My new Nikon D7000 Battery Grip!
As I continue with my photography, I am always trying to find ways to perfect my technique or maximize my comfort from shooting and carrying gear all day. In the last few years, I never considered a high-end DX-format DSLR. Why, you ask? I assumed that the camera body itself would be too big for my hands. I also felt that the camera would be too heavy to carry for long periods of time. That was basically the reason I was hesitant to upgrade from my first DSLR, a Nikon D70, to Ben’s Nikon D300.
Ultimately, I didn’t end up getting Ben’s hand-me-down camera. I purchased the Nikon D7000 instead, staying close in size and weight to my old D70. But over time, I have built up more strength in my arms and shoulders (thanks to kung fu) to withstand a little more weight. Also, I realize that taking photos in portrait orientation can be awkward and unstable after a while with my camera. As a result, I started researching battery grips.
Battery grips are ideal for many reasons. First, they provide the photographer with an extra battery to use, therefore extending the battery life of the camera before having to recharge. Another benefit is the ability to have a side grip to better hold the camera in portrait orientation. There are vertical camera controls on the grip to achieve this. Another use is that the grip may help balance the camera better with heavier lenses. With my Tamron 70-300mm lens being over 1 1/2 lb., the grip may help with hand stability.
I compared multiple battery grips, including the Nikon MB-D11. Although this grip is made by Nikon, I could not justify the price of $220! Again, I try to be budget-minded with this expensive hobby, and try to purchase third party and used Nikon lenses. So I settled on the Vello BG-N4 Battery Grip. This is sold directly from B&H Photo, one of my favorite photography stores. The grip received positive reviews, and the vertical controls operate in the same direction as the Nikon body (many third-party grips have reverse direction for turning, which would drive me nutty). And the price - only $70! Even used Nikon grips on Craigslist aren’t that low. With B&H’s 30-day return policy, and the product’s one-year warranty, I figured I’d try it out.
And the verdict…. it’s a keeper! It takes a little getting used to, but the grip does make a difference in taking vertical shots. This will be put to the test for indoor concerts where I want to take photos in very tight, crowded spaces. The grip is tight and flush with the camera body (many complaints exist about grips being loose and having to use tape or a washer to fix the problem).
Do I have any gripes? Well, it does weight a little more, adding half a pound to the overall weight of my camera. Not a big deal, because I can manage it better compared to a couple of years ago. My other complaint is that the grip attached to my camera results in the camera taking up more space. You don’t fully realize that until you try to pack it in your camera bags. I have to position the camera differently now in my Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag, but thankfully it barely fits and I don’t have to buy the next size up in camera bag. Whew!
The coolest thing about this grip? It makes the Nikon D7000 look like a pro camera. When shooting with this combo of camera body and grip, I look like a professional photographer. Pretty sweet!