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Richard Franiec grip coming soon for Olympus PEN E-PL3

By dpreview staff on Aug 29, 2011 at 17:42 GMT

Accessory grip maker Richard Franiec has announced he is developing a grip for the Olympus PEN Lite (E-PL3). The grip closely mimics the designs he already makes for the Canon S90/S95, Olympus XZ-1, Leica D-Lux 4 and 5, and the Sigma DP series. The anodized aluminium grip attaches to the front of the camera using industrial-grade adhesive tape and provides a hand hold very similar to the one offered by the Panasonic GF2 and GF3. The first batch of grips will be available from mid-September at a cost of $34.95 plus shipping.

Press Release:

Available mid-September: Olympus E-PL3 Grip

The E-PL3 will be the first Micro Four thirds camera to receive a Custom Grip. Like Richard's other grips, it will be individually machined from aircraft grade aluminum (aluminium if you're British) and finished in black, with the usual attention to detail and functionality.

A limited first batch should be available by mid-September for US$34.95, plus shipping. You can pre-order now and pay only when the grip is ready to ship. Email Richard at tecsol@comcast.net

73
I own it
8
I want it
29
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 38
Lagonaute
By Lagonaute (Oct 19, 2011)

ugly

0 upvotes
WT21
By WT21 (Sep 21, 2011)

Only in black? :(

0 upvotes
Gadget_guy
By Gadget_guy (Sep 8, 2011)

Is there any chance of these being available in the UK?

0 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Aug 30, 2011)

Well , a few block of balsa wood, some spare time, some basic tools, and lots of patience. Oh and some nice wood vanisher / Lacquer would probably made an even better one.

A good weekend DIY project I say

0 upvotes
CarlPH
By CarlPH (Aug 31, 2011)

do it and don't forget to share it ;)

0 upvotes
Kerry Munroe
By Kerry Munroe (Aug 30, 2011)

Hello,

I posted about the Flipbac Grips on the S95 and it was pulled from the forum. So we will see how long this thread lasts, it seems Richard has some inside support! flipbac.com on their blog is showing their black silicon grips on a EP mini. I suppose it will fit with on any of the EP cameras. They also show their camera grip on the Olympus XZ-1.

http://flipbac.com/camera-grip-1-2-3-difference.htm

I love it on my S95, no complaints.
Flipbac uses the same 3M adhesive- it is very good - FYI you can buy it in small rolls at Home Depot.

Take care

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Aug 30, 2011)

Wow, Kerry,

There is about 4 pages of posts regarding flipbac product on the forums, if you bother to use search function. Like I said before, it all depends, what you want to put on your top of the line camera: mass produced "one fits all "molded silicone part, with the logo not belonging or being associated with the camera model, or custom 3D machined, perfectly tailored and fitting aluminum grip made especially for the particular cam.
Whatever makes you happy, I guess.

Cheers

Richard

0 upvotes
Kerry Munroe
By Kerry Munroe (Aug 31, 2011)

Hi Richard,

I don't disagree you have produced a nice grip. Kudos to you. However, there were over 100 million digital cameras sold last year! Mass produced? My guess you are making batches of 500-100 units. If there was a larger market you would likely do a precision casting and make 1000's of grips. You are in the mass market business too. However, how long do we keep a camera these days? How long do they last? Maybe 2-3 years? Many of us buy a new camera every year. Your grip is designed for 20 years or more use.

The romanticizing of a stick on aluminum camera grip is interesting. A virgin camera with an added logo... imagine the loss of face when we showed our peers.

;)

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Aug 30, 2011)

Adhesive used is a thin VHB (very high bond) clear transfer tape by 3M. It has unparalleled bonding power and flex, in wide range of environmental conditions.
When the grip is mounted properly on the camera it can only be removed deliberately, using dental floss between grip and body to separate the two.

Sincerely

Richard

0 upvotes
453C
By 453C (Aug 30, 2011)

As I said in the m43 Talk thread, my experience with 3M VHB film is very good. I wouldn't worry about the grip coming off, and Richard's use of VHB speaks well of his desire to deliver a quality product.

0 upvotes
Four by Six
By Four by Six (Aug 30, 2011)

Richard, will the E-PL3 model fit the E-PM1? They appear to be identical on that side of the camera...

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Aug 30, 2011)

I will have to physically check the fit of E-PL3 grip on Mini to answer the compatibility question. Not only front plate of the camera must mate perfectly with bottom of grip. Location of the E-PM1 controls might influence changes to size and shape of the grip for Mini.

Best wishes

Richard

0 upvotes
Four by Six
By Four by Six (Aug 31, 2011)

Looking at Photo Perzon's comparison pics in the u43 forum, it looks like they are different enough that a different grip would be needed, but this is just a guess at this point.

Thanks for the quick response, Richard. All the best.

0 upvotes
jj74e
By jj74e (Aug 30, 2011)

how strong is industrial grade adhesive? strong enough to be able to safely and confidently hold the camera with one hand many times over many years?

0 upvotes
Leo "Zoom"
By Leo "Zoom" (Aug 30, 2011)

Can be strong enough to survive when the rest of the camera is completely destroyed. But don't know what adhesive will use this producer.
On the other hand - rubber elements of professional DSLRs (like Nikon D700) are fastened just with a double sided adhesive tape. So no extreme adhesiveness is needed here. Just a common task.

0 upvotes
mzillch
By mzillch (Aug 30, 2011)

I make my own:

http://g4.img-dpreview.com/33D989A798094EE6A84EE64A52419481.jpg

Free, detachable, slim profile so camera fits in same case/bag, and the security strip can be reactivted by a cashier if I want my camera to set off alarms if stolen (every time the crook walks through a retail door).

0 upvotes
Manhatta
By Manhatta (Aug 29, 2011)

I use a canon S95 for street shooting because it's small & fits in my pocket,
however since it's small and slim, but (surprisingly) weighty - enough to slip
from my grasp - I bought a grip which closely resembles the Franiec item.
I've only been using it since June, but so far, so good: sturdy - light, etc.
It is not aircraft grade aluminum, (cameras can't fly - yet!) I think it may
be some kind of synthetic material - or ??? and what the heck, it only set
me back $9.95 !!!

0 upvotes
Kerry Munroe
By Kerry Munroe (Aug 30, 2011)

Hi ,

There is this blog post that shows a silicon grip on the mini. There are also two other styles of grips.

http://flipbac.com/?p2=modules/blog/list.jsp

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Aug 30, 2011)

Thanks for the second link, Kerry,
If you read inspiration for flipbac grips, you won't find originality.
Do you really want your Canon S95 or Oly XZ-1 to look like Panasonic GF2 or Samsung?
My Leica D-Lux 4 and 5 custom grip was not a copy of Leica's factory grip. Far from any resemblance. Custom S90/95 grips (also of my own origin) also predates Panasonic LX5 and GF2 or GF3 so not much of originality in Pany grips either. You possibly don't care for a little details like original concept, fit and finish, perfect integration with camera ergonomics but for me and many others such details are very important.
Having said that, it is good to have choices but on the end you got what you paid for. Make no mistake about that. Like someone said, even magnetic strip from the camera box can do for a low profile grip. It is paid for already.

Cheers

Richard

0 upvotes
Kerry Munroe
By Kerry Munroe (Aug 30, 2011)

Hi Richard,

You sound pretty defensive of you product and publicly critical of your competition. You have a good product, it will speak for itself.
That said the Flipbac grip on my S95 is not a compromise. It looks good and works great. Your should buy one to at least know what your dealing with.

You might even consider making a custom CNC mold and making some silicon grips. I can't think of one manufacturer that is shipping cameras with metal grips.

Kerry

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Aug 31, 2011)

Kerry,

I have nothing against the other grips, like I said it is good to have choices. Showing differences between the grips was meant for educational purposes for those who are not familiar with either product. If it sounded critical, my apology, as this was not my intention.

Best wishes

Richard

0 upvotes
John Brewton
By John Brewton (Aug 29, 2011)

Your bw image leaves everything to the imagination.

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Aug 31, 2011)

Shame on me, and my apology, John. You are absolutely right.
Please, try this link to better images of grip:
https://picasaweb.google.com/RichardFraniec/EPL3CustomGrip?authkey=Gv1sRgCJvopICG6Y2H1wE

Best wishes

Richard

0 upvotes
iaredatsun
By iaredatsun (Aug 29, 2011)

I'm very glad you didn't go for 'Richard Franiec gets to grip with the Olympus PEN E-PL3' as a strap-line.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Aug 30, 2011)

Rats, I should have thought of that!

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Aug 29, 2011)

its completely bizzarre that this doesnt have a grip, the mini, i understand.. but, this isgoing up agains tthe nex5 with its excellent grip... you can mount a flash to this.. how the heck are you suppose to support the weight of that combo

0 upvotes
dougeryb
By dougeryb (Aug 29, 2011)

Form vs function... The grip makes it so much easier to hold and NOT lose your hold! I'll take function over superficial form any day.

0 upvotes
harrisoncac
By harrisoncac (Aug 29, 2011)

I see a lot of people whine about the lack of grip on the E-PL3. For me, I wouldn't buy the camera if there were one on the camera. The grip ruins the sexy look of this fine piece of jewel.

0 upvotes
Leo "Zoom"
By Leo "Zoom" (Aug 30, 2011)

E-PL3 is for shooting, not for sex :P

1 upvote
IEBA1
By IEBA1 (Aug 29, 2011)

Intriguing. Wonder if there's an option for a grippy rubber surface.

1 upvote
tarnumf
By tarnumf (Aug 29, 2011)

Exactly my thought too..

0 upvotes
photo perzon
By photo perzon (Aug 29, 2011)

The grip in this pocketable camera can easily change the carrying case up one size, as it is a fat addition on the edge. The E-PL3 has a rubber rear grip already for the thumb. Removing the glue is laborous and can leave marks. The lens as it is non-retractable (as in P&Ss) also provides support from a finger or two. If I had two e-PL3's I'd put a grip on one. If I have one as I do I'd not.

0 upvotes
HarrieD7000
By HarrieD7000 (Aug 30, 2011)

Why not could the Olympus engineers think of this? It makes handling the cam more safe and accurate. For only a few bucks extra. Who knows they will react to what they read here? It even gives the cam a better and pro look.

0 upvotes
453C
By 453C (Aug 30, 2011)

Grippy synthetic surface:
http://brookstactical.com/Pages/whtsagrp.html

Great, durable stuff.

0 upvotes
Kerry Munroe
By Kerry Munroe (Aug 30, 2011)

I just posted above - have a look at flipbac.com

:)

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Aug 31, 2011)

At this time no optional coatings will be offered.
Several finish alternatives are being tested for quite some time already, however, durability, aesthetics and/or edge adhesion concerns are not yet up to the expected standards.
Top surface of the grip is finished in such way that the "traction" effect is very good. Effectiveness of the grip depends mainly on its shape.

Best

Richard

0 upvotes
armada688
By armada688 (Sep 1, 2011)

I had one of Richard's grips for my old G-7 and it was exceptional. Well made, really improved handling, strong adhesive. I have been reluctant to go with the E-PL3 until I saw 3rd party grip options. I would seriously consider this as an option for this camera.

0 upvotes
Cemalina1
By Cemalina1 (Oct 17, 2011)

Just got back from Morocco with Olympus epl3. Bought the camera to use instead of my Canon 5d mark 11. Used the basic kit with 14-40 & 40-150 lenses. Without the Franiec grip the shots I shot at the 300mm end would not have been so sharp. Editing was instant as I was using ipad2 with Snapseed & PS express. Highly impressed

0 upvotes
Total comments: 38