If you’re like me, you love snapping photos and let’s face it, snapping them in landscape all of the time can be boring. Sometimes rotating the camera to the portrait orientation is more appropriate or offers a better composition. The problem is the awkward positioning of your hands and bending of your wrist — it’s just not comfortable. Since buying a battery grip for my Canon camera, shooting in portrait has never been the same!
I can’t remember how long I’ve had my battery grip, but it has been years. Regardless of how long it has been, since using it for the first time, I have never snapped photos without it! It enables me to rotate my camera into portrait orientation and have a comfortable grip and access to the shutter button as if I’m still in the landscape orientation. No more crooked wrists or awkward arm positions to get the shot! The grip adds a lip toward the front of the camera under the lens that mimics the same lip on the right of the camera. This makes holding the camera in portrait extremely comfortable.
I often find myself in situations in which I need to adjust my focus points on the camera as well. This is the most uncomfortable thing to do in portrait without a battery grip. In addition to a shutter button and lip to make gripping the camera comfortable, there are also buttons and a dial that allow you to adjust the focus points used. When I shoot concerts, I prefer the portrait orientation so that I can compose a single musician in the frame nicely, but the lighting can throw off how my camera focuses and sometimes the microphone stands or instruments take dominance in what the camera wants to focus on. Being able to easily adjust this in portrait orientation has greatly improved my ability to get great performance shots! Though I rarely adjust exposure compensation, the dial on the battery grip allows me to adjust this as well — also aperture or shutter speed in AV or TV modes.
While “battery” is the first word in describing this accessory, it is by far the least important reason I use it. Yes, my battery grip, and probably most, can hold two batteries and double the battery power of the camera. I never run out of power using the battery grip. I may not take as many photos as other photographers in a single use to expend two batteries, but I know I don’t have to worry about it. I’ve shot more than 200 photos in a session before noticing the battery meter on my display lowering by one notch. I’ve left my camera on for more than 5 hours and still had plenty of battery power to spare — granted I generally turn off the display unless I need to make an adjustment to a setting and I do let the camera sleep when not in use for long periods of time.
It may be difficult for you to justify spending the $100+, $200+, or approx. $300 for a battery grip, but it is well worth the added comfort! I risked purchasing a cheap, third-party model for a fraction of the cost Canon lists the official ones for and had zero issues. If you’re a professional, you may not want to risk buying an aftermarket model. While I have had no problems with mine, it isn’t perfect. The color of the plastic and rubber grip doesn’t match the camera body exactly, but it’s close. The rubber grip started to peel away near the shutter button. It isn’t noticeable, but if I rub my finger downward, it does detach slightly, but rarely gets in the way. I’ve also experienced battery drain problems when leaving the batteries in the grip, even when the camera is off. I’ve had to remove my batteries when I’m finished snapping photos. The power switch for the battery grip also has no friction. Switching it on or off takes no effort, making me worry about switching it on or off by accident, though this has never been a problem for me yet. I assume the minor issues I’ve experienced with this third-party model don’t exist in the official grip. With respect to this grip working, though, it has never failed me.