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Yorkie
22nd August 2008, 01:35 PM
Ownuser E51R Camera Grip for the E510/E520 Review
By Adrian R Pomfret
16th July 2008
This review is about the E51R battery grip for the Olympus E510 and the E520; being a long-term owner of an E510 and in the privileged position to have an E520 on loan from the Olympus UK Photo Safari Group I have been able to test the grip on both models.

I received the grip from Olympus within ten days of ordering direct from Ownuser, via airmail; very well packaged and very prompt. On opening the box I was pleased to find not only the grip but a full remote control; more on this later, and a belt mounted external battery pack for AA batteries.

The instructions are all in good, plain English and supported by a good selection of pictures; not that you need the instruction though. The whole process of setting the unit up is very self explanatory with the exception of knowing there is a storage slot in the grip for the battery door from the camera body; which has to be removed to fit the grip.

Quality wise I was and am very please, the unit is made of high quality plastic with all the buttons and switches having a positive movement. The Battery door has a release catch at the left hand end then you slide the door to the left to open it, inside each battery has a spring loaded battery clip to ensure a positive fit as per the original camera body mechanism.

The grip has a very pleasant ergonomic form that is very much in keeping with the E510/20‛s original design, though it does not have the soft tactile inserts as the E510/20. The shutter control buttons are easy to find and use with the form of the grip placing your hands in the correct position for shooting. The right hand portrait button is on the front of the grip while the left hand is on the top of the grip; this took two or three shots to get used to but as mentioned the moulding of the grip puts your hands in the right place.

The grip measures 70mm at its deepest front to back; the same as the E510 from the front of the finger grip to the back of the eye cup. Depth wise the grip adds 43mm to the body; with the weight of the batteries being moved to the very bottom of the setup the balance of the camera does change, especially if you have both batteries fitted. However I found this very comfortable to use and improved the balance of the system with lenses such as the 11-22 and 70-300 fitted.

One comment I had made to me was that the tripod mount is central to the lens axis on the E510 and E520 yet the mount on the grip is central to the grip. After we played with the body against the body and grip with a selection of lenses including the 70-300 with the EC14 adaptor we concluded that this was not an issue. The mounting area on the grip has a ridged area for the plate to grip on, though it is of the same material as the grip and not a softer or stickier material the Manffroto tripod being used worked well. The enclosed pictures show the E510 mounted on the Manffroto XP190 with the
430 Mag head.

What has taken a bit more getting used to is the location of the USB onnection and it‛s proximity to the Function buttons on the rear of the camera; the ISO button is now harder to use as is the moving through the menus. This is in no way a show stopper or a reason not to buy the grip, I have large hands and finger so it will be harder for me to use than many and now I have got used to the space restriction I hardly notice it.

The one and only problem I had with this unit was that I forgot to turn off the IR system for the remote control when I packed it away; hence when I came to use it next the batteries were flat. Thankfully the grip was provided with the belt battery pack which I duly plugged in and of I went. With this noted I had no further problems.

I have used the grip on both the E510 and E520 and the comments made for the E510 apply equally to its use with the E520. As discussed in many other placed the body of the two cameras is virtually identical to the user.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/thumbs/Own_1.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=7720)

The Grip fitted to the E510 showing the right hand portrait button with the front IR sensor above.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/thumbs/Own_2.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=7721)

The rear of the unit showing the USB connection with the IR sensor below.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/thumbs/Own_3.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=7722)

The left hand portrait button with the power selection switch.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/thumbs/Own_4.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=7723)

The front of the grip showing both buttons.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/thumbs/Own_5.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=7724)

This elevation shows the protrusion of the USB connection.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/thumbs/own_6.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=7728)

The remote control with the bulb, focus, shoot, 10 second timer and clear controls.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/thumbs/Own_7.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=7725)

Top of Battery pack with the lock shown at the centre bottom.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/thumbs/Own_8.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=7726)

Open Battery pack with 6 AA cells.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/thumbs/Own_9.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=7727)

The cable with storage for the plug.
In conclusion this is a very well constructed unit that improves the balance of the camera, especially when using the 50-200 lens. The price from ebay is under 100 excluding the batteries but including te remote and external battery pack; this represents very good value, in my opinion.

Since I got the unit it has lived on the E510 except when I am travelling light, so I am very pleased with it. Yes the full functionallity of a factory unit is not present but you do get the functions you need and as Olympus do not make a grip it is the only option we have at the moment.

HughofBardfield
22nd August 2008, 02:02 PM
Such a shame about the way the USB plug sticks out. I'm surprised they couldn't have come up with something less obtrusive.

I just know I'd catch it on things (including me) if I had one.

Cathal
22nd August 2008, 07:52 PM
I have used an MB-D100 on my nikon D100 for a number of years now. The only omission from the e510 for me was the lack of a battery grip, which is very useful to have for power hungry days. Why Olympus have decided not to produce on is beyond me, but I am pleased to see the is a third-party option available.

Right now, I'm loving the compact size of the e510 too much to bother with a grip, though depending on how good the battery life is, I may investigate this option in the future, though would prefer an Olympus solution.

Thanks for taking the time to write and illustrate the article. Greatly appreciated.