Nikon Multi Power Battery Pack MB-D10 review

   About the Nikon MB-D10

     The Nikon MB-D10 battery pack is designed for Nikon’s D300, D300s, and D700 camera bodies. It incorporates a vertical grip for easier hand holding of vertical shots, eliminating the need to twist the camera side and using the shutter release button which would then be pointing down and to the right. The MB-D10 has 5 main user control points, there is the vertical shutter release button which is surrounded by a rotating switch, used to lock the grip and keep from inadvertently taking shots. When the dot on the grip lines up with the dot on the switch the shutter release button becomes active. In front of the shutter release button there is the front or sub command dial used for selecting the aperture. To the rear is the back or main command dial used for selecting for instance the shutter speed. Both command dials on the grip mimic the command dials on the camera. To the left of the main command dial there is an auto focus-on or AF-ON button. Below this is a four way thumb selector for changing among other things the selective focus. There is an oversized thumb wheel which sticks out the front and rear which is used to screw the grip to the camera. The wheel is very sturdy and smoothly geared to turn the screw in the same direction as the wheel. Under the grip there is a tripod socket so you can affix a tripod to the camera when the grip is attached. The grip is made from a lightweight magnesium alloy, which is the same as most Nikon camera bodies, and it is covered in rubber that matches the rubber grips on the camera. There is even a groove on top that holds the rubber contact cover that you detach from your camera before you attach the MB-D10. (see top view) This way you do not loose the cover when using the grip.

My review of the MB-D10
     I purchased my Nikon MB-D10 for around $240 from Calumet of Orange County in December for use on my Nikon D700 and D300s and I have to say it has single handily reinvented the way I use the D700. Mainly due to the fact that even with AA batteries my shutter speed has gone up to 8 frames per second (fps) from 5 fps. Which not only comes in handy for action sports, and air shows, but also makes for faster shooting when bracketing 3, 5, and even 7 shots at a time. Now with the MB-D10 I no longer have to rely solely on my D300s for action shots, which gets 7fps without the grip. For those who do not feel going from 5 to 8 fps is worth it, let me use an analogy. Say you were driving down the freeway, would you rather be going 50mph or 80mph? Thats the difference you notice from 5 to 8fps and as soon as the battery dies in the MB-D10 you sense the difference right away as the camera switches to the internal EN-EL3e battery. 
     As far as batteries go, the MB-D10 can work with 3 different battery types; EN-EL3e, EN-EL4 or 4a, or 8-AA size batteries. Of these the EN-EL4a would be the best and you should expect to take between 3000 to 4000 pictures per charge and it also gives the best frames per second. You have to purchase the BL-3 chamber cover to use the En-EL4a. You may be wondering what the difference is between the EN-EL4 and the 4a version? The EL4a is 2500 mAh and EL4 is 1900 mAh. So it is better to stick with the Nikon EL4a version at the higher 2500 mAh.  You can use 4 types of AA batteries;  Nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH), alkaline, Lithium, and Nickel Manganese (Ni-Mn). In my experience the rechargeable Ni-MH’s that I have last about 200 shots and alkaline’s last around 500 to 600 shots. Both get around 8fps. You can also use the same battery that goes in the D700/D300, the EN-EL3e, but with no performance gain. The EN-EL3e lasts around 1000 shots. I have since tested a few different AA batteries so check out my AA battery review here.
In the camera’s menu you can select which AA battery type you are using
You can also see the status of both the camera battery and the grip battery
You can even select which battery to use first
     All in all the MB-D10 is a great accessory for either the D300 or the D700. And one you should consider if you like the added speed, extended battery life, and the flexibility of using different batteries. 

1 thought on “Nikon Multi Power Battery Pack MB-D10 review

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks John for all the valuable info. I google to find review which battery are best to use for the MB-D100 and your blog came up. I had bought the Sanyo eneloops for my SB-800 flashes and now use them for my MB-D10. Athough I'm contenpating getting the EN-EL4a setup because of its extended capacity but very expensive cost and because the eneloops charger is slower.

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