Canon 5D Mark II Battery Grips: BG-E6 vs. Third-Party Grips

Canon 5D Mark II Battery Grip

The Canon BG-E6 battery grip serves a couple of different purposes for the 5D Mark II.  As the name implies, it holds batteries – either two LP-E6 lithium-ion batteries or 6 AA batteries in the included battery holder.  Likewise, the BG-E6 serves as a grip for handling the camera in portrait orientation, featuring controls for the shutter release, scroll wheel, and focus point adjustments, among others.

Canon 5D Mark II Battery Grips

The BG-E6 is a nice accessory to have; however, it runs $250.  For some, that’s a little steep for a battery grip.  Third party grips are much more affordable at less than $100, but are they worth the compromise? This question comes up on forums quite a bit and finds its way in my inbox now and then.

In this little exercise, we are going to take a look at the Canon BG-E6 grip and see how a couple of third party grips from Vivitar and Zeikos stack up against it.

[UPDATE:  I’ve supplemented this review with a review of the Vello BG-C2 and BG-C4 grips for the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.]

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Canon 5D Mark II Accessories = Price Gouging?

I noticed that Canon put up the retail prices for the Canon 5D Mark II accessories.  Holy smokes!  I had to double check to make sure I wasn’t on the Canon Australia website.  Sure enough though, it’s US dollars.

Check these out:

  • Battery Charger LC-E6 – $80 (it’s a freaking battery!)
  • Battery Pack LP-E6 – $100 (are you kidding me?)
  • Battery Grip BG-E6 – $380 (the current price of a Rebel XT)
  • Car Battery Charger CBC-E6 – $270 (isn’t this just a battery charger with a different cable?)

I’m a big fan of battery grips, but come on . . . $380!?!  Granted these are retail prices, but these are still off the charts for retail.

I suppose Canon is making the most out of that attractive price point for the 5D Mark II body.  Well, maybe we’re just a couple days or so away from when you can put all these fancy accessories on your new 5D Mark II.

Who’s going to get in line for these accessories?  Which ones are must-haves?