I’ve been using the Vello BG-C9 battergrip for my Canon 5D Mark III for about 9 months and I feel like it is finally time to write a review. I am usually a little slow in writing reviews, but I feel like I can give more honest feedback after a few months of using my gear in the field.
The Vello BG-C9 is the second battery grip attachment I have owned. The first grip was an OEM grip from Canon that I paid a pretty penny for on an earlier dSLR that I had. With my last model, a Canon 40D I skipped the grip because I didn’t want to spend a lot on a grip that while ergonomically was a great feature, was a still expensive.
This time around with a new camera and an urge to shoot more comfortably I decided to try a aftermarket grip from Vello at 99 USD. This seemed like a pretty good deal and worth the experiment when comparing it against the 275 USD BG-E11 Canon grip.
Vello BG-C9 Usability
The Vello grips greatest feature is the additional shutter button that can be used when holding the camera in a vertical portrait orientation. In addition to this shutter button you will also have access to and additional AF-on, exposure lock, and focus point control buttons and an additional dial.
With the grip on shooting in portrait mode you can still relatively easily access the control wheel on the back of the 5D body. Although you will have to stretch your thumb out a little bit farther than you may be used to. This is true with all battery grips so I can’t really fault Vello on this.
The single best advantage of the grip is the comfort you get when shooting in portrait mode and not having to cock your wrist at some crazy angle to release the shutter. This benefit is most obvious when you are in situations where your camera is in portrait mode for extended periods of time. Sporting events come to mind based on my personally experiences. I really appreciated the layout and form factor of the grip when shooting a recent all day bicycle race for example.
Probably the greatest feature of this little grip is the fact that you can store the battery cover door from your camera body inside the grip itself. This means no more losing the battery door cover.
The grip and an extra battery do add additional weight and girth do your camera body. For this reason I do occasionally take off the grip and leave it at home if I am going on a day hike. Disconnecting and reconnecting the grip is simply so changing out the grip doesn’t really bother me.
There are many comments on the web about the lesser build quality of the Vello BG-C9 as compared to the OEM grip from Canon. While I can’t compare directly to the BG-E11, I can say it does feel a little bit ‘plasticky’ as compared to my previous OEM grip. Even so, the shutter releases just fine and the grip still feels solid when attached to the camera body.
In reality I expect a difference in build quality when you are comparing a product at 275 USD and 99 USD. While the Vello grip does feel ‘cheaper’ than a Canon grip, functionally I see no difference.
The Bottom Line Recommendation
If you are looking for a grip to save your wrist this is a great solution at a great price. It is significantly less than the Canon OEM grip, and for the 9 month period I have been using it has not produced any problems. For me this is a great option if you want the comfort factor of an extended grip and you’d rather save that extra money for a new lens.
You’ll find the latest prices over on Amazon: Vello BG-C9 Battery Grip for Canon 5D Mark III