Sony Alpha A7 series Battery Grip

Preface

This is the third and final part of a three part series review of my current camera setup (Sony Alpha A7s, Sony FE 28-70mm 3.5 – 5.6 OSS lense, and Sony A7/A7R/A7s Vertical Battery Grip – VG-C1EM).

Disclaimer: These user reviews are my thoughts & impressions of the equipment from my own perspective/experience using them as a end user. I am not a professional photographer (just a hobbyist) and have no association with Sony or any other company as such. Thus, I will not be doing any technical research/analysis or try to explain the features/technicalities of the camera, if you are after a technical rundown of the camera with in-depth research and analysis, I suggest you have a look at dpreview.com or similar. This review is more or less for the people who have already done their research and are on the fence thinking of making the jump.

Introduction

I’ve been looking at a battery grip for a while now, but neither Canon nor a third party released one for the 100D. So this was one of the requirements I set for my new camera body – it needs to have a battery grip compatible with it.

Why would you want a battery grip? If longer battery life is what you want, you should get a traditional DSLR. And if you want better grip/handling, again get a traditional DSLR.

The answer lies else where – I want a compact and lightweight camera that I can carry around with me. This meant the only option available was mirrorless. And having seen and tried other mirrorless cameras with battery grips, I know from a fact even with the added weight and size of the battery grip, it’s still lighter and more compact than a DSLR without a battery grip.

Weight is a very important aspect one needs to look into when they consider buying their camera gear. Experienced landscape/travel photographers know this very well. Carrying an extra 100/200g for a whole day makes a huge difference, for the casual photographer not-so-much.

What’s in the box

Despite the high price tag, there’s not much in the box, just the battery grip and user manual/papers.

Figure 1. Inside the box.

Design & build quality

The material used to make the battery grip is the same as the A7s camera body and build quality is top notch and thus has been classified as weather-sealed.

There’s really not much to the battery grip;

  • it holds upto 2 batteries (you can use it with just 1 battery inside)
  • uses 1 battery at a time, when one is depleted, it switches over to other battery
  • it remembers the slot rotation even if you take the batteries out and reinsert them back in
  • there’s a switch to turn on/off the buttons/controls on the battery grip
  • the functionality of the buttons and dials are exactly the same as their respective counterparts found on the camera body
Figure 2. Front side of battery grip.
Figure 3. Back side of battery grip.
Figure 4. Battery slot door open.
Figure 5. Shutter button end.
Figure 6. Battery grip attached to camera, front on view.
Figure 7. Battery grip attached to camera, side view.
Figure 8. Battery grip attached to camera, back view.

Conclusion

I find the battery grip greatly helps improves the overall handling of the camera, through the extra weight it brings a more balanced feel to the setup and provides something for the lower part of my palm to rest/hold onto.

The feature I like the most from the battery grip is the extra buttons and dials which allows me to rotate the camera 90 degrees to take portraits without having the need to twist/stretch my hand to reach the shutter button/other controls needed to take the portrait shot.

Unless you seldom use your A7 series camera, I would highly recommend you get a battery grip for it. It certainly beats having to swap batteries during a shoot or day out. But the biggest benefit is the improvement to handling, your hands would love you for getting one.

I opted for the Sony as it is weather-sealed and didn’t pay RRP for it. For others that don’t want or need the weather-sealing, I would recommend taking a serious look at the Meike MK AR7. This battery grip costs 1/3 of the RRP of the Sony one and comes with a wireless remote control.

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