I make no secret of the fact that I really enjoy using Sony cameras. The Sony mirrorless bodies are outstanding, and particularly since they have managed to make cameras that have slightly better batteries. Now you get a really good working life out of the battery. I have been very impressed with the performance of these cameras.
Why I Like Sony
Why do I like Sony? Just as a matter of note, I was shooting a wedding, and I took a Sony α7R II along after reading up on it. And it was really there just as a backup camera. I wasn’t necessarily planning to use it. I was primarily shooting with DSLRs, and I enjoyed taking these shots. But I decided I would take a few shots with the α7R II, which I did in a few different locations both before and after the wedding ceremony. It when I was processing the images, that I realized just how good the images were coming off the Sony bodies. It was the first time I had really tried using one in a commercial manner which is where cameras must perform. I was incredibly impressed. But as I say, I didn’t like the battery life. I didn’t hang onto the camera.
The a7R III changed all of that. And of course the A9 & A7R IV, these are just stellar cameras.
Sony Ergonomics and Big Hands…
But coming back to the Sony a7R III & the Sony A9, it’s the ergonomics that I want to talk about. The fact is, that if you are like me, and you’ve got slightly larger hands, then using these small bodies can be a pain. Your hand just doesn’t comfortably fit around the camera. I’m talking now about the a7R III, the a7R II, and the A9 version one. They’re beautiful cameras, but just the feel in the hand … And one of the options that’s been presented is the idea of fitting a battery grip, and you can do that, and it does work extremely well. There’s nothing wrong with a battery grip.
But then it adds a lot of size to the camera, and it sort of defeats the whole purpose of trying to travel light.
Sony Grip Extender Adds Comfort
So recently I took a look at the grip extension that Sony make, that you can simply screw into the bottom of the camera. It fits into the mount that’s designed for a tripod, and it will give you a little bit of extra grip on the right hand side of the camera. And I have to say that that was an absolute revelation. [In fact, it was expensive.] I bought it here in Perth. And when you buy things here in Australia, you tend to pay a little bit more for them.
After Market Grip Extender Can Offer Advantages
And so having fitted one to one of the cameras, I decided to go onto eBay and look for an alternative. And I found an alternative, which isn’t manufactured by Sony, but interestingly the way it mounts, still provides you with a tripod mount.
So in some ways it provides an advantage over the design that I got from Sony. You’ll have to decide for yourself which one is better for you. But when you fit that grip to the camera, it adds so much comfort and feel, that you just wouldn’t go back to using it without a grip extension. So all I can say is give it a go, try it. If you are using a Sony body, and perhaps you’ve fitted a really good lens, and now the whole thing just doesn’t feel right in your hand, try the grip extension, you might be very surprised. I was really surprised, and really impressed. And now I wouldn’t use either of those two cameras, the a7R III or the Sony A9, without the battery grip.
Sony – The Newer Bodies Are Larger
On the other side of things, happily, with the release of the Sony a7R IV, Sony have provided a much deeper grip and a much better feel to the camera. The overall body change with the A7R IV is, I have to say, a major upgrade as far as the body is concerned. Having said this after 1 month I did send for a grip extender and it just finishes the camera for me.
I know that some people out there have commented on this, and I have to agree with them. It really is a major improvement as far as that camera body is concerned. The a7R IV control placement and button quality just feels perfect to me, and it redefines to me, what Sony is capable of as far as camera design is concerned. You’ll have your own opinion. Fair enough. But for me, I think it’s worth noting.
At the moment there are bound to be a fair amount of cameras of the older design, the a7R II and the a7R III, that will be around. And perhaps you’ll look at them and think, no, it just doesn’t feel comfortable, the size of my hands don’t work well with this. But there are options.
Battery Grip or Grip Extender – Whats Your Choice?
There is a solution. The battery grip yes… but look as the grip extension. Look at it, think about it, try it. You might be very surprised at how it changes the feel of the camera, and just makes it more workable. I’ll include a few photographs with this blog post so you can have a look. And as always, if you’ve got any comments on this, or got your own experience as far as this is concerned, please feel free to leave a note at the bottom.