T2i / 550D knock-off battery grip review Part 4: Essential DSLR accessories
A few days ago I finally received my knock-off battery grip for my Canon T2i/550D. I personally think that there are lots of parts where you should go with the original, but I have made good experiences with knock-off battery grips for other cameras in the past and I simply don’t accept paying three times as much for something as simple as this.
I have seen both the original Canon as well as several knock-off battery grips for the T2i/550D before I decided to go with a knock-off, and the differences were minimal.
So why use a battery grip after all?
One of the most annoying features of the T2i/550D is its relatively small and light body. If you put a normal full-frame lenses on it (like I do all the time with my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 standard zoom) it becomes very front-heavy. With this lens in particular it’s even more annoying as it’s almost twice the weight of the camera body itself, and the bottom of its barrel goes further down than the bottom end of the camera body. So if you put it on a flat surface, the camera will rest on the barrel instead of the camera – therefore making it impossible to operate the focus or even shoot anything with it without jacking the body up on something.
Also due to its small body, the T2i is not comfortable to hold when you have normal sized hands. I have quite large hands and I guess that makes it even more annoying. I was particularly unnerved when I was constantly switching between Philip Bloom’s 5D Mark II and my 550D on my behind-the-scenes shoot for Lucasfilm’s RED TAILS last month. While taking practically identically video to the Canon 7D, the T2i/550D has a really plasticky body in comparison. The 5D Mark II has of course also a much more professional body.
That – by the way – is the reason why I keep telling 7D owners that they don’t need to worry that they overspent by buying the more expensive DSLR. The built quality is the main differentiating factor (as is the faster image processing in the 7D) between the 550D and 7D. In fact, I’ve heard several 7D owners say that they have let their 7D out in the open when it was freezing, and the camera held up. I don’t think the 550D would take this kind of beating.
So let’s get back to handling: To sum it up, I think a battery grip is an essential piece of kit with any T2i/550D. But handling issues are not the only reason why I think it’s a must-buy:
AA battery option
Apart from taking two LP-E8 (or compatible) batteries, most battery grips have the added option of taking 6 AA batteries – which is incredibly handy. It uses a second tray for holding these batteries – both of them are supplied with the battery grip.
I always carry at least one set of backup AA batteries with me if I should ever run out of charged LP-E8 (or compatible) batteries.
eneloop – the essential rechargeable battery
Even better than expensive AA batteries are rechargeable AA’s. Now you’ve probably made the same bad experiences with them I did too – most rechargeable AA batteries don’t hold up too well with electronic devices that require a relatively high current like these DSLRs. But, however, somebody recommended to try Sanyo’s “eneloop” brand.
I can’t tell you how awestruck I was when I first realized how great they performed: I don’t think there is anything comparable to them on the market (if so, please let me know in the comments!). The great thing about them is that they not only perform well and for long hours, but they also seem to be able to remain charged for long periods of time.
I just tested for how long the camera would run using 6 of these eneloops in the battery grip, the result: 2 hours and 40 minutes! That’s almost twice as long as you get out of an original Canon LP-E8. Not bad at all!
I always use them with my incredible LitePanel Micro, a dimmable LED top light that I don’t leave the house without when I have a camera like the 550D (or larger) on me. I quite often find myself leaving it in the camera bag for weeks unused, and then suddenly, there’s some kind of night shoot where I need it for hours. What can I say – the eneloops just do what they are supposed to do, they give you 1.5 hours of battery life if you use the LitePanel Micro at its maximum brightness. Simply incredible – some of the best standard AA’s on the market (non-rechargeable) only lasted for a bit more than an hour when I tried them with the LitePanel.
Added buttons for still photographers
For those also taking stills with there 550D’s it will also be interesting to know that the battery grip adds some buttons to the camera – a second release button for comfortably taking stills in portrait mode, as well as an additional selection wheel and additional zoom buttons.
A battery grip might be an issue with some of the available viewfinder solutions that attach to the bottom of the camera, but these issues are usually resolvable. Zacuto offers special frames that make it possible to use its new baseplate mount for the Z-Finder with cameras that are using battery grips as well.
Something also easily overlooked is the annoying position of the battery compartment on the T2i/550D. In some cases, you need to take the tripod plate off the camera to exchange batteries. In any case, you are required to take the camera off the tripod, which takes time and is annoying as well, especially if you are in the middle of a shot. The battery grip enables you to just slide the AA or LP-E8 compartment out and put fresh batteries in. Done.
I am looking forward to using this battery grip on any future productions with my 550D. It simply makes it a better camera – and it pimps up the looks of this otherwise inconspicuous DSLR as well, which isn’t a bad thing.
Due to multiple requests, here is the knock-off 7D battery grip as well:
7D knock-off battery grip on Amazon.com / Amazon.de / Amazon.co.uk.
Thanks for supporting my blog through using these links! It sure helps a bit, greatly appreciated.
Excellent review. I always purchase the battery grip with each new Canon dslr I purchase (5D2, 7D, 40D, etc) for all the reasons you give above. Especially handy for video shooting are the two batteries together (for endurance), plus the fast swap-out possible for fresh batteries when req’d.
The knock-off grips are a great value. I agree that the Canon grips are WAY too expensive!!!
Definitely getting this soon. Got a shoot coming up that allows me budget to buy extra gear.. so I am stoked to get this!
Thanks for the info on the battery grip for the T2i. I wanted a grip but not at the Canon price.
Thanks for writing this review man! Helps out a lot with my problem deciding between official Canon accessories and 3rd-party products.
Once I get a grip for my 7D, I’ll let you know of my final thoughts on it.
Thanks for the review Man!
Cool Review. Thanks for that.
One thing thou. Could you please meassure the length from the Bottom to the loverst point of the Lens? I use a dfocus and my “fear” is that it’s to small to mount under the Battery Grip…
Thanks in advance,
Great review! Thank for this!
What do you think of the battery grips with integrated intervalometer? Would make it possible to shoot timelapses everywhere without carrying my remote cord with me.
they are great. a bit tricky in setting up the interval-values, normally. but i loved the one i had on my 40d.
didn’t manage to find one for the 7d, though. too early, maybe
Nino, love your reviews. Thanks for what you do. Do you think that there is enough room between the grip and the camera body to sandwich the z-finder jr.’s mounting arm? Or will this pull the contacts too far out?
Nino, great review! Have you heard anything about an LCD grip for the T2i yet with the intervalometer built in? I’ve seen these for the T1i and they are a great value, so I’m trying to hold out for one of these (which is very hard when these are only $60!)
Hi Nino. Thanks for this very interesting review. It reminds me to another issue I’d like to ask you: when you are outside the continental Europe (in the UK, for example) do you use a particular universal plug adapter to recharge batteries and other rechargeable stuff or a simple “local” electric plug adapter?
Quick question, does the generic brand battery grip you have work with your z-finder? I’m thinking that if I buy one which has an odd shape it might not work. Thanks for all the work you’ve done on the site, it’s been a great help.
Not if you use the gorilla baseplate with the new frame that supports the z-finder…
Not mad on the idea of using the adhesive, but I think I’ll go for the generic grip anyway since I’m so cheap, I’ll use your amazon link. Thanks.
Followed your link to Amazon to purchase the battery grip, however I noticed they are now selling the same grip, but with 4 batteries instead of 2 for $60.00US! Thought you might want to add it to your amazon.com links. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003R0ILX8?ie=UTF8&tag=evstyotaadoab-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B003R0ILX8
Can you give me an amazon UK link for the charger that you use for the eneloop batteries? – or can I use my Duracell 30min charger?
Also, do you have the 2000mAh eneloops?
I just got mine today and it doesn’t work. I put two fully charged lp-e8 and a knock off one and it doesn’t turn on. I hope there’s a switch I’m forgetting to turn on or something
I bought the aftermarket T2i battery grip shortly after they were first made available on Ebay.
Mine is Phottix branded BP-550D I bought it for approximately $60, and it was worth every penny. I love that there is now a place for me to put my pinky. With my Nikon AH-4 style strap, my T2i is much more comfortable to hold for longer periods of time.
Can you recommend a holster bag that will fit the T2i with this battery grip? I’m looking for something fast access and minimalistic. Aka just currently mounted Lens etc. Thanks!
The 3rd party grip you link to is now $130 on Amazon! Do you know of any other place to buy this?
I know you’ve explained this before but I forgot as to when and why you shoot with the 550D instead of your 7D? I know I’m missing something.
Great info. I am just a week or two away from getting my 550D.
Settling for a cheaper body so I can afford the lenses and accessories.
Such as the Battery Grip – I never thought of it – that the tripod will be an issue.
However does the elevation bring in issues with follow focus rigs – requiring the purchase of an extra piece of rig?
I had the original battery grip (came in a bundle with the camera) on my 400d. I took it off one day and was shocked, how small the cam was and how much better handling was when I had it attached.
I now got a 60d and I’m still waiting for a knock-off grip to be released. On amazon.de there’s only the original one listed and I’m
not willing to pay 160 euro for that.
Those grips are extremely handy when shooting in portrait mode.
Hope there will be one released soon.
Thanks for your review
Hi Nino and guys! I have a question if you know something about this please tell me the truth. I’ve bought a battery grip from China and they sent me two extra Lp-e8 batteries and off course the battery grip.
Im not shure if I can use those batteries cause its the same size, but the parameters are not the same:
Travor battery: 7.4 V , 1120mAh , 8.3 Wh
original Canon battery: 7.2 V , 1120mAh, 8.1 Wh
What do you think is it safe to use the Travor battery?
Thank you and have a good day!
hey man. my knock of battery grip was used with 6 AA batteries (alkaline) today and each set of 6 batteries last for only about 15 minutes. trying to figure out if it’s cheap batteries (gogreen brand) or energy sucking battery grip, any ideas?
The best thing about the grips is that you can let the cameras shoot time lapse for in infinite time, by keeping the back of the grip open (at least it works on the Canon grips) and exchanging one battery at a time. That way you can shoot with 3 batteries: one is charging, while you always leave one in the camera when exchanging them. The trick is to find out how to trick the camera into thinking the grips door is closed.
I just cant get any sleep
I am just reading your blog.. and cant get away from computer
( i am outside on balcony ) and just reading all your blogs or as much as i can and its 2 am already. but i decided to ask you one thing
Can you recomend something to use with my T2i
I need something cheep/er
I need steady.. any links or idea for that ?
Thank you very much.. great blog and reviews :)))
oh one more thing
is there like a fake battery fot T2i that can work on AC
if i want to do time laps, so i dont have to use batterys
Hi, sorry if i am just stupid, but i can’t find anything mentioning what the brand or seller was of the 550D grip you bought??
hi, about how much height does it add to the camera?
Dude, what is this..
In fact, I’ve heard several 7D owners say that they have let their 7D out in the open when it was freezing, and the camera held up. I don’t think the 550D would take this kind of beating.
Ive been shooting with my 550d in -20…+30 celsius without any problems… Only thing bothering with the below zero temperatures is the battery running out, which is not related to 550d.
My Canon T2i was working fine until I decided to buy the BG-E8. I think it fried the camera which was a month old. I just received 2 days ago and used once. Batteries were loosing charge overnight and now the camera is even powering up. I’m VERY disappointed for not following my hunch after reading bad reviews about the T2i. However, after reading some bad reviews about the BG-E8, I wonder if an OEM product such as the BG-E8 is also defective. Lot of money wasted and that hurts in this economy.
Correction: Is note even powering up
Thanks buddy for info im too interessted to buy bt had some confusion abot it. now its totally clear like water