Some people ask, what’s up with the Sony A700 vertical grip? Why is the shutter button not at the corner of it?
The answer is ergonomics.
Xian Jin, with a Nikon D80, Nikkor AF-D 85mm F1.8 and the MB-D80 battery grip. Notice that his right hand is higher up. In fact, he is pulling the camera up so that his left eye will be able to look through the viewfinder.
Me with Asyraf‘s Canon EOS 1Ds Mk I with Canon 50mm F1.8 Mk II. With this, the vertical grip is built into the body. Personally, it felt like I wish my left eye was at the same level as my nose to hold this more comfortably. My right hand certainly felt like it was reaching for the top level of a cupboard.
The 50mm is a slow focuser with the 1Ds, but that’s another story.
However, this is not so with the Sony Alpha 700, Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 DT and Sony VG-C70AM portrait grip. (This is not mine; it’s George‘s.) My right hand no longer feels awkward, and I can lower my elbow, for better stability. Also, more of the camera’s weight is held by my right hand.
Thanks to KJ for taking this shot.
Also, the joystick and all buttons accessible by the right hand are duplicated on the vertical grip. This is different from say, the Canon 40D, which has fewer buttons, and you cannot reach the joystick when in portrait mode without stabbing your eye first.
An added bonus is that the Drive, WB and ISO buttons which are originally harder to reach with the right hand in landscape orientation are now very easy to reach with the left hand. Also, the Fn button of the A700 can be reached with your left thumb in portrait orientation!
A normal landscape orientation grip. Note that the distance between both hands is almost the same in both landscape and portrait grip!
That said, I will not be getting the vertical grip so soon. I don’t have space in most of my camera bags for it, and I can make do with the chunky grip of the A700. Sometimes, I prefer to rotate the camera clockwise (with vertical grips it’s always anti-clockwise.)