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05/26/12 Adding a grip extension to an Arca Swss rm3di


Since I started using the Arca Swiss rm3di technical camera, one of the problems I run into was how to get a good grip on the camera  There are 3 main tech camera solutions on the market, Alpa, Cambo, and Acra.  I choose Arca for many reasons, but mainly for the control the user has over focus.  If I was to point to a weak spot on the Arca design, it would have to be the handles.  The handles as they come with the camera are smooth plastic resin.  They are a yellow color and make for a nice contrast to the body’s black finish.  This design however is a potential issue for users with larger fingers.  The handles are smooth, without any notches or finger indentations.  Whereas the grips for the Cambo have a great look and feel to them and allow you to have a very secure feel when working with the camera.  This security is important when you consider that you are working with a a solution that includes at a minimum:

  1. A medium format digital back
  2. A tech camera body
  3. Your lens of choice, most times either Rodenstock or Schneider

Depending on your equipment, this can easily amount to over $40K so when you pick it up you want to be able to get a very secure grip.

After working with the U.S. Arca Rep, Rod Klukas, I was able to find out that Arca does make a grip extension.  This piece of handle gives you about a 1.75″ extension from the base of the camera.  You can install it easily by unscrewing the grip, mounting the extension with the included screws, then attaching your handles to the grip.  The grip angles away from the base of the camera at about 35 degrees and has a recessed portion that will let you wrap your fingers around it.  The grip uses allen screw that is the same size as the screw that mounts the grip to the camera body.

With this grip attached my only concern would be that Acra didn’t allow for a grip on the opposite side of the camera.  This spot is where Acra wants a user to mount their e-module.  It would be a nice feature to allow for a handle on this side also, which is the way the other 2 brands work, Alpa and Cambo.  If you want to use the e-module, then you could take off the handle.  Just a thought! as many times I need to hold the camera from the left side instead of the right, with the grip extension.

Overall, I found this to be a great addition to my rm3di.  I would prefer to have a form of finger indentations, but I don’t think Arca is going to change up their grip design anytime soon, but if they do happen to read this, please take note.