*Get a Grip! Alternative to the Oly OMD EM5 Accessory grip

RRS grip for OMD EM5

While I love the overall size reduction that newer mirrorless system cameras provide, certain cameras really sacrifice a functional grip, especially for larger hands more suited and accustomed to the larger, deeper DSLR style hand grips.  With tiny buttons abound, touch sensitive screens and minimal real estate on the backs of these cameras to grip onto, I found myself looking for something to supplement my EM5’s “grip.”  I was not going to pony up $300 for the accessory grip from Olympus because I don’t want the double battery/vertical grip portion, and while I could just use the add on grip on its own, the price is ridiculous to gain access to a simple grip (granted it did incorporate a second shutter button, but I already have one…).  Enter the Really Right Stuff OMD EM5 grip plate combo.  Read on for pics and a video showing how it fits the body of the OMD EM5…

RRS grip for OMD EM5

I’m a fan of mechanically tooled gizmos and gadgets, especially when they combine function and fashion in a solid package.  Really Right Stuff is known for quality tripods, heads, plates and the like and this accessory grip is certainly in line with their reputation for quality.  While not cheap ($125 as shown), it is well less than half the price of the accessory battery grip from Olympus, is solid machined T-6 aluminum (described to me by a Really Right Stuff representative as “better than aircraft grade”) and functions as an RRS/Arca-Swiss style mounting plate for anyone using an AS or RRS quick release clamp on a tripod head.  Seeing as I only wanted the grip portion of the $300 Olympus battery + grip combo, I’d say I’m thrilled with this option, and while I don’t use Arca-Swiss style release clamps on my heads, I may in the future and certainly don’t mind the compatibility.  Here is a short video of the grip on the OMD EM5 and in hand:

In the hand, it feels solid, and offers a much better grip on the camera than the (non) grip that is built into the camera itself.  It adds a little weight (9oz for the combo plate+grip) which many may not want if pure size and weight reduction is the goal with a camera like the OMD EM5, but I’ll say, the weight in the hand is less than it may seem (the EM5 is a solid camera in and of itself and this added weight compliments the pre-existing solidity to me) and I now feel like the addition of this grip has turned my OMD EM5 into a much more functional tool in that I can keep it in hand more comfortably for longer periods of time knowing I have a secure grip on the camera.

The grip shown is actually two parts.  The base plate which matches the contours of the body exactly and provides an Arca-Swiss/Really Right Stuff style mounting plate (BOEM5 – Plate) as well as the attached finger grip (BOEM5-G) which are sold separately, and would need to be added to your cart if you wanted the grip itself as the grip will not mount without the plate.  Together, the base plate and grip will run you $125, and you can buy an L-plate to mount the camera in portrait orientation for $60 on it’s own ($180 for the whole combo of the three components) but compared to $300 for those who may only want the grip portion of the Oly option, this is a huge savings.  I purchased the plate and grip and it came already assembled, but is easy to either disassemble or reassemble if needed with the included allen wrenches.  You can see the components and full combo at the RRS website here: ReallyRightStuff.com

I am very happy with this grip and would certainly suggest anyone interested in supplementing this camera with a functional, quality grip that also functions as a quick release plate for the AS/RRS style heads, to have a close look at it.  Oh, I also forgot to mention that for those of us that do not use the Arca-Swiss style release plates, it has a 1/4 20 thread ON LENS AXIS for us to mount our quick release plates so that the lens is centered over the tripod mount!  A nicely designed product, no doubt about it.

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to try and answer them for you.

Thanks for the read and happy shooting,

Tyson

26 thoughts on “*Get a Grip! Alternative to the Oly OMD EM5 Accessory grip

  1. When I saw the name “Really Right Stuff”, I knew you had a winner. I do not own one item of that brand, but like certain other brands, I might say I aspire to do so. I love their tripods, ball heads, and L brackets, and I think I want one of each. Or maybe more than one of each. When I read your review of their OMD grip, which I didn’t even know they made (all things are only a matter of time), I just knew it had to be a quality product, maybe over engineered, but, like certain German made products, worth the asking price despite the fact that some of the people who wanted them could not afford them yet still admired and coveted them. So, good for Really Right Stuff for even making this. And good for them that, in your considered opinion, it’s really good stuff!

    D. Spivey

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    • I think you’ll really enjoy it Kris. It’s a really well made piece(s) that I feel I now wouldn’t be caught without. I just ordered and received an Arca Swiss style release plate for my tripod head that I’ve been using with this grip/plate combo and it is much nicer than the Manfrotto QR plates I’ve used up until this point. An added bonus.

      Enjoy!

      Like

  2. Hi Tyson,

    just wanted to give some feedback on the RRS grip.
    As I mentioned in my previous post, I ordered the grip a couple of weeks ago, and received it yesterday.
    It is really a fantastic piece of craftsmanship. Perfectly build, great ergonomics, solid yet not heavy at all. Easy access to battery and memory card as well.I feel like having a new camera🙂 . Now my camera feels complete. I’m extremely happy with the grip and would absolutely recommend it to any OMD user.
    So Tyson, thanks for the tip !

    (Ps: the only downside was that, as I am living in Europe, the additional import customs charges in my country were very high, but that’s something “Really Right Stuff” is not responsible for. But maybe good to keep in mind for other potential European buyers)

    Kind regards,
    Kris

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  3. Tyson, One thing about the Oly grip is it adds a shutter button to the horizontal grip piece which is easy to access when the grip is installed. Do you find it awkward for the first finger to “reach” the shutter button when the RRS grip is installed? Is that groove in the RSS grip set there so that your hand angles back somewhat… thereby making it easier for the first finger to reach the shutter button without an awkward angle?

    Thanks for your insights.

    Peter F.

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    • Hi Peter,

      Thank you for the comment! The vertical shutter button is one feature that I feel truly benefits those who do a lot of shooting in portrait orientation certainly, studio shooters, event shooters, et al. Personally, I don’t have any battery/vertical grip add ons for any of the cameras I’ve owned as I tend to find them a bit too bulky for the type of shooting I tend to do, and normally don’t have any problem shooting the “older” vertical style with any existing shutter button, but I don’t mean that to say that I don’t see the benefit for those who like the extra battery capacity (which is a big deal with this camera) and functionality of a more substantial, vertical grip.

      The lack of extra shutter button on the RRS grip is in no way an issue for me. I thought it kind of odd that Oly added the extra when I originally saw it, but I’m sure it is for a reason with the ergonomics. The RRS grip’s finger groove is absolutely perfect for my middle finger and because it terminates a bit lower than the Oly (it matches up exactly with the top of the camera body grip) it creates a nice platform to rest my index finger, giving nice access to the front wheel, and allows for a nicer, more secure grip when in the hand and not shooting (I feel).

      It’s funny that you’d mentioned a possible “awkward angle” regarding the RRS grip, as I was also curious with the Oly grip, that the extra shutter button with the grip portion might be somewhat uncomfortable, pulling my hand too far forward. I have pretty large hands and it seems like it would force my finger forward a bit too much, keeping my upper hand off the camera if that makes sense. For me, the existing shutter button on the camera is much better placed now (with the RRS grip) than it was without it. Having the deeper finger grip, the middle finger groove, and the little extra height that the base plate provides, fills in that negative space I was looking to fill and puts this camera seated in my hand in so much better a way now. My index finger naturally finds the shutter button comfortably where the lower part of the body now sits securely in my palm, with my thumb able to sit pretty flat on the rear rest. Without any accessory grip, I felt like the only parts of my hands in actual contact with the camera when shooting were my finger tips pretty much. It is designed in such a way that really doesn’t work well with my sized hands I feel, but that is the trade off for a smaller system camera.

      Personally, I would love to have the Oly grip, and would like having the two part system. I don’t think I’d use the battery/vertical grip very much, but ultimately it came down to cost. I didn’t think that the extra $175 would have gotten me $175 worth of value, personally, so I’m happy with the RRS grip. It doesn’t add any practical functionality in the way of direct camera performance, but it is perfect (in my opinion) as a functional grip.

      Thanks again,

      T

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      • Tyson,

        Thanks for your quick reply. Actually, I own the Oly grip, but I am not happy enough with it. So I wanted to read more about the RSS alternative. Your blog post moved me along in my thinking, and between my first post and this second post I went ahead and ordered the RRS grip. They have a 30 day return policy, but if I like it better than the Oly horizontal (landscape) portion I will sell the Oly 2-part grip on Ebay. I might anyway, for two additional reasons: (1) I now use the Swiss Acara tripod mount… so the RRS grip adds some convenience in that department, and (2) the portrait part of the Oly grip is annoying to me when held in landscape orientation. What I found (and I have not read this anywhere on the forums) is that the first joint (lowest joint) of my pinky finger actually rests exactly on the battery grip shutter button when I hold the camera for landscapes! No problem when using m43 lens, but when I use (a) my trusty 14-54ii with adapter or (b) my reg43 70-300 with adapter or (c) any lens with a flash in the hotshoe… the extra weight of any of these combinations puts enough leverage on that first joint of the pinky that it depresses the button enough to freeze focus. It actually locks up! Again, this is the shutter button in the battery grip when holding for landscapes. Of course when held in portrait orientation this is not a problem. After I get the RRS grip, I’ll let you know how this all unfolds!

        Peter F.

        Peter F.

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      • Can’t wait to hear how the RRS grip suits you. That is annoying about the shutter button on the vert grip portion. Like I’d mentioned, I’ve never used an accessory battery grip, so I’m completely in the dark as to their potential pros and cons in practice, and enjoy the insight. Hopefully it can provide a little for those looking at an accessory grip and who’ve not yet pulled the trigger too!

        For me, I just needed a better grip to hold onto the camera, especially with larger lenses and I feel the RRS grip fits that need perfectly. I don’t mind holding my hand up to shoot in portrait orientation, I’ve been doing it for years, and feel this grip adds extra stability when doing so in its own right anyway. If you use the Arca Swiss quick release system (I have since purchased replacement’s for my tripod heads) I think you will really appreciate the grip/baseplate combo, as I now feel that this grip/plate combo has just increased it’s usefulness two fold, always having the ability to quickly get it on and off the tripod without having to mess around with an extra piece is really nice.

        I hope it works out for you, and thanks again for the comments and insight!

        Cheers,

        Tyson

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  4. Hi Tyson
    Thanks for the information. I have one question – would all quick release plates from non Arca-Swiss style clamps be able to be attached to the RRS plate? I have a Velbon Sherpa tripod and would like to get the RRS grip but I do not know if the accessory thread size is a standard for non Arca-Swiss plates. Thanks in anticipation for your help.

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  5. Kris said : (Ps: the only downside was that, as I am living in Europe, the additional import customs charges in my country were very high, but that’s something “Really Right Stuff” is not responsible for. But maybe good to keep in mind for other potential European buyers)

    I (Michel) am based in France. Do you know how much these charges will be ?
    Thanks.
    Michel.

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      • Hi Tyson, Hi Michel,

        For your information:
        I payed 125 US Dollars for the grip and the baseplate (Which a real deal)
        but 48 US Dollar were added for shipping with UPS (Assured and fast shipping) and on arrival I had to pay an extra 35 Euro (47 dollars) for Import Customs charges. I’m living in Belgium though, not sure if it would be the same in France.
        You could always check this with UPS France, they should be able to tell you exactly what the charges could be?

        Kris

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      • Thanks to both of you for these informations.
        Kris, if it happens that RRS contacts you to become a European distributor, I suppose you’ll have to go negotiating in their US headquarter. Could you then bring one to me “tax free” ? I’ll offer you a beer.😉
        More seriously, I will order one today. Thanks to Tyson’s argumentation.

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  6. Pingback: *The GX7 vs the OM-D E-M5, battle for my affection, Round 2 – Build Quality and Ergonomics | Tyson Robichaud Photo-blography

  7. Thanks for this informative blog post. Just discovered it on Google. I’m considering an Olympus OMD EM-5. My wife has the EM-10, but I want something weather sealed and I don’t want to pay for an EM-1. The biggest drawback I’ve seen is the lack of a grip other than the very expensive battery grip. If you were going to spend that, you might as well get an EM-1. There are a number of 3rd party grips available now for the EM-5, but I’m very interested in the RRS grip. I have a RRS tripod already and their panorama head and an Arca Swiss style Ball Head, so this is a real plus. I found a cheap Chinese knock-off of the Really Right Stuff plate, but I think it’s worth the extra $50 plus dollars for the real thing. All of their products are really best in class. I’ll feel more comfortable with the decision to go with the EM-5 with this option available

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    • You bet Eric,

      The RRS plate and grip were crucial for me. The ergonomics on the EM5 were pretty poor in my opinion, or at least for larger hands like mine. It’s expensive, but not quite near the Oly grip although you may be able to find one of those used for a decent price?

      Anyhoo, enjoy!

      t

      Like

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