Nikon Review Central

D7000 Battery Pack Comparison - Nikon MB-D11 versus Third Party

Overview

This is a comparison of battery packs for the Nikon D7000. The two grips I will be comparing are the official Nikon MB-D11 and the third party Meike Multi-Power Battery Pack. (There are at least two other brands offering copies — Neewer and Zeikos — I suspect they are all the same.)

Packaging

The Nikon is packed a little more securely with extra bubble wrap. Nikon also includes a pouch for the AA battery tray — the Meike offers no such perk. Other than that, what else can be said? A box is a box.
Nikon MB-D11 Battery Pack

Nikon MB-D11 Battery Pack

Meike D7000 Battery Pack

Meike D7000 Battery Pack


External Looks

Externally, the two packs are almost the same. The Meike's rubber texture is actually closer in look and feel to that of the D7000 than the Nikon pack. The labeling on the AE-L/AF-L lock button has started to wear off on the Meike pack after just two months of use. I have not had the Nikon pack long enough to see how its lettering will endure. The two packs appear identical other than those issues and labeling.

External Feel

The locking wheel on the Meike is noticeably loser than the Nikon — when the pack is affixed to the camera, the Meike's wheel has quite a bit of play and never feels like it is absolutely tight (but I never ran into any issues with the pack coming lose). The Nikon's wheel does not feel loose at all. Another fitting detail is that the EN-EL15 battery tray fits completely snug in the Nikon whilst the tray for the Meike has just a slight bit of give — this is something I never noticed until I held both in my hands looking for differences. Both packs fit very firmly to the camera and neither has any play when the locking wheel is tightened.

Internal Construction

This is where the difference between the Nikon and the Meike is revealed. The Meike is entirely plastic, except for a metal plate on the bottom to reinforce the tripod socket. As you can see in the picture, the Meike has a lattice internal structure for reinforcement. The Nikon, on the other hand, is composed of metal and is much stronger as a result. Squeezing the Nikon pack between my fingers and thumb results in almost no flexing — the Meike, however, easily flexes. I have used both packs on tripods and felt both performed well, but comparing the Meike's structure to that of the Nikon makes me wonder if the Meike would stand up heavy tripod use with large lenses.
Meike D7000 Battery Pack

Meike D7000 Battery Pack

Nikon MB-D11 Battery Pack

Nikon MB-D11 Battery Pack

Nikon MB-D11 Battery Pack

Left: Meike    Right: Nikon

Controls

The control wheels on the Meike are reversed in direction from the controls on the camera and on the Nikon pack — i.e., decreasing the aperture on the camera body and the Nikon pack is accomplished by scrolling to the right, whereas the Meike pack needs to be scrolled to the left. To some this might be a minor inconvenience but to others it could be a constant pain in the neck — I leave that up to you. The "joystick" on the Meike is slightly looser, but does not cause any issue in use.

Electrical

Some people have reported in various forums that third party battery packs drain in a matter of days — I have not seen that issue. I did see occasional minor battery drain, but nothing that I would log as major. After two months, I did have a problem with the info light flashing at random times when the Meike pack was attached — especially when the camera was off. This behavior does not occur when either the Nikon pack is on or no pack at all installed. I have not seen any other reports of this issue, so I am at a loss.

Conclusion

I was initially very happy with my Meike battery pack and I was proud of having saved a large sum of money. However, when the info light started to blink randomly, I started to worry — I did not want to save 200 USD only to wreck my 1200 USD camera, so I ordered the Nikon pack. Having both to compare, I can see the difference in quality of the internal structure (metal vs. plastic) and as a result, I feel much more comfortable using the Nikon battery pack. You may feel differently about spending more — everyone has to make their own choice.
Nikon D7000 and MB-D11 Battery Pack

My choice — D7000 with Nikon MB-D11 Battery Pack

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