so I got an MB-20 for my F4e, of course making it an F4. not sure I like it... it does make the camera smaller, but not as comfortable to hold. I know it is lighter, but does not "feel" it. Anyone else have these thoughts?
I too recently got an MB-20 for my F4. It brings the weight back to close to the original F with Photomic Ftn finder. For me it's all about the weight. I like my F4 much better in it's lighter form. This seems to be a polarizing issue. Some folks like the F5 better than the F6 because of the vertical grip.
You need to learn, when you need the vertical grip and when not. I understand that you are accustomed to the vertical grip and any camera look more handsome with it. But the F4 and the F6 without them are great also.
I have both the MB-20 and the MB-21. I find I like it better to hold and handle the camera when it's bigger and heavier in the F4s configuration. I shoot a lot in vertical mode, so really appreciate the dual triggers. Before, I often used it with a MC-12a remote release, which required the MB-21. Plus it does look handsomer, as mentioned above.
That said, I have often chosen the MB-20 for travel. Partly for weight, and partly to be able to fit it in the bag.
Small and light cameras are really nice in the bag, but I prefer big and heavy when actually taking pictures.
I brought an F4s with MB-21 grip, then a F4 with MB-20 grip. I recently sold the F4s mainly because of the handling. I find the MB-20 more comfortable and don't need the extra framerate. It's a personal choice, but in any shape or form the F4 is a great camera!
When shooting my with my F4 on a tripod, I use the MB-20 and an L-bracket, with a quick release ball-head. Since I am using a cable release or the self-timer, the shutter release button is not inconvenient in a vertical position. In this scenario I'll take the lighter weight F4 to offset some of the tripod weight. The L-bracket for the F4 is also less expensive and more compact than one for an F4s.
When shooting hand-held, which often means in portrait orientation, I like shooting with the MB-21. Like you, I like the larger grip, and definitely appreciate the vertical shutter release. The extra weight of the grip and batteries just adds to my stability, and I actually like the weight. Frame rate does not factor in for me too often.
I suggest that you keep the MB-20 for a good long trial period, or forever! If you find a good deal, you may also wish to purchase an MB-21 to give you an F4s.
In my opinion, the MB-21 is a pretty bad vertical grip. I usually just rotate my hand instead of using the vertical grip on it. I think an MB-23 would be much better for using as a vertical grip. I've never used one, or an MB-20, though.