Sony Alpha 850 Battery Grip Review

Photo of the Sony Alpha 900/850 VG-C90AM Vertical GripI recently purchased the Sony VG-C90AM Vertical Grip for my Sony Alpha 850 Full Frame DSLR camera and after having used it for a few weeks now I figured I would pass on my review of this battery grip.

The Technical Details

  • Although most places (including the box it comes in) indicates the VG-C90AM is for the Sony Alpha 900, it is actually compatible with both the 900 and the 850.
  • Hold 2 batteries – that is about 1,700 shots according to Sony.  I have not had a chance to test that but keep in mind it is dependent on many different factors so your actual battery life may vary.
  • Magnesium alloy body for light weight – officially 11.3 oz (without the batteries)
  • Battery life indicator – on the LCD screen.  You will see two battery icons with the combined percent of life left.
  • Gasket sealed controls to keep the dust and moisture out.
  • Approximate Dimensions: 5.89″ x 3.39″ x 4.85″

The Pros

  • It does not add significant weight to the camera overall.  You will notice the difference, it is not THAT light, but the camera is still very manageable for hand held photography.
  • The design is very comfortable.  In fact, I almost find the camera easier to hold with the grip than without because of the additional hand-molded grip.  There is a comfortable place for both hands allowing for steady holding of the camera.
  • Double your controls.  All of your key controls are now doubled because they are on the camera and the grip.  This can come in handy and give you the flexibility to release your shutter of adjust exposure with either hand.  You can also turn the controls on the grip off if you prefer to stick to the camera controls only.

Detail photo of the Sony Alpha 900/850 VG-C90AM Vertical Grip Controls

  • The alignment of the control on the grip make shooting with the camera vertically much easier.  You get yet another option for holding the camera.
  • The addition of the grip really does balance the camera well as Sony claims.  It just feels more comfortable and evenly weighted.

The Cons

  • Photo of the Sony Alpha 900/850 VG-C90AM Vertical Grip Battery CompartmentThe battery door has an open/close dial that does just that, allows you to open the door or locks it closed.  But it seems a bit flimsy to me and not a secure close.  I have not had any problems with it, but I feel I should get a click or a snap really indicating it is shut tight.
  • It is a bit pricey.  B & H Photo has one of the best prices I found at $259.88, but even still that is a lot for an accessory.  However, I have no buyer’s remorse.

Neither Pro nor Con but Nice to Have

  • Photo of the Sony Alpha 900/850 VG-C90AM Vertical Grip on the Alpha 850Secures tightly to the camera using the threaded tripod mount on the bottom and is easily attached with a dial.  There is also a tripod mount on the bottom of the grip so you do not lose that functionality.
  • For even easier holding you can get an optional strap that attaches to the grip for your hand to slip through.  Although it is a bit expensive at around $50 direct from Sony.

Overall Impression

Like I said, I have no buyer’s remorse for  this purchase.  The pros far outweigh the cons and the Sony VG-C90AM Vertical Grip has been a very welcome addition to my camera.  This grip just feels right.  It is comfortable to hold and gives you added versatility for holding and controlling your camera.  That along with the doubled battery life make the addition of a grip to your Alpha 850 or 900 a great enhancement.  The price is a bit high, but for serious professional or aspiring photographers I feel it is an investment well made.  Absolutely necessary?  No, but a big “nice to have” that can make the photography job a lot easier.

Photo of the Sony Alpha 900/850 VG-C90AM Vertical Grip

Photo of the Sony Alpha 900/850 VG-C90AM Vertical Grip

Photo of the Sony Alpha 900/850 VG-C90AM Vertical Grip

2 Responses to “Sony Alpha Vertical Battery Grip VG-C90AM Review”

  1. E.K.Jellytoes

    on November 12 2011

    Just purchased the VG-C90AM for my A900….but how do I remove the battery door on the A900 to allow the vertical grip electrical connection to slide up into the camera battery compartment?

  2. Mike

    on November 12 2011

    You should not have to remove the door. You leave the door open and there is a slot in the battery grip that it slides into when you slide the connections into the battery compartment.

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