A Gripping Tale
More Small Camera Grips
Small cameras of all sorts and descriptions are becoming increasingly popular. For many, DSLR fatugue is setting in. Maybe because image quality from APS-C and MFT sensors is getting so good, and small cameras so competant, but also maybe as a generation of serious photographers gets older the desire to lighten ones load increases proportionately.
Cheap digicams? They're dying off like 5.25" floppies. Smarphones are taking their place. But rather high functioning pocket cameras or Micro Four Thirds, or Sony NEX are the hot-spot. Some have decent gripping surfaces, some will fall to the concrete the first day, and all require quick mounting plates by those that use them on tripods for more serious work.
Jim Buchanan's NEX-7 Grip / Mounting Plate
The NEX-7 is one of the hot cameras of the past year. One of its minor handling shortcomings is that the grip isn't deep enough. One's right pinky finger kind-of flops around underneath the body. Jim's grip (hey Jim – it needs a nifty model number) solves this problem. This grip (full details and ordering information here) has an opening for the battery and card compartment that increases the depth just enough so that the hold-ability of the camera is remarkably improved. The dovetail plate is standard Arca/RRS, but since this is a non-standard standard a mount with an adjustable opening is worthwhile.
My only complaint is that while the opening for the battery compartment and memory card is appropriate, I find that I simply can not get a purchase on the card to remove it. My hands are on the average-to-small size. Some people may not have this problem. There is a simple fix though, and that is to press the card inward and then let it "pop" out. This works well, but just be careful with where the card goes. It can really fly. Ejecting it downward onto a flat clear surface is likely best.
Notwithstanding this issue, the grip is very nicely manufactured and finished in a slightly textured matte black anodized aluminium, and is well priced at just $100.
JTec Camera Accessories
One of the small manufacturing companies that makes quality camera grips and other small accessories is Jtec. Their president, Ted Johnson, was kind enough to send me a prototype of a new grip surface which they are planning for the Sigma SD1M and SD2M cameras. It has a super-adhesive backing and when attached to the camera wraps around the front and rear grip thumb area. (No illustration available at the moment). The surface is textured and comfortable, and in the event that you'd like to remove it, it's one of those new super 3M adhesives that grips tenaciously but peels of without leaving a residue when needed. There's no price or availability yet, but keep your eye on the Jtec site for an announcement when it becomes available.
Ted also sent along several new models of their shoe mounts and L-brackets for small cameras. The Jtec site lists them all, with the cameras they were designed for so no need to go into great length here. Quality of construction and finish is first-rate, and apparently all design, materials and manufacturing are done at their facilities in Connecticut. Recommended, whichever model you get, and do watch for the Sigma DP1M and DP2M grip material if you have or are planing to get one of these new cameras.