediately a clock begins counting up in seconds, starting at 12:00:00 p.m. That's odd, sure... While it's nice that the remote has a clock, I'm not sure how useful that is, especially when you need to set it every time you replace the batteries and when the camera takes care of time-keeping for your metadata anyway. But if you want it, it's there nevertheless.
The remote can almost be figured out without the directions. I was able to change just about everything I wanted to, from the exposure time to the delay and interval times, etc., without cracking that manual open. It even has a nifty white backlight and locking feature. There was just one tiny problem: I couldn't get the thing to fire the camera. Fear not: it's a simple fix, and our second "quirk" after the discovery of the 24-hour clock. The unit ships programmed to "Channel 99." You can set the unit to channels 00-99, but it's channel 00 that is the universal channel, as the directions will point out. Don't ask me why it can't just be shipped programmed to Channel 00. But that's the way it goes. And that also happens to be where the real magic begins.
Setting the remote timer to the Bulb setting is easy. After making sure the camera itself is set to Bulb, of course, simply press and hold the shutter release button on the remote for three seconds. A "B" then appears in the bottom left corner, and a new timer cleverly (if not obviously) begins counting from three seconds. Let go, and you have until you touch the shutter release button again to expose the image. Unfortunately, even just slightly tapping it to the autofocusing/metering position (a half-press) is enough to end your long exposure. I do wish it could have been programmed to end the exposure upon a full press of the shutter release button for added "safety," but that's not the biggest deal. For now, just remember to treat it like a bomb trigger once you set it correctly; Put it down and out of the way of anything that could set it off.
Were this product over $200 or made by Profoto, I honestly wouldn't have been very impressed. Pleased and satisfied, sure. But not giddy as I obviously am here. However, for just $65, this little remote was an amazing inclusion. I immediately had to test the supposed 100-meter working distance of the remote. I don't live in an area where it's easy to find 100-meters of open space. But I went to every room of the house, upstairs, to the far corner of the darkest attic space, outside by the front gate... and it was only across the street to the neighbor's house (which put a final, fifth wall between myself and the camera, up from four in the previous scenario) that finally kept the signal from reaching the grip. The shutter release button on the remote features a similar two-step design for autofocus/metering, and then shutter release. And every time I was within range, both worked instantly, without delay, and without failure. If you have any experience with cheap wireless triggers, you know that's pretty darn impossible at this price point. I have little doubt this wouldn't work from the opposite end of a football field.
As great of a value as this is, I'm still a stickler for things that feel nice. A magnesium-alloy construction would have given the MK-DR750 the extra edge it could use, but far from needs. Thankfully, I have high hopes a magnesium version will come out, as Meike has made premium models in the past to sell alongside the cheaper models at about a $100 premium. But until then, I won't let go of this. You just can't do better than this for $80 (and even that might come down in time, as similar grips for other cameras that have been out a little longer sell for around $40, albeit without the remote feature). And the best part: the addition of the wireless remote saved me from making a purchase of Nikon's multi-function remote that I've been long hesitant to make, but really needed to. Everything just works. And that's just how life should be.
Note: For those purchasing from Amazon, buying the Mcoplus MK-DR750 from Amazon seller Mcoplus (currently unavailable) will get you the same exact Meike product with the same badging, features, etc., with Prime shipping benefits if/when it becomes available again. There's also a non-wireless version for $65, but the difference is hardly worth it.