One recent morning I got a call from the Iraqi Football Association to cover their match against China here in Shenzhen. Having shot with a Canon battery grip for 5 years, I thought this would be a good chance to put it up against our own Aputure Battery Grip. So I rented a couple of telephoto lenses and headed off to the match.
5 years ago when I was on the market for a battery grip, I tried an obscure 3rd party brand. It neither screwed on easily nor sat flush with the base of the camera, so I splurged and bought an original Canon battery grip. Over the years it has served me well (from 30D to 40D to 50D), never failing in the field, with perhaps my only gripe being the size of the grip when shooting vertically. It feels nice and balanced when shooting with large and heavy lenses, and your rig never fails to impress clients.
For the match, I shot the 50D with the Canon grip and 100-400L. I shot the 60D with an Aputure Battery Grip and a 70-200 2.8L. Both cameras got about equal play during the match, with perhaps the 60D getting a few more shots, and more in vertical position. See the shots here.
Unlike the first no-name brand I tried 5 years ago, the Aputure grip fit snugly on the camera without any hint of creaks. It has nice big buttons with good sensitivity. There is an on/off button to avoid adjusting settings while shooting horizontally. The included AA battery pack did not work (maybe it was my batteries) but the lithium battery pack worked fine. One thing I like about the 60D grip over the 50D grip is the size, it fits better in my hands. It also has a softer rubber coating, as the Canon is more slippery.
The Aputure grip performed as good as I hoped it would. I think the Canon edges it out overall. But given the price differential and the near equal build quality, if I were in the market now, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy an Aputure grip over the original. Stay tuned for more about the football match in the near future.
Jesse Warren is a battery gripping photographer based in Shenzhen, China, where he also works for Aputure.