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Mar 11

Review of the Upstart BG-E8 Aftermarket Battery Grip

Around this time last year i bought a Upstart BG-E8 aftermarket battery grip for my Canon 550D/T2i.

What i liked about it is that it was pretty cheap, ~$75 including 2 replacement batteries. I was also supposed to get a mouse pad that they “forgot” and they also made it sound like i was getting an infrared remote control for my camera, but on closer inspection (which obviously i only did after i received it) it says that it’s an optional extra (even though it was included in the picture of the bundle). That’s some pretty gray hat stuff and i won’t be buying anything from them again. (i’m not even gonna link to the Amazon page i bought it from)

One of it’s biggest faults initially was that the battery indicator no longer worked, it always showed full, and because of that i would get various errors when it was close to empty, like getting errors when trying to take a picture with the built in flash or it just shutting off out of the blue, and it always took me a second to figure out why this happened, not before panicking that my expensive camera died or something.Also draining the batteries to 0% is never recommended.

I haven’t had any experience with other battery grips so i don’t know if this is a common problem or not.

 

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Only about 2-3 months later, while on a field trip and having a pretty heavy Tamron 70-300mm VC on, it broke.

4 of the 5 screws holding the metal plate (that holds the big screw you attach the battery grip to the camera body) came out of their threads, why ? because they were small metal screws with fine threads that were screwed into plastic.

 

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They were obviously meant to screw into metal like the last screw that kept the camera and lens from falling to an expensive death and maybe rolling down the mointain, but the funny thing is there was metal there they could have screwed into but bigger holes than needed were drilled and plastic risers made instead.

Either the Chinese who designed it did it intentionally to make it last less or they have almost no idea what they are doing and were reverse engineering it, but this is a very common problem with stuff made in China.

 

Anyway i bought a cheap battery grip for a reason, lack of money, so the solution was not to go and buy another one (like most would have done) but to fix it (this is what less wealthy people do or at least try to do).

Why didn’t i send it in for warranty i hear you say ? well it’s because the shipping would have cost more then the grip itself and because i didn’t buy it myself. (My aunt bought it since it only cost $10 to ship to her and she was sending a package to me anyway.)

So i made some aluminum nuts. First i poked a whole through a piece of aluminum from a strip i had lying around (less wealthy people also don’t throw everything out), fortunately a thumb tack was just the right size, then i just used the screw itself to cut threads in the piece (if it was a harder metal i couldn’t do this) then i used regular scissors to cut them out.

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Then came the tricky part, assembling everything. The problem was that the nuts would turn together with the screw, so i had to think of something clever again, what i did was to use some glue to hold the nut to the base. (see photo)

The result looks fairly messy, also because i had to file down parts of the nuts, because they were interfering with the rotation of the main screw.

But since then i haven’t had a problem with it, and if it weren’t for the battery level indicator issue and of course the plastic threads i would have recommended it.

Now just because the one you bought isn’t an Upstart brand or that it’s more expensive doesn’t mean it’s any better built.

If you can, take the cover plate off and take a look at what those little screws grab onto, doing this should not void your warranty or cause any other problems, but it’s good to know if you can trust it with your $$$ camera and $$$-$$$$ lens.

I hope this was useful to someone, either way please leave some feedback and share any experiences you had.

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