Get a Grip on Your Camera: The Top Battery Grips for Serious Photographers

As an avid photographer, a high-quality battery grip is one camera accessory you don’t want to be without. A grip gives your camera extra power capacity, makes vertical shooting more comfortable, and provides handy duplicate controls when shooting portraits.

While not an essential piece of kit, battery grips offer some clear benefits that can elevate your photography game. If you find yourself constantly annoyed by short battery life or awkward handling when shooting vertically, it may be time to get a grip.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be looking at the top grips on the market to suit every budget and camera brand. We’ll also discuss what to consider when choosing a grip and answer some common questions photographers have.

Whether you’re shooting weddings, sports, nature, or portraits, a battery grip can take your work to the next level. Let’s jump in!

Top 5 Camera Battery Grips

There are grips made specifically for just about every popular DSLR and mirrorless camera model. Here we cover some of the best rated and most popular options.

1. Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip for EOS R5 and R6 Cameras

If you’re a Canon EOS R5 or R6 shooter, then the Canon BG-E20 battery grip is a must-have accessory. Here are some of its best features:

  • Designed exclusively for the EOS R5 and R6 full frame cameras
  • Integrates seamlessly and retains the camera’s weather sealing
  • Holds up to two LP-E6NH batteries for double the shooting capacity
  • Provides a comfortable grip for vertical shooting
  • Duplicates key controls including the shutter button, AE lock/AF-ON button, and control dials
  • Sturdy magnesium alloy construction

This grip feels like a natural extension of the EOS R5/R6 bodies. The hand strap provides a secure hold and its carefully designed contours allow a comfortable and ergonomic grip when shooting vertically. The only downside is the relatively high price. But for Canon’s latest mirrorless flagships, the BG-E20 is an ideal grip choice.

2. Meike MK-A9 Pro Battery Grip for Fujifilm X-T3/X-T4

Fujifilm’s X-T series has been a hit with enthusiasts and pros, and the Meike MK-A9 grip gives these compact cameras some extra stamina:

  • Specifically designed for the X-T3 and X-T4 mirrorless cameras
  • Weather sealed metal construction
  • Holds up to two extra NP-W126S batteries for extended runtime
  • Controls on the grip mirror the native camera including the command dial and joystick
  • Comfortable grip and perfectly placed shutter button for vertical shooting
  • Integrated Arca-type tripod mount

This grip handles similarly to Fujifilm’s own offerings but at a more affordable price point. Its form-fitting ergonomic design and textured rubberized grip feels great in the hand. The locking wheel ensures firm attachment to the camera body. While it lacks space for extra memory cards, the MK-A9 Pro ticks all the other essential boxes.

3. Neewer NB-2LH Battery Grip for Canon 5D Mark III

If you still shoot with the venerable Canon 5D Mark III DSLR, then you can’t go past the Neewer NB-2LH as an affordable grip option:

  • Specially made for the 5D Mark III,not compatible with other Canon models
  • Holds up to two LP-E6 battery packs for extended shooting
  • Provides vertical shooting controls including the AF-ON button
  • Made of lightweight plastic which keeps the weight down
  • Much more affordable than Canon’s version while getting the job done

While all-plastic construction means it’s not as rugged as pricier grips, it provides an undeniable upgrade in comfort and control over just using the 5D Mark III bare-handed. For general shooting it’s a great value option. Just don’t expect weather sealing at this price point.

4. JJC JG-GXT3 Battery Grip for Fujifilm X-T2 and X-T3

This versatile grip by JJC brings extended operation to two popular Fujifilm mirrorless models:

  • Designed for the X-T2 and X-T3 APS-C cameras
  • Holds 1-2 extra NP-W126S batteries safely
  • Controls duplicate the camera including command dials, joystick, and AE-L button
  • Stable tripod mounting point on bottom
  • Textured handling surfaces for a secure grip
  • Fits tightly to each camera with no movement or play

Fujifilm shooters praise this grip for providing a perfect fit with no light leakage or wiggle. The thoughtful inclusion of a hand strap is great for keeping your grip secure when moving around. It may lack some advanced features like a storage slot, but the JG-GXT3 gets high marks where it counts most.

5. Vello BG-N19 Battery Grip for Nikon D7500

Nikon’s mid-range D7500 DSLR gets some extra juice with the Vello BG-N19:

  • Designed exclusively for the Nikon D7500 DX DSLR
  • Holds up to two EN-EL15a battery packs
  • Controls accessible in vertical position include the AE-L button and shutter speed adjustment dial
  • Slender, low profile design adds minimal bulk
  • Sturdy but lightweight construction
  • Extremely affordable price point

This is one of the sleekest and most budget-friendly battery grips out there. While the plastic build doesn’t feel quite as robust as some, users praise the BG-N19 for adding very little weight while making vertical shooting much more practical. If you want a simple, cost-effective grip for your D7500, this fits the bill nicely.

How to Choose the Best Battery Grip for Your Camera

The range of grips available today can make choosing the right one tricky. Here are some of the key factors to keep in mind as you shop:

Consider Your Camera Make and Model

The first vital thing is ensuring a grip is designed for your specific camera. While some third party grips cover multiple models, most are made for one camera only. Always double check compatibility before purchasing to avoid disappointment.

Assess Ergonomics and Control Layout

A good grip needs to feel like a natural extension of your camera in hand – not an awkward add-on. When shooting vertically, your key shooting controls should be accessible without uncomfortable hand gymnastics. Evaluate whether the duplicate buttons and dials are thoughtfully placed.

Look for Weather Sealing

One benefit of higher end grips is they maintain the camera’s weather sealing when attached. This keeps out moisture and dust. If your camera body is weather sealed and you shoot outdoors often, try to find a corresponding grip that delivers matching protection. Cheaper grips likely won’t be sealed.

Consider Shooting Time Needs

Battery grips let you insert one or two extra battery packs. This can double or triple your shooting capacity before needing to swap batteries. Consider your needs: if you mostly do short sessions, a single battery grip could be fine. For all-day events, dual-battery provides maximum endurance.

Assess Build Quality and Construction

The very cheapest grips are all plastic, which cuts costs but lacks durability over the long term. Higher end grips feature metal parts (often magnesium alloy) for enhanced toughness. If the grip feels flimsy or has loose parts, keep looking! You want something precision-made.

Look for Extra Features (Or Lack Thereof)

Some high end grips go beyond just holding batteries and provide storage space for extra memory cards and batteries. While convenient, this isn’t an essential feature. Consider if you really need these extras or if a simpler grip does the job.

Factor in Pricing

Expect to spend between $100 to $400+ on a quality grip. The most affordable models are made by third party accessory makers, while grips from your camera’s manufacturer sit at the top end. Premium branded grips offer outstanding integration and construction, but cost more.

Consider Your Shooting Style

If you frequently photograph models, weddings, or sports and find yourself needing to shoot vertically, a good grip becomes tremendously useful. The comfort and stability it provides makes framing photos much easier. For those who rarely go vertical, a grip may be less of a priority.

Assess Tripod Usage

One oft-overlooked aspect of grips is that they provide an extra mounting point for tripod attachment when shooting in portrait orientation. If you use a tripod regularly, having this alternative mounting option makes setup much easier.

Evaluate Size and Weight

While grips provide a beefier handhold, the added bulk could be a concern. Make sure you are comfortable carrying and using the camera with the grip attached. Consider your current rig and lenses. If already heavy, keep the grip slender and lightweight.

Read Reviews

Don’t decide purely on specs and features. Dive into customer reviews and user impressions to get a better idea of real-world performance. Look for consistent feedback on things like battery performance, ergonomics, and weather sealing. This can reveal shortcomings the specs don’t tell you.

Check the Warranty

Many third party grips come with a 1 year warranty. Some even provide 2 years of coverage. This protects you if anything goes wrong. Aim for a longer warranty if possible – it shows the company has faith in their manufacturing quality.

Battery Grip FAQs

Here we’ll tackle some of the most frequently asked questions photographers have about purchasing and using camera battery grips:

Do I Really Need a Battery Grip for My Camera?

For many users, the standard grip of their DSLR or mirrorless camera works just fine. However, grips become very useful in the following situations:

  • You take lots of vertical/portrait photos
  • You need to extend shooting time for long events like weddings
  • You shoot videos for long stretches
  • You use large telephoto lenses that are heavy to hold vertically
  • You simply want a sturdier, comfier grip for handholding

If any of these cases apply to you, a quality grip is a worthwhile add-on. Otherwise, the built-in grip on your camera may be sufficient.

Will Using a Battery Grip Damage My Camera?

Absolutely not. As long as you purchase a grip designed specifically for your camera make and model, it will integrate seamlessly without causing any harm. The contacts, connectors, and mount points are all engineered to safely fit your camera.

Cheap generic grips that don’t specifically list your camera in the compatibility specs do risk damaging your equipment. Stay away from grips that are vaguely listed as “for Canon DSLRs” or “for Nikon cameras.” Make sure your exact model is supported.

What’s the Proper Way to Mount and Unmount a Battery Grip?

Refer to the instruction manual provided with the grip for model-specific guidance. In general, grips attach via a locking pin or screw dial designed to keep the unit tightly mated with the camera. Make sure this attaching point is properly seated and secured.

When detaching, avoid simply pulling or forcing the grip to separate. Locate the release switch or dial and ensure it is disengaged before gently removing the grip away from the body. Don’t wedge tools or excessive force which could damage the mounting point.

Can I Just Leave the Battery Grip Permanently Attached?

Absolutely! In fact most photographers using a grip will leave it on the majority of the time. Detaching grips constantly can introduce dust and debris into the connector point.

The key advantages of keeping it mounted are convenience (no need to attach/remove) and reduced dust risk. Just be aware of the extra weight and bulk when carrying the camera around. Some photogs do detach when they want a lighter setup.

Is It Necessary to Turn Off the Camera When Removing the Grip?

Turning off the camera before removing the battery grip is recommended, but not 100% required. Once detached, the electrical contact points will disconnect and the camera will switch seamlessly to drawing power from its internal battery.

Most cameras and grips today handle this process well with no issues. However, best practice is to shut down first before detaching the grip. This avoids any small power spikes or disruptions during the disconnect process.

Does Using Two Batteries Put Extra Strain on the Camera?

Absolutely not. The camera’s power management circuitry is designed to draw only the electrical current required for operation – no more, no less. Having two batteries loaded in the grip simply provides much longer runtime before needing to swap them out.

There are no worries about “overpowering” your camera or supplying more voltage than it needs – there are protections built in. The dual battery setup does not provide higher voltage, just extended operating time. Think of it like having a bigger gas tank in your car.

How Can I Check the Remaining Power in Each Battery With a Grip?

Unfortunately, most battery grips only show the combined charge level rather than the individual percentage remaining in each battery. So if your grip shows 50% capacity left, this refers to the total power – not each battery.

Some higher end grips will show charge remaining for each battery separately. However, in most cases, you’ll need to check each battery individually after removing it from the grip. If you want to monitor each battery’s status, remove them periodically to check.

Is It Okay to Use Batteries With Different Charge Levels in the Grip?

It’s totally fine to use batteries that have unequal remaining charge in the two grip slots. For example, you can insert one fully charged battery and pair it with a half-depleted one.

The camera is smart enough to efficiently draw power from both batteries based on their charge level. In general it will deplete the higher charged battery first to balance usage. Just be sure both batteries are the same model and meet the voltage requirements.

Should I Charge My Camera Batteries While They’re in the Grip, or Separately?

It’s equally safe to charge your camera batteries while they’re loaded in the grip, or to remove them first before charging. The charging circuitry works properly in either case.

Charging the batteries in the grip is convenient as you don’t have to remove them. However, an advantage of taking them out first is that most chargers can charge two batteries simultaneously. The charging port on your grip likely only charges one battery at a time.

How Weather Sealed is a Camera Grip Compared to the Camera Body Itself?

For high end grips designed specifically for your camera model, they will provide equivalent weather and dust sealing when attached to the body. So if your camera is already well-sealed, the mated grip maintains that protection.

Cheap third party grips that aren’t model-specific will offer little if any weather sealing. You lose the protective advantage for outdoor shooting. With an underwater housing, the grip’s sealing is irrelevant, since the housing provides the protection.

Get the Right Grip – Take Your Photography Higher

Hopefully this guide has given you a solid feel for what to look for when shopping for a camera battery grip. While not a required accessory, for certain photographers and shooting styles a quality grip can be a game-changer.

If you need to boost your operating time for events and trips, regularly shoot vertical portraits, or simply want that sturdier pro-camera feel, consider an upgrade. Holding the grip for the first time may just convince you!

When purchasing a battery grip, take care to select one precision-engineered for your specific camera’s make and model. Avoid generic grips that lack design for your body. This ensures ideal fit, function, and dependability.

While it takes some research, finding the right grip can comfortably double your shooting duration and enhance handling – allowing you to fully focus on getting amazing shots.

So equip yourself with this battery boosting, hand-holding accessory and take your photography to greater heights! Your next epic shoot awaits.

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