A layman’s guide to battery grips

A layman's guide to using battery grips

What is a battery grip and how do you use it? If you’re new to photography you might understandably have a few questions about some of the equipment.

There are a number of things you need to consider when buying a battery grip and using it for the first time.

In our latest layman’s guide to fundamental gear we answer some of the most common questions photographers have about battery grips.

A layman's guide to using battery grips

What are battery grips?

A battery grip that’s dedicated to specific camera bodies generally enables the fitment of an extra regular Li-ion camera battery, and often gives the additional option of running the camera from a number of regular AA batteries.

What are battery grips good for?

One of the biggest selling points of a battery grip is that the main shutter button and some other controls are duplicated. This enables much more comfortable and intuitive handling when using the camera in portrait (upright) orientation. A lock for the secondary shutter release button is often fitted, to guard against accidental firing with the palm of your hand in landscape orientation shooting.

SEE MORE: Battery grip anatomy – what’s inside and what does it do?

Who makes battery grips?

Own-brand battery grips are available for most makes and models of SLR. However, they often tend to be pricey, costing up to £250 and sometimes even more than that.

For a good-quality independent make, Hähnel is a popular option, often giving a saving of more than 50 per cent.

However, be wary of cheap unbranded grips, which may be poorly made and unreliable in operation.

When should I use a battery grip?

With capacity for two camera batteries, or one battery in addition to the existing battery in the camera, a battery grip can effectively double your shooting life before you need to swap cells.

As we’ve mentioned, they’re much more comfortable for portrait-orientation shooting, but can also make the camera bigger and more natural to handle for landscape-orientation shots.

How do I attach a battery grip to my DSLR?

Battery grips attach to the underside of the camera, securing via the threaded tripod socket. In some cases, a cover flap needs to be removed to enable connections. In others, a protruding upright section slots upwards into the battery chamber.

A layman's guide to batter grips

Two more things you should know about battery grips…

  1. Grips that enable you to still fit a battery into the camera usually only have space for one additional battery in the grip itself (see top of this page); although, they often have a tray for using AA batteries as an alternative.
  2. With some grips you can’t fit a battery into the actual camera (see above), but you can usually put two camera batteries or a number of AA batteries into the grip itself.


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  • Steve Sepan

    If the design is good, the battery compartment door that you have to remove from the camera will have a clever slot set aside for it somewhere on the battery grip.