Meike 6D Grip & STK's 6D LP-E6 Batteries - First Impressions
I know I've seen a fair amount of questions on the 6D battery situation with the chip and the aftermarket battery grips, so I thought I would share my experience with both.
I've always purchased high-quality aftermarket batteries - because after working for a consumer electronics company for a few years, you come to find out the cells are mostly made in the same place anyways. I've stuck with Photive, STK, Wasabi, and Lenmar over the years without a single issue.
I picked up the new 6D specific LP-E6 from STK on Amazon last week, and I've been satisfied with them thus far. Fit and finish are inline with Canon, same weight, and they seem to have the same stamina in a bit of limited testing I did. I put each battery in and fired off about 100 rapid shutters in AI Servo, and each battery reported about 9% usage, between the 2 Canon batteries and 2 STK batteries that I picked up. We'll see how they last over time, but if they're anything like the STK LP-E8s that I was using for 2 years with my T2i and now with my office T3i, they'll last just as well. For $15/ea from Amazon (PRIME FTW!), total no-brainer here.
Now for the MeiKe BG-E13 knockoff...in a word: impressive. It's better than I thought it would be.
I've gripped all of my cams from my Rebel 2000 back in the day, Rebel XT, and T2i, and bought the Canon brand grip for each one. This time, despite being able to afford it, I couldn't stomach the ~$220 price difference from the MeiKe brand, which could be had for $40 shipped off eBay (from NJ too...so it only took 4 days). The thing that sealed it for me was running into a guy shooting pics at a Penguins game recently, and saw he had a gripped 5D2, and it happened to be a MeiKe. He let me check it out, and it was damn near the same quality as my Canon T2i grip.
So I took the plunge, ordered a 6D MeiKe off of ebay for $40 shipped, and it showed up yesterday. I have to say I'm impressed. It's a hefty, solid piece of equipment, and it's on-par with the quality of the Canon grips I've owned.The overall fit and finish is good, and it snuggles up to the camera well.
The biggest point of hesitation for me was the tripod mount, as I use a CustomSLR strap swivel as the only point of contact between my camera and the strap. I'm happy to report that the assembly for the tripod mount is identical to Canon's, and it's rooted inside the compartment with a bracket and plastic cap that acts as a rail for the battery sled. The sleds themselves feel a slight bit cheaper than the canon ones, but I think it's because they're a shiny finished plastic (on the inside) where Canon's are matte.
The outside of the grip feels good, the rubber is VERY close to the Canon rubber. As some others have mentioned, the finish on the polycarbonate shell is a different texture than you get with the magnesium body of the 6D, so it has a slight slicker feel than the camera itself. However, it's pretty much identical in feel to that of the polycarbonate body of the Rebel cameras, so take that for what it's worth. It's really very minor. I noticed it the first time I picked it up, and haven't noticed since.The only thing I can criticize here is there seems to be about a gap between the body and the grip when attached and fully tightened down. It's really a half-millimeter or less, but that doesn't seem to be present between my Canon Grip and the T2i. Once again, very minor, and I wouldn't have noticed had I not had experience with Canon brand grips before. And it may be that way with the Canon 6D grip, as I'm not doing a direct comparison. I may throw a foam gasket on this anyways to help with sealing. I'll try and post a pic later to illustrate my point.
The controls and buttons all seem to be on the level. The Shutter button is a slight bit looser than the button on the camera, but this was also present on my Canon T2i grip, so I'll just chalk it up to the assembly in the camera being tighter in the space, translating to a more substantial feel. Everything is responsive, and the buttons feel sturdy, although a bit more on the "clicky" side as opposed to the Canon buttons. This isn't a bad or cheap feel, just different. I really noticed it on the wheel, as it has a more defined stop between clicks than the camera wheel. Again, not bad or cheap, just different.
In conclusion, I say go for it with the MeiKe 6D grip. It's fantastic, solid, and worth every penny. I can't say that the Canon grip is worth ~$220 difference. I've heard and been a part of the "you spent $XXXX on a camera, don't cheap out on the battery/grip" chorus in the past. This time, I decided to try it out, and I'm glad I did because the price difference can go towards a play fund so I can pick up a Lensbaby Composer.
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|Feb 7, 2013|
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|Blue and yellow in water by fireplace33|
from Ink and water
|Kylmä joki kopio by Kaappo|
from Shutter speed 1/25 or slower
|WR_2.8_13 copy copy by photoprof|