03/30/13 Adding a Grip Extension to a Arca Swiss Rm3di–Getting a better handle on things
One of the more unique aspects of the Arca rm3di camera are the orange/yellow horizontal and vertical grips. These grips are made from a smooth plastic material that seems very durable. However the grip for the vertical extension has one rather minor issue, clearance for fingers around the grip. Arca does not allow for any extra height and the stock grip fits flush to the camera body. Also Arca does not allow for a left side grip. This to me is a huge oversight in the design since you can only grip the camera/lens and digital back on the right side. If you are right handed, you have to dedicate your control hand to move the camera around, similar to how a DSLR works. In my workflow, I would like to be able to hold the Arca with my left hand, which would allow me to make easier adjustments, like for tilt, shift, aperture, shutter speed and focus.
The larger issue however is that you don’t have a solid and secure grip when using the stock vertical grip. I have a large hand, but even with a smaller had, there is not enough height to get any purchase on the grip. When you consider the fact that you are holding a camera, lens and a digital back with a value of over 30K, you want to be sure when you grasp the vertical handle that you have a solid purchase. Since the handles designed by Arca don’t have finger indentations, you are looking for the ability to wrap your fingers around the handle and dig into something solid. After I worked with my rm3di for a few months, I realized I needed something more, and I reached out to Rod Klukas, the U.S Arca Rep. Rod informed me that Arca made a “grip extention” and I ordered one immediately.
The Arca rm3di grip extension made from one piece of material. It is concave on the inside which will allow the user to get a very secure grip on the handle. To install it one simply unscrews the current handle and places the grip extension in the same place. The holes line up perfectly and you use the new screws that are included with the grip extension. Then it’s simple process to screw back on the stock Arca grip. Arca has designed a very secure solution here. The grip is angled outward and presses right up against the back of the camera. The fact that it’s angled outwards gets the grip away from the mounted lens and thus your fingers will not be hitting the lens or shutter.
Once it’s mounted, make sure to place the included allen wrench somewhere secure. I just keep mine with the camera body in the case I use. I have had my grip installed now for over a year and I have never had anything come lose. When I installed it I put just a bit of blue thread locker on my threads. The grip extension gives me total confidence when I pick up the rm3di with a Phase One digital back installed. I have carried this camera/digital back combination over pretty rough terrain and in streams with no concerns at all. My only issue is that Arca just don’t include the grip extension with the base price of the camera. The additional cost of the grip extension is approximately $385.00 and you may have to wait a while to get one. I ordered mine from Rod Klukas directly.
Here is a link to Rod’s website: www.Rodklukas.com