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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    788

    Review - Travor S350 Pro Battery Grip for Alpha

    Objective stuff:

    It has all of the functionality of the Sony grip, which for these camera's is pretty limited. There is a shutter, a command dial, and AEL and WB buttons. This means it will handle most of the functionality that you need for shooting. You loose access to things like ISO and drive mode that you normally have with the built in grip, but having these other controls handles most shooting needs. It has a build in place to store the A300's battery door, just like the Sony grip.

    note: I obviously forgot how to use my CyberShot, the pictures are horrible, but they get the point across.


    The Feel:

    Part of the reason I bought this was to see if I liked having a grip on a camera or not. I was recently looking at a thread about grips at POTN, and it was obvious that there are strong opinions for and against. I don't think there is a real answer, and one just needs to use a grip to decide if they like it better or not. In my case I do. I like the feel and handling of the camera better. I don't know if a battery grip could rescue a Rebel or D40 from its tiny grip, but it certainly helps the A300 feel more solid. I've been playing with prosumer bodies lately (A700, 50D, D90) and one thing I really like about them is the more solid feel. This doesn't make the A300 feel as good as those, but it helps. The (slight) extra weight of the grip and the extra weight of the second battery add a lot to the feel of the camera.



    I think this third party grip might be made off of the same mold as the Sony grip, but I expect the materials are not the same. I haven't actually used a Sony grip, but this Travor grip, despite having a great layout and being ergonomically stellar, feels CHEAP. The A300 doesn't feel plasticy, but this does. If I move up to a prosumer body, I will certainly buy an OEM grip instead of third party. But on a cheap body, it might be worth it. For 1/2 the price I get the exact same functionality, but what you lose is the solid feel. In addition, with this grip you can only use one battery at a time. I was under the impression that most battery grips allow you to pull of both batteries without having to change anything. With this one you have to pull the tray out and flip a switch to go from battery 1 to battery 2. So if you aren't interested in the second grip except for longer battery life, just carry a second battery in your pocket. It is less work to swap batteries on the A300 than to pull this tray out and flip the switch.



    Deal Extreme:

    A little about my experience with deal extreme. I ordered this grip more than 3 weeks ago, and only received it today. The third party battery grips for the Sony A200-350 can be found on ebay for just under $100, but deal extreme had the same one for just over $70. I figured that paying for it at dealextreme.com plus express would get it to me faster, but I was probably wrong. Deal Extreme doesn't keep any items in stock, instead they order them from the supplier when you order the item. The website says that receiving the item from the supplier takes 1-3 days. It took them almost 3 weeks to get the grip in stock, but once it was it was packed and I received it via express service in about 3 business days. I can't complain about the shipping, but I was disappointed about the wait before it shipped. It was well packed, and once they received it, the item was in my hand in days, for a very reasonable international express fee, but I was very frustrated with the wait.
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Guelph, Ontario
    Posts
    1,903
    i have the OEM grip for my a300 and it does not have the compartment for the battery door like the grip for the a900. but the door comes off easy anyway. the OEM grip allows you to use both batteries and shows you on the liveview screen how much percentage is left on both and the second kicks in when the first one dies without having to so anything.
    the camera does feel a whole loot sturdier.

    the cons however are that when you mount the 50mm F1.7, it looks terrible. but it looks pro with a bigger leans on it.
    Canon EOS 7D

    flickr
    FLUIDR

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    Have you guys tried 2 batteries in the grip? I heard some people saying that it doesn't work. I wonder about the OEM batteries as well.

    I've had the Sony VG-B30AM and I can tell you it feels, VERY cheap. Certainly not worth $200.
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    788
    I have 2 batteries in, but it seems like the second one doesn't do anything until you flip a switch on the tray. So you have to pop open the door, pop out the tray, flip the switch, pop it back in, and close the door. It would take less time to not have the battery grip, pop out the battery and pop in one from your pocket. Both of my batteries are Sony OEM. Has anybody else had experience with the cheapys off ebay?

    I have been very happy that my wired shutter release was a cheapy off ebay.

    Interesting to hear that the VG-B30AM feels cheap too. Does the grip on that one have a contour like the A300, or is it just a straight grip?
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Guelph, Ontario
    Posts
    1,903
    my grip feels solid. it has the contour like the a200 grip which is much nicer than the a300 grip.
    Canon EOS 7D

    flickr
    FLUIDR

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    Yes, it has the same contour and texture.
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Ohio, USA.
    Posts
    1,161
    I can't comment about a grip but I did order my cable release from deal extreme and it was VERY cheap but took almost a month to get it but that was no big deal to me. it works fine. Now if I were using it 5 - 10 times a day all week I would be surprised if it lasted a month. but anyway no problems with deal extreme here, will have to look into VG.
    Sony A700_____________Minolta AF 50mm. F/1.7
    Minolta AF 70-210mm F/3.5-4.5 Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR DiII LD Asp. [IF]
    Tamron SP AF 70-200mm. F/2.8 DI LD [IF] Macro
    Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2
    Tokina AF 28-70mm F/3.5-4.5
    Tokina AF AT-X 80-400mm F/4.5-5.6
    http://flickr.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    788
    I found a cable release for less that $10 shipped on ebay. It took a couple of weeks to show up from somewhere in Asia, but it has been great for when I need it, which isn't often.
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Cerritos, CA
    Posts
    66

    Thumbs up Great job Jason!

    Thanks for taking out the time to write this review Jason, I'm sure it will serve very valuable to a lot of people.

    I just wanted to make a few comparisons.

    By the way, we run similar gear, nice! (Your A300/Travor grip/28-85 look like a distant cousin to my A200/Sony grip/28-85)







    While the Travor grip is definitely very similar, I am sure it's not the same mold. For instance, the tripod mounting wheel is visible in cutouts on both the front and back of the grip, the Sony grip has a molded front with that index finger to middle finger bump, and the contour lines that run around the grip which match those found on the A200/A300/A350 are absent.

    Still, I've tried the Travor grip on a buddy's A200 and while it certainly feels a bit less "dense" if you will (the materials feel a bit "styrofoamy" to me compared to the Sony) it still works and functions as it should.

    About the battery, I don't believe my friend has a switch..though I could be wrong. He told me that the 2 batteries, while showing up as a single battery to the camera, just last around twice as long together. I know for my grip, the A200 actually shows 2 battery icons on the LCD. Operations between the grips are exactly the same besides that.

    So yes, besides the long wait apparently as the grip isn't available in too many places, I think your review will help those who want to save a few bucks (actually quite a few bucks unless you got a Sony grip at the CC closeout) and still have a perfectly functional grip.

    Thanks again for posting the review!
    grip: KM Maxxum 5D | Minolta 50mm f1.4 neck: Sony A200 | Minolta 70-210mm f4
    backup: Fuji s6000fd | pocket: Fuji F20SE
    sentimental: Sony DSC-S85
    wife: Canon s800IS | 9yo daughter: Canon s410

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Guelph, Ontario
    Posts
    1,903
    is tht a rubber hood on your lens there? if so, where did you get one so low profile?
    Canon EOS 7D

    flickr
    FLUIDR

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