Review: Vello Battery Grip

Categories: Photography, TechReview
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Published on: 2012.02.21

For me, a battery grip is a necessary extra expense, but I cut off as much of that expense as possible by getting third-party grips. In this case, the Vello BG-C6 Battery Grip for the Canon EOS 60D camera.

Related entries:

Review: Canon EOS 60D
What’s the Point of a Battery Grip?

(5 images after the jump)

• What’s In The Box

Vello BG-C6 Battery Grip (Kit)
(Copyright © 2012 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

As with most battery grips, the Vello BG-C6 came with two battery trays. Unlike some, it actually came with a small instruction booklet which is mostly small line drawings. One battery tray holds two LP-E6 batteries or third-party copies. The other battery tray is for six AA batteries. Honestly, I’d rather have a backup for the main tray, since I’ll never use the AA tray except in dire emergencies that I don’t even want to think about.

• Build / Construction

The grip feels solid. When I look inside the grip, I can plainly see metal plate construction — this isn’t just a plastic knock off of the Canon grip; it’s pretty much identical.

One thing that separates this grip from others I’ve used or researched is the storage slot for the camera’s battery compartment door. The slot is on the side of the battery post. (If you haven’t used a battery grip before: the grip’s post slides up into the camera’s battery compartment. For this to work, you have to remove the flip-open door from the camera. With other grips, it’s easy to lose track of the door.)

Vello BG-C6 Battery Grip (Shutter Release)
(Copyright © 2012 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

As pictured above, the grip has the same three buttons from the top-right-back of the camera, as well as a shutter button and a main control dial. When using the grip, my thumb can still reach the thumb wheel on the back of the camera. so turning the camera on its side isn’t much different from shooting in normal orientation.

The only thing that feels “flimsy” (the number one complaint about third-party battery grips) is the locking tab at the end of the battery tray — visible in this image. From opening and closing it just a few times, I’m already confident this will be the first part that breaks.

• Look and Feel

The grip fits snugly on the camera, but it’s pretty obvious where one ends and the other begins. There was no wobble between the two. I think the color and texture match perfectly.

60D With Vello Battery Grip
(Copyright © 2012 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

It feels like part of the camera. The shutter button may not be quite as resistant as the camera’s shutter button, but it’s close. The half-press for auto-focus worked perfectly, which is something of a concern with battery grips.

• Operation

The grip works like any other battery grip. After you’ve removed the camera’s battery and the battery compartment door, the grip’s post slides up into the camera body, locking via thumb screw into the tripod mount of the camera.

There’s an on-off switch on the back of the grip. When it’s in the off position, the camera functions normally but the grip’s buttons don’t work at all. In the on position, nothing changes about the camera’s operation, but all the grip’s buttons become active.

Vello BG-C6 Battery Grip
(Copyright © 2012 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

The four buttons and one dial on the grip behave exactly as their counterparts on the camera body.

• Additional Notes

One bonus, which is likely a feature of the camera rather than the battery grip, is that you can see the total battery power remaining for each battery on the camera’s LCD screen.

Battery Info (Canon 60D)
(Copyright © 2012 by Wil C. Fry. All rights reserved.)

Note the tiny camera icons in that image. Not only is the camera recognizing that a battery grip has been installed, but it’s telling me which battery is which. This can come in handy for knowing which battery to change.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that the grip can function with only one battery in place, if need be.

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