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08-02-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
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Which third party grip?

I know, the standard recommendation is probably going to be just buy the Pentax grip. But I just don't have $200 to spend on a grip - if I was gonna spend that on an accessory it'd go to the GPS first.

There are multiple $40-70 third party grips that appear to be copies of the genuine Pentax grip. My question is - which one is the best?

Other questions. I know the cheap copies don't have the weather sealing. That's fine, I can just take them off the camera in inclement weather - but in the event that I didn't, only the grips themselves could become damaged, right? That is - there's no way having that grip on there is going to end up causing damage to the K5 itself somehow, right?

Second question is - the only concern I'd really have with these third party units is the fact that they send power to the camera via an extra battery. If they have shoddy voltage regulaton software or other types of electrical work, could they potentially damage the K5?

Amazon has a "NEEWER" grip for $40 and I'd like to get one from them rather than China if I could. Is that a good unit?

08-02-2012, 09:40 AM   #2
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None of the non-Pentax grips, based on numerous threads and reviews, have weather sealing.

There seem to be two main types of non-Pentax grip. The one with the circle of screws on the side that mates to the bottom of the K-5 seems to be closer in all regards to the Pentax grip. Some have reported that their trays even interchange with the Pentax grip. The Meike version does NOT have trays that will exchange with the real Pentax Grip but its usually cheaper. I got mine for around $39 and its worked well for the past week or so while my Pentax Grip has been at CRIS for service (should be back tomorrow according to UPS).

The NEEWER grip is the Meike one that I have, I ordered it 10 days ago and that is what I got. See my review:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/accessoryreviews/d-bg4-k7-battery-grip-generic.html#review2506
08-02-2012, 10:33 AM   #3
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Regarding weather sealing: The electrical interface on the K-5's bottom plate is normally covered by a tight rubber plug, which you have to remove when you attach a grip. The genuine Pentax grip makes up for this by having a little rubber seal around said contacts. I don't know for sure if the lower contacts would actually leak water into the body or not without either of these seals, but since they put the plug/seal to begin with, I would assume it's needed. So, if the 3rd party grip does not have such a seal, then this probably would risk water intrusion.

I can say for certain that at least one plug around the body is absolutely necessary. If you unplug the one that goes into the microphone socket, and work a zoom lens, you will feel a big gust of air pumping in and out of that hole.
08-02-2012, 10:37 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tanzer Quote
Regarding weather sealing: The electrical interface on the K-5's bottom plate is normally covered by a tight rubber plug, which you have to remove when you attach a grip. The genuine Pentax grip makes up for this by having a little rubber seal around said contacts. I don't know for sure if the lower contacts would actually leak water into the body or not without either of these seals, but since they put the plug/seal to begin with, I would assume it's needed. So, if the 3rd party grip does not have such a seal, then this probably would risk water intrusion.

I can say for certain that at least one plug around the body is absolutely necessary. If you unplug the one that goes into the microphone socket, and work a zoom lens, you will feel a big gust of air pumping in and out of that hole.
The 3rd party grips are NOT WR and should not be used in wet environments IMHO. They have 0 (zero) seals and pose a risk for water intrusion. If you are shooting in good weather they are fine IMHO from my own experience with both the genuine and 3rd party grips.

08-02-2012, 10:45 AM   #5
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I have had the 3rd party grip on my K5 and it isn't worth the $80 I paid. It broke after less than a year. I have, now, the OEM Pentax and it is FAR better in terms of quality, build and ergonomics, worth every penny. The 3rd party grips are cheaply built, the ink comes off in the first month or so, batteries report being empty when they are full... Not worth the hassle at all.
08-02-2012, 11:07 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
The 3rd party grips are NOT WR and should not be used in wet environments IMHO. They have 0 (zero) seals and pose a risk for water intrusion. If you are shooting in good weather they are fine IMHO from my own experience with both the genuine and 3rd party grips.
This always raised a question for me...why not just save 150$ and take advantage of how easily the grips detach.
08-02-2012, 11:45 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by fccwpe Quote
I have had the 3rd party grip on my K5 and it isn't worth the $80 I paid. It broke after less than a year. I have, now, the OEM Pentax and it is FAR better in terms of quality, build and ergonomics, worth every penny. The 3rd party grips are cheaply built, the ink comes off in the first month or so, batteries report being empty when they are full... Not worth the hassle at all.
Agreed. I had one from Dealextreme and it really cheapened the feel of the whole package. The plastic became shiny after the surface texturing wore down with normal use, the buttons were mushy, and after some time the battery door lever broke off (it was really flimsy to begin with). Bought the original grip and that was a perfect fit for the camera and IMO well worth the money.

My experience with DX, the first one arrived DOA (e-dial issue), got a replacement and my shipping costs refunded as store credit. After half a year of normal use, the battery door lever snapped off. When I contacted DX about the flimsy product not holding up to normal use, here was their reply:

Dear customer,

Will you pls refer to the product reviews of this item or post your question on our forum to check if any useful information provided there?

Regards,

lemon


and subsequently,

Dear customer,

Can we give $10 stock credit as compensation?

Or will you return it to us?

Your products get damaged after 150 days from shipment (The order shipment date and order notification are provided to you by email), please understand that the return fee both way of the defective product is sole responsibility of the customer, we will forward the defective product to the supplier for repair. If any extra repair charge incurred should be covered by the customer as well. If you have confirmed this, a posting note will sent by e-mail to you,please print and stick it on the parcel before you return it.

Regards,

lemon


I gave up and cannibalized the tray door from the AA tray to fix the Li-ion tray.. sold off the grip for cheap, not sure how it's held up since. Sure, you could buy a few third-party grips for the cost of the original, but the benefits of better build quality, weather sealing, manufacturer's warranty, and the overall better experience of using it are well worth the extra $100 or so.

But I can also see your point about saving money on the grip, especially if you're just adding it to have something more substantial to grip on. In that case, just take this as a negative review of the Dealextreme grip, and I hope some of the others are better.

Last edited by darrenleow; 08-02-2012 at 12:17 PM.
08-02-2012, 12:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by fccwpe Quote
I have had the 3rd party grip on my K5 and it isn't worth the $80 I paid. It broke after less than a year. I have, now, the OEM Pentax and it is FAR better in terms of quality, build and ergonomics, worth every penny. The 3rd party grips are cheaply built, the ink comes off in the first month or so, batteries report being empty when they are full... Not worth the hassle at all.
Other than the ink issue every one of those things has happened with my official Pentax grip.

08-02-2012, 05:33 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by SenorBeef Quote
I know, the standard recommendation is probably going to be just buy the Pentax grip. But I just don't have $200 to spend on a grip - if I was gonna spend that on an accessory it'd go to the GPS first.

There are multiple $40-70 third party grips that appear to be copies of the genuine Pentax grip. My question is - which one is the best?

Other questions. I know the cheap copies don't have the weather sealing. That's fine, I can just take them off the camera in inclement weather - but in the event that I didn't, only the grips themselves could become damaged, right? That is - there's no way having that grip on there is going to end up causing damage to the K5 itself somehow, right?

Second question is - the only concern I'd really have with these third party units is the fact that they send power to the camera via an extra battery. If they have shoddy voltage regulaton software or other types of electrical work, could they potentially damage the K5?

Amazon has a "NEEWER" grip for $40 and I'd like to get one from them rather than China if I could. Is that a good unit?
Why not put a little aside every month until you have the funds?
08-02-2012, 06:55 PM   #10
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I have only had the Pentax grip for two weeks now and have taken it to Disney world and taken about 1500 images with it on my K-5, I used it on water rides, in the rain (total downpours) and have drenched the camera and it on several occasions without a worry. the settup worked flawlessly......worth the $200 price tag to me.
08-02-2012, 11:02 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tabl10s Quote
Why not put a little aside every month until you have the funds?
I don't really feel the need to have a $200 camera grip really. I'd like a grip occasionally and I'm ok with the controls beind second rate. I'd rather spend $200 on a lens or a GPS well before I spent it on the grip.
08-02-2012, 11:25 PM   #12
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i bought a $50-ish grip + 2 batteries from Amazon and have had it on the camera for over a year now of use and have definitely gotten my money's worth. If it broke tomorrow, i would just buy another and feel ok that i got enough value from it. I will say, mine even said "weather sealed" or something similar on the box and it definitely has no seals at all. I've been splashed many times with seawater and soaked with fog/humidity, dust, etc and no issues at all. When i opened it up recently, i found plenty of salt crystals inside and a couple of rusted housing screws but not enough to be a problem. I cant recall the make at the moment but i probably gave all that in the accessory reviews section of this site.
The two knockoff batteries are still going strong as well - i just couldnt be happier.
08-03-2012, 07:21 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by SenorBeef Quote
I don't really feel the need to have a $200 camera grip really. I'd like a grip occasionally and I'm ok with the controls beind second rate. I'd rather spend $200 on a lens or a GPS well before I spent it on the grip.
Ya gotta do, what ya gotta do.
08-03-2012, 08:47 AM   #14
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Bringing back to my original question - I get that the cheap knockoffs are cheap knockoffs. But I would remove mine (and re-seal the grip port) in the event of bad weather, and I'm willing to put up with finish wear and all that.

My main concern... is there any way the electrical/battery system from the grip could somehow damage my camera?

And as a poster upthread said, are there basically just the 2 types of grips and all grips within those types are pretty much the same?
08-03-2012, 08:50 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
i bought a $50-ish grip + 2 batteries from Amazon and have had it on the camera for over a year now of use and have definitely gotten my money's worth. If it broke tomorrow, i would just buy another and feel ok that i got enough value from it. I will say, mine even said "weather sealed" or something similar on the box and it definitely has no seals at all. I've been splashed many times with seawater and soaked with fog/humidity, dust, etc and no issues at all. When i opened it up recently, i found plenty of salt crystals inside and a couple of rusted housing screws but not enough to be a problem. I cant recall the make at the moment but i probably gave all that in the accessory reviews section of this site.
The two knockoff batteries are still going strong as well - i just couldnt be happier.
I think the OP wasn't so concerned about the survivability of the grip, as much as whether this would jeopardize the WR of the K-5. I guess that someone else could test this by opening up their own K-5, after exposing the combo to some salt water, and post the results here.

Edit: Based on revised comments from the OP, I see he is no longer concerned about water ingress into the K-5. So just buy a grip and use it.

Last edited by Tanzer; 08-03-2012 at 12:37 PM.
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