“ Hahnel HN-D300 Infrapro - Battery Grip „
This battery grip is designed for the Nikon D300 and D700 cameras, and is an alternative to the nikon MB-D10. The MB-D10 also fits the newly announced D300s, so I would assume that this grip fits it too.
With the MB-D10 coming in at a cool £250 or so I was keen to find a more reasonably priced alternative. The HN-D300 comes in about a hundred pounds cheaper, and has a number of aditional neat tricks up it's sleeve.
In the packaging you get the grip, 2 battery trays, one for an EN-EL3e battery, and the other for 8 yes eight AA batteries, a car charger, and an infra-red remote.
The design of the grip for this camera means that you can have a battery in the grip and also the one in the camera too, so you can double the time spent taking photos, ideal for long wildlife shoots, or all day weddings. It also has a shutter release, front and rear control wheels, an AF-on button, and a joystick for moving the focus point.
Before you attach the grip you have to remove the L shaped rubber cover from the contacts on the base of the camera, handily there is a recess for this on the grip to keep it safe. The grip has a large wheel that turns a screw which fixes the grip into the tripod thread on the bottom of the camera. The connection is nice and secure, and the grip fits well and loots reasonably well matched to the camera. There is a bit of plasticky feeling and the shutter and dials are not as good as the nikon versions, but it is solid and the action does become smoother with use. There is a metal tripod bush on the grip, but when you've got everything stacked up it doesn't feel as secure as as using the camera body directly, so if I'm going to use my tripod I don't use the grip. The extra weight of the grip and batteries can be useful when balancing a large lens, and obviously makes it easier and more instinctive to take photos in a portrait orientation. It also makes you look like part of the paparazzi which can be handy as people tend to get out of the way of 'official' photographers at events!
The IR release is handy if you want to take group photos with you in, or prevent camera shake, but unfortunately it only works from infront of the camera, and the range of it isn't that great, only about 6m.
The 12/24 volt adapter for use in the car is really handy, if you are out and about a lot, or away from a mains supply whilst camping or caravaning you don't need the hassle of an inverter or buying a car charger.
Using the settings in camera you can set whether to use the grip battery first, or the battery in the camera body. This grip also does not support the increased frame rate of the camera. There is a work round which uses the function button, I havn't really found this to be much of an issue as the frame rate is already high.
The only problem I have found is that when the battery in the grip runs out the camera doesn't switch to the camera body battery. You have to slide out the grip battery tray, it switches batteries, and you can slot it straight back in. It only takes a few seconds, but can be a little annoying. This reminds me that I should contact them about it!
Overal I would say that this grip offers excellent value for money, and offers some useful extras over the MB-D10. There are a couple of niggles, but these aren't really serious. I would get the same grip again if I needed too.
For use with Nikon D300/D700 Digital SLR cameras; designed to be used with 1 or 2 Li-Ion batteries even of different charge levels as well as AA Mignon batteries.