Beautiful Soft Shutter Releases – Artisan Obscura

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Beautiful Soft Shutter Releases – Artisan Obscura

When checking my mail one day I found a package inside from a company named “Artisan Obscura”. What could be inside I asked? Then I remembered that a week or two prior I spoke with someone from this company and they asked if I would  like to review or check out their unique hand-made soft shutter releases that they make from beautiful real wood and brass. They told me that after trying several of the cheap buttons out there they figured that some of us may appreciate a soft shutter release that not only feels good and works good but looks gorgeous on your camera.

These work very well with Leica, Fuji or even the Sony RX1. Any camera that you can screw a release into will work. They offer a small and large size as well as choice of wood including Ebony Wood, Olive Wood, Teak Wood and the beautiful and rich Blood Wood.

From left to right: The large Ebony Wood Earth convex, then the Olive wood in large and concave followed by the gorgeous Teak wood in small and concave. Finally the last one is a small convex in Blood Wood. There are many more options on their website HERE. 

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When I screwed it on to the Leica M I was pleased by the beauty and feel. These feel much better than the sometimes rough and cheap looking Chinese buttons that sell for $5-$10. They also told me that over time these will soak up your own skin oils and develop a natural patina, much like your camera might (if shooting a Leica M). No two releases will ever look the same. They are hand-made in Denver, Colorado.

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These soft releases, being made with high quality material (and it shows when you hold one) do not come in at $5-$10 like the e-bay cheapies. These range from $35 to $40 each depending on size. The way I look at it is if you spend thousands on your camera and want to make it look unique and different while creating a slightly better experience from it with a soft release then these releases easily fit the bill. $35 to $40 is not too much to ask when we have so much invested into our systems as it is.

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These are by far, the highest quality soft shutter releases I have had the pleasure of trying out. I like “the bird’ on their website, so I may just place an order for that one. Take a look at their site HERE if you are interested in learning more or to order one for your camera.

Steve

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49 Comments

  1. Steve, do I remember correctly that you also had tried a beautiful set of metal convex buttons that you had attached to both the shutter and the AF/MF/AEL BUTTON to create a more tactile functionality in using the A7x? I have tried to find this product recently and I thought you and tried them out and wrote about it. Thanks in advance.

  2. To add, mine is concave and i find it far more ergonomic than convex for my finger using the method you describe Mikael! Different fingers have different requirements!

  3. Hi, I have had one of these (Houndstooth Ebony) on my M240 for the last 6 weeks without it falling off. It appears more secure than most of the soft releases I used on an M9. I could be lucky though!

  4. The soft release is not just decoration, it improves stability for slower shutter speeds. But then, why is the shape concave in the sample photos?

    A soft release should help you NOT to rest your fingertip on the shutter release and instead use middle part of your finger (enabling squeezing instead of pressing down). Hence the shape should be convex.

  5. Just bought one for my X-E1, they say it will take 2 or 3 weeks to be delivered, being hand made and very requested.

  6. maybe it’s just the photos, but they look to me like they need a run over with some 600 grade wet and dry and then another coat of clear or stain. Are they smooth to touch? A bit of French polishing required.

  7. I like using soft releases but frankly they are a complete PITA on film cameras especially Leica RF’s as there is no shutter lock. I cannot count how many wasted frames I have from my M6 from it just knocking the inside of my camera bag and firing off blanks.

    Use an Abrahamson mini on my digital X-Pro1 and that really is a nice match.

  8. “…over time these will soak up your own skin oils and develop a natural patina” , hahaha , what they really mean is the wood will soak up your sweat and dirt and discolor.

  9. I was just about to buy this unique soft shutter release after seeing their pictures on instagram but here you are reviewing their products! Thanks for sharing with us Steve!

  10. I like soft button release but since I’ve read a story of a guy who’s Leica M6 entire shutter system was broken because of one of these…I don’t want to play with el diablo.
    It seems this is caused when the camera somehow manage to rest on the soft button itself for a long time (while rolling in a bag or something)…

    I can’t remember where I’ve seen it but I think it was on a french Leica forum. I’ll try to find the thread back.

    This is too little convenience added to risk a 800-1000USD repair.

  11. Stunning. I love that they are all HANDMADE in Colorado. It’s obvious how much heart and soul has been put into this company. I seriously don’t know how you can compare these beautiful buttons to stick faux carbon fiber foil, Pablo. Thank you for the article.

  12. Horrible stuff…it’s like those who stick faux carbon fiber foil on their lenses and hoods.

    • How so? This is not fake anything, nor is it faux carbon fiber foil (which is ugly), it is beautiful carved wood soft shutter releases. I have never seen anyone stick carbon fiber foil on any camera gear but this is far from horrible. If you think it is then it is obviously not for you :). I think they are the best looking soft releases I have seen, and I have had a few 🙂 We all have different tastes.

    • I have never used one (am weighing it up in my mind for my black Fuji X100), but I do have the AR-1 soft release button for my Nikon F2. Beautiful it is not, but comfortable and practical it is. Your finger gels to it easier and quicker than the release without the ad-on, your finger tip rests comfortably while anticipating firing, and the release is more responsive with the ad-on. Worth it.
      In this case, with the decorated soft releases, you get that comfort and responsiveness, but with the bonus of it having an attractive handmade finish that can enhance the look of the camera as well.

      Why not?

      I can understand people not needing such an item, but I can’t understand how one can find it horrible or ugly.

  13. What are you guys using so that these buttons don’t fall off? I have almost lost a few buttons and while I love these Artisan Obscura buttons I don’t want $40 flying off my camera in the wind. I’m skittish about using nail polish or loc-tite for the threading but it might be the best solution. Are others using different means? Please let me know 🙂

  14. I’ve had a teak concave 15mm on my X100S since day one. And I agree with you on the feel of it, Steve. I really like it and am planning on getting the 10mm teak concave for my X-E1 (as soon as it arrives)!

  15. I know you said it fits Leicas and most cameras with a shutter release that has a screw in it. I could not fit Artisan and Artist shutter releases on my Leica Monochrom. I tried like 3 or 4 different ones and they wouldn’t work. I read online somewhere that Abrahamssons should work. It does work on the Monochrom so that’s what I have. I don’t know why this is the case, at least for me. Have you tried these beautiful wooden releases on a Monochrom yet? Just wondering. Thanks.

    • Alas, I am not a Leica owner (yet), but I have read while researching soft releases for my X100, that both the ME and Monochrom have different thread sizes to other M models.
      Apparently http://www.matchtechnical.com make soft releases that allow for this different threading.
      Hope this helps.

      • Hello SK & Graham,

        Steve here, one of the partners at Artisan Obscura, we have tested our buttons on the full range of Leica’s and Fujis and are pleased to say that any of our buttons will fit beautifully on any of these cameras. We developed a tapered threading that allows for a universal yet snug fit!

        • I purchased 2 of these, and while beautiful, I have to say the fit on the M240 and Monochrom is not ideal. Seems just like the standard threading, and needs a lot of plumbers tape and time to get a decent fit.

    • Quoting the Match Technical site: “Beep, Boop, Bip, Bop, Bug, Dragons, Operas and Fish
      Please Note:

      Leica Monochrom and Leica ME cameras require a shorter version of our soft release as the shutter button on these new cameras differs in its design when compared to the M9, M8 and older M cameras. Our soft release design is being updated to reflect this shorter thread found on the Leica ME and Leica Monochrom. Please indicate your camera model when ordering and we will be pleased to accommodate your request.”

      Perhaps that is just referring to the depth, rather than width of the threaded hole, but worth considering.

        • Just file 1mm off the brass thread and it will fit beautifully..that’s what I did after talking to Match Tech.

      • The trouble with the new Tom Abramamson soft releases made esp for the new Monochrom and ME is that once screwed in you can not operate exp lock and I had to take mine off.

  16. Hi Steve, these look great! I hope after conversion from dollars to Brazilian Reais, with shipping to Sao Paulo factored in, that I can still afford one, but I’ll look into it.

    Just a note, your ‘website here’ link is not active or was mistakenly omitted.

    I found their site by name through Google without problem, but just so you know that the link is inactive.

    Thanks!

    Graham

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