The Nikon D800 is such a popular camera Nikon has had difficulties meeting the demand. Although many lucky Nikon D800 users are happy with the camera, they are quite turned off by the high price of the MB-D12 multi power battery pack, which has a suggest retail price of $616. The actual retail price is currently around $400. Many people could not understand why it would cost so much more than other battery packs such as the MB-D10, which is used for Nikon D300 and Nikon D700.
Well, Nikon market department may regret their pricing decision soon. Third party battery packs for Nikon D800 start to show up on eBay. There are at least two different versions. One carries MeiKe brand and another Pixel. I was not able to find the Meike product (model D800S) page but the Pixel product page for the Vertax D12 page is here.
Both have the shutter release button, main command dial, sub command dial, Multi selector, and AF-On button. The MeiKe battery pack takes one EN-EL15 battery or 8AA batteries. The Pixel Vertain D12 specification claims 1 or 2 EN-EL15 or 8AA batteries. It is not clear from the product photos how two EN-EL15 batteries can fit.
Both have similar dimensions (MeiKe is 155 x 54 x 77mm, Pixel is 150.8 x 54.8 x 77.4mm) and weight (282g for Meike and 279.4g for Pixel).
From the product images, the Pixel knock-off appears to be a more faithful replication of the OEM version. The Meike version has partial rubber around the thumb grip area while the Pixel version has a single piece rubber that looks like the OEM version. The other clear difference is the material near the tripod mount on the side. The Pixel version again appears to have duplicated the Nikon OEM version more faithfully than the Pixel. A minor difference is that the Pixel version has “AF-ON” printed next to the button while the MeiKe version has it printed on the button itself.
There are some discussions (DPReview, Nikonians) online about the third party battery packs but no actual user reviews or experiences I could find. I am more inclined to get the Pixel version. A review will be posted here after I receive it.
Keywords: Battery Grip, Battery Pack, D800, MB-D12, Nikon