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Thread: Created my own RZ67 Aerial Grip with operational hotshoe

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    Created my own RZ67 Aerial Grip with operational hotshoe

    Hey guys,
    I have an on/off love affair with my RZ67 Pro IID. I like the idea of using the best part of the MTF response of the lenses on the digital back and I LOVE the render for portraits. But when not on a tripod (most often not on a tripod), the focusing and handholding gets difficult. Love him or hate him, I have watched Marcus Klinko use his monstrosity of a camera and have garnered a few ideas from it. So, armed with this knowledge I set out to make my own Aerial Grip! But, I was going to do him one better and create one with a wired hotshot that could accept my Profoto Air transceiver. You can't fit one on the side mount RZ hotshoe when a grip is attached.

    I have a few grips for the RZ, the electronic one and the manual one (with articulation). I really like the build quality of the manual/articulating version and used that as my base.

    The articulating grip is supposed to have a plate that acts as a shim between the grip base and the base of the camera. By removing the shim, there is a space to sandwich a right-handed grip. So, I picked up a Mamiya AD401 Strobo Bracket and started re-fabricating....
    I had to drill out three holes in the base to fit over the 1/4"-20 thread of the articulating grip and also for the two locator pins. I also cut the top part of the bracket to avoid interference with the WLF of the RZ. I removed the cold shoe and wired a hot shoe that can be plugged onto the RZ's side mounted hotshot while remaining low profile.
    So, here is the result....
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    Re: Created my own RZ67 Aerial Grip with operational hotshoe

    Rob B.,
    I responded to your PM about this.
    Thanks,
    Ken

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    Re: Created my own RZ67 Aerial Grip with operational hotshoe

    Looks really good! Do you have to use the winder then? I'm having trouble imagining how you reset the shutter with the handle on the right. Similarly, how is focusing? Do you find it easier to handhold vs using just the camera without grip?

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    Re: Created my own RZ67 Aerial Grip with operational hotshoe

    Hey Mark,
    Thanks! I am quite happy with it. You can use the winder if you want, however, the hotshoe wire length is not quite long enough to reach the left side hotshoe on the RZ body. The handle on the right only marginally affects the cocking lever. By that I mean you have to let go of the right handle in order to cock the lever. Holding the right grip and left grip still affords free fingers to operate the focus knobs.
    I never liked using the camera without a grip. But then again, I am a people shooter. So, this isn't a slow process for me. Moving quickly, I like the safety and stability of a grip. I wired a standard left hand electronic grip a while back and use that one from time to time as well (see attached photo). That one works with the winder without any problem. But, I was totally enamored with the quality and comfort of the articulating grip and wanted to additionally add a right hand grip. The articulating grip is beautifully engineered and rock solid. I bid on a true "aerial grip" on ebay a few months ago and it ended up selling for about $400!! And that right grip was simply a basic stub. Personally, I like my design much better!
    Best,
    Ken

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    Re: Created my own RZ67 Aerial Grip with operational hotshoe

    Yup it does look better than the official aerial grip! When it comes to moving quickly, I actually find the camera itself sufficient. Add a strap and its safe anywhere. I tried the L grip but didn't like it; maybe for walking around but shooting it was just weird. I'd love to try an aerial grip but they're impossible to find (or crazy expensive) and I've always wondered if they would make things easier or actually be more of a nuisance. Just the camera itself works well, and is compact by comparison! Do you find you get better results with it?

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    Re: Created my own RZ67 Aerial Grip with operational hotshoe

    Mark,
    I shoot quickly. It is a requirement of my work. I am not doing classic portraiture. I am shooting models for agencies. They are all ages and both genders. Full body shots, 3/4 shots and head shots (btw, love the render of head shots with the RZ!)
    I prefer the use of the prism instead of the WLF and as a result, holding the grip is much more comfortable for me.
    If I am not struggling to hold the camera "box", the added comfort and security of the grip speeds me up and improves my results.

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