Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster 2020 Latest Updated Review
Fujifilm supplies the VPB-XT2 with an AC-DC adapter which lets you run the camera for extended periods from mains power so when battery power is low or even depleted entirely, you can continue to shoot stills or movies on AC power.
In the Boost mode, multiple batteries can operate at the same time to give a boost to camera performance in continuous shooting, shooting interval, shutter release time lag and blackout time, while also extending the duration of 4K video recording to approx. 30 minutes.
It is an accessory that can maximize the performance of the X-T2.
The Grip features the shutter release button, focus lever, AE-L button, AF-L button, command dials, Q button and Fn button to provide the same level of excellent operability in vertical shooting as you get in horizontal operation.
Fujifilm’s VPB-XT2 is a must-have accessory for almost every XT2 owner.
Like all grips, it’ll boost the battery life, provide portrait controls and give you more to hold onto, but it also transforms the camera’s handling.
Where most grips prevent you from using the battery in the body, the VPB lets you use three simultaneously, tripling the life and giving each an icon on-screen.
By prioritizing the grip batteries, overheating can also be better-managed, allowing the camera to triple 4k and double 1080p recording times.
The increased power on tap also enhances the Performance Boost mode, accelerating the mechanical burst speed from 8 to 11fps, while visibly speeding-up the focusing and reducing viewfinder lag and blackout.
Why you Should Get it
- Battery-charging Functionality
- Headphone Jack
- AC Adapter
- It is dust-resistant, water-resistant and capable of operating at temperatures as low as -10 degrees C.
- It fits two batteries, bringing the total number of batteries to three, including the one on the camera, to increase the maximum number of frames that can be taken per charge to approx. 1,000
- The Grip itself has battery-charging functionality. Using the AC adapter supplied
About this item
Hold the camera vertically and mainitain access to the shutter release button, Q button, focus lever, command dials, AE-L button
The grip uses multiple batteries simultaneously to improve its performance in Boost Mode, including continuous shooting, shooting interval, shutter release lag time and blackout time.
High-Speed continuous shooting is increased to 11 fps from 8fps and number of effective pixels-24.3 millions pixels
Can fit two batteries to boost the maximum number of shots per charge to approx.1,000.
Battery-charging functionality, and is capable of fully charging two batteries in two hours
Fujifilm VPB-XT2 performance boost
The VPB-XT2 broadens the improvements when the XT2 is set to its Performance Boost mode.
Previously when shooting with the XT2 body alone, the Boost mode would only increase the viewfinder refresh from 60 to 100fps and accelerate the focusing speed.
Fit the VPB and it’ll also reduce the shutter lag and increase the maximum mechanical burst speed from 8 to 11fps.
To put this to the test I timed a burst in the 11fps mode. I captured 80 Fine JPEGs in 6.93 seconds for a speed of 11.5fps, after which the rate slowed to around 5fps.
Switching to Compressed RAW allowed me to capture 21 frames in 1.76 seconds for a speed of 11.9fps, slowing afterwards to around 4fps.
Fujifilm quotes 73 JPEGs or 30 Compressed RAW frames at 11fps, so I managed more of the former and slightly fewer of the latter, but again a useful amount in practice.
As mentioned earlier, the VPB-XT2 also extends the maximum movie clip length compared to the XT2 body alone.
Without the grip, the XT2 could only film clips lasting ten minutes in 4k or 15 minutes in 1080p due to overheating issues.
Fit the VPB-XT2 though and you can film clips lasting a second shy of half an hour in either 1080p or 4k.
It’s an upgrade that makes the XT2 so much more useful for shooting video, although to be fair, it only brings it in line with rivals which can film half an hour – or unlimited in the case of the Lumix GH5 – out of the box.
To put the extended movie clips to the test I fitted the Vertical Power Booster with all three batteries fully-charged and saw the maximum recording time display immediately increase from ten minutes to 29:59.
I recorded a 29:59 4k clip, after which the left, right and body batteries indicated 52, 100 and 89% respectively and the body felt slightly warm.
Fujifilm’s also been careful to position the duplicate controls in mostly similar positions so that they fall naturally to hand, finger or thumb.
There’s duplicate front and rear control dials, AF joystick, and AE-L and AF-L buttons. The shutter release is unsurprisingly flusher to the surface, given it doesn’t have dials around it, and is joined by duplicate Function and Q.Menu buttons.
Then there’s the new lever switching between Standard and Performance Boost modes, although like Turbo buttons on old PCs, you’ll almost inevitably have it set to the faster option most of the time.
On the left side (as you hold the camera), there’s a thin rubber flap behind which you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack and the DC input.
The camera still gets hot when filming under AC power, even with the batteries removed, but it’s a useful option none-the-less.
Ease of Use
The Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip enables vertical shooting with all the camera’s key controls at hand, including a shutter release button, Fn button, Q button, thumb-operated focus lever, front and rear command dials
They’re all very well located, falling easily to hand. Note that you can’t customise the functionality of any of these buttons.
The shutter release button also has a lock switch, which effectively prevents it from accidentally firing the shutter while you’re using the camera in a horizontal orientation
Again, Fuji have knocked this one out of the park. It feels like an extension of the Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical . In fact, I would go so far as to say that some of the controls are actually better placed on the grip than they are on the main body.
The command dials are a good example of this. They are much closer to my fingers while I’m shooting, making them more comfortable to access.
The extra weight really isn’t noticeable if you’re coming from a DSLR, but it does feel significantly heavier than the X-T2 by itself.
This could be a good or a bad thing, but overall, I feel that it works for my shooting style.
When I’m out shooting around town for myself or on a date with my wife, I’ll be leaving the grip at home.
However, the extra power and weight is great for all-day event shooting and engagement sessions.
Here’s where this grip is really something special. Most grips are a bit of a joke when it comes to adding any sort of value to your experience with the camera.
They are simply built to make vertical shooting easier and give you space for some extra power.
However, the Fuji grip brings so much more to the Fujifilm VPB-XT2 Vertical that it can almost justify its price tag.
It does what it says on the box.
You get the extra power, the extended recording time, in-grip charging, reduced shutter lag, and audio monitoring via headphones.
All of these sound great, but how good are they, and do they really add enough to the experience to justify the price? Yes and no.
What We Liked
- Fits really well with the body
- Extra juice
- Improved shot-to-shot times
- Recessed grip
- Video record times
- Heft when carrying it
What we didn’t like
- The price
- Doesn’t come with any extra batteries
- Shutter too easy to press with palm
- Flimsy front piece
- Rubber port cover not in line with the new build quality
- The audio monitoring jack needs a very small plug