Top positive review
194 of 195 people found this helpful
Completes an already great camera
on November 25, 2009
Why would you need a battery grip? When over a year ago I purchased the battery grip for my 450D ("XSi) I was surprised by how much more I got out of my camera by simply adding a battery grip. It's not the fact that you have twice the amount of battery power - simply getting a second battery pack will do that, and since the grip comes without any batteries, you'll have to purchase that anyway.
No, the best thing about a battery grip is that it literally allows you to get a better grip on your camera. Now, the 7D is somewhat larger than the 450D, and thus this may not be as important to people with smaller hands. But there are more than one reason to add the grip to the 7D: it transforms this great camera into a truly outstanding one:
- first of all, the grip significantly enhances the 7D's handling. Since it is added to the bottom of the camera, it adds some height, making the camera fit your right hand much better. But that's just the beginning. The grip has near-perfect molding (at least for my hand), making holding the 7D so much more comfortable.
- I shoot lots of portraits, and the grip adds shutter button, and main camera controls to the portrait orientation. Being able to hold the camera upright comfortably alone is worth the price of this grip. Again, the mold for this orientation is near perfect.
- (this may look obvious at first, but is often overlooked) you can remove the grip. The reason why I point this out is because with the grip installed, the 7D is very similar in size to the 1D. But if for some reason size or bulk is at a premium, you can take the grip off - something that is impossible with the 1D
- The grip is by no means light, and adds almost 50% of weight to the camera. This is a mixed blessing. The added bulk is noticeable, and on longer field excursions may add some discomfort. On the other hand, it balances the camera better with many of the heavier lenses. The added bulk will prevent you from shooting single-handedly in most situations, as steadying the camera with a mounted L lens now requires significant strength. That being said, the added bulk also makes it less susceptible to small movements, something I discovered to my advantage when shooting with a (non-IS assisted) macro lens.
Energy-wise, the grip is quite cleverly engineered: you can either load one or two battery packs into the grip, and the packs do not have to be charged evenly. You can, therefore, simply take a pack from the grip, load it into the camera, and discard the grip. After a while you can then reload the slightly more drained pack into the grip, and continue shooting with the grip. You can also replace the packs with 6 AA batteries for emergencies. Be carful, though - AA batteries get drained significantly faster than a normal battery pack, and the battery display will not correctly reflect charge status when you use AA.
The grip mounts from below into the 7D's battery bay and tripod mount. The tripod mount is replicated on the bottom of the grip, so you don't lose mountability with the grip installed. Unlike the BG-E5 (the grip for the EOS 450) this grip has much better weather sealing, making me much more comfortable using the 7D in weather. Also like the E5, this grip's 'On/Off' switch does not control power but activates and de-activates the additional (portrait orientation) controls. Battery Pack are conveniently loaded from the back, and do not require a magazine like in the BG-E5. AA batteries do need to be inserted into a magazine first, though.
Although near perfect, the are some minor quibbles I've found:
- there is no way to charge the whole grip with batteries loaded. You have to take the packs out, charge them individually, and then put them back into the grip. Since you can use the grip with only one pack installed this is an inconvenienca rather than annoyance, but still...
- the grip cannot provide power to external flashes. If there is one thing Canon should improve than it is this. I do realize that this would require re-designing the grip - but having a flash feed from the grip would be a godsend, as the batteries in the flash unnecessarily increase bulk.
- the grip's shutter button seems more sensitive than the one on my 7D, causing me to accasionally shoot where I wanted to aquire lock. I would have preferred if both shutters felt the same.
- A battery charge tester in the grip that is usable without turning on the camera (or for that matter: without being installed) would be a welcome addition (the camera *will* tell you the remaining charge)
The battery grip turns the already great 7D into an exceptional camera. Especially if you shoot portraits a lot, this grip will immediately let you wonder how you ever got by without it. Although the improvements in handling are not as dramatic as with the BG-E5 (for the EOS 450/500), I feel it is still significant to warrant purchase. As a 'bonus' feature you get the option of doubling battery power, and even use AA batteries in an emergency. As a whole, I recommend this battery grip to anyone who wants to get more out of their (already great) 7D.