When I purchased my Panasonic Lumix GH3 Camera (second time around) I was lucky as there was a promotion on from Panasonic that enabled all purchasers of the GH3 to get a free battery grip. That particular promotion has finished but a second identical one has started (finishing in early 2014), I suspect this is in part because the new Olympus OMD-EM1 has been announced with an offer for a free battery grip too.
The “DMW-BGGH3” as it is known only took a couple of weeks to arrive and has since remained boxed waiting for me to do an un-boxing and first look video. I normally don’t do these but as there are not many available on line (apart from this one here) I decided to have a go myself.
The video was filmed with a Sony RX100 on a Joby tripod and was lit with a Manfrotto ML840H LED light. The video was put together in Premier Elements (v11) and then directly uploaded to YouTube:
The battery grip adds some weight and bulk to the already non-slender GH3 but I do prefer cameras with grips (the second battery is icing on the cake). The grip also gives somewhere for my fourth finger to go when holding the camera. The duplication of controls from the top of the camera on the side helps when you hold the camera in portrait positions.
The grip is also weather sealed like the GH3; I did see some early reviews mention that it wasn’t. I don’t always attached the grip but it is essential when the 100-300mm lens is on the camera. As I mention in the video, for some reason, the tripod socket on the grip is not in line with the lens axis (the GH3 tripod socket is) so when mounting on a tripod this can cause issues if you are trying to do panoramic shots.
Th grip normally retails for £239 and can be ordered from almost any photo retailer such as WEX Photographic or a local retailer such as London Camera Exchange. The grip houses a second Panasonic DMW-BLF19E Lithium Ion Battery, the other remains in the camera. The menu system in the camera allows you to select which battery is used first (I recommend selecting the one in the grip first). The battery unfortunately is not used in any other camera and is quite expensive at between £60 to £70 depending on retailer.
The battery life of the GH3 is pretty good and the use of the grip and second battery makes this even better. I recommend that all GH3 users either purchase one of if you have only just acquired your (new) GH3 make use of the free grip offer.