Alternative carrying solutions seem to have increased with the rise of mirrorless cameras. While having a comfortable bag or strap is often a must, using smaller and lighter gear also means that we can carry it in different ways, enhancing the user experience. Last month Heather tested the Peak Design Capture Pro, a product that allows you to attach your camera to a backpack or messenger shoulder strap as well as directly to your belt. Today, we are looking at another product that falls into the same category but with a different design.
The B-Grip Uno is made by the Italian company CP Tech S.r.l. and manufactured almost entirely in Italy (90% as stated by the company itself). The Uno is their second camera holster and is aimed specifically at mirrorless cameras. It is a more complete solution than the company’s first product, the B-Grip BH, since you can use it in multiple ways. (The B-Grip BH is meant to be used only with the supplied belt.)
Design and build quality
Sticklers for quality materials might be surprised at first by the company’s choice to fashion the Uno out of plastic. But don’t be fooled by its appearance: it is made of a high quality plastic called Durethan® of Lanxess® which is classified HPM (High Performance Material). The Uno feels very well-built and none of the parts come across as weak or cheap.
The B-Grip Uno is composed of 6 parts in total. In addition to the main body, there is the base plate that is compatible with Arca Swiss tripods, a U-bolt, a Shaped steel bolt to attach the Uno to a strap or your belt, and two tightening nuts. The two bolts are among the only parts made of metal. The Uno is guaranteed to withstand up to 5kg (11lbs) in weight, which is more than enough for mirrorless cameras since you won’t surpass an average of 1.6kg, even with a camera body and a long telephoto lens (for example, the A7 mark II and the FE 70-200mm f/4).
The triangular-like design has a few interesting aspects. The nuts that fasten the Uno in place are on top while the camera is attached at the centre of the grip. When used on a backpack shoulder strap, the camera remains more or less vertically aligned with the body and doesn’t tilt inward. This becomes particularly comfortable when carrying around a camera with a long lens mounted. Below you can see the Samsung NX1 and 16-50mm f/2-2.8mm lens attached to my Thinktank Perception 15, which is currently the heaviest mirrorless combo we own.
Perhaps the feature I appreciate the most about the B-Grip Uno is the belt solution.
The shaped steel bolt that you can slide onto your belt and use to attach the grip is very comfortable to use because the camera base doesn’t actually rest on the belt itself but below. This means that you can wear a jacket or attach a belt bag without having the camera in the way.
Ease of use
The base plate has a red rubber cover that stops the camera base from sliding around. You screw it to the bottom of your camera first by turning the plate, and then by tightening it with a coin. Coins have often been a great alternative to screw drivers especially when using video tripods so this looks perfectly familiar to me. A little complaint however is that you may not always have a coin that fits the screw. For instance, a 1 Euro coin is the perfect match but a 1 pound coin is too thick. I would have preferred either a supplied key or a solution that would allow me to tighten the plate without the need for additional tools. But it is not a big problem, just a matter of keeping a coin that works handy at all times.
Attaching the grip to a backpack strap is fairly straightforward with the U-bolt and tightening nuts. You can adapt it easily enough even to a thicker strap and there is no need to tighten the nuts too much as they won’t become loose. It is better to attach the grip when you are already wearing the backpack and to keep it as high as possible on the strap to have better access to the camera.
As for wearing it on your belt, the best thing to do is first insert the shaped bolt and then attach the grip with the other U-shaped bolt and two nuts. If you are planning to use the belt configuration more often as I am planning to, another solution is to undo your belt and remove the entire piece so you don’t have to continually put the contraption together and take it apart. Dealing with the nuts on a regular basis is a little bit annoying.
To unlock the base plate and your camera when you want to take a picture, there are two levers. The large black one works no differently to the one you can find on your tripod. You lift it up and thanks to integrated spring, it goes back in place automatically. It is enough to provide good protection, as it is unlikely that this lever will spring up of its own accord. And then there is the second smaller red lever that blocks the black lever entirely. So to remove your camera, you first turn the red lever and then lift the black one. It is a two-step process that is simple and very quick as well. Actually I found myself doing it more and more without even looking at the grip. When you put the camera back, the plate slides in very easily so you don’t have to spend time fiddling with it.
After a little while, the process of releasing and returning your camera to the holster will become second nature, so much so that you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed. That is one of the aspects I like the best about the UNO.
B-Grip Uno vs Capture Pro
Having both products in the house, I couldn’t help but compare the two. I should start by saying that both carrying solutions are excellent but they have different designs and are made of different materials. The Capture Pro is made of metal while the UNO is made mainly of robust plastic. Heather actually prefers the Capture PRO while I’m more fond of the UNO, which is a good thing because it means we won’t fight over who gets to use what!
Why choose the B-Grip Uno:
- Belt: I find the UNO more comfortable if you want to attach the camera to your belt. The Capture Pro is smaller and the camera sits right on your belt while the UNO rests below which makes it easier to wear a jacket or a belt bag such as the Cosyspeed Camslinger for example.
- Backpacks: the way you attach the UNO with the U-bolt and the two nuts makes it easier to use with thicker shoulder straps. I had a harder time placing the Capture Pro on my Perception 15 bag’s thick straps because it is composed of one piece only. Also, the UNO makes the camera rest more vertically against your body than the Capture Pro.
Why choose the Capture Pro:
- Ease of use: It is basically a one-piece solution. It is easier to attach and detach on a regular basis without dealing with separate nuts that you can drop more easily especially when you are outdoors. Excluding the plate, the Capture Pro is one piece, whereas the UNO is composed of four different pieces.
- Messenger bags: I find it easier and faster to attach to messenger bag straps, as they are thinner. With the UNO you have to turn the nuts for a longer time and its design makes it less suited to thinner straps.
- Compatibility with the Peak Design anchor links strap: if you already own some Peak Design products such as the Slide strap, you might find it more comfortable to use the same arca swiss plate for the Capture Pro, strap and your tripod. You can even leave the anchor links attached.
I really appreciated using the B-Grip Uno. At first, it looked like a bigger and more uncomfortable solution than the Peak Design product but after almost three weeks of using it, I admit that I’ve changed my mind. It is very cleverly designed and comfortable, and the camera is very easy to attach/detach while also being perfectly secure thanks to the two levers. If you like to take long walks and always have a backpack with you, I can see the Uno becoming your frequent companion.
Personally I like the belt solution more than anything else. I can see myself using it in combination with the Cosyspeed Camslinger bag for my landscape photography. I can have the camera on one side and a couple of lenses on the other side. All the gear is perfectly balanced around my waist, and I don’t need any other bags. It is certainly a solution that embraces the mirrorless camera concept to a T!
What I like about the B-Grip Uno:
- Extremely easy to attach/detach the camera
- The belt solution is the best I’ve tried in this category
- The two levers are quick to use and keep the camera secure
What I don’t like about the B-Grip Uno:
- There are four different parts to attach together so make sure not to lose any of them!
Below you can watch the official video that shows you how to use it.