This is the first NikonD5100tips.com review so all comments are welcome…
Just received the D5100 battery grip from amazon uk today.
It is branded as MeiKe and it is made in china. I am pretty sure it is the same actual product as the one from phottix. It comes in a box, bubble wrapped and with a manual and a shutter release cable. The manual is in two languages, Chinese and Google translator English and states the obvious things such as that the battery grip is not waterproof etc…
The grip itself is made from quality plastic and it has a similar finish like the camera body and a piece of rubber at the vertical grip area. It has a latch that keeps the battery compartment door closed (it seems a little delicate) and a knob that is connected to the tripod type screw via some kind of gear.
Under the battery grip there is a tripod screw with female thread to connect to a tripod. One thing that one has to have in mind is that this second screw is not actually in line with the lens as the camera one is. It is positioned between the two battery compartments and 1cm to the right as you hold the camera from the one on the camera body. I suppose that this might pose some problems if one wants to use it on a tripod panning for a panorama for example.
In order to attach it to the camera one has to remove the battery compartment cover from the camera (by pulling it while half open), place it in the slot that the grip has and finally screwing the grip under the camera using the tripod screw knob.
It fits really well under the camera without leaving any gaps. Using the camera horizontally the grip is improved with room for all the fingers to wrap around the camera & grip.
If you want to use the camera vertically then use of the provided shutter release cable is necessary. It connects a little round (mini jack like) port at the side of the battery grip with the remote port of the camera.
The vertical shutter release button fells like the original camera button, but the vertical grip is a bit box-like and I feel that the grip is not so good. The hand has no room to wrap around properly and its shape puts fingers in awkward angle. I would not recommend it for shooting vertically for a long time.
The general feel is very good and personally I like that the camera becomes a bit bigger. Also the battery life doubles and the grip is better.