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.