src="http://www.mirrorlessons.com/wp-content/themes/mirrorlessons Get a grip on the Fujifilm X-T1! – Review of the Lensmate Thumb Rest & Lolumina Soft Button - MirrorLessons - The Best Mirrorless Camera Reviews
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Accessory Reviews

Date: 05/11/2014 | By: Heather

Get a grip on the Fujifilm X-T1! – Review of the Lensmate Thumb Rest & Lolumina Soft Button

lensmate thumb rest review

Get a grip on the Fujifilm X-T1! – Review of the Lensmate Thumb Rest & Lolumina Soft Button

Having owned the Fujfilm X-T1 for over six months now and used it on a regular basis, I find it difficult to point out any serious design flaws. The chassis is solid, the various buttons and dials are easy to access and turn, and the front and rear grips for your hand and thumb are both substantial and comfortable. We were even lucky enough not to experience the dreaded light leak issue of the first batch of X-T1s, so all in all, we are dealing with a near-perfect design.

However there are a couple of accessories that can make the user experience with the X-T1 (or any camera for that matter) even more enjoyable, namely thumb rests and soft buttons. And to our delight, we recently received one of each to test on our beloved Fuji.

Lensmate X-T1 Thumb Rest

E-M10, 1/13, f/ 45/10, ISO 400
X-T1 Lensmate Thumb Rest

Lensmate is a well-respected specialty digital photo product company based out of Seattle, US. Their products have all been designed for mirrorless and high-end compact cameras, with a specific focus on the Fujifilm X series. They specialise in both thumb rests and threaded soft buttons.

The first thing you noticed about the Lensmate X-T1 thumb rest is just how solid and well-made it is. According to the website, it has been “machined out of solid 6061 Aluminum rod, then bead blasted for texture and anodized for a tough finish.” If one thing is certain, this thumb rest will never unexpectedly chip or snap in two as a cheaper thumb rest might.

E-M10, 1/13, f/ 35/10, ISO 400
A solid build that will never let you down

A second useful feature is the integrated tab that neatly slides into the hot shoe, preventing unintentional ejection. Having been designed to fit the X-T1’s contours to a T (no pun intended), the insert does not interfere with any of the buttons or controls on the camera. Perhaps the only difference is that you won’t be able to turn the shutter dial with your thumb and forefinger together, or with just your thumb. However, this isn’t a big deal as it is easy to turn the dial with your forefinger on its own. You can see the video below for a demonstration:

#Lensmate #Thumb #Rest for the Fuji X-T1

A video posted by H. Broster & M. Gasquet (@mirrorlessons) on

To provide extra protection, there is also a silicone insert that acts as both a cushion for your thumb and a buffer between the thumb rest and camera body.

It really looks as if the thumb rest is an extension of the X-T1’s design rather than a removable accessory.

Of course, the fact that the thumb rest occupies the hot shoe means that you cannot use other hot shoe accessories while the thumb rest is attached. This can be a disadvantage if you find the thumb rest useful for important assignments where an external flash is necessary.

One-handed operation is a cinch with the X-T1 even without the thumb rest, but it becomes even simpler with it attached. It is easier to control camera shake for slower shutter speeds, and gives you more confidence in your grip on the X-T1, though I’d admittedly never carry the camera around without a wrist or neck strap.

E-M10, 1/13, f/ 35/10, ISO 400
The perfect thumb rest for your X-T1

The only downside is the price, which reflects the wonderful build quality and materials used in its construction but won’t appeal to those on a tight budget.

Lolumina Soft Release for the X-T1

E-M10, 1/13, f/ 35/10, ISO 400
The Lolumina soft release in red

Since Lensmate suggests that using a soft release button along with the thumb rest makes your grip more relaxed and the overall package more ergonomic, they also sent us a Lolumina stick-on Soft Release for the X-T1 to test. They would have sent us one of their own soft buttons, but could not as the X-T1 does not have a threaded connection. (They may release a stick-on version of their own sometime in the future.)

The point of a soft release is to reduce the amount of camera shake produced when your finger presses the shutter button. The larger surface area means that less pressure is required to push down the button. To this end, the Lolumina soft release works like a charm. I found that using it alongside the thumb rest gave me more stability, especially for one-handed shooting.

It is made of solid aluminium, and has the optimal amount of curvature so it feels smooth and unobtrusive. On the all-black X-T1, the red version gives the camera a splash of colour, but there are also a number of other shades to choose from, including discreet black, cheerful yellow, subdued green and classic silver.

E-M10, 1/13, f/ 35/10, ISO 400
The soft release is perfectly curved to provide comfort to your fingertip

Attaching the soft release is also easy, though it requires some patience and precision.

  1. Begin by choosing the flat A mount for the X-T1.
  2. Then, clean the shutter release button with a micro fibre or lint-free cloth (provided with kit) and allow to dry.
  3. Once completely dry, carefully peel the backing off the soft release mount and place it squarely on the shutter button, holding it firmly in place for sixty seconds. It is best if you wait at least three days for the soft button to adhere to full strength, though it will be 90% ready within 24 hours.
  4. Finally, screw the soft release onto the mount and take your spruced-up X-T1 out for a spin!
E-M10, 1/13, f/ 35/10, ISO 400
Two different mounts (flat and convex) are provided in a small plastic bag. Choose the A mount for the X-T1 and keep the second for another camera!

If for some reason you have to remove the soft release, you can do so by sliding a taut piece of thin floss washed in slippery dish soap between the mounting base and adhesive disk.

I carried around the X-T1 with the soft release attached for two days in my Porteen compact camera bag after letting it dry for over a week, and suffice to say it never came loose thanks to the extremely tenacious adhesive. My first impression is that it is just as sturdy and reliable as a threaded soft release.

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Update: Using the combo at the Turin Marathon

At the 28th edition of the Turin Marathon, I used the X-T1 with the thumb rest and soft release to take some shots of the runners. Since the two accessories proved quite helpful, I felt an update to the article was necessary.

A number of times, I had to lower the camera over the barrier, use the tilting screen to see the action, and take the shot one-handed. In this case, the Lolumina soft release really came in handy as it made pressing the shutter button easier and provided some added stability.

X-T1, 1/500, f/ 4/1, ISO 800
X-T1, 1/500, f/4, ISO 800 – Taken using the camera’s tilting screen at a low angle. The soft release helped to stabilise the camera as I pressed the shutter button.

The thumb rest, too, was an added bonus for panning shots of the runners as they rushed by. I felt like I had a better grip on the camera, and thus, had more control over the sweeping manoeuvre.

X-T1, 1/125, f/ 64/10, ISO 200
X-T1, 1/125, f/ 64/10, ISO 200 – A panning shot aided by the thumb rest.

Do you own a thumb rest or soft release for your camera? If so, share your thoughts about it in the comments section!


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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!

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Heather Broster

    I think you have to be subscribed to Disqus to receive notifications. Thanks for the information!

  • milandro

    Hello again Heather ( by the way the system is not alerting me when there is a new post or at least I haven’t found a way to do this)

    Loctite 222 ( or similar products, there are many such products cheaper than Loctite) is a threadlocker compound much used in all sorts of industries.

    Screwed in or on parts used on equipment which tends to vibrate a lot and needs not being dismounted often or at all might beneficially being treated with such a chemical compound.

    I don’t think that under normal circumstances one would ever need to reapply it.

    One dop on the treaded part of the Lolumina is all it takes and provided you have cleaned the part before applying the threadlocker and that you have been waiting long enough for the product to have undergone its curing time before you apply any force in a opposite direction of the locked Lolumina, you could only break the seal by applying a definite amount of force .

    In other words you won’t break the obtained seal by mistake.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Heather Broster

    That’s a great tip, Milandro. How long does one drop of Loctite 222 last? Do you have to reapply it on a regular basis?

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Heather Broster

    Yes, they’re great accessories. I guess it is the price we have to pay for high quality manufacturing!

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Heather Broster

    Good idea, Robert. I’ll definitely add a section if a lot of people begin to post their homemade products.

    I really have no idea why it is redirecting you to the community home page. I suppose the best thing to do is continue to use the reply button at the bottom.

    Looking forward to your pictures!

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Heather Broster

    Despite appearances, the thumb rest doesn’t interfere. We’re going to post a short video to demonstrate this as many people appear to be concerned. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Lolumina soft button!

  • Albert Adroer

    I’ve been using a Lolumina soft button for several months now. It works perfectly! While I lost several threaded soft buttons on my E2, I haven’t had any problem with the stick-on Lolumina in my X-T1. Regarding the thumbrest, after long hesitation I decided not to buy it fearing that it would interfere with the exposure correction or shutter speed dials, therefore I cannot comment on it.

  • Robert Taylor

    Hi Heather. If I click the blue reply to Heather box it takes me to the community home page then I am lost…
    If I click reply at the bottom it allows me to reply to you like now. Is this correct?
    Re home maybe photo gear..could it possibly make a section on the site so we could all share our knowledge and ideas?
    I will try to post my pics over the weekend.
    Best wishes
    Rob

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Heather Broster

    Yes, try and post it to the community. I think the members will find it quite an interesting topic!
    I’m not sure what’s going on with your Disqus. When I reply to comments, I always go to our account on the Disqus website. Is that what you do?

  • Robert Taylor

    Hi Heather, either or both perhaps other members also design and make equipment for their photography and may be interested in sharing ideas etc. I will give it a try to the whole community if you think it appropriate. I am having trouble with this DISQUS section finding it difficult to find then difficult to navigate round, I seem to constantly bounced back to the community home page whenever I make a choice to reply or read a comment…. Probably just me but I am finding it quite frustrating.
    What do you think?
    If I post to the whole community I will write a short into as to why etc. Best wishes
    Rob

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Heather Broster

    Do you mean people reading these comments or the community members? I think you can just link to the album from your comment…

  • Robert Taylor

    Hi Heather, it was cold and yuk outside today so I took the opportunity to take a few pics of the bags n pouches.
    They are sitting on google plus at the mo. This may seem pathetic but how do I get you or anyone on the site to be able to view them if they want? Not done a multi posting before….
    Rob

  • Robert Taylor

    Hi Heather,
    I will put it on my to do list …and try and get you some images soon. By the way I don’t do the actual stitching… That’s something my better half has to take on..I just come up with what I want… I can use a sewing machine if someone does the threading.. :-)
    Best wishes
    Rob

  • Milandro

    I will check it out, as soon as I have the chance to try one before I even remotely contemplate the idea of buying any such thing as this lensmate thingy ( with shipping and customs this is likely to be a over $100 affair!)

    There will be probably some “ clones” which will hover around and I will certainly consider risking my money one of those.

    As for the Lolumina coming unscrewed comment above.

    This is not a remote possibility. It will happen, unless you scrupulously check the Lolumina at the beginning and the end of the shoot and perhaps several times during a shoot.

    In order to prevent this all you ever need to do is to place one tiny drop of something like Loctite 222 on the thread where you screw the button. Leave this mild adhesive (it is not super glue despite being a loctite product) there in place to “ cure” for the required time .

    From the on you will never have to worry anymore. The butto is securely held in place and , should you ever need to remove the button it will come undone just applying a moderate amount of torque.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Heather Broster

    The grip is worth checking out but yes, the price is on the high side. It’s good to hear that you have also had a good experience with the Lolumina soft button! :)

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Heather Broster

    I agree that these accessories are far from indispensable but they certainly make shooting more comfortable in the case of the X-T1. I haven’t found that the thumb rest interferes with the controls, perhaps with the shutter dial being the one exception (you can only rotate it with your forefinger rather than both thumb and forefinger). As for the soft button, it hasn’t shown any signs of detaching even after being bounced around in my camera bag, but I will certainly update the article if this should happen.

    Have you got a picture of your custom made camera bag? I’m curious to see it! :)

  • Steve McEnroe

    I have used the Lensmate thumbrests and soft release buttons on my X100 andXE2 and they are fantastic accessories. I love them. Wish they were a bit cheaper, but they are top quality manufactured. Will have to check these out.

  • Robert Taylor

    HI Heather.
    On the recommendation of a trusted photographer I bought a thumb rest and soft release for my Fuji, X20.
    The thumb rest actually gets in the way of controls and snags on camera bags / pockets when putting the camera away..its never been used outside…in fact i dont know where it went and dont care.
    The soft release unscrewed itself in camera bag..I retrieved it only to loose it somewhere out in the street.
    Can honestly say i have not missed either but would like to have saved the money.
    On the subject of saving money and getting exactly what you want not something near and paying a fortune for it I often make my own straps , brackets, lights and gadgets …they are easy and fun, just takes a little time but satisfying. Got my better half to make me a custom made camera bag as well for travel work…from old jeans..
    Rob

  • Milandro

    I own a X-T1 and have bought a number of “ accessories” ( the Lolumina and an elasticized leather strap) which whenever I spoke about them in a couple of fora, were immediately dismissed as: an act of vanity , a waste of (my) money and as being useless. Of course all by people who didn’t own or tried the accessories in question.

    Many things in life are not, strictly speaking necessary that doesn’t mean to say that are not nice or, dare I say, useful.

    I own the Lolumina soft shutter release. I have an oversized red one.

    This helps me to overcome some problems handling or operating small objects with my finger tips (long story). I have ordered it (cheap thrill) installed it (with some trepidation but everything went fine) and now I am a convinced user.

    I would recommend it to anyone, even if they have no type of disability or, like in my case , a difficulty in handling small, fiddly objects.

    The grip is intriguing.

    At present I don’t feel the need of one, but as with many things, you discover the usefulness of something only after owning it. I should try it if I can find it anywhere where I live. I am afraid that would be a bit more than a cheap thrill to just buy it and see how it goes,

  • Dean

    Neither of these accessories are crucial to using the camera. Save your money.

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