I was asked by CP TECH S.R.L. in Italy to test out their newest arrival to their range of grips and camera holsters, namely the B-Grip Uno. It is intended for the mirrorless photographer and is designed to be attached to a belt, backpack or other restraint, allowing the camera to connect securely to the B-Grip Uno.
Unlike the popular Spider Holster, which uses a protruding metal clip that drops into a v-shaped holder, the B-Grip Uno uses an Arca-sized tripod adapter, allowing the camera to go from holster to tripod easily. Other competitors are the Capture Pro using a similar Arca adapter which is also adaptable to RC-2. However the Spider Holster and the Capture Pro are more of a clip than a holster and this means the camera swings more freely with those systems while the B-Grip Uno is designed to securely hold the camera in place.bikes-gfti-prototypeThe company claims that their attachment system is comfortable, riding close to the body, and has been tested with weights above 90kg (198lbs) and rated for cameras up to 5kg (11 lbs). While the weight limit would suggest this system would be good for SLR systems, the company recommends their B-Grip Evo for SLR style cameras.
The B-Grip Uno has a four point attachment system and a safety lock, preventing accidental detachment.DSC07260-2I’ve previously had holsters and they are are quite bulky and often have specialized tripod mounts unique to the system, which hindered compatibility with other systems, that’s not the case with the B-Grip.DSC07262-2
The B-Grip Uno on first appearances looked well made, fairly sturdy, relatively simple and durable. The only small issue initially mounting it to my Sony A6000 was that the rubber grip on the QR plate makes it harder to swing the tilting LCD screen back into shooting position. This however would also be beneficial for carrying the camera around, as it mean the screen is prevented from accidentally moving around. The QR plate initially looked relatively small compared to a normal Arca plate but this was to accommodate the reduced weight and size of the holster. The safety mechanism was simple and easy to both activate and deactivate, and the plate clips in easily. The rear clip and belt hanger clip is steel and the screws are easy to mount and to thread.
In the Field
I have used the B-Grip Uno over the past few weeks scouting locations, photographing macros and also on a few landscape photography trips as well.
Since I don’t wear a belt, that functionality didn’t get fully tested. I feel that if you have a heavy enough camera like the A7R and a wide-angle lens on you would need a decent and sturdy belt as clipping it to your pocket and clambering around would probably end in tears. You can clip this to your pocket, but you’re better off using it with a belt or using it in theB-Grip Evo with it’s attached belt.
B-Grip Uno Camera Holster
The build quality is not bad with the high-strength (glass impregnated) plastics used and there is no feeling of flimsiness. The bracket screw-on mechanism also is fairly easy to fit and certainly, once tightened, did not slip. I had to vary the position and angle to get it sitting in the right place depending which backpack I was using (i.e. which chest strap position I was using.) I did feel the security feature is a good idea but feels a little bit flimsy but this maybe unfounded as it never failed.
The quick release mechanism is very easy to engage and the plate slips snugly into the holster. The clamping mechanism of the holder and the long back-plate made it very comfortable when the camera is mounted. It didn’t swing forward and back when walking or bending over nor for that matter dir it swing from side to side. Considering I was using it with both a Sony A6000 and Sony A7R with a Metabones IV and canon lenses (16-35 f/4 and 100mm f/2.8 macro for example)—which is probably at the top of the expected usage weight—I was quite impressed. I didn’t once feel the camera or holster digging in nor did the lenses strike or hit my torso.DSC07677My only minor complaint is the size and construction of the QR plate. Being a landscape photographer, tripod mounting is very important to me to keep the camera steady in low light and also to stop the camera from falling off over a steep drop or into the water. The QR plate is plastic which isn’t really a big issue but the footprint is quite small. This in conjunction with the soft rubber grip used and the rear hand tightening nut meant I have had to re-tighten it after a while (by hand). With a smaller, lighter-weight CSC-machined plate this would much less of an issue. [Ed. Note: We agree and we wonder if someone out there might make a plate already that would fit?] I could have taken my L-bracket off of course which would have made the camera lighter but it did foul the pivoting of the rear LCD on the A6000 and A7R.DSC07818
DSC07827I think for occasional use on a tripod it’s not really a big issue, but frequent tripod users would be annoyed at the constant re-tightening. This holster was great for walking around for hand-held shots. I took my A6000 and my macro out one day on a walk with my wife and I have to say it was perfect. It saved me having to put it away, carry it or put a strap on it (which I find irritating) and I had two hands free for clambering and getting up with my old knees.20150406_120242In the end, using it with the A7R, I had to tighten the QR plate screw with a screwdriver which, on an aluminum bolt head, may deform it over time. The rubber strips didn’t really prevent the screw from unscrewing as it was the swing action of the camera that did that. So for me a metal QR plate with a thin rubber grip surface like most other Arca-Swiss mounts would be better with a stronger screw and maybe an inset hex head would be better in the long run? But as I say for a lighter-weight CSC part it would be much less of an issue.
I spoke to Andrea, the President of CP tech srl Italy about this and he said
The rubber matt is soft in order to avoid the untightening and it absorbs the vibrations. We tried to make it harder but our tests showed that the camera tends to move the screw a bit. We try to offer a flexible system but with the physics with a lever motion we decided to go for the best compromise.
I found this and I guess I can sympathise as it’s not really pushed as a DSRL/heavy camera holster system unlike others in their range (Evo). With A6000 and A7R with native compact / kit lenses it was not a problem.
After a few weeks of testing I can say this holster is well designed, comfortable and seems fairly sturdy. For scouting locations and also for nature walks, macros, street photography, weddings, events, and functions, it would work very well. I personally feel the small QR plate would prevent me from using it all the time for low-light landscape photography esp. in high winds as the platform area is a bit too small and the rubber interface too flexible to hang a longish lens off. If the plate were bigger and metal and less flexible it would be perfect for a landscaper especially one that is walking a lot and shooting in different locations.