If you've ever used a Mamiya or a Hasselblad medium format SLR, you notice quickly that the camera isn't particularly ergonomic.  Due to the nature of the film transport mechanism, having a 35mm-style grip would add unnecessary size to the camera.  SLRs with a waste-level finder are easier to use without a grip since the camera is cradled in your hand at your waist, but with a pentaprism attached there is no easy way to hold it to your face.  The last thing you want to happen is to drop your camera because you can't hold it properly.

Grips are available, but they are expensive, hard to find and ugly.  I'm going to show you how you can make your own with some common tools (and maybe a few uncommon ones.)

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • Shutter release cable, approx 12" long
  • 2" diameter Poplar dowel, approx. 1 foot length
  • 3/4" aluminum rod, approx 4"
  • 1/8" thick, 1.5" wide, 8" long aluminum bar
  • 4x 4-40 3/8" flat head socket screws
  • 2x 8-32 3/4" button head socket screws
  • 1x 1/4-20 1/4" flat head socket screw
  • Cork gasket material
  • Epoxy
  • Wood stain
  • Lacquer or polyurethane
  • Spraypaint
  • Bandsaw (optional)
  • Hacksaw
  • Round file
  • Sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Drill press
  • Drill bits
  • Countersink bit
  • Hole tapping set
  • Wood chisel
  • Mallet
  • Various files
  • Lathe (optional)
  • Mill (optional)
  • Belt sander (optional)
I made something like this for my Yashica D twin lens reflex many years ago and it worked quite well.
Nice, a certainly interesting grip could be devised to make a waist-level TLR a little more ergonomic.
I used it chest level with the magnifier lens flipped up in the viewfinder, or preset the focus according to the depth of field scale and used the sports viewfinder.
At chest level a grip would be great. At waist level I bet a grip at a 45 degree angle would be very comfortable to use. I considered making a pistol grip for under the camera but decided against it because it would be awkward in a few other respects, one being hanging it around my neck and using in portrait view.
Great project! I have a Mamiya 645 myself. Great camera, especially with the metered prism finder. I also have store-bought (OK... Tag sale bought) Grip. As you mentioned. store bought ones are ugly as hell. Also mine doesn't have a shutter release :( <br> <br>Very nice project!
Thanks, glad you liked it
Truly, you are the glorious supreme leader of camera DIY
Very clever!

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