What’s this? Has Les had a funny turn and decided to make his relatively small and svelte Fujifilm X-T1 bigger? Well, yes. Let me explain…
When I was using Canon DSLRs, I always shunned the idea of adding a vertical grip. I knew the reasons why you might want one – extra battery life and easier use of the camera in portrait orientation, but neither of those seemed particularly important to me. And when I switched to Fujifilm – first the X-E1, then the X-E2 and later the X-T1, I still didn’t really feel the need, despite the relatively poor battery life of my newer cameras.
But having mangled my shoulder lately, I’ve been looking for ways to reduce any kind of strain at all – I’ve switched from the wrist straps I’ve been using for years to a more conventional neck strap, and after a bit of reading concluded that not twisting my hand around when shooting vertically might be a good idea. So I ordered one of these.
Fitting it is a simple operation – you remove a cover from the base of the camera to expose the contacts, and place it in the provided compartment on the top of the grip (nice touch, that – prevents losing it), remove a cover from the pins on top of the grip (nowhere to put that, though…) then line up the grip and screw it into the camera’s tripod socket.
While you don’t have to do this, it’s a good idea to insert one of your spare batteries in the compartment in the grip. The camera will then recognise that it has two batteries, and will display separate power levels for each of them. And it will use the battery in the grip before the internal one, so if you’re going to be out for a while and likely to get through several batteries, you can just keep changing the one in the grip rather than having to remove it to change the internal one. Nice.
Once it’s on, you’ve got a slightly larger camera, which actually feels more balanced when one of the heavier lenses is attached. There’s a bar for attaching one end of your strap, which avoids it getting in the way in portrait mode.
The important bit is the replication of controls – there’s a shutter release, plus focus assist, AE-L and AF-L buttons, not to mention front and rear control dials. To avoid these getting pressed when you’re in landscape mode, there’s a lock switch around the shutter release (which caught me out the other day, when I was wondering why the buttons weren’t working ).
In use, it feels a lot more comfortable in portrait mode, and I think it’ll be a permanent fixture on my X-T1.
 First use of that word on Losing it. Also probably the last, so make the most of it
 This is a general issue with compact system cameras, where around 300 shots it about all you can expect compared with 700 or more with most DSLRs
 Another reason for getting it!