Recently Phase One announced the release of a new V-grip for the XF camera body. This accessory is a welcome addition for fashion and portrait photographers who primarily shoot handheld and in a vertical orientation. I mean, who doesn’t like holding the weight of your camera with a bent wrist? (Not this guy). Look closely and you’ll notice some interesting design choices that makes the XF V-grip far from ordinary vertical grips. And way better.
When a new product is released we can’t help but compare it to its predecessor. When compared with the Vertical Grip designed for the Phase One DF camera body, you’ll notice some substantial differences.
First, the XF V-grip is thinner, with an actual gap between the ergonomic grip and the bottom of the XF body. This negative space isn’t just an aesthetic design feature, satisfying though it is. This gap makes the grip lighter, and also introduces more hand positions while shooting and at rest for a sure yet relaxed hold.
There’s another notable absence from a stereotypical vertical grip: a battery. Again, this makes the grip (and overall camera system) lighter. Plus, 3 batteries is overkill. At that point you should just be running direct power anyway…
Speaking of batteries, like most vertical grips, the XF V-grip naturally prevents access to the XF body’s battery door. Normally this would be a bad thing, but because the grip’s electronic connection doesn’t require it to interface directly with the XF’s power supply it can be removed quickly to access the XF’s battery door. Again, because the V-grip does not require deep nesting into the body, the battery door of the XF remains in place without any removal required. To replace a battery, just take the V-grip off with the flip of a lever, put in the new battery, and put the V-grip back on. Done.
This brings me to my next point- removing the XF V-grip from the body is a cinch. The V-grip attaches to the XF body in a clever locking mechanism that avoids the awkward 1/4 20 or 3/8″ screw as a sole attachment point. Instead, the V-grip uses a two part system of a quick release-like plate on the XF body that uses the 3/8″ screw to attach itself. The Main portion of the V-grip then attaches to that plate in much the same way as a quick release plate attaches to a tripod head. With the flick of a tension-adjustable switch, the V-grip is solidly connected to the XF body. Oh, and don’t worry; The V-grip has a standard 1/4 20 / 3/8″ socket on the bottom.
The V-grip’s positive feel shouldn’t be understated. That thing is on there. Perfectly matched to the XF body in terms of both aesthetics and functionality, the V-grip’s fit truly drives home the idea that this accessory is hardly an accessory at all, but rather a significant albeit optional part of the body as a whole. And if you’ve custom mapped your XF body’s button and scroll wheel to your specifications, that mapping is also sent over to the V-grip so there’s no need to make adjustments.