Wood or metal? What is more comfortable for you during hand-held shooting? I prefer the organic nature of wood, but Blackmagic makes a handgrip for the Blackmagic URSA Mini. For many reasons, I chose KinoGrip over the stock grip on the URSA Mini. The grips from KinoGrip are meant to last a lifetime and they are handmade for a comfortable fit. A big bonus with these hand grips, they are not dedicated to a specific camera. Think classic function and styling on a brand new camera.Getting your body into a comfortable position for a long day of handheld shooting is important. If you are not in a comfortable position you will exhaust yourself quickly and your footage will suffer. For me, the shoulder kit for the Blackmagic URSA Mini works fine. Then, after awhile, I start to feel bunched up and uncomfortable. See, I’m 6’1″ and the shoulder kit / hand grip from Blackmagic might be a little more suitable for shooters with shorter arms. When I use the Blackmagic grip on the accessory arm my right arm is pulled too close to my body. My arm becomes unnecessarily tired too quickly. I needed a little more breathing room and I wanted to be more comfortable. The decision was made to go with a different style grip.
Blackmagic’s Hand Grip
The grip Blackmagic provides is more than adequate. It has three buttons: auto focus, auto iris, and record start / stop. I only us one of those buttons, the record start / stop. The other two I find a little unnecessary. Others may love them, but for me, I kept accidently tapping them causing me to readjust my settings. Meaning I had to stop and find my iris or focus again. This can be a problem if someone is running and gunning on an assignment. Nope, I wanted to keep it simple. The less opportunity for me to make a mistake the better.
If Blackmagic had function buttons the on their hand grip. This might be a different story. Might I suggest a focus magnification button on the next handgrip? The grip could then become an essential accessory to the camera. A shooter could double check their focus without affecting the shot. Right now, this is just a dream like the ND filter wheel. An aperture adjustment, not just auto iris, would be nice too. I’m getting picky now.
The Blackmagic URSA Mini, which might be better called the Blackmagic URSA Medium, is a camera with a little weight. Not a ton, but the camera feels strong in one’s hands, which is good. Totally not complaining here. With any camera, it is important you have the camera resting on your shoulder in the right position. When I shoot with my vintage Angenieux this means adjusting the shoulder pad to be as far forward as possible. I want to put the center balance position as close to my shoulder as possible and with a lens as heavy as the Angenieux 25-250mm f3.2 the camera has to be moved back to compensate. If I were to only have the Blackmagic accessory arm and grip I would be very limited in where to put my hands.
By moving my handgrip accessory hardware forward I can give myself a little bit of breathing room and comfort. It also meant I had a better, and stronger, three point contact with the camera. I not only added the KinoGrip to my rig but also the KinoBall. Yes, a small wood ball helped me capture steadier handheld shots.
This little wood ball is a brilliant accessory from the mind of someone who has learned to work within a budget. A full wood hand grip with a trigger and LANC cable can add up to more than a little bit of pocket change. But, the KinoBall is only $89.00. For less than a hundred dollars you can add a rock solid point to your rig.
This is all about three point contact with your camera. 1. your right hand holding onto a KinoGrip. 2. your eye up against the EVF. 3. your left hand holding onto a solid part of the camera. Is this third spot the lens? I can be, but we don’t tend to “hold onto” the lens like we do a dedicated grip. The KinoBall allows you to have a firm contact point with the camera while allowing your fingers to be free to adjust zoom, focus, or iris.
I love how I can place the KinoBall in the palm of my left hand and still be able to reach everything. I can make the zoom, focus, and iris adjustments without compromising my stability of the camera. Yes, you can put a KinoBall on an accessory arm, but I prefer it to stay as close to my lens controls as comfortable.
I did not stop at the KinoGrip, or the KinoBall. I also picked up the KinoTrigger. I picked it up for one reason. To be able to start / stop record for my Blackmagic URSA Mini or BMCC as it flew on a DJI Ronin. For awhile I was hitting record on my cameras well before I was set or my talent was set. It’s what happens when you’re operating a DJI Ronin by yourself at times. This meant a ton of extra space wasted on my CFast 2.0 cards. The wasted media space turned into wasted offload times as well. I had to put an end to it. The KinoTrigger put a stop to all of this. I taped it to my left handgrip on my DJI Ronin, I’m left-handed, and I was off the to the races.
What makes KinoGrips Special?
These grips are not a CNC mass produced piece of gear meant to last a little over a year. No, many hours of carving, sanding, and oiling goes into each grip. Each one is unique and meant to last a lifetime. You can order yours with a trigger and camera cable or you can buy one without a trigger. It’s your choice. If you go for the trigger it will work for all cameras. All you need to do is swap the cables as you move to a different camera. So if you move from a Blackmagic URSA Mini to a Sony F5 you can have the same handgrip assembly and all you would have to do is change the cable. Plus, KinoGrip makes life easy by selling most of the mounting hardware one might need.
- Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera, Pocket Cinema Camera, 4K Production Cinema Camera
- Canon C100, C300, C500
- Arri Alexa and Amira
- Panasonic Varicam 35 and Varicam LT
- Arri Alexa Mini
- Sony A7SII, A7RII, and A6300 (via LANC adapter sold separately)
- Sony F5, F55
- Sony FS100, FS700
- Sony FS5, FS7
- Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema Camera (via LANC adapter sold separately)
- Canon DSLR
- Panasonic GH2, GH3, GH4
- Panasonic AF100, X1000, AC90, AC130/160, HPX 250, PX270 (Special Order)
- Nikon DSLR
- AJA CION
- Blackmagic URSA and URSA Mini
- JVC LS300
- Red One (Special Order)
- Red Epic, Scarlet, Raven, Scarlet-W and Weapon
- Arriflex 416, 435, 235, SR3 film cameras
- Aaton XTR and A-Minima film cameras (Special Order)
- Ikonoskop A-Cam dII (Special Order)
- Convergent-Design Odyssey 7Q recorder (Special Order)
- Phantom MIRO cameras (Special Order)