Gear skills Get a grip on portraits
Tom Welsh demonstrates how battery grips can extend your shooting time, and even making shooting more comfortable in portrait orientation
We’ve all seen oversized cameras encumbered with battery grips. Given the weight they add, and how long your Nikon’s battery can last, you may have wondered why these grips are necessary, but as we’ll discover over these two pages, they offer much more than just extended battery life.
Battery grips are not like flashguns or different lenses, which allow you to take a more creative approach to your photography: they simply enable you to keep doing what you’re doing for longer, and – crucially – improve your Nikon’s handling. It might sound counter-intuitive, but with a larger grip and heavier body, your Nikon will feel significantly more stable in your hands, in particular when shooting in portrait orientation. This is especially the case with smaller, entry-level D-SLRs, which are often designed for smaller hands, and as such are often too small for larger hands to get an effective grip on.
Of course, a grip will add weight to your camera, and that’s something you need to bear in mind if you use a tripod regularly. If your usual body/
With a battery grip your Nikon will feel significantly more stable, in particular when shooting in portrait orientation. This is especially the case with smaller, entry-level D-SLRs
lens combination is close to your tripod’s weight tolerance, with a grip added you might need stronger legs.
Unlike with other brands of camera, one of the big advantages of Nikons is that you don’t have to remove the in-camera battery and chamber cover in order to attach a battery grip – the grip simply plugs into a socket on the underside of the camera body.
The Hähnel HN-D600 grip that we’ve used here can be used with an EN-EL15 Nikon camera battery, or with six standard AA batteries, though it doesn’t actually come with either type, so you may need to buy these separately, depending on the grip.
Whatever body and grip you use, here’s how to get the most out of a winning combination...