The battery grip is a great accessory for an SLR: not only does it allow you to plug in two batteries to your camera, but it also helps give you a much better grip on the camera, making it easier to handle.
But, there’s at least one situation where you should avoid using this great accessory: whenever you’re shooting handheld.
Yeah, yeah.. I know, “always use a tripod.” But, there are times when it’s just not possible to use a tripod, like when you’re trying to photograph birds in flight. In these situations, you’ll likely be changing camera positions pretty quickly.
This might not make sense at first: isn’t the battery grip supposed to help you hold the camera? Well, it certainly does that, but it also adds a significant amount of weight to your camera, which makes it harder to hold still when it’s off a tripod. I never really noticed how much of a difference it makes until I went out photographing hawks in flight with my dad.
My dad doesn’t use battery grips on his cameras, and I never took mine off before, so when I picked up his Canon 50D with a 400mm lens on it, I almost felt like I was holding a feather in comparison to my Canon 5D with a battery grip and metal L-plate attached.
The bottom line with handholding a camera is that the less weight you have in your hands, the more stable you’ll be able to hold that camera (especially if you’re holding it for any length of time). And, as you know, getting sharp photos isn’t just about a still subject, but equally important is a still camera 🙂
If you enjoyed this article, and would like to read more, please signup for free updates by email or RSS.
About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California.