This is a review of the Fuji MHG-XT Hand Grip
When I first bought my X-T1, it was extremely important that I be able to use it with my tripod. Since Really Right Stuff hadn’t even received a sample unit in order to produce a proper L-plate, and the Arca-Swiss compatible MHG-XT Hand Grip was available on launch day, I decided to pick one up for what I thought would be an interim solution.
I was right. The MHG-XT Hand Grip is nice, but unless you have hands large enough to necessitate the additional grip, it only adds to the size of the wonderfully compact X-T1, and doesn’t perform as well as a dedicated L-plate.
The MHG-XT Hand Grip works as advertised. It adds grip to the camera, and is compatible with Arca-Swiss ballheads. There’s one key advantage to working with an L-Plate, and that’s illustrated quite simply in the images to the right and/or below.
The first is not possible with the grip, which necessitates the use of a ballhead’s drop notch (shown in the second), and that puts the weight of your entire camera off-kilter, and away from the tripod’s point of greatest stability. This might not matter much with one of Fuji’s tiny primes attached to your camera, but mount one of their new larger zooms on there, and things can become unsteady.
The L-plate allows for quick recomposition to portrait orientation—and I’d argue better as the centre of the lens is far closer to the landscape position than when it’s dropped in the notch—and critically, ensures the camera is as stable as possible to negate any movement. This is particularly important if you’re into long exposures, as I am. Additionally, the use of a panoramic ballhead attachment makes capturing high resolution portrait panos ridiculously easy.
If you need more grip for your X-T1, the MHG-XT Hand Grip is an excellent option. I consider the Arca-Swiss compatability to be a bonus, rather than the reason to buy. A dedicated L-plate is a better way to go for that, and costs about the same.1
Since I purchased mine, Fuji released the new MHG-XT Large Hand Grip and the bizarrely-named, MHG-XT Small Hand Grip, which is really just an Arca-Swiss plate that added a few millimetres of height to the X-T1. This is the equivalent of buy just the bottom plate from someone like Really Right Stuff.
Ergonomic choices like these always come down to personal preference. Me, I love the way the X-T1 handles out of the box, and adding an L-plate hardly alters it. That Fuji has released what amounts to an entire suite of grip customization options for the X-T1 is really outstanding, and should be applauded. I wondered if they had set the bar too high, but they’ve already demonstrated their commitment with the release of they MHG-X100 Hand Grip for the X100(S/T). I can only imagine the level of customization we’ll get with an X-Pro1 successor.