Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip Review:
The new Fuji X-T2 is a fantastic mirrorless cameras that is plenty capable to tackle most challenges. It’s fast, well-built, and produces excellent images all in a compact body. In fact, I love it so much that I bought one myself (X-T2 review here). For many, its overall abilities and performance are more than enough but for those who need even more, Fuji has answered the call with the VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip. At $329, it may sound expensive for a vertical grip but in addition to adding more support when using the camera in the portrait orientation, it also increases the X-T2’s performance in several ways.
Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip Build Quality:
Before we talk about how the Fuji VPB-XT2 (B&H Photo/Amazon) increases the X-T2’s performance, let’s talk about the overall build quality. There are some vertical grips that feel like add-ons or afterthoughts but one of the main reasons why I love the VPB-XT2 so much is that it fits so well to the X-T2. When it is attached to the camera, there is no creaking or movement of any kind. The camera and grip feel like a one piece unit, which is not always the case with all grips. In every way, it matches the same impressive build of the X-T2. In fact, it’s one of the best built grips that I’ve come across so far. It feels very solid, which helps to inspire confidence. Like the X-T2, the VPB-XT2 is also dust and weather resistant. It can operate in temperatures as low as -10ºC. What I also particularly like is the attention to even the small details, which to me, is one of the signs of a high quality product. For instance, Fuji even went to the effort of giving the buttons and focus thumb stick essentially the same tactile feel as the ones on the camera.
↑ The Fuji X-T2 with the VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip.
↑ Here’s how it looks like in the back.
Speaking of the buttons and controls, the Fuji VPB-XT2 (B&H Photo/Amazon) isn’t just a simple vertical grip with a shutter button. In addition to the focus thumb stick I just mentioned, you also get the AE-L button, AF-L button, Q button, Fn button, Front Command Dial, Rear Command Dial, and the shutter release button on the grip. As you can see, Fuji put a lot of the main buttons and dials on the grip to make shooting in the portrait orientation that much easier. On the back of the grip, there’s also the Performance Selector where you can choose Boost Mode, which I’ll discuss further below. On the bottom of the grip, there’s an eyelet for a camera strap, and a tripod mount. Furthermore, there’s even a small compartment on top of the grip for the rubber cover that you would have to remove from the bottom of the X-T2 in order to attach the VPB-XT2. I think this is particularly neat and useful, especially for something that can be quite easily lost. Lastly, on the side of the grip, there’s the 9 V DC-IN connector and headphone jack socket, which are covered by a rubber cover.
↑ A close up view of the rear.
↑ There’s even a lock for the shutter button.
↑ There’s a tripod thread, and an eyelet for a strap.
↑ This rubber cover on the bottom of the X-T2 can be placed for safe keeping in a small compartment on top of the VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip.
↑ The small compartment on the left in this photo is where you can place the rubber cover from the bottom of the X-T2.
Now here’s the thing: the rubber cover for the charger and headphones ports is one of the issues that I have with the VPB-XT2. I see these types of rubber covers from time to time, and in general, I’ve never been a huge fan. Personally, I feel that if Fuji put so much effort into making such a nice grip, they shouldn’t have stop at the cover. An actual hard cover door will be more durable over time, especially since this cover will be used a lot.
↑ Locking mechanism for battery compartment and the rubber cover protecting the charging and headphones ports.
The other issue I have is minor. I feel that the added grip that goes over the X-T2’s existing grip is not necessarily flimsy but maybe not built up to the same level as the rest of the VPB-XT2. It doesn’t bend or anything, and once the VPB-XT2 is attached to the camera, the whole unit is very solid feeling. So, this a minor issue that doesn’t affect any of the feel in practice but I just wanted to mention it because this is a review. Other than these issues, the VPB-X-T2’s build is exemplary.
Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip Handling:
In addition to being well-built, the Fuji VPB-XT2 (B&H Photo/Amazon) is also an extremely comfortable and supportive grip. The performance upgrades, which I will discuss later, are great but the added support in portrait orientation was actually the main reason why I bought the grip for myself in the first place. For instance, the extra grip that makes the grip on the X-T2 a little larger is not only contoured nicely, it adds just the right amount of extra support without making the overall grip size that much larger. The fact that the VPB-XT2 fits so seamlessly to the X-T2 actually inspires confidence. I know it’s not going to get loose anytime, and there are no creaks or signs that indicate to me that the fit isn’t less than perfect.
↑ Another view of the X-T2 with the VPB-XT2 grip.
What also makes shooting in the portrait orientation that much easier is the location of the buttons, which feel very natural to me. I especially like having the focus thumb stick on the grip, and it’s very easy to access while shooting in the portrait orientation. I only had to get used to the shutter button because for me, I’d prefer if it was placed a little lower on the grip. But that’s personal preference, and it’s a very minor issue. Overall, I absolutely love using this grip for portrait work.
Of course, the Fuji VPB-XT2 does make the X-T2 larger, and heavier. But if you need a vertical booster grip, the size and weight come with the territory. The good news is that I feel Fuji did a good job controlling the overall size and added weight. I’ve been using the grip a lot for all day shoots, and I’m not tired at the end of the day from carrying it around. In fact, the weight that it does add to the X-T2 actually helps me steady the camera better with certain lenses. The camera also feels very well-balanced with the grip attached.
But I will admit that the larger size overall makes the camera a bit more cumbersome. Things like changing a lens or pulling the camera out of the bag while walking are a little more difficult. Since the X-T2 is already a compact camera, the grip doesn’t make the camera that much larger but I still feel a little more conspicuous with it’s attached. That’s why for me, if I’m street shooting, I remove the grip. But when I have portrait sessions for example, I won’t leave home without it because it makes handling the camera that much better for me. For lenses like the XF 50-140mm, which I am actually in the process of reviewing right now, the VPB-XT2 is a godsend. It’s also a great match with the XF 56mm.
↑ It’s definitely much easier to shoot with the XF 50-140mm in the portrait orientation now that I have the vertical grip.
Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip Performance:
Again, I’m just happy with the added support in portrait orientation and the vertical shutter button but the VPB-XT2 also increases the performance of the X-T2. So for me, this is like an added bonus :). For one, since this grip fits an additional two batteries, the maximum number of shots per charge increases to approximately 1,000. This is a huge selling point for me because while I love my X-T2, I just don’t think the battery is large enough for this camera. Of course, the batteries are not included but if they did include them, Fuji probably wouldn’t be making much on these grips, and they are in the business of making money :). Truthfully, they did an excellent job with the VPB-XT2, and I think it’s worth the $329 asking price.
↑ The battery compartment simply slides right out.
Now, you may think the downside to having three batteries is that it will take essentially triple the amount of time to charge all of them, which would really be quite annoying because that would mean it could take around 6 hours. But it’s possible to actually charge all three with the same amount of time that it would take to charge just one. Don’t forget that the grip itself has charging capabilities, and it will actually charge both batteries simultaneously. The battery in the camera can also be charged at the same time as the ones in the grip with the X-T2’s included charger. Another point worth mentioning is that the batteries in the Fuji VPB-XT2 (B&H Photo/Amazon) can be charge when the grip is either on or off the camera, so if you happen to completely drain the batteries in the grip, you can remove it from the camera, and plug the VPB-XT2 in while you’re still shooting with the battery in the camera.
To further enhance the X-T2’s performance, the grip also allows you to take full advantage of Boost Mode. In Boost Mode, the X-T2’s AF speed increase from 0.08 seconds to 0.06 seconds. The EVF refresh rate also increase from 60 fps to 100 fps but with the grip attached, other areas of performance are also enhanced. For instance, the shooting interval drops from 0.19 seconds to 0.17 seconds. The shutter time lag drops from 0.05 seconds to 0.045 seconds. Black out time also decreases from 130 msec to 114 msec, and high speed continuous shooting increases from 8 fps to 11 fps. You will still get up to 14 fps if you use the electronic shutter.
If you shoot a lot of video with the X-T2, the Fuji VPB-XT2 might also be something you would want to consider because it will enhance video performance. Normally, the X-T2 can record 4K for approximately 10 minutes but with the grip attached, you can extend that time to 29 minutes and 59 seconds. I don’t shoot any video with my camera but I imagine that is pretty awesome for those that do. Furthermore, you also get the 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring sound.
↑ The Fuji X-T2, XF 56mm APD, and the VPB-XT2 make such a well-balanced combo.
Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip Pros And Cons:
Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip Pros:
- Excellent build quality.
- Ergonomically well-designed, and extremely functional.
- Attention to details: love the little compartment for the X-T2’s bottom rubber cover.
- While the grip does increase size and weight, the camera still isn’t huge, and it’s still completely useable all day.
- Dramatically increases the number of shots thanks to the two extra batteries.
- The grip can charge its two batteries simultaneously.
- The grip greatly expands the X-T2’s abilities.
- Extra video capabilities.
Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip Cons:
- Not a fan of the rubber cover.
- The added grip that covers the X-T2’s existing grip isn’t up to the same level as the rest of the grip.
(I am not adding the increase in size and weight because it’s expected when any grip is added to any camera).
Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip Verdict:
My main reason for purchasing the Fuji VPB-XT2 (B&H Photo/Amazon) was that I wanted more support when I was taking portraits with my X-T2 in the vertical position. I also wanted a vertical shutter button. Overall, I’m happy to say that I ended up with more than I expected. The VPB-XT2 isn’t just one of the best built grips out there, it’s one of the most comfortable thanks to its superb ergonomics, and well-placed controls. But it doesn’t stop there because the VPB-XT2 also adds a host of performance upgrades to help further justify its asking price of $329. To top it off, it increases battery life significantly yet because the grip has its own charging capabilities, charging times aren’t really affected by the extra batteries.
I don’t believe this is a must-have accessory for every X-T2 owner because it does make the camera larger, heavier, and the truth is, the X-T2 is already a very capable camera without the grip. But if you find yourself in need of any of the features that I mentioned in this review, I highly, highly suggest purchasing one for yourself. I said it before, and I’ll say it again. I absolutely love using this grip. I never thought I would buy something like this because I’m more of a minimalist but now, if I’m out there for a portrait session, I won’t leave home without the VPB-XT2.
Thanks for taking the time to read my review! If you’re interested, check out my Fuji X-T2 review as well. If you’re considering purchasing the VPB-XT2, and my review helped you decide, please help support this site by purchasing from any of the links in this review. It will not cost you anything extra. Thank you for your support!