The B-Grip (short for “belt grip”) is a way to carry your camera on a belt, rather than around your neck. The camera is carried around in the holster with a quick release plate that’s easily accessed when you’re ready to shoot. It’s best paired with the hand strap also available, and it is this pair which I was sent for review by a local reseller. I tested this grip out on the busy weekend of an anime convention which I attend every year and usually take about 1000 photos a day for each of the two days. For Saturday I used the B-Grip. For Sunday I switched back to my preferred strap, a Sun Sniper strap. This way I was able to get a good comparison of the two.
It looks damn sexy! I posted the product photo to my facebook page when I got the holster for review and the most common comment was how cool/badass/sexy it looked. For a photographer who needs to look cool, this will not harm your image one bit.
This will save your neck and shoulders, as the weight of the camera and lens is moved to your hips, which can carry that weight far more easily. The advertising says “carry your camera comfortably”, and it is comfortable!
When holstered, the camera is very secure. I was concerned at first but after putting it all together I could see there was no way the camera would come loose. It’s probably more secure than a standard strap, since it doesn’t swing about.
The experience of going hands-free without worrying where a dangling camera might go if you bend over or turn around is a liberating one.
The major problem I faced with the holster is the necessity for a strap you slip your hand into before you can remove it from the holster. The alternative is no strap which means your own hand’s grip is the only thing stopping the camera from hitting the ground. I think that’s too risky, especially when trying to holster/unholster your camera.
The strap is a thick, flexible, slightly grippy rubber. It’s a little tricky to adjust to the right size, and can be quite difficult to put your hand into when you’re even a little bit sweaty.
The event I was shooting had me stopping to take photos every couple of minutes, so I was constantly holstering/unholstering my camera. I started leaving my hand in the grip all the time, and then I just stopped holstering it altogether, so I ended up always holding the camera in my hand and as a result my arm became tired.
Not only did this make my arm tired, but it also meant my hand wasn’t free. It took a few seconds to lift my shirt (which naturally fell over the holster), holster the camera and take my hand out of the grip in order to get my hand free. Long enough to be awkward when offered a hand to shake.
There’s an optional extra attachment for the grip on the camera that allows you to mate the plate for the holster onto a tripod mount. This is a solution for photographers who want to swap between handheld and tripod, but the adapter is plastic and I prefer metal for tripod plates.
Also, the grip is not compatible with my panorama head. This may not be a problem for many photographers (although stills/video shooters may have a similar issue), but the attachment is slow and fiddly enough – with some small plastic nuts used which could easily be dropped and lost – that I’d rather never have to remove the B-Grip from my camera.
Every time I wanted to sit down I had to slide the camera and belt around to my side, which then got in the way a bit.
I really like the concept of the holster mount, and the benefits are very nice indeed, however for the types of photography I do and the relatively burdensome process of adding and removing the B-Grip from the camera, I don’t think it’s suited to me.
I can imagine this being a great tool for a street photographer for example. You could walk around for hours, the camera securely stashed out of the way and not swinging about, then slip your hand in the grip when you come across a photo opportunity. Once you’re done, holster the camera again and go on your way.
It’s very true that you need the right tool for the right job, and there are many jobs which demand many different tools. The B-Grip is not a tool for the jobs I do however.
I find it hard to do a fair review of this holster, as I feel that it simply wasn’t a tool that benefited me, yet for another photographer it could be exactly what they need.
There are some annoyances, such as the finicky wrist strap and a slower process to add/remove the camera attachment than I’d rather.
The parts that did work for me – the weight of the camera being supported on my hips, being completely hands free and not worrying about a camera swinging around on a strap – were truly a liberating feeling.
For the right photographer, this could be a dream come true. But not for me. I’ll be sticking with my Sun Sniper.
To keep all of my reviews consistent I’ll still give the B-Grip a score, but please interpret it in the context of what I said above: 6/10
If you regularly find yourself in a situation where you carry your camera with you and stop for occasional shots, or have to have your camera secure without the possibility of it swinging around, the B-grip is a great solution. You can pick one up at Protog.
Neil Creek is a professional photographer from Melbourne, Australia. He has been shooting with a DSLR since 2004, and blogging about his experiences since 2006. Neil has authored five ebooks and a video training course, all designed to help others improve their photography. View Neil's folio at his home page. Learn about his publications here.
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