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:
Vello BG-C2 for Canon 5D Mark II
By making your photography purchases at B&H Photo through these links, you are helping Photography Bay to continue bring quality camera tests, news and reviews. Thanks for your continued support.
Alex B says
Odered up one for my 7D this morning. Been eying the factory one for awhile and you convinced me to go with this guy. Should have it Monday!
Eric Reagan says
Sweet Alex. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts once it arrives.
Alex B says
I love being 3 hrs from B&H. My unit arrived. Build quality is excellent. I gotta agree with the rubber coating. It’s a bit smoother compared to the Canon factory coating. Still quite grippy, but the texture is very different. I love the storage slot in the grip for the battery door. The half press focus works perfectly as well. Did some goofball macro shots using the grip and everything looked excellent.
I’m quite happy I saved myself roughly $110 after shipping vs. the factory unit. I can apply that difference towards my lens fund.
Eric Reagan says
Cool Alex. Great to hear your report.
Todd Olsen says
My only complaint about the Vello is that the dial on the right side sticks out more than the Canon counterpart and actually gets a little uncomfortable if you are holding it for any length of time as it digs into the meaty party of the hand when shooting horizontal. If they made it flush with the rest of the right side (like the Canon grips I have for my 40D and 50D), it would be perfect.
I actually am trying to figure out how to pad that area without it becoming more of an annoyance. Other than that, I’m very happy with it and EXTREMELY happy with the huge difference in price.