I’m flying to Amsterdam this evening for a three week trip and, as noted previously, will be writing regularly about my experiences with the Nokia Lumia 1020 and its stunning 41 megapixel PureView camera while away. Since I’m serious about using the 1020 instead of our normal point-and-click camera, I grabbed a Camera Grip as well. Here are some initial thoughts about this interesting accessory.

First, it’s not horribly expensive for what it is. My local AT&T Wireless store—which, by the ways, has always been excellent about Windows Phone, in sharp contrast to all those stories you hear—was selling it yesterday, and it costs just $59. It comes in white, black or yellow, and I grabbed the black version to match my phone.

The 1020 slides into the large part of the grip easily enough and clips in courtesy of two handles on the other end. You need to be careful to thread the camera strap—which is attached to the phone, not the grip—through a provided channel. And yes, you’ll want to use the strap. When you add the grip to the phone the net effect is something about the size of a typical point-and-click camera.

There is a USB charger port pass-through (which also works for PC sync, of course) so you can leave the grip on all the time if you want. My plan is to do so during the Europe trip but remove it for normal day-to-day use as it does add bulk and weight.

So what does the Camera Grip get you?

First and foremost, it provides an additional battery, which could be key for all day photography. (Actually, I should probably test the differences. I will. Nokia says it provides an additional 55 minutes of shoot time) You can test the strength of the grip battery by pushing a small button on the big end; four white lights indicate the life.

The grip also provides a more familiar and comfortable—and of course camera-like—picture-taking experience. In fact, this effect is more similar to that of a DSLR-type camera than your typical point-and-click and could result in steadier shots. At the least, it’s nicer to hold for picture-taking.

The grip also enables single-handed picture-taking. Thanks to a nicely positioned camera button on the top of the large, grip side of the accessory, you can actually hold the phone/grip in one hand and take a shot, something that’s not possible with just the phone.

Finally, the grip adds a tripod mount, so you can add any tripod to the device and take timed shots in which you can appear, take more stable shots, or take better timed exposure shots. I’m curious about combining a tripod with digital zoom to see whether the resulting shots are any good, and will be testing that.

And here’s something goofy I just noticed: You can stand the phone up in portrait mode using the grip as a base. (It also works as a landscape mode “stand” though the angle isn’t great for watching videos or whatever.)

Adding the grip to the Lumia 1020 doesn’t prevent you from keeping the device in a pocket, but it’s not something I’d want to use regularly. For Europe? Yep. Can’t wait to test it.

More soon.