Photography 101 – Battery Grip

Written by:

I recently purchased an Opteka Battery Pack Grip / Vertical Shutter Release for my Canon Digital Rebel. The addition of this device greatly extends the battery life of the camera. It also has a vertical shutter release, which means when I am shooting in portrait mode I can hold the camera normally (i.e. with my hands on either side of the camera, instead of top/bottom).

This is my first time working with a battery grip, so I thought I would share with you all the mechanics of this device. Since I am taking pictures of my primary camera, I’m using my little Sony Cybershot for the purposes of this article. And, in the interest of full disclosure, it turned out that I purchased the wrong grip for my camera. The one I bought, pictured here, fits a Digital Rebel XS, XSi and T1i. The one I NEED is this one for a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi & Rebel XT. Ah well, live and learn.

At any rate, this is what comes in the kit – an LPE5 battery pack, a AA battery pack, the grip, and two LPE5 batteries. Note that the battery charger is not included.

The batteries fit into the slider, like so:

Then the slider fits into the battery grip, like so:

In order to install the battery grip onto the camera, first you have to remove the camera’s battery:

Then remove the battery chamber door by sliding the tiny screw I’m pointing at over to the left, then lifting the door off:

This is the part where I had to find some photos to demonstrate the rest, as my new grip isn’t here yet. The grip assembly slides into the camera’s battery chamber and locks into place. It adds a couple of extra inches to the profile of the camera, and of course adds some weight as well. It has a tripod mount on the bottom, the shutter release button, and buttons for AE lock, AF point selector, aperture value, shutter, plus a dial.

This is what it looks like with the grip attached and ready to go:

You can see in this shot how the Vertical Shutter Release works for portrait-oriented shots:

With the addition of a battery pack you can enjoy a much greater extension of shooting life between charges. This is helpful if you’re using a lens with stabilization, or internal/external flash combinations, both of which use up a lot of battery life. Just, well, be sure you’re buying the right one for your camera! Sigh.

Photo credits (in order of appearance):
- First six battery grip assembly shots – Tiffany Joyce.
- “1Ds vs 40D / BG-E2N” by spacemunkie on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Canon EOS 350D and me” by Rudolf Schuba on Flickr Creative Commons.

Previous Post:

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/L4APFCVLCIDZGKJKFPIGLKWFPY Lance

    Yes, a battery grip is a great addition to my Canon EOS 500D. I bought mine through eBay. It is a Travor DSLR Battery Grip and can be seen by searching eBay or on my Flickr Photostream:
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/degilbo_on_flickr/4339348101/in/set-72157622879066766/]
    It makes the camera a more solid, balanced piece of equipment. The portrait mode keeps my hands in a comfortable position. Having two batteries in the grip makes the power last a lot longer. I doubt very much if I will ever remove it from the camera.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/L4APFCVLCIDZGKJKFPIGLKWFPY Lance

    Yes, the battery grip is a great addition to my Canon EOS 500D. I purchased one through eBay – a Travor DSLR Battery Grip, which a search of eBay will reveal is still available. It makes the camera a more solid, balanced piece of equipment. The portrait mode feature places the camera more comfortably in my hands. Battery life is enhanced with the addition of an extra battery to the grip. Fitting it was relatively simple. There is even a spot in the grip for a place to safely store the lid from the camera's battery compartment so that it never gets displaced (or lost!). Even with the battery grip and its two batteries on the camera, I have been able to operate it relatively easy in one hand (for self-portraits :-) ). I have become so accustomed to it, I can't see myself ever removing it from the camera.

  • http://bc-murray.blogspot.com Corina

    LOL i could use the battery grip for the canon xs….i'm just sayin….

  • Dennis

    I've had bad experiences with two or three non-brand grips. Be sure and let us know if your new one syncs up with the Canon properly after you get to try it out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vtphotopro Richard D. Cole

    Having owned both Canon brand battery grips and third party grips… I tell all of my students to stick with the Canon grips. On some of the third party grips the vertical shutter release is IR, not via electrical contacts… and this means you have to put the camera in timer/remote mode to shoot with the vertical grip.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vtphotopro Richard D. Cole

    Having owned both Canon brand battery grips and third party grips… I tell all of my students to stick with the Canon grips. On some of the third party grips the vertical shutter release is IR, not via electrical contacts… and this means you have to put the camera in timer/remote mode to shoot with the vertical grip.