It’s been a long time since I’ve even thought about adding a grip to my DSLR. I normally like to keep the cameras small and lightweight, and honestly since I killed 2 of them on my 5D Mark ii I didn’t think they were worth the money. Thankfully I revisited the idea and I’m glad I did.
Canon BG-E11 mounted on Canon 5DS with Canon 35mm 1.4 II
Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip Introduction
There are really only 2 good reasons to add a grip to your camera. The first is the added battery power it gives you, a second battery obviously doubles the shooting time before having to recharge. The second advantage is the addition of another shutter release that makes shooting vertically much more natural feeling. A third and possibly silly or vain advantage is the transformation of your camera into a full sized ‘more pro’ looking unit. This could also be seen as a huge disadvantage, the addition of bulk and weight to the camera. Not something that’s too noticeable, but for some it will be a deal breaker. One neat little trick that you should definitely follow is to tuck your battery cover into the neat little slot for it in the grip, so that in a few months when you want to switch back to the old setup, you don’t have to hunt through boxes of gadgets to find the little battery door.
Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip Pros
- Added Battery Life
Let’s go back to the initial advantage of added battery life. This was never really a concern with my 5D mark iii, I normally found that even half a battery would last me a day at least. The Canon 5DS however runs through the batteries at a much swifter pace, so fast that I’ve been caught offsite with much less power than I’ve felt comfortable with. Thankfully another battery puts me easily into the safe zone. This is possible a good time to mention that off brand batteries may work fine with a Canon 5DS, but the camera no longer gives you a read on battery life. I guess Canon have added some chip or feature that blocks that info from being read. A minor annoyance, but one that can play into the battery choice for the grip.
- Vertical Position Shutter Release Button
Some people get very used to holding a standard DSLR in the vertical position, waving your elbow in the air to get comfortable. Working a press line makes you feel ver self conscious about any protruding limbs. The back row will start heckling anyone waving elbows. You also realize when you shoot with a Canon 1DX or older pro body, that it’s kind of nice to just rotate a square body and remain in the same shooting position to take portrait images. The Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip lets you remain in exactly the same shooting position for both landscape and portrait.
Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip Cons
- Vertical Position Control Buttons & Dial
The position of the rear joystick that controls the focus point and other desired actions is not in the most comfortable spot, especially if you’re used to shooting with the Canon 1DX. I suppose you get used to it, or it would be easy to get used to if its your only grip, but it just does quite feel right.
- Screw Mount to camera
The screw mount into the tripod socket is pretty secure, but is the only point of attachment for the whole grip. I’ve found that if you use tripod mounted straps that this point of contact isn’t really enough. I’ve stripped it a few times on the older model with my 5D Mark ii and it looks likely to happen again if I was to go back to my Black Rapid straps.
Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip Conclusion
There are only a few options to add battery power and a vertical shooting position to your 5DS, and this one’s the best one for sure. All the off brand options get pretty bad reviews and are prone to malfunction. It’s not always a good idea to save a few dollars, don’t they say “Buy cheap, buy twice.”