This Is The First Fake MB-D12 Battery Grip For The D800

Last month we published a post on Fstoppers informing you guys that the first batch of knockoff MB-D12 battery grips for the Nikon D800 were available on eBay. It took over a month for the grip to show up from Hong Kong but yesterday I finally got it. If you have been considering buying one of these you will want to watch our full review.

When I purchased this grip off of eBay last month it was the only knockoff MB-D12 available. The brand name of this thing is the "Pixel Vertax D12". The confusing thing is that now there seem to be multiple knockoff manufactures on eBay but I've learned that in many cases it will be the exact same product with simply a different name on it. I would love to buy them all to find the absolute best but I don't have the time to do that.

From the little research I have done the 2 main knock off brands that appear to be different are "Pixel" and "MeiKe". Both of these grips are available on Amazon as well now and they are getting positive reviews.

The Pixel version (the one I reviewed) is for sale for $102 and the Meike version is for sale for just $60.

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38 Comments

Dan Stone's picture

great timing! i was gonna get one at end of the month and was hoping you'd review before then! My money is on the knock off, had one on my d300 and had no problems so yep sorry nikon i love your cameras but your accessories are too overpriced so my money is going to hong kong! thanks for the post!

I had the knock off for the D7000 and it broke after a week.

  Whether or not the FAKE version is worth the money is not the issue.
If you purchase a FAKE product, you are supporting piracy.

If you're buying only Nikon gear, you're supporting a closed/proprietary system.

Lee Morris's picture

Hey Robert, I think that my use of the word "fake" may be misleading. These grips are not really "fake" they are just 3rd party. The "fake" grip was the one I bought with Nikon branding on it for the D7000 last year. That grip was being sold for retail price and they were using the Nikon brand to make money for themselves. These grips are 3rd party.

If I buy a Sigma or Tamron lens am I supporting Piracy? Of course not. It may still be the same 24-70mm 2.8 lens but it's still a unique design and it was designed to work with my Nikon camera.

Because you paid for all your softwares, dvd, music and other IP rproduct you own right?

Riiiiiiight. 

People are so fucking uptight. stop trying to be more Christian than the pope....

 Nice comment Simon.  I'll try not to attack you and take your comments for what they're worth...

It's not FAKE, as it isn't branded as Nikon original. It's simply a "jobber" replacement. No different from auto repair: Your local garage tells you that your starter/alternator, etc, needs replacement. You are charged the cost of a dealer's "factory original", but the part is made by a 3rd party competitor. (unless only available from dealer)  This is how independent garages make their profit on parts. A warranty is a warranty. The part is never referred to as "fake". 

Lee Morris:

You are correct.  If the product is merely a knock off and they haven't infringed upon patents then let the buyer beware.  I have no issue with that.

Lee Morris's picture

I don't know every patent that goes into a Nikon grip but I can tell you that everything about this "knockoff" is slightly different. I assume that everything about it is legal. 

 Yes, "fake" seems appropriate for your D7000 experience, but it's simply the wrong word here. "Knockoff" or "aftermarket" would convey what you intend; "fake" implies something entirely different.

I'm glad you brought this up. Your use of "fake" really bothered me throughout the entire video. To me, this is a 3rd party product - similar function with different design elements (i.e. battery tray and packaging). The D7000 grip I would label as a fake and would not support by purchasing.

Jens Marklund's picture

Chill with the seriousness guys.

The only thing I would be worries about with fake grips (same worry as with fake batteries), would be if the electrical stuff, such as voltage, would be less stable - and might hurt the camera. Since the warranty doesn't cover that stuff.

But if this just works as an adapter to hold another original battery, I guess it's good to go.

I bought the Mieke for my d700, it worked fine until I put fresh batteries right off the charger in the grip. Turned the camera on and it fried the fuse in the camera. A trip to Nikon and back and I was down over $300. It could have been a coincidence but I figure the Nikon grips have their own fuses and the knock offs clearly do not. I will only purchase the Nikon grips from now on. After purchasing the Meike grip and paying duty ( I live in Canada ) and paying for the repair of the camera it was more than purchasing the Nikon grip.

Tam Nguyen's picture

Unless absolutely necessary, I never use these grips. They don't feel as nice as ones that come built-in with the body. I really can't describe the feel, but it's a huge difference.

Lee Morris's picture

There are good and bad knockoffs, this one is decent. The D7000 knockoff was almost exactly the same. I think you have to judge them individually. 

As most photographers do not have multiple D800's to be swapping grip battery trays on, this will be less of an issue. As I saw posted before, if the feel of the AF-ON and the 4way focus point toggle don't feel as "responsive" as the genuine product, then spend the money for the real thing. The MAIN reason Nikon is charging $449 for a battery grip is so they could keep the D800 body price below $3000. They could have charged $3300 and sold you the MB-D12 for $200 and NOBODY would have blinked an eye.

Tobias Solem's picture

Lee, does this attach well to the d800? Do you feel it can be trusted?

Patrick Hall's picture

it seems to attach exactly the same as the MB-D12 so yes I would trust it 100%

Tobias Solem's picture

 Previous copies were a bit sketchy with the rotation wheel to the camera in that they would spin too easily.

Lee Morris's picture

The screw is slightly more loose than the Nikon version.

Can't comment on the Pixel brand but I've have a Meike battery grip on my Canon that fits like a glove. Had it for over a year with no issues at all.

From the video looks like the BL-5 won't fit the pixel grip. Anyone know if the pixel grip has a battery door (like BL-5 for MB-12) so folks could use a en-el18 with it? If so any comments/experience with it?

That was my biggest question too!  Lee or Patrick, do you know if the aftermarket grips will accept an EN-EL18 battery from the D4?  That was one thing I loved about the grips for the D300 and D700...I could use my more powerful batteries from my D3 to get longer shooting times and faster frame rates.  I'd want to be able to do the same with my battery from the D4, especially since that boosts the D800 to 6fps from 4. 

Jacques's picture

It is not 'FAKE', because it does not portend to be a NIKON one, but one in its own right.  Thus, it is a 'KNOCK-OFF'.

I bought a Vivitar grip for the D700 because of price and perceived value. A months later some of the buttons didn't work at all, so lesson learned. Had I bought the Nikon grip at the start it wouldn't have cost me the Nikon price + the Vivitar price.

4Nico's picture

It seems the fake one won't take the EN-EL18 batteries since the chamber is a bit narrower than on the original one.

Is the fake weather sealed? If not, that's also one reason for the price. Though I can't see why it is more expensive than MB-D10 when it's basically the same thing. Also not digging that the MB-D10 is not compatible, can't really say I like having one grip for each model.

can you take both of them apart (should only be a few screws) and look at what type of supporting plate is attached to the mounting screw? that would be interesting to see. It would suck to be holding the camera by the grip and have it break off if you had a heavy (expensive) lens attached. 

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