It took about three weeks to receive the J.B. Camera Designs Olympus OM-D E-M5 grip after ordering on Amazon, but there’s a good reason – they’re hand made one at a time, in what’s obviously a careful and purposeful process.
The packing and personal note was a nice touch as well. A penny is even included for screwing in the brass nut. I love buying products from people who care about their craft this much.
I was pleasantly surprised with the look of the grip. It doesn’t necessarily match the design of the camera, but it’s handsome in its own right on my black OM-D E-M5. It looks like brushed aluminum, but is actually hand sanded polyurethane. You can tell it’s hand made, but that’s not a bad thing.
The grip definitely helps with heavier lenses; it gives your hand that little bit extra to hold onto. In the past I always felt like the E-M5 was slowly slipping away, but that isn’t the case with this grip.
However, on a personal note, I mostly use Olympus’s own small and light micro four thirds lenses. It’s rare I have anything heavy mounted on the camera. And while the J.B. grip doesn’t add much bulk or weight, it adds enough that I tend to leave it off unless I need it for a specific lens.
The only design modification I wouldn’t mind seeing is having the bottom of the grip underneath the camera be thinner. I’m guessing that’s not possible due to rigidity requirements, but a guy can dream.
The bottom line: I highly recommend this grip. A handmade product for under $50 that does its job well and supports a real craftsman is a win all around.
The Phoblographer has a nice review and video as well if you’d like more details.