By Stan Sholik
From fashion to high-performance sports cars, Italian companies create some of the most beautifully designed and skillfully manufactured products in the world. CPtech of Bologna brings Italian design and manufacturing to photography with the introduction of the b-grip EVO camera belt grip system.
The b-grip EVO system rides comfortably and securely at belt
level without hindering your movements. Image ©Stan Sholik
The b-grip system consists of a belt worn at the waist. The belt threads through the b-grip base plate, and a quick-release plate connects the base plate to the camera tripod socket. The b-grip securely supports still or video equipment up to 17.6 pounds. This frees you from neckstraps with cameras banging against your body and from aching shoulders at the end of the day. It also frees you from reaching into your camera bag, backpack or beltpack to retrieve your camera, lens, flash, or your video equipment.
The b-grip EVO system consists of the b-grip camera plate, base plate and belt. ©Stan Sholik
The b-grip base plate removed from the belt with the camera plate attached and locked. ©Stan Sholik
The b-grip base plate removed from the belt with the camera plate removed. ©Stan Sholik
The two b-grip plates are high-tech injection-molded plastic resin that is impregnated with fiberglass fibers and glass microspheres. The woven belt is heavy duty enough for the SWAT team, yet the complete system is light and comfortable to wear. And not only is the system functional, its style is unobtrusive, and it incorporates several well-designed features that add to its usefulness.
One security feature is a rubber stopper in the quick-release plate. You must remove it to attach the plate to the camera’s tripod socket. Once you've reinstalled it, it locks the screw to prevent the screw from loosening. And if your tripod head accepts the square German DIN plate (Velbon, Bilora, Cullman and other heads), you never need to remove the b-grip camera plate. My Arca-Swiss head holds the b-grip camera plate securely, but there is a little play in it.
Another feature in the quick-release plate is a “foot” that forms the outer perimeter of the plate. You can swing the foot forward to make a base for the camera when you need to set it down. It supports a heavy DSLR with a lens that can be as large and heavy as a medium focal length zoom, such as a 24-70mm f2.8 Nikkor or the 17-35mm f2.8 Nikkor (below).
The b-grip system provides stable support for larger lenses also. By sliding the entire base plate off the belt you can securely set it with a camera and 70-200mm or equivalent lens on a flat surface (below). In this configuration, you can use it as a stable platform on a table or pressed against a wall for long exposures.
The versatile base plate can be attached to any belt-like strap. I attached it to a strap on my backpack and it worked fine, though for balance I would recommend a shorter, lighter lens. When attached to the b-grip belt or backpack, you can mount your camera body with the lens facing upward to change lenses.
It takes a little getting used to, and two hands, in order to release the camera from the base plate. But the motions become fluid after a while. The width of the belt and the secure buckle make the b-grip comfortable and secure even with a 70-200 lens on a heavy digital SLR.
If your fantasies run to Versace or Ferrari, the b-grip EVO is your chance to own not only a beautiful piece of Italian design, but a practical one also. The b-grip EVO MSRP is $84.95. More information is available at www.bgrip.com.
Stan Sholik is a commercial/advertising photographer in Santa Ana, Calif., specializing in still life and macro photography. His fifth book, “HDR Efex Pro: After the Shoot” (Wiley Publishing) is available in October, 2011.