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Date: 17/02/2014 | By: Heather

Reviewing PhotoMADD’s X100s Grip and Tripod Plate Kit

photomadd-x100s-grip-tripod-plate

Reviewing PhotoMADD’s X100s Grip and Tripod Plate Kit

“Why add a grip to such a svelte camera as the X100/s?”

This was a valid question we received when we posted an image of PhotoMADD’s X100/s grip and tripod plate kit the other day. Indeed, one of the biggest advantages of the X100/s system is its compactness and portability, so adding a grip may seem like creating a problem for an already-existing solution.

However, after extensively using the kit over the weekend, my impression is that despite the increase in size, it actually has improved my personal shooting experience with the X100s.

The PhotoMADD X100/s Grip
The PhotoMADD X100/s Grip

According to the owner Matthew Maddock, the idea for PhotoMADD grip/tripod plates was born of his dissatisfaction with the existing grips for the X series. He found them unattractive and unpractical, as they would cover the battery and SD card compartment. Moreover, he was annoyed by that fact that if you attach a tripod plate to any of the Fujifilm X-Series cameras, it covers the battery and SD card slot. It was at that point he decided to design his own…

Improved shooting experience

Why do I feel better shooting with the grip, you ask? Well, it all comes down to ergonomics. While I enjoy the aesthetics of the X100s more than any other camera we’ve tried, I often find that my hold on the camera isn’t as good as it could be due to the lack of a substantial grip. With the thoughtfully-designed PhotoMADD X100s grip attached, I feel that I’ve got a much better grasp on the camera.

Construction of the kit

The kit is made of aluminium, making it extremely light yet durable. I would go as far as to say that I did not feel a difference in weight with it attached to the X100s. While the product itself is CNC machined in China to keep costs reasonable, Matthew has them shipped as bare metal to the UK where he uses a local anodising company to finish them.



The version you see here is the silver version, but you can also choose the standard black, or if you’re feeling really daring, blue or red. Personally, I prefer silver, not only because it is more well-matched to the silver finish of our X100s, but also because I feel that flamboyant colours don’t really fit the modest appearance of the X series. It is a shame that the silver shade of the kit isn’t exactly the same as the silver finish of the camera, but as with all grips/tripod plates, functionality is more important than appearance.

The aluminium build makes the kit light and durable.
It’s as light as an aluminium feather! ;-)

The kit has three components, all of which are easily detachable with the twist of a screw: a tripod plate for horizontal shots, a grip, and vertical L-plate. The one component which must always be present is the plate, as both the grip and L-plate attach to it rather than the camera.

photomadd-x100s-grip-12
The grip, tripod plate, L-plate, screws and two Allen keys.

As I mentioned above, Matthew designed the tripod plate so that it would not obstruct access to the battery, SD card or connectors. This is no doubt an aspect of the kit that will please a lot of X shooters.

Easy access to the battery!
Easy access to the battery!

If you are into shooting with tripods, the main plate allows you to take horizontal shots, while the L-plate is ideal for vertical shots. The single disadvantage is that the L-plate has only been designed for use with ARCA-SWISS tripod heads. Since our tripod head isn’t compatible, we were unable to test this aspect of the kit.

I should add that we rarely use tripods with any of our cameras, let alone with the tiny X100s. It is a camera we consider more of a street shooter than anything else, and as such, we’d be more likely to use the grip and plate without the additional L-plate. However, for those who only own the X100/s, I can see these two plates coming in handy.

How big is it?

For those concerned about the size of the grip and the degree to which it will increase the bulk of the camera, I’ve posted a comparison showing the X100s with grip/tripod plate (without L-plate) beside the similarly compact OM-D E-M5 with the HLD-6 battery grip. As you can see, they are about the same size. Even with the grip attached, the X100/s remains the perfect size for casual street photography, and if our personal experience is any proof, may actually prove much more ergonomic for those with large hands.

X100s plus grip/tripod plate vs. the OM-D E-M5 with HLD-6 battery grip
X100s plus grip/tripod plate vs. the OM-D E-M5 with HLD-6 battery grip

I also tried placing it inside our small National Geographic Earth Explorer pouch to see if it would still fit comfortably. Happily, it slips right in just as before, still leaving room for my wallet, smartphone and other small accessories like batteries and SD cards.

Holding the grip

When I am holding the camera as I walk, my pointer finger naturally falls into the finger groove of the grip component while my other fingers align themselves below.

Walking with the camera...
Walking with the camera…

When I am on the verge of shooting, however, my middle finger slides into the groove while my pointer finger comfortably rests upon the smooth upper part of the grip, just below the on/off button and in easy reach of the shutter button and OVF/EVF toggle. As designs go, it is both comfortable and intuitive.

...preparing to shoot!
…preparing to shoot!

The verdict?

The PhotoMADD X100s grip and tripod plate kit is definitely a worthwhile investment if you do a lot of shooting with your X100/s. Since it consists of three components, it is easy to customise to your needs (either general street shooting or tripod photography), and will not add any unwanted weight to the overall package. It is a little bit on the pricey side (£99 for the three components) but this is justifiable considering it is custom made. It also comes with a 14 day money-back guarantee.

Get the PhotoMADD X100s grip and tripod plate here!

Matthew said in a recent conversation that PhotoMadd Shop is planning to branch out into other Fujifilm X-Series accessories as well, with more and more manufacturers coming on-board every week with accessories that he has personally found work very well with the Fujifilm X-Series cameras in his years of shooting with them. His idea is to make PhotoMadd Shop the place to come to for all Fujifilm X-Series accessories, with great 3rd party products complementing custom made PhotoMadd items.

Don’t forget to check out Matthew’s personal photography website and his Fujifilm Facebook group, where he demonstrates on a daily basis his passion for photography and Fujifilm products.

About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Tom Fiorelli

    Hi,
    The grip is a great TOOL to use. It adds a lot to the x100s, comfort, ease of use, security and maybe better shots. It is smooth and very cold in Winter on bare hands! Oh’ Yes, did I say it makes you work fester in COLD weather too.
    Tom

  • Heather

    It’s quite smooth but really nice to hold. :)

  • http://www.rachelrufferblog.com Rachel

    Is this grip a grippy material? Or is it pretty smooth?

  • http://soundimageplus.blogspot.co.uk/ soundimageplus

    I’m a great fan of these PhotoMadd grips and they really improve the handling on the Fuji X cameras as far as I’m concerned. An excellent well-made product that really enhances the cameras. Mine are attached to my cameras all the time.

  • Heather

    Grazie Roberto. Purtroppo non ho mai visto una impugnatura adatta per la E-P5. E’ una cosa che piacerebbe anche a me visto che uso spesso la Pen per la mia fotografia personale. Se te la costruisci, fateci sapere cosi’ ti pubblicizziamo. 😉

  • Heather

    Thanks for the comment, Tom, and for sharing your mirrorless story! The art of photography never gets old, no matter what gear you use. :)

  • Heather

    Sadly, no, I haven’t come across one yet. If a good one comes out, I’ll definitely be buying it for my E-P5 as well. :)

  • Roberto Forti

    Anche io possiedo una E-P5 e vorrei trovare una impugnatura come questa! Stavo anche pensando di costruirmela io in “legno”, facile da scolpire e tagliare….

    Bellissimo sito/blog il vostro, passando da Nikon a Olympus mi è stato di notevole aiuto.

    Buon lavoro!
    Roberto di Modena, ITALY

  • Tom Fiorelli

    Hi,
    Great site, great info.

    I use the X100s with the grip and thumb lever. Love it this setup,much better grip in all uses. I also use the Sony a7 with Voigtlander 21mm f4 and Nikon adapter using lenses from my D800. The a7 gives a very different experience than the a7, for that matter the D800 is like another world altogether! I think using these three cameras regularly really work my ‘Inner -Photographer” hard. It is like having three demanding children constantly pushing me to do better work. Each one demands attention to their personal needs and wants to get the job done right. I take the two mirror-less brats mountain biking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and running. The D800 is way too fat to run!
    I started taking photography seriously in 1969 with my first Nikon F, photography still as “Magic” ever.
    Thanks for the mirror-less site, I will follow now that I have found you.
    Tom

  • YVES CREVIER

    Dear Heather,

    Are you aware of a similar product for the Pen EP5. I guess a grip like this one for an ep5 would also improve the shoothing experience.

    Yves

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