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  1. #1

    D5100 Vello BG-N6 battery grip.

    I will start by saying that one of the reasons I got the D5100 was for it's compact size and light weight, so a battery grip was not in the original plan. I found my self shooting more portrait format, and got tired of awkward arm and wrist positions, so went ahead and bought a battery grip for the camera. I plan on only using the grip for certain applications, so I will still use the camera without the grip a lot.

    I bought the Vello model as some of the other models had mixed reviews about battery levels. I felt that if B&H was pushing this one, hopefully the product would be slightly better quality... Wishful thinking? Maybe. I also bought this one because the battery compartment lock is similar to the one on the camera, and reviews had complained about the flimsiness of the twisty ones on other models.

    So, here are my initial impressions:

    The build quality seems pretty decent. Though not to the standard of the camera itself, it feels pretty solid for a 3rd party grip (there is no Nikon grip, so a comparison is impossible). The seams are decent, but not to the complete quality of the camera. Vello has replicated the look and texture of the camera body, which is pretty close, though it's a little more pronounced than the camera's (nitpicking). The rubber grip is textured and soft. The rubber grip on the camera has more "stick" to it compared to the grip's. The grip's rubber is slightly more "slippery", though it doesn't feel like the camera is going to fall out of the hand.

    When attached to the body, the fit of the shape is pretty seamless, and there are no gaps between the body and the grip. It actually feels pretty much part of the camera, as oppose to feeling like a cheap add-on.

    The ergonomics of the grip is obviously slightly different from the camera's. The difference being the shutter button on the camera body is set right at the end of the camera grip, and the grip's button is set a little back. So, when you are shooting with the camera, your fingers wrap all around the grip and your finger tips touch the body of the camera which provides a very secure feeling. The battery grip's circular dial lock (which tightens the grip to the body) protrudes from the grip, so if you try to wrap your fingers around the grip in the same way you would on the camera, the circular dial gets in the way of your finger tips, which makes it awkward to hold that way. Since the shutter button is set back, you actually end up holding the grip with less finger wrap around, so your finger tips don't actually touch the dial. Less wrap around means a slightly less secure feel when holding the camera with one hand, but it's fine with 2 hands. The only thing to get use to is changing between the gripping style of the camera body, and the battery grip (no real biggie IMO), but this may annoy some people.

    There is an extra camera strap loop on the bottom of the grip, so you can wear your camera in portrait format if needed. And there is a trip pod thread on the bottom of the grip.

    As with all the other grips out there, the Vello also has a wire that connects to the GPS, which always the shutter button to function. I've found that this doesn't affect the functionality or feel when shooting, so it's more of an aesthetic consideration. It doesn't bother me. This does mean that you have to have the rubber flip (that protects the inputs) open and unattached, so that is something to consider. The wire going from the grip is longer than the distance between the GPS input and the grip input, which makes the wire bend - this seems like the case with all the grips.

    The shutter button on the grip works the same as the cameras. Half click to focus, and full click to release. You do have to press a little harder for to release compared to the camera, but this is marginal.

    The grip adds considerable bulk to the camera, which may be a good thing for people with larger hands that want more to grip onto, or a negative for people that want to retain the compactness of the camera. I personal have no problem with the camera in this respect as I have small hands, but the added length the grip provides allows for a different gripping style - I'm find with either.

    The grip works with one battery (as that is all I have right now). I first and foremost I got this for more comfortable portrait format shooting, and battery life was not a concern (it's easy enough to carry another battery in your pocket, which requires far less bulk), but I will probably get another battery and stick it in, just cause I can.

    The grip is pretty light, so it adds very little extra weight to the camera (good for carrying, not the best sign of build quality?).

    This grip is also substantially more expensive, at $70, in comparison to other grips, cheapest being around $20. Some grips go up to $100.

    All in all, I'm pretty happy with this grip. If there was one critique, or suggestion, I would give, it would be to set the tightening dial back further to allow for a similar gripping style as the cameras. I believe the other grips allow for a closer gripping style, as the tightening dial is less pronounced, but I personally would still go for this grip as I feel that Vello probably has better quality control.

    I will try to get some more specific images up later to show details, but here is the link that shows a couple of images and information.

    Vello BG-N6 Battery Grip for Nikon D5100 Camera BG-N6 B&H Photo

    › See More: D5100 Vello BG-N6 battery grip.
    Thanks/Like Rick M Thanks/liked this post

  2. #2

    Re: D5100 Vello BG-N6 battery grip.

    After playing around with the grip for a while, I can now see why Vello positioned the shutter release slightly back, as it allows for the thumb to reach more of the buttons on the back of the camera (due to the thickness of the grip).

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Rick M's Avatar

    Re: D5100 Vello BG-N6 battery grip.

    Nice review! Thank You!


    Olympus EM-1 Mark II, EM10 MarkII
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  4. #4

    Re: D5100 Vello BG-N6 battery grip.

    You're welcome, Rick. I did a review because I read a lot of reviews for the other grips, but no real review for this model, which made me a bit wary about the purchase, so I thought someone considering this grip may want to know a bit about it.
    Last edited by fotojack; 03-16-2012 at 04:29 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Patrick Molloy's Avatar
    I just happened to be browsing for a battery grip when this review popped up!
    Awesome write-up. Many thanks


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    (Surrey, England)

    Nikon D7100
    AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
    AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G
    AF-S DX NIKKOR 1855mm f/3.55.6G VR II
    AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR

  6. #6

    Re: D5100 Vello BG-N6 battery grip.

    You're welcome, Patrick. I failed to mention that the grip has a slot where you can store the camera battery door (as you have to remove it to install the grip, just like all the other grips). Also, there is a spring action pin behind the battery grip door, which stops the battery door from rattling around (I believe this is only on this grip). The thing to be aware of is the protruding tightening wheel, and the set back shutter release, to consider if this would be compatible with the way you like to grip.

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