well i ended up getting a cheap alternative via ebay, eBay - New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low pricesnd the build quality looks fantastic! all the buttons feel great! and the dials work just like normal!
I'm not going to tell anyone not to buy the oem grip if that's what you decide, but honestly all you're paying for is the construction quality and name brand. The ~30.00 grip functionally is the same and although made of plastic compared to the mag alloy Nikon grip is nearly indistinguishable. As for durability/longevity, obviously you get what you pay for. But I'd rather pay 30.00 and take my chances it will last as long as I have the camera (which judging the way people change camera's like they change their underwear, isn't too long)....if not, it's only 30.00 for another one. That's a far cry from 250.00
My knock-offs have been indestructable. The first time I hung my heavy 70-200 and camera by the little black rapid tripod bolt I was concerned. I've done it so many times since it doesn't even cross my mind.
I bought a third party grip on eBay for my d7000 and, to be honest, it sucks. I loved it when I first got it, but all of the controls (ALL of them) eventually started working only when they wanted to and now...4 months later, don't work at all. I'm basically using it only for the extra battery and support now. Maybe I just got a lemon, but I learned my lesson...
I'm in the same quandary too - buy OEM new $200+, OEM used $150+ or 3rd party $50 +/- .... I think I'm going to go OEM used. I use the black rapid rs-7 exclusively these days and I think I would have a better frame of mind know my camera & grip hanging upside down on my side is secure by a higher quality product IMHO
I bought a D7K aftermarket grip and it worked great for the first six months or so. It is now failing. The camera doesn't always recognize that it has a grip on it. The shutter button works all the time but, the other buttons don't always function properly.
Gah!!! Just looked and noticed this is a year old post! I hate it when that happens!