It was at a recent photography trip, while making a time-lapse video, that I decided to try my new acquisition, the Polaroid Wireless LCD Display Performance Battery Grip, for the first time.
My first impression as I opened the packaging was a rather good one. It is of good quality. The black plastic is nice and the grip is even nicer. There are two battery compartments, the first holds 2 LP-E6 batteries and the other holds 6 AA batteries. A very convenient feature for those traveling to secluded places often. An infrared remote control is also included in the package. ( 1 ) The only unpleasant surprise was that the user manual was so minimalistic it could, just as well not be there.
The grip fits the EOS 7D almost completely and this time, I was pleasantly surprised by the feel in my hand. After taking a few shots it seems like that extra weight was exactly what was needed. ( 2 )
As far as functionality is concerned, it has a shutter release button for vertical shots, that has a much inferior feel to the Canon original grip’s one, but that it is ease to get used to. There is a M-fn button and a rotator next to that. ( 3 ) They are placed in the same way as they are on the camera, which make them simple to use from the first shot. A little further to the back is the ON/OFF button. On the back there are three buttons (AF-ON, * and ⊞) ( 4 ). Their placement again matches that of the main body. Their colour fades in time, but that is a minor importance.
Here is the grip’s LCD monitor and the intervalometer’s setting buttons, which is perhaps the most significant part. The Canon branded equivalent grip, despite costing four times the price of this one, is just a vertical shot grip and 2 battery drive, without the intervalometer which is good enough reason to go with Polaroid. (One drawback is that the screen stays lit constantly, drying the small lithium battery inside the grip; that is why by the last zero-digit missing a line) ( 5 )
There are 7 buttons next the LCD monitor that serve multiple functions. The monitor light button also locks it if you hold it for about 3 seconds, the Play/Pause button either alternates between time and date or starts programmed shots, and there are more buttons among them. The Up/Down button takes you to the shot programming screen where we have:
DELAY> How long after play shooting begins,
LONG> Length of the shooting burst,
INTVL> Length of each interval between each shooting burst and
N> Number of intervals (maximum of 999).
Numbers change pressing the button in the center (let’s call it “ok”) and by selecting with the right and left buttons. Let’s say for example, that we want to begin a time-lapse, starting 2′ after hitting play, taking pictures every 1′, for 3” and the whole sequence to repeat 220 times. From the starting screen (which displays time/date) we take the following steps:
(1) We press the Up/Down arrow once or twice till we enter the settings screen.
(2) When “DELAY” flashes we hit “ok.”
(3) We select 0:02′:00. Hit “OK.
(4) We use the right/left buttons to choose “LONG” and hit “OK.”
(5) We select 0:00′:03″ and “OK.”
(6) Using right/left buttons select “INTVL” and “OK.”
(7) Select 0:01′:00″. Hit “OK.”
(8) Use right/left to select “N” and “OK.”
(9) Select “220”. Hit “OK.”
When we are ready, we press Play/Pause and our Timelapse begins.
On a final note, the remote control works fine, even when the grip is not attached on the camera. Naturally, since it works with infrared waves it has to be in the line-of-sight of the camera’s sensor. To use it, you need to adjust the EOS 7D’s AF – Drive to either remote (10″), or remote 2 (2″). In either case, the shutter is being released instantly and therefore the remote control is usually in the frame.
Polaroid Grip offers more than its Canon counterpart, the overall feel is very good (though not perfect) and the only negative is that it seems more cheaply made. Yes, its plastic chassis cannot be compared to Canon’s magnesium one. But at about €85, Polaroid gives you the same features you would pay almost €300 to get with Canon [battery grip BG-E7 (~€160) + Timer remote controller TC-80N3 (~€130) + RC-6 wireless remote controller (~€8)], thus making it the obvious choice, for anyone that cannot say “money is not issue”. Its price/performance ratio, make Polaroid Battery Grip an honest investment I highly recommend.
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