Meike MK-550DL Manual part two

LCD screen and back of the grip

LCD screen and back of the grip

My post from a while back on the Meike MK-550DL Battery Grip is one of the most popular pages on my site. I still stand behind the purchase and the grip has saved me a whole lot of time and also a lot of money. I don’t need to purchase any extras in order to take time-lapses or to do long-exposure photography with exposures longer than 30 seconds. I’ve personally recommended the battery grip to a couple of my friends, although they have yet to jump in and make the purchase. It was hard to find a Meike MK-550DL Manual that made sense.

It’s been over a year since I created and published the first post, so I’ve had a really long time to learn the ins and outs of the grip. I love it and use it exclusively. I keep the grip on my camera when I store it in my bag and I’d say that 99.98% of the time, I have the battery grip attached with two batteries in. The battery life is incredible and I always have two extras in my bag that I can easily swap out.

Since the first post was so popular, I wanted to go a little more in depth and delve into the grip settings for using the bulb function or the built-in intervalometer. Keep in mind that you can also perform bulb functions and time-lapse scenes with Magic Lantern on select Canon cameras if you have that installed. For the purposes of this post, I’ll go into setting up the grip for those two things. The portion from the manual doesn’t do a very good job explaining the setup.Meike 550DL Manual

Long-exposures longer than 30 seconds:

The slowest shutter speed on my Canon t2i is 30 seconds, but that’s sometimes not enough for night photography and long-exposures. Sometimes I like taking long-exposures during the day with a piece of glass over my lens, but without the grip, I wouldn’t be able to. Here’s how you set that up:

  1. With the grip attached, head into full manual mode.
  2. Set your shooting mode to single.
  3. Hit the up or down arrow until the LCD shows a screen with the words “delay” “long” “intvl”, making sure they’re flashing.
  4. Set a delay if you want, and set your “long” to however many seconds you want your exposure to last.
  5. Choose your “N” or number of shots.
  6. When you’re ready, hit the play button and the grip will run the sequence.

I normally use this function for exposures that range from a minute long to 5 minutes, so I always mount it on my tripod before I mess with the settings. If you press the play button and nothing happens, make sure you have your battery grip switched on. I tend to set a 2 second delay mainly because I want to hit play and give the camera time to settle from my fingers hitting the button. Blurry photos are not cool.

Interval/time-lapse photography:

  1. With the grip attached, head into full manual mode.
  2. Set your shooting mode to single (continuous will mess up the timing of your shots so when you play the sequence through, it’ll stutter).
  3. Set a delay if you want, and set “long” to at least 1 second. If you read the directions for long exposure, the premise is the same. “Long” is basically shutter speed and you’ll need at least one second for the signal from the grip to register with the camera.
  4. Set your “intvl” for the time in between shots -1. The minus one is to account for the 1 second we set for the “long”. The grip will first run down “long” and then run down “intvl” before taking the shot.
  5. Set the number of shots you want to be taken.
  6. Press play.

The important things are to remember to have all your manual settings done before pressing play. Remember to be in single shot mode and that your “long” is set for at least 1 second. You could, have it set for longer if you want, but then you’ll have to factor that in before setting up your “intvl”.

For example, let’s say I wanted to take a shot every 5 seconds for a total time of a minute. 60 seconds/5seconds = 12 total shots. To do this, I would set “delay” to 2 (I like a delay to eliminate wobble), “long” to 1 second, “intvl” to 4 seconds, and “N” for 12.

After I press play, the sequence would delay for 2 seconds, then release the shutter during the 1 second “long” and go right into the 4 second “intvl” countdown. It would then take a shot right at the end of the countdown and go back to “long” and repeat itself until theĀ “N” (which is counting down from 12, runs down to zero).

Hopefully this post has been helpful, because the grip does take some getting used to. After you use it a few times though, it’ll be like second nature. As always, play with it and know your gear before heading out there in the dark.