I just bought a battery grip for my Canon Rebel XTi a few weeks ago, and so far, I absolutely love it. It’s a great addition considering how little I paid for it.
Those of you now looking at the price of said battery grip on your favorite photography website will probably see a price around $250 – not exactly a cheap investment for the photographer on a budget. Thankfully, if you’re cheap like me, you can find 3rd party brands on bargain sites or eBay. I did the latter, and got a grip and two new batteries for $50, including shipping.
The grip serves a few purposes. First, because it has button duplicates on it’s side, it’s great for portraits. No more twisting your arm uncomfortably to get the camera aligned! Secondly, they typically hold two batteries instead of just one. With good enough batteries, I’ve heard of a few people getting up to 2400 shots off of the grip between chargings. As an extra ‘bonus’, people will instantly think your camera is much better than it actually is!
With the additional battery and mass on the bottom of the camera, there is the side effect of the extra weight; expect about a 500g increase. While it doesn’t sound like much, you’ll notice. Although some people may look at this as a burden, I look at it as an improvement. That extra weight increases the camera’s inertia, helping to steady your shot and get sharper shots.
The other feature I like about the grip is the extra AA battery cartridge included with it. Say, for example, that you’re out on a photo shoot and forgot to charge your batteries. All you do is put 6 AA batteries in the supplied cartridge, put it in your camera, and away you go! Granted, they won’t last for long, but it’s a great backup when you’re in a pinch.
I think it’s definitely something that every serious SLR photographer should pick up. The combined worth of the grip and batteries is far more than what I paid for them.