A new Pixel Vertex D-11 grip arrived with my mail today. This is Chinese adaptation of the Nikon MB-D11. Based on merely handling and then attaching the unit to my camera, I'll only comment on the obvious. It will require using it to weigh in on function.
Many, if not most of the people who responded to me original question remarked about the ergonomics and handling of the half dozen brands of MB-D11 they owned. It will take a while for me to accumulate some experience and opinions. Though I began shooting with a Pentax Spotmatic in 1962, and then worked as a photojournalist (using Nikon F's) I have never used a camera/battery grip combo. Not once.
In my original question, a short question, I pondered if people used these grips to because of a power need. The rationale you would have for getting a strobe pack for doing weddings. I was surprised that maybe only one person had that reason. So it became clear to me that ergonomics and fit were the big reasons. A casual observation with the Pixel is that, when held in Portrait mode, the Camera/Grip combo essential becomes a square object That alone would yield control. Or at least, the sense of being in control. Vertical grasp of the D7000 seemed to be a turnoff to those who opted for a grip.
Sooo, how does it look? Working from the outside in, packaging and graphics are quite good. While the genuine Nikon is made of cast Magnesium, the Pixel is molded composite. The box contains instructions, the grip, a EN EL-15 battery tray already mounted (no battery) and a 2nd loose tray for 6 AA batteries. From order to delivery took 17 days. Shipped from New Jersey to California.
The instruction sheet is in English and Chinese. The detail photos showing parts and features is middling. An area where size says it all. But pieces are lit and photographed well-enough and large enough that wording isn't required. I have seen larger images on other product sheets and would have appreciate more here.
One last thing, though the info sheet shows the Menu items (D7000) that govern battery selection and type, you only can be certain that you are looking a few of the CUSTOM MENU screens, and that they are green, but not much more. Thankfully, the text tells the story about battery selection.
This device weighs 192g, about 1/3lb, so it doesn't feel like a toy. Aside from weight, I was first impressed with the leverage exerted by the attachment wheel. On mine, I gripped the wheel from the front and back and really cinched up the mounting screw. This was because people with other grips complained about gaps or wobbling. The Pixel is locked to my D7000.
Another complaint lodged concerned buttons and the multi-selector. The items on the Pixel seem to be about 3/4 scale compared to counterparts on the camera. But they are solid and imagine liking them would be based on hand size. I've got big hands, but I'm comfortable in Pixie-land.
Lastly, the marketers can put a bulls-eye on my back. I thought paying $85 would ensure a good product. That's about double of other contenders on eBay. Amazon was out of the Mieke and the Bower (?), which each go for about $50. We shall see. After dinner, I'll pull out the softboxes and the Macro lens and add images of the Pixel to my post.
With user impressions to follow in perhaps a week. Gary in Santa Monica