This is a continuation of a series of posts on the Nikon D850. You should be able to find all the posts about that camera in the Category List on the right sidebar, below the Articles widget. There’s a drop-down menu there that you can use to get to all the posts in this series; just look for “D850”.
The D850 grip has been hard to come by; I’ve had one on order since launch. I finally found one — at Crutchfield, of all places — as set it up on the camera today. I wanted to be able to use the same batteries I use in my D5, which means that I needed to get a battery chamber cover, the BL-5. The D5 needs a chamber cover, too, but in their infinite wisdom, Nikon designed the D850 grip and the D5 so that they couldn’t use the same cover. I normally keep covers on all my D5 batteries to make swapping them easier. Having two different covers is going to complicate that, but I have a solution that will become apparent to you as you continue to read this post.
It turns out that the BL-5 is hard to get, too. I found one at a camera shop in Washington. Feeling a little bit like a participant in a scavenger hunt, I ordered it. By yesterday, I was ready to put everything together.
To put the grip on the camera, you take a white plastic cover off the part with the electrical contacts and put it someplace where you’ll be able to find it (yeah, right). Then take the black rubber piece on the bottom of the D850 off, and put it in the same place, so both parts will be lost together should you ever want to use the camera without the grip.
Take the battery holder for D810/D850 batteries out of the grip, and throw it over your left shoulder. Do the same with the AA battery holder and the black padded bag it comes in. Now attach a RRS plate to the bottom of the grip while wondering how RRS can make a lot of plates before Nikon can make a lot of grips. Attach the BL-5 to the battery in a way that will be familiar to you if you’ve ever used the D3, D4 or D5.
You’re all set. Heft the camera. Feels a lot like a D5 now, doesn’t it? That’s a good thing in my book.
I think I see where this is all going for me. I’ve resisted buying fast, heavy lenses for the a7x cameras. I have no f/1.4 E-mount lenses at all (I do have one 50 mm f/0.95 that I have never used for anything other than testing), and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I don’t have many slow, light F-mount ones. My handling knock on the D850 has been that it just doesn’t feel right with big lenses. That’s fixed now. I’ve found that the D850 doesn’t focus quite as fast as the D5 with big lenses. I suspect that’s fixed, too.
The D850 is such a capable camera that I’m beginning to wonder if I should jettison the D5. If I were an avid sports photographer, I’d keep it. If I were still doing the Stacatto series, I’d do the same. But I’m not doing either of those things anymore, and I’m thinking of selling the D5 while the selling is good.
And that will solve the two-kinds-of-battery-chamber-cover problem.