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.
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.
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.
Two more things you should know about battery grips…
- 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.
- 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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