If you’re shooting with Nikon’s new D90 or even the older D80, this post is for you. If you shoot a lot of images with your camera in portrait orientation, a battery grip can make your life a whole lot easier. A battery grip’s benefits are two-fold because you not only get added stability and comfort, you also can add an extra battery which will allow you to shoot for twice as long between recharging.
In fact, the MB-D80 gives you a couple of options for power. You can use one or two EN-EL3e batteries or you can use six AA alkaline or rechargeable batteries with the included AA battery holder. You can find AA batteries anywhere you go so it’s nice to know that you have an emergency option if you’re out in the field and don’t have a way of recharging your EN-EL3e batteries.
One of the things I really like about the MB-D80 is the fact that both batteries go into the grip. There is a probe on the grip that slides into the battery compartment in the camera body. What makes this feature great is that you can remove/insert both batteries with the grip still attached to the camera body. With the MB-D10 battery grip for the D300/D700 that is not so. The battery still goes into the battery compartment in the camera too. That means that you have to remove the grip to remove both batteries. Too clunky for me!
One thing I will caution you about is that the MB-D80 doesn’t like non-Nikon EN-EL3e batteries. Even if you put in an off-brand battery with a Nikon battery it will tell the camera that the batteries are too low to operate and you will get the flashing battery symbol in your LCD display.
As far as quality goes, the MB-D80 is made of the same high quality materials you would come to expect from Nikon products. I really like the way the D90 feels in my hands with the grip. It feels solid and sturdy. If not for the locking wheel that’s used to screw the grip into place, I would think the grip is a natural part of the camera body itself.
The MB-D80 features a vertical shutter release as well as primary and secondary scroll wheels. These wheels function the same as the do on the camera body. Also included is an AF-E lock button for locking in Auto Focus or Exposure while shooting in portrait orientation. The shutter release can be locked when not in use to avoid any negligent discharges of the shutter release, which is very nice. The only complaint I have about the shutter release on the grip is that it feels a little spongy compared to the shutter release on the camera. There isn’t as much distinction between the “halfway down for auto focus” and the actual shutter release. I had several misfires myself while adjusting to it’s feel, but now I have no problems with the shutter release at all.
Overall I’m very happy with the MB-D80. It gives my D90 the look, feel, and function of a D3-like camera body and the convenience, comfort, and stability are certainly worth more to me than it’s $130.00 price tag.