Sigma 500 f4, D500 and Vertax Battery Grip.

This might be of interest to anyone with this combination of lens, camera and grip. It might well apply to other problems with battery grips, bodies and lenses as well.

My Sigma 500mm f4 Sport has proved very successful on both my D500 and D810 bodies. Very sharp, good focus and effective OS (VR in Nikon speak). It suddenly started doing strange things on the D500 the other day. Jumping in and out of focus, changing the focus mode settings autonomously and doing a strange clunking thing at the end of an AF period after releasing the AF-ON button on the body. It was fine on the D810 and so I decided that it must be something to do with the D500.

I downloaded the latest Firmware for the D500. No change. I updated the firmware on the Sigma. No change. I cleaned all the electrical contents on the D500 lens mount and the lens. No change.

Then I became suspicious of the battery grip. I have a Vertax battery grip on both cameras and I have never had any problem with them. The batteries in both camera and grip were fully charged and I swopped them over to double check. When I removed the grip, the problem went away, so it was definitely the grip. I then cleaned all the contacts between battery, body and the grip. I then replaced the grip, switched it all on and Bingo! All was well again.

I don't really understand why this happened but it may be that the Sigma is particularly sensitive to voltages supplied from the camera/grip and the contacts may have been mucky enough to lower these and to cause the problem. Interestingly, there were no problems on any of my other lenses, including two other Sigmas.


  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 990Member
    Congratulations to problem solved and a really nice lens :).
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Thank you!
    I was relieved, as I had visions of sending the lens to Sigma and the body to Nikon and neither being able to solve the problem! I guess this is one of the potential problems of getting non-Nikon lenses when a problem crops up that could be either the lens, the body or some sort of combination of the two. If both are Nikon, you could just send both to Nikon to sort out for you.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,333Member
    I avoid all problems with grips by removing the connector and just using them to carry spare batteries.
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 2,388Member

    I avoid all problems with grips by removing the connector and just using them to carry spare batteries.

    You would love the Z series "grip" then.
  • retreadretread Posts: 572Member

    I avoid all problems with grips by removing the connector and just using them to carry spare batteries.

    I use the controls on the grip allot. That is the reason I got one.
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    I think that if I simply wanted to carry a spare battery, I might just slip it into a pocket! Although I do use battery grips on bodies and have done for many years, I actually resent the extra bulk, weight and added conspicuity. Personally, I would not attach one without the intention to use it for its intended purpose, it would be far too inconvenient.

    The trade off is that when switching from landscape to portrait, they really do make shooting much easier and faster, for me at least. I find DSLRs quite awkward to use in portrait mode without the grip but we all have different ways of doing things!

    A second advantage is that with a long, heavy lens (like the Sigma 500 f4), the extra weight helps to enable perfect balancing on a gimbal head with a light camera body like the D500. Without the grip, I cannot quite achieve neutral weight distribution as the Jobo foot that I have on this lens runs out of travel backwards, preventing the achievement of perfect balance. The D810, being that little heavier does not have the same problem and can balance without the grip. Even on a gimbal head, I find the ability to switch to portrait format quickly, with all the controls in the right place most useful, especially for birds.

    If I am attaching the body to a tripod, rather than the foot of a lens, I always remove the battery grip. This is because there is quite a lot of play and potential movement between the grip and the body, even if screwed hard down. Possibly this is just paranoid, but I see little use in using a tripod and compromising stability, even if it seems unlikely. Genuine Nikon grips for these two cameras may attach more solidly but I have no information on this. The genuine Nikon grip for my F100 does seem a little firmer in its attachment, so this may be true for the two digital cameras as well.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,454Member
    edited September 2018

    I avoid all problems with grips by removing the connector and just using them to carry spare batteries.

    Then why waste money on the grip at all? Just use the cash to get another battery instead and keep it in your pocket. Faster to change that way too, without having to get the battery out of the grip, remove it from the tray, and then take grip off to swap batteries. What a waste of time and money.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,333Member
    edited September 2018
    I want the camera to look bigger .I dont have time to move my hand from one grip to the other. in one I carry spare AA for the flash another a GPS tracker and my wife has a hidden voice recorder in hers.. an en-el 15 in a forth...Sounds like a waste of money to me
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
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