Battery Grips for DSLRS

Battery Grips for DSLRS

Battery-GripI recently made a fairly significant addition to my digital camera kit – a Canon EOS 5D. Ever since I’d tested the camera for a few weeks last year I had been dreaming of getting one of my own (and saving my pennies) so when I had enough money saved up I grabbed one.

Also rounding out the purchase was a new Flash and a Battery Grip.

While I thought long and hard about buying the camera body and the new flash the Battery Grip was something of an impulse buy. I’d previously always invested any spare money into new lenses and hadn’t thought about a battery grip – but there was an option to throw in the grip (and an extra battery) for only a little extra and so I decided to give it a go – thinking that I’d probably only use it if photographing an event like a wedding.

Having had the new camera, flash and grip for a six weeks not I can honestly say that I’m extremely pleased with each of the purchases. The 5D is a dream to use. My only complaint is the slower frame rate in burst mode. I’m also loving the ability to go extra wide with my 17-40mm lens now that I have a full frame camera. I’m also starting to wonder if I should buy a lens with a longer range than 200mm (as it has less impact on the full frame sensor than it had on my old 20D). I’m also loving the flash – it’s producing some great results and now I have the ability to set it up in a slave setup with my old flash I’ve been experimenting with some interesting lighting for portraits.

So the 5D and the new flash are great – but what has surprised me most is that I am really loving the battery grip. In fact instead of just attaching it to my camera for special events, I’m finding that I’m using it all the time.

My wife thinks I do it because it makes my camera bigger (and boys like to have big things – hmmm…. that didn’t quite come out right) and that I’m just showing off. Perhaps she’s got something there, it does make the camera look more professional – however I there’s a few other reasons that I love my new battery grip:

  1. More Power – two batteries instead of one means recharging half as much. I find that Canon DSLRs have pretty good battery life at the best of times but after a couple of weeks of medium use-age shooting with the 5D I realized that I’d not had to recharge once (a new record for me). It was also great when shooting my son’s birthday party last week. No hunting for and changing batteries at key moments!
  2. Second Shutter Release Button – I knew the battery grip had a second shutter button and setting dial but didn’t realize how much I’d use it in my photography when shooting in portrait mode. It’s not that I ever found shooting in portrait mode difficult before – but this is so much easier (or am I just imagining things?)
  3. Weight and Balance – two batteries weigh more than one and the grip itself adds a little weight and size to the camera. While this could be seen as a disadvantage (and I’m sure it would be in some circumstances) I really love it. I feel like the camera is sitting well in my hand and that I’m somehow more solid when taking shots. I’ve read people argue about battery grips helping combat camera shake and previously didn’t see how something heavier in a hand would help – but again I ‘feel’ like there might be some truth to the argument.

The only real downside of the battery grip is that while the extra weight and size feels good, it could get a little tiring – quite literally. I did shoot with my 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens for a few hours last week. It’s not a light lens and with the extra weight of the 5D (as compared to the smaller and lighter 20D) plus the weight and size of the battery grip I did feel like I was lugging around something pretty significant.

Do you use (or have you used) a battery grip for your DSLR? What benefits did you notice? What didn’t you like about it? Would you recommend one?

Canon Battery Packs/Grips

Canon BG-E3 Battery Grip for EOS Digital Rebel XT Camera
Canon BGE2 Battery Grip for the EOS 20D and EOS 30D
Canon BG-E4 Battery Grip for EOS 5D

Nikon Battery Packs/Grips

Nikon MB-D80 Multi-Power Battery Pack for the Nikon D80
Nikon MB-D200 Multi-Power Battery Pack for the D200
Opteka Battery Pack Grip for Nikon D70s & D70

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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