Some Benefits of a Battery Grip:
- Effectively doubles your shooting time! Having a battery grip on your camera allows you to keep an extra battery with you at all times – one that the camera will automatically use when your camera's battery dies. This means you've got twice the battery life, without needing to stop and change batteries in the middle of a shoot. Every photographer's nightmare is being in the middle of a shoot and having your camera battery give out. The last thing you want to tell your client is “Hang on a sec – I'm sure I have some extra batteries around here somewhere…”
- Makes smaller cameras easier to hold for people with big hands. Do you have a little camera and big hands? Do you ever feel like there's no way to get your hands in the right places on your camera because they simply keep bumping in to each other? Having a battery grip gives you more area to hang on to your camera. This way you're not constantly accidentally pushing a button or bumping a setting every time you try to take a shot.
- An extra shutter button when you've turned the camera on its side. When you turn your camera on its side to take a vertical shot, your shutter button moves from the top of the camera where you're used to having it to be on the side. Battery grips have a handy extra shutter button that solves this issue – this way, when you turn the camera on its side you've still got a shutter button on the “top” – right where you're used to!
A few things you should know about battery grips before you buy one:
- You don't have to buy a name brand battery grip. If you look at your camera manufacture's website for a battery grip, the price could be a bit of a shock to your system. Prices range from as low as just over $100 to over $450. That seems like a bit much to keep from needing to switch your battery out! Luckily, you can find cheaper (under $50) third-party battery grips on Amazon (like this one) that will work just as well. Just be sure you get something with good reviews!
- You need a special kind of battery grip for entry-level Nikon DSLRs. Entry-level Nikon DSLRs don't have shutter contacts, so you need a wire connecting the grip to the camera so that you can use the extra shutter button. This battery grip is a good example of something that would work. You can see the small wire that comes with it; aside from that, it's really not much different than the other battery grips.
So is a battery grip vital to your photography? Well, you certainly don't have to have one to take good photographs. But for less than $50, it is a great addition to your tool belt!