Gear

Harbortronics VG-D70

First-class solution for adding vertical battery grip to Nikon D70 and D70s

Nikon’s D70 and D70s cameras don’t include shutter release connectivity inside the battery bay because Nikon never intended them to be used with a vertical battery grip. Fortunately, some aftermarket inventors came up with workarounds and my favorite is the Harbortronics VG-D70. The unit comes with everything you’d expect from a good vertical battery grip, including a place for two batteries, a place to store the battery door (which is easily removed to make the grip fit properly), an extra fiber optic cable, and a separate shutter button.

The Harbortronics VG-D70 can fire the shutter using a fiber optic cable that runs from the battery pack up to the IR receiver panel on the camera. Simply put your D70 in IR shutter mode, and the button on the grip releases the shutter. If you hold both sides of the camera when shooting in landscape orientation, the cable can get in the way. My D70s didn’t miss a shot in IR mode—even in direct sunlight.

Because the trigger uses the IR mode, the shutter button doesn’t use the “half-press” position to autofocus and meter the light; however, Harbortronics offers the option to modify your D70 (for $135) and add a port so you can connect the grip with a short, electronic cable instead of using the fiber optic cable. On the D70s, Nikon added a port for a wired remote, so no modification is necessary. You simply need to buy a custom cable ($70) from Harbortronics.

The texture, weight, the feel of the shutter release, and the overall functionality of the VG-D70 are all first-class. My only concern was the strap that connects the base to the vertically installed battery seemed a little flimsy during assembly but it was fine once I screwed the base onto the camera.—Larry Becker

PRICE $165
FROM Harbortronics LLC
PHONE 253-858-7769
WEB www.harbortronics.com
FOR Nikon D70 and D70s

LAYERS VERDICT
HOT Professional feel and functionality
NOT Flimsy strap; fiber optic cable can get in the way
RATING 4

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