22 Sep 2013

DIY grip for EOS M

Before I move on to the science of using things not as their makers intended, I'll share a very simple but extremely useful DIY grip for the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera body.

If you have an EOS M and you've tried to use it for video recording, then you must be aware of a major design flaw in this handsome little gizmo. Since most video recording is done handheld, it is very difficult to stabilize the flat little thing. This, however, is not the major problem.

What often happens is that whenever the camera shakes, and this happens more often if you're using a bigger EF lens probably, your finger will turn the ring around the shutter release back into photo mode, thus cutting off your video recording.

By the time you realize what just happened, your moment is gone bye bye.

You cannot turn back the hands of time, but you can definitely do something to prevent this from happening again. All this camera needs is a little thickness to grip on so you can stabilize the camera without losing its balance and switching it to photography mode, so of course you will go to your trusty search engine and look up "EOS M grip" and find nothing.

That was the first step. Second, you will make one on your own.

I used thermal plastic to make my grip, which is basically a plate the size of the bottom of the camera that protrudes a little to the front at the right side, where it extrudes upwards to form the grip itself.

It works really well, does the job, and the best part is that it will never scratch the camera. You can actually mould it on the camera body while the plastic is still soft, or even press your fingers to create a grip that is perfect just for you.

Initially I only had the thermal plastic as my grip, but it didn't look particularly pretty. Not because it was white, but because, due to the difficulty of molding and shaping this thing, it will almost never end up looking "even". So I simply got the grip section out of an old Canon EOS 1000F SLR camera that I had turned into pieces a long time ago, and molded the plastic into it. Now it's black and even has texture.

Make sure you put the grip at a distance far enough from the lens for your fingers to slip in and give you a good hold. The 1000F grip will protrude a bit outside the camera body on the right side but that's alright because that makes it an even better grip. You can use the thermal plastic to fill in the cracks and crannies to smooth the contours and corners of your creation. I didn't do that because I didn't want to leave the gas on. I'm saving for my next energy bill. I'm on a budget remember?

Total cost is a few quid for the thermal plastic that you can use and reuse, probably a pound or something for the 1/4" screw unless you have one lying around, and maybe £3 if you wanna buy a broken EOS SLR camera to take the grip form. You can even take the female 1/4" tripod mount from the old EOS SLR, mold it into the bottom of your grip's plate to create an extra tripod hole. This works well if you thicken the plate enough to cover the thickness of the 1/4" screw you've used to mount your grip on the camera. This way you can have a replacement screw mount right next to it, and at the same level. Try it out!

---



Disclaimer: apparently, Canon is now aware of this problem that I've just talked about and produces the EH23-CJ half case which is supposed to address this problem. My DIY grip was made well before this came out, and I've only learned about this case today as I was writing this blog entry. If you have £40 to spend on half a case that gives you the grip you want then go for it. If I had £40 to spend on this issue, I would have kept my cooker on a bit longer to refine the shape of my grip instead.