Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fujifilm VG-XT1 Vertical Battery Grip - Review

In my review of this camera I mentioned that I wished the camera had been a bit larger than it is. Why? The X-T1 is an exceptional camera and, more so that others in its class, one of the first capable of dispelling any doubts about using it for professional purposes. So I began to look at the camera differently. I wanted it to be substantial, and that meant having something to hang onto, along with controls that are big enough to find while blindly shooting away at a constantly changing subject.

I was hoping the accessory battery attachment might remedy at least some of this. It does provide a more comfortable grip, particularly with holding the camera in vertical format, and adds and extra set of front and back control knobs.

With an extra battery in the grip it weighs 7.4oz.   Doesn't sound like much until you realize that the X-T1 camera with battery and memory card installed weighs in at 15.52oz. In other words, the battery grip with battery weighs about half as much as the entire camera with its battery. That's a lot considering the battery itself only weighs 1.6oz.

I am quite conservative when it comes to adding any bulk to a camera I have to carry around and work with all day. This includes battery grips. Some of the original Nikon grips not only added extra power, but boosted the motor drive rate also.  That day is long gone. Today, grips add an extra battery and extra bulk plus the purported extra comfort of holding the camera and controlling it in its vertical position. I am not totally convinced about the advantage of this, although I have to admit that over a long day I have found that a grip accessory on a Nikon D800 and D600 has added to the comfort level of using them for an extended period of time. Will the same be true of the Fuji X-T1? I hope so. I will be using the camera with grip for a couple of full lifestyle shoots shortly and will report my findings with an addendum to this review. In the interim, I can say the grip adds a more substantive look to the camera and adds some necessary bulk to a very small body. On top of that, you gain an extra battery to prolong the shooting day.

One nice thing is that the accessory battery is the first one used by the camera so it will run down first and can be replaced before you ever even switch to the main camera battery. If you do happen to wear both batteries down, changing the set will mean unscrewing the battery grip to first access the main camera battery.

Is adding the grip more convenient than simply tossing a few extra batteries in your pocket?  Probably not. In fact the batteries, themselves, are much smaller and lighter to carry around. So you are really going to have to like the look and feel of the grip itself for it to make sense for you.

For me, the simple hand grip accessory might end up being a better option because of its convenient, built-in Arca-Swiss plate and cutout for access to the main battery compartment.

The Fujifilm VG-XT1 Vertical Battery Grip for the X-T1can be ordered from:  BH-Photo
Fujifilm MHG-XT Metal Hand Grip for X-T1 can be pre-ordered from:  BH-Photo


  1. Prior to going X, I have the OMD and really found it too small for me, and I have smallish hands for a man. Adding the battery grip to the Oly really made it fit nicely and, IMO, gave it a bit more mass helping the holding it steady. From what I have seen, in pix, the T1 is not a lot larger than the OMD, you've held both Tom, would you say the experience is comparable?

  2. The two cameras are almost exactly the same size. I am on location in Florida now and carrying the X-T1 around with me, and have to say the grip is really growing on me. It providees a very comfortable hold.

  3. Do you use a circular polarizer with your X-Pro or X-T1? If so how to you get to make the necessary adjustments through the EVF which is wanting to make exposure adjustments and canceling out the effects of the filter. Best Peter

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  6. The sequence of battery drain seems less than ideal. It means that the battery in the grip runs down and is recharged much more often than "the main camera battery". I preferred the setup on my Canon 5DII where both batteries are located in the grip, are easily accessible, and run down together.