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Should you get a battery grip?

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For years, I’ve photographed with a battery grip on my cameras. It no longer feels “normal” to hold my camera without one! But why do I insist on having a battery grip, and what benefits does it bring?

What does a battery grip do?

While a battery grip extends your camera, allowing you to add in a second battery, there’s really quite a bit more that it does. It often has a few buttons on it, as well as a shutter button, that you can use for vertical shooting.

This is super helpful if you find yourself switching back and forth between horizontal and vertical orientations.

Depending on the grip you go with, you can customize the buttons to perform extra functions, or mirror the buttons on your camera.

Third-party vs. OEM

Historically, I’ve gone with OEM products, as long as I can afford them. But with the Sony a7 Mark III, that grip is mighty expensive! I was offered a third-party Vello grip in exchange for a review, which is more than $250 cheaper.

And I have to say — I’m happy I went with it.

While you can tell it’s not the OEM version — there’s no Sony logo on it and the buttons don’t have C1 or C2 written in white (instead being embedded as a part of the button). But it does what it’s supposed to do — extend my battery life and help me shoot vertically. And it offers the exact same functionality and button layout as the OEM version.

Sure, it’s not perfect. The rubber on the battery grip doesn’t match perfectly to the a7 Mark III (it’s a bit softer and not as textured). The shutter button seems to require slightly more push to take a picture. But it’s something you can get used to in minutes. The quality is great, and it certainly rivals the OEM version.

Should you get a grip?

If you’re like me, and you photograph lots of events, then definitely. Portrait photographers — this is for you, too.

But grips have their downsides, too. They obviously add to the bulk of your camera, sometimes not fitting inside your favorite backpack that well. And, obviously, it adds a bit of weight to your setup.

For me, though, the benefits outweigh any potential negatives. Having a battery grip means I can photograph faster and be more efficient while on photoshoots.

Thanks to Cathy Seaver for the photos!

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