Olympus OM-D: Get a better grip with the HLD-6 Battery Grip

Posted on 7 Jan ’13 by Earl

hdl-6-om-d-batter-grip

Sometimes a plus can also be a minus. Those with full sized hands and previous experience with full sized D-SLR’s, may find when operating the Olympus OM-D it feels a bit small…lacking grip.

Now I’ve used my OM-D extensively and have never dropped it but I’m always aware the “grip” is not as good as with my full size camera.  I found a workable solution to this issue in the Olympus HLD-6 Battery Grip.

This grip is designed in two parts,  which I think was ingenious on the part of Olympus. The first part is an additional horizontal grip that provides a substantial hand hold and a duplicate shutter release button.  The second part of the grip attaches to the first and provides the portrait grip with control wheels, plus two additional programmable buttons and the extra battery compartment.

You can use the horizontal grip alone which is what I do most of the time. It provides a much more comfortable in the hand feeling to the OM-D without adding much in size or weight.  Note: This unit has to be removed to remove the battery from the OM-D body  but that only takes a moment with the quick thumb wheel screw attachment Olympus uses. 

When you want to shoot mainly portraits or need the extra battery capacity just spin on the second part which also attaches with a quick spin thumb wheel screw, same attachment design as the first part.  You can remove both units from the camera without separating them by releasing the first units thumb wheel screw.

If interested, there’s a more in-depth review of this unit with informative photos here.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Paul Maxim 8 Jan ’13 at 1:17 pm

    Yep. Got one of these things. It’s very well built and it does make the camera easier to hang on to, but it ain’t cheap! And I’m still not absolutely sure which battery is used first if both are in place. I’d guess the one in the camera. I’m not happy about having to remove the grip, either, to get at the camera mounted battery. As you say, it’s easy enough to do, but I keep thinking of the battery grip on my Canon 5D MK II. You can remove both batteries in about 2 seconds. I guess I’m spoiled…….

    • Earl 8 Jan ’13 at 1:58 pm

      Paul, You set battery priority under the Custom Menu – K Utility. I have mine set to use the Power Battery Holder (PBH) battery first, if present, then the internal battery. Also, when the OM-D is first turned on, the battery status icon in the upper left of the screen will have a small PBH under it if it’s using the external battery. While this isn’t the perfect setup…I’ve seen much worst.

      I guess in designing this, Olympus didn’t have as much area to work with as Canon did with your full size 5D MK II.

  2. ken bello 8 Jan ’13 at 5:06 pm

    I have a grip on my old D80 and I really like it, especially with the vertical release.I’m thinking about getting one for the D600 but then it might be a tight fit in the camera bag. I don’t have any experience with the Oly grips but the Nikon ones are well designed and well made.
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    • Earl 8 Jan ’13 at 9:00 pm

      Ken, I had one for my D700 but didn’t use it very often because of the added size and weight. I doubt I’ll get one for the D600. This Olympus model is made very well and the only compromise is you have to remove it to get to the internal battery. But removing it is quick and easy. This is only a minor inconvenience for me…not a deal breaker. Thanks.

  3. Mark 8 Jan ’13 at 8:23 pm

    For the first time in a long time, I did not go with an add on grip for my D800. When Nikon wanted to charge nearly $500 for it, I decided it just wasn’t worth that much to me. Now there are 3rd party grips out there for less, but I already invested in an L bracket for the body w/o grip. I am living without the vertical release button for now, and it isn’t too bad.

    This does seem like a great design methodology. It offers flexibility to adapt the body size to your shooting situation, which I really like.
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    • Earl 8 Jan ’13 at 9:06 pm

      Mark, Even this Olympus model is right at $300…a huge profit margin in these accessories I’m thinking! You reminded me, I’ve got an L bracket here somewhere I used on the D700. I should check and see if by chance I could get it to fit the D600. That would be nice.

      Yeah, I like the fact there’s two parts to it so you can use only what you need.

  4. Cedric Canard 19 Jan ’13 at 4:23 pm

    I’ll go out on a limb here. Recently I’ve been looking at the OM-D and as is I find it impossible to handle comfortably. I doubt it could ever feel like a natural extension of my hand. I’m fine with that when handling small compact cameras but on a CSC I see it as a design flaw. I understand that Olympus tried to go for the nostalgia pitch by making the OM-D look like the original OMs but they seemed to forget that the original models didn’t have buttons and an LCD screen cluttering up the back of the camera and so were in fact much easier to hold without having to fork out for an extra hand-grip. And this is across the range of Olympus cameras as their PENs fare no better in the handling department where my own hands are concerned.
    I need to point out that I am somewhat minimalistic in my approach to camera gear (I used to be the exact opposite). These days it’s one lens, no filters, no bag, no tripod, no add-ons. As such the idea of having to add a hand grip just doesn’t sit right with me. I feel certain that it would always feel like extra baggage to me. But I could be wrong, given enough time I could most likely get used to anything. After all, after a while the act of making a photo is enough to make me forget just about everything else.
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    • Earl 21 Jan ’13 at 2:21 pm

      Just different strokes for different folks, Cedric, no limb climbing required. :-) Lots of people like the OM-D design and handling…myself included…but if someone doesn’t that’s perfectly fine. There are certainly other cameras in this range I don’t like the feel of…the Sony NEX line for one but I know some love them. Perhaps part of my “love” of the OM-D comes from fond memories of my film days with an OM-1.

      In the case of this battery grip, it adds a sense of safety for me while holding the OM-D one handed walking about. Some would never want this and that’s why I think it’s better as an accessory. Adding these “bits” customize a camera…I like being able to make it specific to my needs or wants. The first section of the grip doesn’t feel like extra baggage because I always have it attached.

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