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07/22/12 A quick look at the Nikon MB-D12, Nikon’s vertical grip–external battery holder for the D800 Series of cameras

Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger view of the image.

Since I purchased my Nikon D800, I have added the new Nikon MB-D12 battery grip.  I am planning to write a full review of the grip in use with the D800, but this is a quick view of the grip.  The pictures show the grip installed on a Nikon D800, the various battery holders that come with the grip and the grip and an L bracket.  Overall the grip is nice addition to the D800 and with it installed you gain quite a bit of extra run time by using either another Nikon battery or a series of 8 AA batteries.  It’s a nice feature to be able to use AA batteries as if you are in the field/remote parts of the United States, you can almost always find somewhere to purchase AA batteries.  Also if you used the energizer AA lithium AA batteries, you may be able to last for 3 to 4 days without having to change out the cells.

There now appear to be several clones available for this product costing hundreds of dollars less.  You can find both of them along with the NIkon MB-D12 on  The early reviews are that both the clone grips seem to have similar build quality to the Nikon MB-D12.

From my daily usage I have found that the MB-D12 adds a good deal of heft to the entire D800 camera when carried.  The grip is rather wide at the bottom, considerable wider than the build in grip in the higher end Nikon D4.  When you add a L bracket like the one from Really Right Stuff, the camera, Grip, AA batteries, and L bracket with a Nikon 14-24 lens mounted are close to around 5 lb. total weight.  I have not yet tried the standard Nikon Lithium battery in the grip yet, but it will have a bit less weight than 8 AA Ni-Mh cells.  I was able to use a Nikon D4 for a few days and the weight/heft of the D4 is much more manageable however at a much higher price point with considerably less pixels.  The run time with both the internal Nikon Lithium battery and the batteries in the grip allows for a tremendous amount of shots and review of those shots.  It also makes the use of live view in the field a bit more manageable since with only one battery installed live view seems to drain the camera pretty quickly.