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Thread: Why Battery Grip

  1. #1
    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Why Battery Grip

    Hey Photo Peeps....I'm back after a bit of an absence. I am putting together my list for camera and lenses...thanks to all the great advice I got here I know what I want and am going to get everything in about 2 weeks. The little things like batteries and stuff...Why do you need or do you at all need a battery grip? What does it do? Are knock off batteries as good as the Canon batteries? That is my last question before purchase. We are going to California the end of Jan and then a leisurely trip up the coast. Going to have the new camera when we go. It will be a great place to practice. Maybe even a whale watching trip. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Rob Douglas's Avatar
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    Well, a battery grip offers you more versatility when shooting like the Pro models have built in. It has the same buttons on the grip as on the top of the camera so when you shoot vertically you 1 have a better grip & 2 all the same controls in the same place like you were holding the camera horizontally. The 2nd reason, battery life! The grip holds 2 batteries. As for 3rd party batteries, I've tried 2 different brands other than canon and neither held up. Both didn't hold a charge as long, drained quicker, and had a shorter life.

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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    I've used both 'genuine' and third party batteries, but not the ultra cheap versions, with my 40D. In fact one battery came with my old Powershot G2 and is 10 years old.

    All batteries are still working with no problems, although both cameras have died; and by now I can't remember which battery is which.

    I always keep them fully topped up and recharge after each shoot, even when only 25% discharged. Not sure if that makes any real difference though.

    And so far, I have never suffered from low battery problems, even when shooting 200 or more shots. Although those massive files with my new 7D may cause a bit more of a strain.

  4. #4
    herbert's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    I use sterlingtek batteries after recommendations from this site. They work well on my 7d. However both batteries have the same chip in them so I can only register one to the camera memory. (The camera can record the power available in up to 6 batteries and the number of shots taken since charging.)

    However they did cost 1/3 the price of canon batteries. I am happy with their recharge performance so far.

    Alex

  5. #5
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    I'll add some personal observations:

    1) A battery grip adds weight; I got a CF tripod for Christmas because the Al ones (three) were too heavy - a grip would defeat the purpose of this.

    2) I've mentioned before that being a piano player I have very flexible wrists so turning the camera 90 degrees either way is simple for me. I've noticed that for most people it's not so easy. For them a grip may be useful.

    3) A spare battery costs less than a grip, and a spare battery is really useful when shooting in cold weather. When one battery gets cold and sluggish, I swap it for the warm one in my pocket.

    4) I have two non-Canon batteries; an Ansmann for my 30D and a Tama for my 5DII. I'd buy another or either if I needed another battery. The Ansmann is five years old, the Tama 1 1 /2 years. No problems with either. Many people on other forums hold Sterlingtek in high regard. http://sterlingtek.com/dicaba.html

    5) For me, a fully charged battery lasts longer than an empty 8G CF card.


    Glenn

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    I don't use a battery grip with my 7D because of added weight and bulk. I shoot with a pair of cameras and two lenses: 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and 70-200mm f/4L IS. I chose the f/4L IS because it is lighter in weight than the f/2.8L (series) lenses. Using a pair of battery grips would negate this weight advantage.

    Yes, having the extra shutter release button for portrait position shooting is nice but, I am quite used to turning my wrist when I shoot. I carry two extra charged batteries in my shooting vest and have never run out of juice no matter how long I have been shooting.

    I have one Canon and two Sterlingtek batteries. The Sterlingteks are at least the equal of the OEM batteries and may be slightly more powerful. However, I have never drained either type battery so I cannot attest to the equality or superiority of power.

    NOTE: We have recently heard of problems with Sterlingtek batteries which apparently are now made in China (Were previous batteries manufactured elsewhere?). However, despite the fact that I have had no problems with Sterlingtek batteries, I will have to pull the recommendations that I have been making until I get more information.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 4th January 2012 at 02:35 PM.

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    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    . . . . . but, I am quite used to turning my wrist when I shoot.
    Richard:

    Perhaps that's because we started photography when there was no such thing as a grip. My "serious" amateur stage started in 1962 - that's pretty close to 50 years.

    I'd much rather put the money into something that can actually make a difference.

    Glenn

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    krispix's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Just a quick note to add my endorsement of Sterlingtek. I have two Nikon and 3 Sterlingteks and I no longer worry about which one is in the camera and which I carry as a spare because they're all good.

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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Liz, I use a battery grip and love it. It allows me to hold the camera in portrait mode with a lot more certainty. As someone mentioned above, it has the controls near the shutter button.

    Another use I've found is holding an off camera flash. Without the battery grip you are pretty constrained to landscape mode and it is very difficult to combine this without the grip.

    Downsides are weight and that it does make the camera look a lot bigger. I can sometimes get a little self conscious and with a battery grip and 580ex flash, the family loves to poke fun at me being a pro.

    Anyway - I certainly recommend them for the versatility in shooting.

  10. #10
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Glenn...

    I agree that our experience was with other than gripped cameras. However, I did very much enjoy the grip on my Canon A-1 film camera. However, that grip provided other capabilities than just an accessory shutter release and unneeded extra battery juice.

    The grip allowed automatic advance and rewind of the film and was a lot easier and quicker to use than the lever wind (which in itself was a great advance over the winding knob of older style cameras). The grip also allowed burst shooting. That made the grip very worthwhile for me.

    I am fully convinced that we are now living in the "Good Old Days" and I while I look back at previous equipment with a bit of nostalgia, I would certainly not trade the capabilities of today's DSLR cameras with ANYTHING I used in the past!

  11. #11
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzy310 View Post
    Why do you need or do you at all need a battery grip?
    I use battery grips for, (in no particular order):
    > weight and balance
    > extra battery life (two batteries)
    > facility to use AA Batteries
    > shooting vertical
    > shooting one hand, left handed

    FYI: Battery grip for 5D MKII

    WW

  12. #12
    BJ Denning's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    I use battery grips for, (in no particular order):
    > weight and balance
    > extra battery life (two batteries)
    > facility to use AA Batteries
    > shooting vertical
    +1 , I agree (except I'm a righty) with William. I enjoy using a battery grip mostly for wieght and balance. I use aftermarket grips/batteries and have had no problems. I have a 7D gripped and 5D mkII gripped and shoot with the 24-105mm and 70-200 f2.8 II.

    From the responses it sounds like it is a matter of preference. However, if you plan to shoot video or plan to use the live veiw extensively, you're probablly going to want the grip for the extra battery power.

  13. #13
    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Thank you so much for the input everyone. I like Glen NK am a piano player with pretty flexible wrists. I think after reading all the input, I will probably get one, but maybe not right away. I will look at the Sterlingtek batteries. I appreciate so much everyone telling me the ins and outs of it. I am just an amateur so it is all new to me. I will get at least 2 batteries and a charger.

  14. #14
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Liz,

    When I bought my two Sterlingtek batteries, they had free CONUS shipping for over a certain amount of purchase. The two batteries came close to that purchase minimum but, were a bit under it in price.

    I decided to get a Sterlingtek charger (although the Canon charger works just fine with Sterlingtek batteries and the other way around) because it really didn't cost me much extra since it brought the purchase price to the free shipping level.

    AND...

    1. I like to have duplicates of most of my required equipment in case one fails. I never had a charger fail but there is always a chance that one will fail someday. This might be even more possible in areas with erratic electric current supply. It would be terrible to be on a trip in a foreign country and need to find a new charger. I read a post once on some other forum from a guy traveling in Madagascar who needed to find a Canon charger in that country.

    2. My normal workflow is to download and save my images, format my cards and recharge my batteries after every shoot. On my China trip, I often didn't return to my hotel until late in the evening and needed to leave early in the morning. Having a pair of chargers, I could set two batteries charging and go to sleep. I did not have to wait for the first battery to charge in order to begin charging the second battery.

    3. The Sterlingtek charger allows charging from a 12V source such as a car battery. I have a 12V charger for my BP511A batteries and only needed it twice - BUT, when I needed it - I REALLY NEEDED IT!

    My only problem with the Sterlingtek batteries is that they do not come with a plastic protector cover like the Canon batteries have. However, I had a bad EP6A Canon battery which the Canon replaced. When I sent the Canon battery back, I kept the protector plate. Now I have two plates. Otherwise I have an old cell phone case for a folding cell phone which works great for EP6A batteries.

  15. #15
    lizzy310's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Well, my current camera is a lowly G10 and that has little square batteries. I have no idea what you mean about using a cell phone cover for a battery cover, but I will understand when the stuff comes. I am either getting a Canon D60 or 7D. No one has the D60 in stock...I guess Christmas wiped everyone out. So...since I am ordering in about a week, I will get whichever I can. The batteries don't use a cover when slipping into the camera do they? Is a cover necessary? So much to learn...I so appreciate your input!

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Liz,

    When I bought my two Sterlingtek batteries, they had free CONUS shipping for over a certain amount of purchase. The two batteries came close to that purchase minimum but, were a bit under it in price.

    I decided to get a Sterlingtek charger (although the Canon charger works just fine with Sterlingtek batteries and the other way around) because it really didn't cost me much extra since it brought the purchase price to the free shipping level.

    AND...

    1. I like to have duplicates of most of my required equipment in case one fails. I never had a charger fail but there is always a chance that one will fail someday. This might be even more possible in areas with erratic electric current supply. It would be terrible to be on a trip in a foreign country and need to find a new charger. I read a post once on some other forum from a guy traveling in Madagascar who needed to find a Canon charger in that country.

    2. My normal workflow is to download and save my images, format my cards and recharge my batteries after every shoot. On my China trip, I often didn't return to my hotel until late in the evening and needed to leave early in the morning. Having a pair of chargers, I could set two batteries charging and go to sleep. I did not have to wait for the first battery to charge in order to begin charging the second battery.

    3. The Sterlingtek charger allows charging from a 12V source such as a car battery. I have a 12V charger for my BP511A batteries and only needed it twice - BUT, when I needed it - I REALLY NEEDED IT!

    My only problem with the Sterlingtek batteries is that they do not come with a plastic protector cover like the Canon batteries have. However, I had a bad EP6A Canon battery which the Canon replaced. When I sent the Canon battery back, I kept the protector plate. Now I have two plates. Otherwise I have an old cell phone case for a folding cell phone which works great for EP6A batteries.

  16. #16
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzy310 View Post
    Well, my current camera is a lowly G10 and that has little square batteries. I have no idea what you mean about using a cell phone cover for a battery cover, but I will understand when the stuff comes. I am either getting a Canon D60 or 7D. No one has the D60 in stock...I guess Christmas wiped everyone out. So...since I am ordering in about a week, I will get whichever I can. The batteries don't use a cover when slipping into the camera do they? Is a cover necessary? So much to learn...I so appreciate your input!
    Liz:

    I can't resist making a recommendation to you: get the 7D if you can afford it. I know a few 7D owners and their ravings are almost making me sick (I went for the 5DII and at times wish I'd looked at the 7D more carefully).

    Can't answer the battery question completely knowledgeably, but my 5DII came with a little plastic cover for the battery that keeps the contact points from coming into contact with metallic objects that could drain/ruin the battery. It's taken off before putting the battery into the camera.

    Glenn

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Quote Originally Posted by BJ Denning View Post
    +1 , I agree (except I'm a righty)
    So am I: naturally right-handed.
    Shooting left-handed is usually only when using two cameras, having the camera inverted and with a grip in the left hand is easier for me as I have (comparatively) small hands (but also relatively strong wrists).
    And as mentioned on the other thread, it is not an often used practice to shoot left-handed, but a technique I do know and use sometimes.

    WW

  18. #18
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzy310 View Post
    . . .I think after reading all the input, I will probably get one, but maybe not right away. . . .
    Wise decision. There is no rush.

    WW

  19. #19
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Why Battery Grip

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Richard:

    Perhaps that's because we started photography when there was no such thing as a grip. My "serious" amateur stage started in 1962 - that's pretty close to 50 years.

    I'd much rather put the money into something that can actually make a difference.

    Glenn
    Eh?

    In 1962 you would have been shooting with a manual wind film camera - those were the day - and a fair proportion of them had an option for a Motor Drive that bolted to the base. A fair few of them had a grip that came up the front with a button on as the one on the camera didn't usually work in conjunction with the drive. I had them for several of my Nikon bodies. A slightly different reason for having a grip I'll grant you but even heavier than todays.

    Just for the sake of nostalgia:

    A Nikon F3 with its iconic MD-4 attached.

    Why Battery Grip


    As to todays 'grips' then its a personal thing. To the original question I'd answer - go and try your camera with one and see how it feels. Sometimes it transforms the camera making the whole far better than the sum of its parts.....my D300s for instance just feels 'right' with the MB-D10 in place.....while in other cases it just makes them slightly unbalanced. I don't think its a weight issue and I don't think its a lack of hands/wrists flexibility when using the camera I just prefer a bigger camera and the security you get with the extra holding surfaces.

  20. #20

    Re: Why Battery Grip

    as mentioned above, the flexibility to use AA batteries (although you need six), having several sets left over from my Finepix s9500 days, and less time spent in battery changing. Last year I took 1650 shots at my local county show, although several were action, such as the stunt riders, and there were a fair number of rejects. Sods law will decree that your batteries always run out just as the one special opportunity of the day presents itself

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