As a professional wedding photographer, I’m always looking for new equipment or things that will make my life easier (well, that’s what I tell “the boss” anyway!). Last year I bought the little Fuji X100 to complement my Nikon full frame kit and I have to say that I absolutely love it! It’s become my “carry-round” camera and produces great images, which on the weddings even make their way in the clients’ albums.
Anyway, for a while I’ve been looking for a case or a grip that would make the camera a bit more “grippy” for the right hand, and that probably comes from having used DSLRs for so many years. Up to now I’ve just used the lower half of the Fuji case, which has been fine, but I wanted something a little different, and which if possible would add a little more protection for the Fuji when on a job.
I looked at the gorgeous RRS brackets (http://reallyrightstuff.com/) but to be honest, couldn’t justify spending well over £200 on one (when taking into account UK import duty and taxes) – they’re superbly engineered, but not really cost-effective. I’d seen some opinions on various Fuji forums about the iShoot bracket (mainly for the XE-1 and X-Pro1) but couldn’t find anything related specifically to the X100. Trawling around the ubiquitous eBay I managed to find a version for the X100, and (hardly surprising nowadays) found that it was only available from China.
Now I have to admit that I’m old enough to remember when the phrase “Made in China” would ring alarm bells about the quality of a product, but the country’s now taking a leading role in many manufacturing processes, and even the mainstream Japanese camera brands are building some of their equipment in China. So I thought, well, let’s give it a go! 🙂
I placed the order last Monday and to my surprise, a parcel was delivered just 5 days later – an excellent start I thought!
The bracket arrives well-packaged, in a sturdy box, so no risk of damage. Inside, it’s presented (fully assembled) in a black cloth bag, so you’re ready to go!
Here’s the manufacturer’s description (tidied up a bit for grammar!)
L-shaped Vertical Shoot Quick Release Plate/Camera Grip IS-X100 For Fujifilm X100/X100S Compatible with RRS / ARCA-SWISS / KIRK Ballhead
Features: 1. All-metal material, weight of 120g, CNC precision machining, surface anode anti-oxidation treatment; 2. Specially designed for Fujifilm X100/X100S, split-body design, can be disassembled, can be used vertically, and can be used as grip; 3. With AS ballhead interface, compatible with RRS / ARCA-SWISS / KIRK / Wimberley / MARKINS / SUNWAYFOTO / kangrinpoche / BENRO/SIRUI AS ballhead.
Now, I’m not an engineer, but the bracket seems extremely well put together – the only thing that’s missing is an Allen key if you want to take off the end plate, but that’s hardly an issue.
The X100 fits snugly into the baseplate and having taken it off shows no marking to the bottom of the camera body (in case you’re worried about damage due to a poor fit).
The handgrip’s really useful, and combined with the Lensmate thumb grip that I fitted, means that I can comfortably hold the camera one-handed without any fear of dropping it. As I said, coming from a DSLR background I’m used to having my trigger finger sit on the shutter release – this isn’t quite the case with the design of this bracket, but it’s certainly not a deal-breaker.
Aesthetically, I think the end plate adds bulk to the camera and makes it look more industrial, so for personal use I may take it off, but for weddings it’ll be left on, adding protection to the side of the camera.
The design allows you to easily access the focus panel on the left, and open the USB port on the right. Underneath, and this was key for me, you can change the battery or SD card without removing the grip (something that some of the “ever ready cases” on the market don’t allow you to do). The bracket’s got a standard threaded hole for attachment to a tripod bracket (which is also where the speaker is on the baseplate), so you could use a Manfrotto for instance, or use it with one of the other types such as Arca-Swiss (which is where the end plate’s really useful if you’re shooting portrait orientated shots on a tripod).
So what’s my conclusion?
I have to admit that I was slightly dubious when I placed the order, but the bracket’s brilliant – does exactly what I need it to do, and fabulous service.
Value-wise, I don’t think you can beat it – less than £49, and delivered in 5 days! If you’re interested, here’s the link to the eBay seller – http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vertical-Shoot-Quick-Release-Plate-Camera-Handle-for-Fuji-X100-X100S-Ballhead-/200944380825?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item2ec937eb99
Enjoy! 🙂 If you’ve got any comments or questions please leave them below.