So that rant out of the way: let's get down to the nuts and bolts of this little third party add-on for the X-Pro1.
|The lensmate Thumbrest on the Fuji X-Pro1.|
I had looked at the possibility of purchasing the Thumbs Up EP-75 from match technical; it looks good but is nearly double the price and to be completely honest I wanted to see what the newer version of the Lensmate (earlier versions had a screw in allen bolt) would look like before I committed to buying.
When it arrived it came in a small magnetic lid box reminiscent of the type of box the Fujinon lenses and the X-Pro itself come in: so a nice little packaging touch there.
The attention to detail given to the packaging box is really a clue to the exacting attitude to the design of the Lensmate itself. It fits every contour of the camera and still allows the use of all the buttons and dials. The only real exception is the pushing of the release button and dial turn to get the camera out of "A" priority. Once however it's out of "A" mode the dial turns easily without the need to push the lock button so I don't really find it a big deal.
This is a really well engineered item and it fits like a glove to the hot-shoe of the camera and stays in place by way of a tiny silicon insert at the base of the plate, creating a friction which keeps it in place. The first thing I noticed when I held the camera with the thumb-rest fitted is that my muscle memory kept falling to it's usual place next to the raised ridge which houses the AF/AL lock. So; time to go out in the world and shoot to really see how this gadget feels and if it will make life with the X-Pro any different than without it fitted.
It's great they included a clever silicon insert into the body of the rest just where the thumb sits: it really makes it non-slip especially when holding the camera with one hand and after an hour or so of shooting in the street my whole grip seemed to appreciate a convenient place for my thumb to get out of the way.
The silicon insert is met at the other side of the thumbrest and prevents any metal to metal contact between the thumbrest and the X-Pro body.
I did notice sometimes that if your thumb leaned too heavily on the rest there was the tinniest bit of play from the plate on the hotshoe but not enough that it goes anywhere. In it's defence though it takes a good bit of pressure to move it and I'm aware that this is a "rest" and not a "lever" so I have no real issues about that but would prefer there to be non at all. It is held by friction though and I guess the only real solution to any kind of movement at all would necessitate going back to the "allen bolt" which is aesthetically less pleasing than this much sleeker design.
It really does make the camera nicer somehow to hold and it took no time at all for my thumb to get used to its new resting place. My second X-Pro is "Lensmateless" and feels really weird when I pick it up with my thumb having a veritable meltdown as it tries in vain to find it's comforter.
My conclusion therefore is that this is for me at least: a must have for the X-Pro1, it adds a tiny bit of weight which makes the whole X-Pro feel more substantial without turning it into something else. Ergonomic enhancement is a pretty fair description and one which is engineered to a very high standard. Just need to buy another for my second body.