Canon BG-E11 Grip Review

The BG-E11 is hands down the best grip design to ever come from Canon. They’ve made improvements all across the board with ergo and functionality upgrades and build quality. I’ve been getting a little nervous waiting on it as I have some very long 4+ day events coming up and was afraid it wouldnt be released in time.  Since I bought the 5D Mark III body I’ve mostly been using it for studio shoots and small fashion editorial and portrait work now and then…nothing real demanding for battery life or longterm ergo.  Luckily they came through and I found the BG-E11 Grip at Foto Forum in Phoenix.  I bought the 5D III body from them too about 2 months ago, when everyone else was out of stock or hadnt received them yet.  Great guys to work with.

I’ve had a vertical grip for every EOS body I have owned starting with the 10D, 5D Classic, 50D, and now the 5D Mark III.  They always been an accessory I really cannot live without.  The battery life plus the ergo for larger hands and weight balance for larger heavy lenses… it just makes it more comfortable for long term use.  All the previous grips achieved the basics… vertical shutter button and dial, AF point select and FEL buttons.  Until I got this latest grip I never realize I was really missing much.

Improvements with BG-E11:

Integrated battery door holder – No more losing your battery door or remembering to bring it with if you want to remove the grip to reduce size and weight.  Canon incorporated a small holding area where the battery door clips onto the grip and out of the way but easily accessible if you need it.

Ergonomics – The ergo of the new grip matches the improvements of the 5d III body.  More exaggerated molded shape that naturally fits the shape of your hand, more grip to the rubber, the buttons are in the right places.

Battery Magazine – This is a very different change from previous grip designs.  The BG-E11 comes with 2 battery magazines, 1 for holding 6 AA batteries, and 1 for holding 2 LP-E6 Lithium batteries.  The magazines slide in from the side and use a latch very similar to the 1 Series cameras.  I think this is a massive improvement for usability especially when using an anti-twist plate.  With the cameras mounted to my Stroboframe I would always have to remove the camera to open the battery door on the grip.  Having the batteries slide in the side prevents this issue.

Build quality – Magnesium shell, weather sealed buttons, matched durability to the Mark III body. The whole grip feels stiffer then any of the previous ones I’ve owned, much like the camera.  All of the cameras and grips have progressively gotten better, tighter tolerances, better fit and finish and more defined action to everything.

On another note… VERY happy to have my E1 wrist strap back in use after missing it for a few months without the battery grip to attach it to.


I wouldn’t really call them complaints but rather things that are different then what I am used to.

The main dial on the back of the camera is hard to reach if holding the camera vertical by the grip.  There is a very clear indentation where your thumb rests on the grip and it feels slightly un-natural or inconvenient to try and reach upward to the main dial. This makes it slightly more difficult to change the aperture in full manual mode, I am guessing I can probably re-assign a button or two in order to make the dial switch between shutter speed and aperture.

And one other slight nit… the joystick for AF point select is a bit awkward for the same reason regarding thumb resting position.  You kinda have to slide your hand down on the grip or pivot your hand to reach it.  I dont think there is any way around this though.  If they put the joystick anywhere else closer to your thumb it would get accidentally bumped.



About the Author:
Ryan holds a Bachelors in Marketing from Grand Canyon University, graduating on the dean's list. He has been providing professional photography services starting in 2003 and internet marketing services starting in 2007. His experience in specific industries including e-commerce gift/retail, aftermarket automotive industry, and Beauty/Cosmetology education and salon, and high-end designer fashion market provides him with unique insight for practical application of photography as it applies to modern advertising mediums and business needs.

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  1. Steve May 29, 2012 Reply


    Thank you for your detailed pictures of the BG-E11, they answered a couple of questions I had about how the grip loaded the batteries and where the original battery cover would go. Other pictures I’d seen didn’t quite cover those points.


  2. Larry June 01, 2012 Reply

    Ryan, great review – I was wondering one thing – I think this question has been floating around the community for awhile, and that is; does the grip compromise the water resistance of the camera at all? All previous canon grips basically advertise their water resistance for the battery compartment, but there is no seal where the grip attaches to the camera. Did they put any kind of lining there to protect that area of the camera? Thanks!


    • Ryan June 01, 2012 Reply

      Hey Larry, In my opinion the grip and camera mount are pretty similar to previous generations, no added gaskets/seals near the connection from the grip into the body. The body does have a bit of foam sealing for the battery door rest (near inside edge by hinge) and from what I can tell that part of the grip would rest against it much like the standard battery door would; providing some sealing. However, the rest of the fitment for the grip to the body feels much tighter then any other grip I have experienced and Im wondering if anything else is really needed. There is a bit of a lip around the right outside edge and because of the overall tighter fit I dont think its inadequate (considering the design, plus gravity and using common sense). I had my 5D classic in some semi heavy rain fall and misty conditions and was just always careful with it and never had an issue and those hardly had any weather sealing. I think in order for water to get inside this new grip design it would nearly have to be submerged and at that point the rest of the camera would have issues too. Also, the battery magazines have a gasket all the way around the perimeter where it meets the grip itself so that portion is definitely sealed like they advertise.

  3. David Burren August 31, 2012 Reply

    Ryan, nice review.
    The big steps forward in my opinion with this grip is that it has both AF-ON and joystick controls at all. It’s that which is tempting me back to the fold of using a vertical grip.

    For years I used a grip with the D30, then the 10D, then the 20D. Mind you, problems with the BG-E2 for the 20D (and Canon’s inability to fix it after repeated runs through their service department) eventually made me get rid of it, and in my bodies since (30D, 40D, 5DmkII, 7D) I’ve gone without. After they introduced AF-ON on the bodies so I could leave * at its default use but didn’t put an AF-ON button on the grip that was another mark against them. And the reduction in size/weight has been appreciated. However Canon is now drawing me back in with this one!

    It might be nice if the placement of the joystick and rear dial (“QCD”) was orthogonal between each of the grip locations, but not having to reach all the way across to the joystick on the other size of the QCD is a major step forward.

    One point though: with all of these grips Canon has _always_ had the holder for the battery door. In the same basic location, it would be pushed down into the grip and be held in place by a piece of foam. Not a new feature at all.


  4. Daniel July 02, 2013 Reply

    Does it work on a 5D markII?

    • Ryan July 07, 2013 Reply

      No it does not. The BG-E6 is what you need for the Mark II. The BG-E11 is dedicated to the Mark III

  5. Curious August 18, 2013 Reply

    Hi Ryan, I usually refer to your reviews before making a purchase but I do have one question though in regards to thegrip. This is going to be my first grip ever and im just wondering if the magazine is made of plastic? I hope not but if so I hope its not flimsy lol sorry for the stupid question

    • Ryan August 18, 2013 Reply

      No worries, thats a great question. The battery magazine is plastic. I have no reason to believe that it is inadequate though. Its already a pretty heavy setup with the body and grip and the magnesium components that adding more metal would probably make it even worse. The plastic is pretty sturdy and I believe the locking mechanism/latch that secures it is metal.

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