Tuesday, February 21, 2012

REVIEW: Vello BG-C2 Battery Grip for Canon 5D Mark II–$69.95 at B&H


Vello BG-C2 Battery Grip after being used on my Canon 5D Mark II 

The Canon BG-E6 Battery Grip has been on my wish list for quite some time, but I just couldn’t get myself to spend $235.95 for a battery grip. I loved the Canon battery grip I had on my Rebel XTi years ago, but I just always found a better place to spend $236 bucks.

Now over time people have shown me their cheap knockoffs from China that they bought off eBay, but honestly I don’t like shopping on eBay. Call me old fashioned, but I’d rather work with a retailer I trust (and who will take returns if I’m unhappy). As a result, I never ordered any of these cheap knockoffs.

Recently B&H told me about the Vello BG-C2 Battery Grip for Canon 5D Mark II which is only $69.95 (at the time of this writing), so I thought I’d finally give it a try. After all, it’s only 30% of the cost of the Canon equivalent, so it would really have to suck bad not to make it worth while for the casual shooter.

The Verdict

I’ve included two very crude and mostly untouched shots (only cropping and basic exposure adjustments during RAW processing)  of this grip on my own 5D Mark II so you can get an idea of what it’s like. As you can tell from the photos it looks the part very well. It looks like the real deal and it has the redundant buttons that make it a great addition for portrait shooting.

The question I’ve always wanted to know about these things are:

  1. Does it suck?
  2. Is the plastic really crappy?
  3. How do the buttons feel?

Well, my honest answers are:

  1. If I had the money, I’d get the Canon, but I don’t so this gets the job done.
  2. Yes, it’s typical cheap China plastic, but it should be fine for normal use.
  3. Nothing like the Canon buttons – the Canon buttons have a firmer spring and just feel much better.

That’s the cold hard truth, but there’s another reality – for some this may not matter.

If you are using your camera as a studio camera or you take pretty good care of your gear then I think the quality will be good enough to get the job done. At this price, you could actually go through three of these and still come out ahead of the cost of the Canon grip.

If you are a rough and tumble pro / photojournalist then I’d say this isn’t for you. Of course, I’d say the 5D Mark II isn’t for you either and you' should be carrying around a 1D series body.

So my net verdict is that yeah, it’s a cheapo knock off, but it gets the job done for an unbeatable price. It looks the part very well too, so you’d actually have to use it to tell it apart from the real thing. This means you’re friends will certainly be fooled, so you don’t have to worry about it screaming “knock off”.

Conclusion

If you need a battery grip for your 5D Mark II and can’t justify the Canon BG-E6 Battery Grip, then give the Vello BG-C2 Battery Grip for Canon 5D Mark II. I think you’ll find it gets the job done sufficiently well. If you disagree then B&H has a great return policy so you aren’t screwed like you would be if you bought from eBay.

Personally I’m using mine full time and I feel smart for having a more economical solution than Canon offers.

Click here to learn more about the Vello BG-C2 Battery Grip for Canon 5D Mark II at B&H.

Disclosure

I was sent a unit to review from B&H. If you make a purchase using links in this article, I may get a commission. Thanks for supporting this blog by using my links and sharing this article with your friends.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any idea if the Vello Battery Grip is enough of a Canon clone to be compatible with a Kirk custom plate for the Canon grip?

Ron Martinsen said...

Good question - I can't say for sure as I haven't tried it, but it appears to be a clone of the Canon one so in theory it should just work.

Arturo Ortiz said...

Thanks for the recommendation Ron. I tried the Vello grip, and I found it to be too uncomfortable. After 30 mins of usage, my finger joints were hurting due to the grip. Also, something I didn't think about - the Vello grip is not weather proof like the rest of my equipment, making all of my equipment vulnerable to rain. I ended up returning it to B&H without any issues and got the Canon brand one.