I get to test new cameras for Shutterbug, this blog and Mirrorless Photo Tips but regular readers know when it comes to my personal cameras I tend to be thrifty. I may get to shoot with high-end expensive cameras but contrary to what many think, after the review they’re returned to the manufacturer. All of my personal gear is funded out of my wallet. Over time, I evolved a simply philosophy and even wrote a post (“How Not To Go Broke Buying Equipment”) explaining it. I tend to buy new gear when I have a need, not an urge and over the years learned to tell the difference. This doesn’t affect the kind of images I make. At least I don’t think so.
I have long been a fan of having battery grips for SLRs and one of the things I learned over the years was the value of third-party battery grips. One reason is that having two batteries instead of one lets me shoot all day without having to recharge a battery or having a battery on charge as a stand-by. At a model shoot in a Phoenix, I shot all day while my colleagues where running back and forth to their chargers to get other batteries.
I was once asked how I held a camera for vertical shots and since I shoot glamour and portraits I also shoot lots of verticals. When shooting verticals having a grip lets me hold the camera steady instead of the “elbow waving in the air” position and gives me control over cropping in camera. Another advantage is that in addition to the vertical shutter release there’s usually a control wheel allowing you to change camera functions fast and easy.
Some battery grips include a tray that lets you insert 4-6 AA batteries to shoot when you forget the rechargeable batteries or worse the charger. It happened to me.
I originally bought the official Canon battery grip for my IR-powered Rebel XTi but when I had a used Xt converted to infrared using a different kind of filter, I added a third-party grip to it. When comparing the two grips side-by-side, I saw no visible differences—except cost.