Should you use a knockoff camera accessory?

 

Camera manufacturers go out there way to make sure that you can buy their branded accessories for just about every major need you'll have. They sell lenses, batteries, cables, adapters, GPS units, filters, etc. However, these branded accessories usually come at the higher end of the price range and many would argue that the lower cost, 3rd party alternatives are just as good if not better. I tend to agree when it comes to certain things like Nikon compatible GPS units. Every 3rd party one I've tried to date blows away the Nikon branded GP-1. However, I haven't been as pleased with 3rd party lenses. When I first started getting into photography I bought lenses from Tamron and Sigma and while these lenses were good, I later replaced them with with Nikon branded glass that I liked much better. This could start a very long debate and that's not my goal here. If you're happy with your 3rd party glass, rock on! Recently I decided to try a 3rd party battery grip for my Nikon D7000 that was priced so low that I actually bought it more out of curiosity than the need for a battery grip.

 

The MeiKe Multi-Power Battery Pack for the Nikon D7000

I bought my D7000 the day it came out and I always intended it to be my travel camera, but also serve as a backup body for my D700. I have the Nikon battery grip for my D700 and I've always been quite happy with it. I have gone back and forth on getting the Nikon MB-D11 Battery Grip for my D7000, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Not because it's all that expensive, but mainly because I wanted to keep this camera small and light weight for travel. However, after recently having to use it in studio while my D700 was being repaired I realized that I really did miss having a battery grip for taking portraits. I sighed and said "oh well, time to order it and stop putting this off." On my way to order it I did a search to remind myself of the price. Although I primarily buy my photographic gear from B&H, I still like to check prices on Amazon because you never know when they may be having one of their one day sales. While the Nikon branded grip came up for $258.82, (B&H has it for $219.95) I noticed another grip in the search results for only ——- $40.41!!!!!

What? How can this be? How can it be sooooo cheap? It must be crap! Cheaply made, easily breakable, etc. 

I figured for $40 I could take the risk. Worse case I'd get a piece of crap, return it and have a topic to blog about. I ordered it. Meanwhile as I was waiting for it to arrive I saw this clip from F-Stoppers on an apparent scam where this very adapter is also being sold in a Nikon branded box, manual, etc. at full Nikon prices as a complete FAKE/rip off!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV_rxL3UV-g

Can you imagine paying full price and then later discovering that the item you bought is not authentic and worse yet also being sold for significantly less?

 

The MeiKe Multi-Power Battery Pack Arrived

While I was a little freaked out by the video above, the one thing I took away was that it was so good he really didn't notice that it wasn't the real thing. Mine arrived and it was packaged in a MeiKe box. There was no fake Nikon branding of any kind. I put my extra Nikon D7000 battery in it as well as a set of AA's in the optional tray. Both worked fine. With the Nikon battery in the camera even registered it as a MB-D11 in the menus showing the battery status. While there was no noticeable play in the connection, I can confirm that the dial works in the opposite direction just as the F-Stoppers discovered. Otherwise all the controls seem to work as they should.

 

The Bottom Line

This is one of those cases where I'm going to side with a using a knockoff accessory. I don't plan to use a battery grip on this body full-time. It's also not a mission critical accessory for this body. Actually it's PERFECT for what I wanted. I kinda wanted a battery grip for those times that I need one, but didn't want to pay top dollar for one in this case. Is it as good as the Nikon one? NO. The plastic is of a cheaper grade. The rubber definitely feels different. Functionally it works, but it does feel like a cheaper grade product. You do get what you pay for. This is a no frills battery grip. If your D7000 is your primary camera and you make a living with it, then you should probably get the Nikon one. If you are in need of a grip only on occasion, then it's hard to go wrong with this $40.41 knockoff. As a side note the 43 reviews on Amazon are mostly positive with an average rating of 4 stars. I'm happy with my purchase at the moment. Time will tell.

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