Making a small camera bigger may seem like a pointless exercise for some people, but in the case of the X-E3 and some of the other small Fujifilm bodies, it’s a popular option. There are a couple of reasons for doing so:
1. If you want to add an arca swiss plate to the X-E3, the current location of the tripod screw hole is such that it makes it impossible to remove the battery or SD card once the plate is attached. In conjunction to this, if you’re planning on using a holster style attachment from spiderpro or peak design, you’ll have similar issues. Attach the plate and you’ll be stuck without being able to remove the battery or SD card.
2. For some users, the choice of X-E3 wasn’t based on it is small size, and by nature, increasing size isn’t a problem for them; increasing the size often provides a more comfortable grip.
Lack of Stock
I ordered my grip when I picked up my X-E3, but stock has been low in Australia and unfortunately it’s taken until now to get my hands on it. I’m not sure whether this was a global problem, or Australia were a little behind, but I’m a little disappointed that I could have bought third party grip by the time the grip arrived.
At US$129, the MHG-XE3 isn’t cheap and I suspect a number of potential customers will be tempted by aftermarket brands. For those who can afford the price tag, lets talk about what you get.
The MHG-XE3 comes in the usual Fujifilm black box. The MHG-XE3 Is packaged in a plastic bag, fairly basic to say the least. Don’t expect a pouch, cover or anything else for your $129. Manual isn’t required, if you can’t work out how to put this on, you’re probably not smart enough to own a digital camera.
The construction on the grip is very good as we’ve become accustomed to from Fujifilm. As opposed to some of the aftermarket grips, the grip on this is rubber. The quality of the finish is good although time will tell whether it is more prone to scratching.
The screw mechanism for this is designed to allow you to use a coin to attach and remove the grip from the camera. There are some pro’s and coins to this approach:
– No issues try to access tools to remove or fit the grip. Coins are readily accessible everywhere in the world.
– Reduced risk of over tightening and damaging the thread on the camera
– Risk that it may not be tightened enough and could put the connection at risk of failing if you are using an inverted method of carrying like the spider pro or capture pro.
The MHG-XE3 has a small hole for the speaker (or microphone…I’m too lazy to check, but it aligns with the camera hole)
From a camera alignment perspective, once attached, it gives you a perfectly centered tripod screw so the alignment of the screw is now perfectly aligned to the lens. This should keep the landscapers happy.
In my case, sometimes when I am carrying dual bodies, I dislike the option of having to constantly swap bodies with a bag as I find it frustrating to get the gear in and out of the bag. I opted for a Spiderlight setup, but unfortunately the battery is no longer removeable when I do this. With the grip plate attached, I have no opted for two Spiderpro arca clamps which I can now attach to my X-E3 and X-T2 when I am out. The think I like about the arca swiss clamp approach is I don’t have the Spiderpro balling dangling from my camera the whole time.
With the grip attached, you still have full access to the battery and SD card, although accessing the SD card is slightly more challenge. The easiest way to get it out is to press it one to get it to come out partially, then push it in slightly to load the spring and let your finger slip off the edge. With this technique, it pops about three quarters of the way out and is easy to retrieve.
Grips are a personal thing so it’s not going to be a case of “bigger grip = more comfortable”, even for the people with big hands. It’s all going to come down to finger size, thickness, finger placement, all of which are being unique to the individual.
For me personally, it’s an improvement. It’s not the sort of improvement you get with the XT2 grip, which allows me to put my entire hand on the grip but a good improvement nevertheless. I will say that it took a little getting used to so it wasn’t love at first site. The rubber provides extra grip although I did expect a little more. Maybe it doesn’t fall my hand enough, but I do have big hands.
The MHG-XE3 is something that isn’t going to suit everyone. For those who do landscapes, it’s almost indispensable due to the terrible location of the tripod mount on the X-E3. For those with big hands, or can be hit and miss, as it’s not the sort of product that fits everyone. Either way, is something I’d recommend you try before you buy if you have the chance, or use an online retailer that allows you to return it if it doesn’t suit your hands.
Is it worth the $129 retail price? Probably not. It’s good quality but it’s not a $129 grip. If reminds me little of the Fujifilm metal hoods. They’re good but you can pick up a third party metal hood for half the price with the same quality, and the same applies here. You’re are really paying a hefty premium for the Fujifilm badge. What I don’t like about this grip is that your paying the Fujifilm tax to address a shortfall in the product, a badly designed tripod attachment location.