In a previous post, I wrote that I had tested both a thumb rest and a hand grip for my X100T and didn’t like my options for either. After significant searching, I saw a single photo in Google Photos posted at Amazon for a grip that is BOTH hand grip AND thumb rest (called the Metro Case as in “half case”?). Needless to say that my jaw nearly hit the floor.
(Anyway, from here on, I am going to call it a grip even though the name says case.)
At first, I could only find the 5 reviews on Amazon for this grip. I could not find reviews on any other sites or blogs, but this is probably because the grip is so new, but I luckily found a forum with a lot of information about the cases (17 pages! with photos) at http://www.fujix-forum.com/threads/heres-the-x-t1-multi-grip-front-grip-rear-thumb-rest-arca-quick-release.45345/.
A few days later, I ordered it through the website (http://www.metro-case.com/grips) and had it in my hands 4 days later. Much of my experience so far has mirrored other users on the forum:
THE GRIP IS SO LIGHT! (specs say 37 grams or about 0.081 lbs.) The shipping box did, indeed, feel empty. The 3D printed Nylon 12 feels tough and has a good, grippy surface.
The grip pad arrived detached at the front, but re-seated just fine.
Although this is not what we American buyers expect, as a do-it-yourselfer, I don’t see the pad or the tape being an issue. It has functioned perfectly for the last few months since I started using it.
The install instructions are good, but if you are a skimmer like I am, take the advice that I found on the forum: before installing, remove all the hand strap attachments and unscrew the bottom screw in the grip.
There is no magical way to avoid this. The bottom screw hole is threaded so you need the screw down to get a tight fit with the camera.
Tip: a round split key ring will not fit. If you can loop your hand strap through just the eyelet, do this before installing the grip. For larger straps like Peak Design Anchors, you may need to remove the spacer inside the eyelet first.
If you use a triangular ring, I’m not sure if you can install the grip with the triangular ring in place. (But it might work — I don’t know.)
For the X100T grip, seat the bottom left first
then squeeze the right end until the eyelet snaps into place.
Screw in the bottom and viola! The grip is very secure in place.
My overall experience is very good (once you adjust to the thumb protrusion). I like the shape of the finger grip — seems between the MHG-XE and MHG-XT large which works great for my long fingers and the 1 lbs camera.
The added size made it slightly more difficult to get it into a cargo pant pocket (vs X100T alone), but doable.
I wouldn’t go all day like this unless you needed to, but it works. Same for large front pockets on shorts.
There is very little wiggle between the grip and the camera. That space between the EV dial and the grip largely exists only at the top.
The thumb grip does its job well.
At first, the protrusion hurt the right edge of my thumb, but I recommend that users don’t fret right away. Holding new/modified equipment is different than using that equipment. After only a day, I’ve already noticed that my thumb’s post hand grip position is changing from my pre handgrip natural position. Instead of having the right edge of my thumb trying to rest against the thumb rest (so it sits against the protrusion), the thumb pad now rests against the protrusion which is not noticeable against the pad of my thumb.
But despite this, I still wanted to try some kind of tape.
I used just 3M waterproof body tape (unfortunately not available in black), but gaffer’s tape or athletic tape might work, too. This greatly improved my experience, but I think it will wear quickly…
Well, 2 weeks later and the tape is still working, but I don’t like how it looks, so now for version 2.
Removing the old tape removed some of the stain, but not too badly. The new rest is just foam used to pad the bottom of objects. We will see how this goes.
A few months later and the black foam pad is holding up just fine. Looks just like the photo above.
Another difference between holding vs using — although you can see a slight bend when you pull on the thumb rest. This is more force than you would get with daily use on the 1lbs X100T, and like my X-T1 with 40-150mm, it is the finger grip (front part) and not the thumb rest that takes the most stress. That part is rock solid with the front material connecting the hand grip to the base.
As expected, like the other Fuji hand grips (for X-T1, for X-E2), my hand automatically rotated to the more natural position with the fingers toward the top and palm below the camera (instead of the flat mirrorless/DSLR with wrist twisted so the fingers are at the front and the wrist in the back). The position isn’t too different from waving.
This is a much more natural position and is great for light mirrorless cameras with light lenses, but if you have heavy lenses, the twisted/locked position on a DSLR reduces the work your wrist has to do to hold heavy equipment up to your eye by locking your wrist.
The new (more natural) position makes the right bottom edge very important (the devil is in the details) — the palm of your hand shifts from the back of the camera to the bottom bottom of the camera) and the Metro Case’s curved design works well (by not hurting you).
And the built-in ARCA base works great for my occasional tripod work.
And finally, for those who rest the camera on its back, the ARCA base (and thumb rest) raise the back so that the screen is farther from a flat surface.
I don’t do this, but others might and find this important.
There are also a lot of small touches like the indentation to better access the D-pad and stopping the ARCA rails early so your fingers can slide easily where they are needed. And there is no problem getting into the side access to charge the battery or plug in a wired remote.
And for those considering attaching a hand strap to the power adapter space…
… (very tempting but) please read my post on why (short) mirrorless camera’s don’t work well with hand grips.
However, I am tempted to use this with Peak Design Anchors except it would make it more difficult to shoot in portrait orientation. (I will write about this soon.) Essentially, whatever you make more difficult, it is human nature to avoid, and I don’t want to avoid portrait orientation.
All in all, the 37 gram (0.081 lbs) case added negligible weight and greatly improved handling and ergonomics. The design feels refined, and I’m very happy to recommend this to other X100 users who want a little more grip. It seems a little pricey, but unlike generic cases for iPhones, this is essentially a custom made product instead of a mass produced product.
My only “major” gripe (ha! ha!) is that I wish it had the honeycomb pattern at the bottom like it does on the X-T1 and X-T10. I think it is plenty tough as is, but it just looks more polished.
What about other cameras?
I wish that I had found this a year ago when I got my X-T1 (but I don’t think it was around yet). I think that I spent double getting a thumb rest (wasn’t completely satisfying), then a base plate (didn’t improve handling enough) and then MHG-XT large. The MHG-XT large works well, but it does add more weight than I would like. I guess that I will just have to save my pennies if I want the Metro Case for my X-T1.
I am slightly cautious about the angle of the finger grip on the X-T1 grip. After using both a small angled grip (X-E2) and 90° grip (Fuji’s MHG-XT large and the X100T Metro Case), I like the 90° grip better when I’m using heavy lenses like the 50-140mm.
FYI they also make grips for X-T10, several Sony RX models and plan to make a grip for the new X-T2. The forum shows that they made an X-E grip, but it isn’t listed on their website. If you have any questions, I would not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org which is the email address currently listed on their website.
How did I get that 360° animation?
An old Lazy Susan, a foosball table and some binder clips… oh! and a Speak & Spell.