Previously, I did a comparison review of battery grips for the Canon 5D Mark II – specifically, the Canon BG-E6 battery grip with third party grips from Zeikos (apparently, no longer available) and Vivitar. My conclusion was that both of the third-party grips performed comparably to the more expensive Canon-branded grip. As a supplement to that review, I’m casting the Vello BG-C2 grip for the Canon 5D Mark II and the Vello BG-C4 battery grip for the Canon 7D into the comparison.
If you are unfamiliar with what battery grips do, they serve a couple of functions. As the name implies, they hold batteries. Instead of just a single battery that the 5D Mark II and 7D normally hold, battery grips allow you to put two of the Canon LP-E6 batteries inside your camera.
Likewise, the “grip” part of the function is the addition of a grip along the bottom of the camera body that allows you to hold the camera more conveniently in portrait/vertical orientation. Battery grips include controls for the shutter release, scroll wheel, and focus point adjustments, among others.
As with the other third-party grips, the Vello grips are not as robust as the genuine Canon grips. That said, the Vello grips feel closer to “factory” in build-quality and texture than the Vivitar and Zeikos grips. The rubberized coating on the front and back of the Vello grip is more like the right-side grip and thumb pad area on the cameras’ bodies (again though, it’s still not quite as “factory” feeling as the genuine Canon model).
The grips ship complete with a battery magazine for 6 AA batteries if you run into a bind and all your Canon LP-E6 batteries are dead.
Functionally, the Vello grip works every bit as well as the genuine Canon models. Manufacturers have apparently caught on to what kind of feel photographers want in a battery grip (i.e., as close to the camera’s right-hand grip as possible) and have nailed the two-stage shutter release for an accurate half-press to focus and full-press to release feel. The Vello grips are even better than the Zeikos and Vivitar models I had previously reviewed.
Likewise, the Vello grips fully support the Battery Info dialogue, which provides you with info concerning the number of shutter actuations for each battery, which side the battery is located inside the grip and the remaining percentage of charge remaining for each battery.
Additionally, you can check registration information for registered batteries and proceed with registration of additional batteries while they are inside the third-party grips. Everything appears to work in the same manner as with the genuine Canon grips attached.
Given the price of the Vello BG-C2 ($70) for the 5D Mark II and the Vello BG-C4 ($65) for the 7D, I have to recommend these to all but the most discerning user looking for the total factory feel and build-quality.
The Vello BG-C2 and BG-C4 battery grips are available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following links:
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