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Meike MK-AR7 battery grip for the A7: first impression

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by addieleman, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Through some talk on this forum about the Meike grip for the A7 I went looking for its price. What? Only 75 euros? Ordered one right away with a German seller via Amazon and got it today, 2 business days later, which is about as fast as it gets for shipments from Germany to The Netherlands.

    To cut to the chase: I'm positively surprised. I bought it to avoid a tired right hand when handling longer lenses and all the rest I essentially consider a bonus. I'm not even sure if I'm going to use the extra release button in vertical use; long ago I have developed the habit to have the camera's release button down under and operate it with my thumb. The height of the camera and grip is even a bit uncomfortable then. I'll have to find out what's the best way to do it, but at least there's the option of a second release button as well as a C1 button and the AF/MF/AEL button (but not the surrounding switch). Also the front and rear wheels are duplicated. Nice! Even nicer, all the buttons work as expected and when you don't want to use the buttons you can set the grip's switch to OFF which disables the buttons but still provides power to the camera from both batteries. Funny detail: the camera now shows 2 batteries in its display. Obviously Meike has done a good job in the interface with the camera. The wheels' detents are not very stiff, it's too easy to accidentally change a setting, I noticed that by inadvertently changing the shutter speed in horizontal position. The corners of the grip are rounded and rubber-clad for a part which is a lot easier on the hands than the sharp bottom edge of the A7 itself. A strap eyelet and a tripod socket aligned with the lens' optical axis complete the package.

    I've seen someone complain about how difficult it is to insert or unload the first battery. I've had no trouble with that, the manual even shows how to do it the right way. Manuals of Chinese knock-offs can be atrocious but this one is alright actually, it shows how to mount the grip in quite some detail. When mounting the grip on the camera the battery door has to be removed from the camera and placed in the grip; the door's fit in the grip is tight, too tight to my taste, so I grabbed a sharp knife and cut away a little plastic from the grip's door holders so that the battery door is fitted more easily with less chance of breaking it.

    The icing on the cake is the wireless remote control unit. It offers a release button, a bulb release function (not yet figured that one out) and an interval timer. I took an iPhone picture of the manual's page explaining the interval timer, not a chance in the world I could decipher that with my regular glasses, but it works and that's what counts. The thing takes 2 common AAA batteries, none of these expensive little Lithium batteries. The manual claims it has a 100m range, I guess that's for line-of-sight communication, it'll be less in a building or in the woods. For me a few meters are OK and there's no need to point it in a certain direction as needed with infrared remotes.

    Can't say now how this grip will hold up over time but my first impressions after a few hours of playing around with it are definitely positive. In my opinion it's well made considering its price, everything seems to work just fine and to me it's excellent value for money.
     
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  2. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    I have been considering this. Thank you for the review. Any pictures of the camera and grip?

    Did you get your 70-200 yet?
     
  3. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Nope, no pictures, maybe I'll get to it that later. They'll be iPhone pics because I only have one real camera :). I'm planning to get the FE 70-200/4 next Saturday, so the grip arrived in time for using it with the lens.
     
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  4. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Here you go, some quick grab shots with my iPhone.

    i-z7fHT7L.

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    i-zV6kwMC.

    Page from the manual explaining the interval timer
    i-KbtttRW.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
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  5. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    Thanks for posting the pics

    Im pretty sure I will end up with one myself
     
  6. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    486
    Nov 21, 2014
    I have the version of this for the A7ii. The Meike A7ii Pro is pretty similar to the A7 one above. It does have extra buttons with C1, C2, C3 buttons that are programmed to whatever custom buttons you have set on your camera. C1 and C2 are in exactly the same spot as the A7ii. The shutter button and wheels are very similar to the A7ii.

    I like this as...
    1. For some reason if I shoot vertical without a grip I cant keep the camera horizantal
    2. The remote is very useful for bracketing and continuous shooting from a tripod
    3. It enables tethering from vertical shooting (either HDMI or USB)

    Unfortunately it doesnt work 100%. If you are looking through the EVF, the wheels dont make the appropriate adjustment each time. To make a +0.3 EV can take 3 clicks. Others on Fredmiranda have found similar problems. When in liveview there is no such problem. Overall this is a quirk I can live with as I will only use this grip in studio or about 20x a year. If you want a battery grip permanently attached to your camera maybe you should go for the Sony one.
     
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  7. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    My Meike grip for A7II arrived today. I also have one for the A7R.
    I expect that the Sony version is more robust, but these grips are perfectly functional.
    And way less expensive.
    The one I ordered came with two batteries and a charger.
    Would prefer the shutter button had a bit more travel, but serviceable.
     
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  8. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    One nifty little feature of the grip's remote: it operates the shutter even when the camera's in focus magnified mode. An infrared remote won't do that, not even the original Sony RMT-DSLR2.
     
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  9. dmward

    dmward TalkEmount Veteran

    200
    Mar 21, 2015
    Metro Chicago
    David
    Ad, Thanks for pointing that out.
    Makes it useful when shooting with TSE lenses, along with other situations.
     
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