Canadian photographer and DIY enthusiast Matt Bechberger wanted to improve the ergonomics of his Mamiya 645 medium format camera without shelling out money for an “expensive, hard to find, and ugly” grip, so he decided to make his own. He ended up creating a beautiful custom wooden grip that attaches to the bottom of the camera and features a shutter release at the top.
Here’s what Bechberger says about why he had a need for the grip:
SLRs with a waist-level finder are easier to use without a grip since the camera is cradled in your hand at your waist, but with a pentaprism attached there is no easy way to hold it to your face. The last thing you want to happen is to drop your camera because you can’t hold it properly.
The “fun” part of the project is carving the handle itself. You’ll want to have some woodworking and metalworking experience for most of the steps in this build.
Bechberger traced his hand, sketched a profile of the handle, and then used the template to cut, file, and chisel finger grooves into a block of wood. You’ll want to grip the handle every so often to make sure that it feels more and more comfortable as you’re making it.
Once the shape is finished, Bechberger installed a shutter release in the top and a aluminum plug in the bottom (to strengthen the grip). He also finished the handle with stain and lacquer for aesthetics.
To make the bar that connects the handle to the camera, Bechberger sliced a piece of 1/8-inch aluminum. You’ll need to carefully drill guide pin holes into the bar for attaching both the tripod mount and the handle.
Finally, you assemble all the parts together for a finished product, and it’s ready for action!
Feel competent enough to make your own? You can find detailed step-by-step instructions that can help you do so over on Instructables.