Friday, March 1, 2013


Richard Franiec's Custom Grip for the Sigma DP1/ DP2  and DP3 Merrill Compact Cameras

( Above- the Sigma DP2M without the Grip)

When my Sigma DP2M arrived, I marveled at its compact design, but I have medium sized hands with very long fingers, so the tiny 46 MP camera feels like it is going to slip out of my hand when I'm shooting.  Holding the camera with one hand and pressing the trigger is definitely out of the question as the flat front surface of the camera is smooth and slippery even with the small raised dots on the metal.  In looking for an add on grip to address my  shooting concerns, I decided that I wanted to find a grip that met this criteria: 

1. It couldn't look like an add on grip--it must look like it is part of the camera design.
2. I didn't want a cheap plastic grip
3. It would not add substantial weight to the camera or bulk
4. It needed to be precision made and high quality so it could withstand years of use and match the existing camera    finish.
5. It needed to be reasonably priced.  

There are plenty of add on plastic grips that can be put on the DP2M, repurposed from other brands like Olympus cameras that would work and some custom screw onto the bottom of the camera grips that add considerable weight and bulk to the camera not to mention cost.

Enter Richard Franiec's custom designed DP1/ DP2 and DP3 Merrill grip.  It meets all the criteria I was looking for.  At only 35 grams, each grip is individually CNC machined from a solid block of 6061 aluminum which explains the light weight with an anodized paint which matches the color of the DP2M and looks as though it was always a part of the DP2M design which is brilliant. The grip attaches easily to the camera and can be removed later without damaging the finish of the camera in addition to being reattached using the 3M adhesive tape on the back. It does however cover the beautiful Sigma name on the DP2M and DP1M---a small sacrifice to be made for such a comfortable grip---but it does make shooting with the camera more anonymous which some photographers like. Richard in correspondence with me said that the grip is confirmed to fit the new DP3M to be released this month by Sigma as the new DP3M has the exact body as its Merrill brothers. Also to update the information from the press release posted on the new grip in November, Richard updated the sealing process from a sealing of the anodized aluminum with the use of Nickel to a hot distilled water process to address possible allergenic concerns with Nickel even though the particular process that he originally used has never been proven to cause contact allergy problems as it seals the aluminum under the anodized paint--so the user would never be exposed to nickel in the first place. The old process is used throughout the commercial and consumer products to seal aluminum and has never been proven to cause allergenic reactions--but Richard is was concerned about a perceived problem--so he decided to use a different method which is just as effective in the manufacturing process that doesn't involve nickel. 
Once I attached the DP2M custom grip to my DP2M and held it, shot a few shots with it, I knew that it  is the missing design element for the DP2M and makes shooting with the DP2M more stable and fits the shape of my hand perfectly.  

It is a beautifully designed grip. I marvel at the high tolerance fit and finish and feel of this add on grip.  It looks and feels as though it is part of the DP2M's body--not a cheap plastic or heavy, bulky screw on grip and the price is right at $36.95 USD plus $3.95 first class mail shipping cost.  I have a feeling this grip will never be coming off of my DP2M.  Stay tuned for a long term user's report and video on the new grip in the next month. 

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