Get a grip! The J.B. grip for the Olympus E-M1 is here!

Get a grip! The J.B. grip for the Olympus E-M1 is here!


A couple of weeks ago while searching on Amazon for accessories to go along with the awesomely delicious Olympus E-M1 I found a listing for a grip that adds a little height to the camera but no more bulk. It had a slot at the bottom for easy access to the battery and was made in the U.S.A. by J.B. Camera Designs. 

I checked out the images of it and said “THIS is what I need”. I really have no interest for the Olympus battery grip as it makes the camera bulkier and fatter..more DSLR like. But this J.B. grip looked cool..solid..sleeker. So I ordered it and Amazon told me it was set to be released and shipped ion November 14th.



I never had any contact with JB camera designs but have seen images of their previous grips and they looked great so I was excited to see if this one stood up to what others have raved about. Well, the grip arrived on November 9th, 5 days early along with a note from J.B. thanking me for the order and to let me know he is a fan of this website! How cool is that?

Anyway, the case came packaged in a nice box as well as a new shiny penny that is used to screw the grip onto the camera. The grip is HEAVY duty and EXTREMELY well made. I paid $46.95 for this and I have seen some Leica accessories, not as well made, sell for 5X this amount. If it were me, I would have priced it at $74.95. It is VERY well made, feels great and fits perfectly to the E-M1.

So at $46 it is a steal for anyone who wants a grip added to their E-M1 without adding bulk and fatness. This grip allows a place for your pinky to rest when holding the camera. It works very well. I HIGHLY recommend this grip!

For those that want one, you can order it HERE on Amazon. 

The images below are direct from the JB camera designs website. 

EM1 Grip Base-8

EM1 Grip Base-7

EM1 Grip Base-3

EM1 Grip Base-6

EM1 Grip Base-4

  • Grip-Base adds better grip, protection and ergonomics to your E-M1
  • Grip-Base design allows full access to the battery compartment and tripod threads while attached
  • Grip-Base works perfectly with the size of Four Thirds Lenses when used on the E-M1
  • Adds protection and that little bit of extra Grip that improves camera handling and only weighs 2.2 ounces
  • Hand poured and hand finished parts – Made in the USA



  1. Looks a really nice bit of kit, may be a bit deeper than I’d like, and I’d like to feedback a suggestion to the makers, that they incorporate on either side of the base, ‘slots’ so you can attach the strap on the left or right-hand side and hang the camera sideways (as you can when using the HLD-7 grip on the E-M1)

  2. I just wanted to tell everyone what a pleasure J B Moore (JB Camera design )has been to deal with. Every communication has been prompt and he even accommodated my time sensitive request. I don’t have the product yet to review, but his costumer service has been excellent.

    • Agree…
      I bought 2 JB grips for the Sony MkIII (and then I had to buy 2 cameras)
      I was so happy with the result that I ordered 2 wood grips for my Fujis 100 and another for the XT…and in any of them the feeling is fabulous… Thank’s JB -you are the best- thank’s Steve for your advice.

  3. Thanks Steve, for these great reviews. I, too, love the blue strap. I’m also interested in the black leather strap in the photo (kind of braided). Can you tell us who makes that?

    • Hi Stephen,

      Yes, I should be getting my hands on the new A7 in the next week or two. I have a really great product coming for the A7/A7r by mid December so keep an eye out.


  4. Fortunately, my little finger rests just enough on the bottom of my E-M1 that I don’t want or need this extension. For the E-M5, I did use the top part of the Olympus HLD, for both the extension and the grip. But, for the E-M1, which already has a great grip, I don’t want to add additional weight or height to the camera. I guess I’m fortunate that my little finger just makes “the grade.”

  5. I use the Panasonic 100-300 M Four Thirds Zoom, which really is large for the body of the E-M1. I do think that the little extra height of this small grip will help the placement of my fingers on to something solid to balance and stabilize this monster lens.

  6. Looks like a great grip for a fantastic price.
    Thanks for the review Steve!

    By the way:
    Does anyone know the brand of this blue strap they are using on the E-M1?
    Looks great!

      • Hi Peter & Arashm,

        The strap pictured is one I make from a “sling” used in rock climbing. For my “real” job – I own an outdoor gear and apparel store – that is where I got the idea for using a rock climbing sling. I then add the perfect size O-rings and split ring. I have some black and white ones available. Thanks for your interest in them – just contact me through my website.

  7. After reading reviews of how “huge” the Nikon Df is, and how the ideal is to go small, very small, this add-on grip seems to mostly exist to make the nice little Olympus camera . . . bigger. It doesn’t house an auxiliary battery or have any supplemental electronic functions — it just makes the camera . . . . bigger. Is this a good thing? Was the camera inadequate before this was attached? ?

    • Even with this base it will be at least 2X smaller than a Df 🙂 This just adds that extra bit for those with large hands or for those who prefer to have the camera fit in their whole hand. In now way does it make the camera large or big. In fact, Id take this over the Oly battery grip ANY day as that grip adds huge heft and size. This is a very solid, hand made, well made and nice addition to an E-M1 for under $50 for those who want a little more grip. Much like what the Gariz cases do for the E-M5 or Sony cameras.

      • Sorry, Steve, but I don’t understand what you mean by “2X smaller.” Is that 50% smaller? Half the size of the Df? Two times less of WHAT? Help.

      • Hi Steve,

        Thank you for your review of my E-M1 Grip! I really am a huge fan of your website – especially the real world reviews and daily inspirations. In fact, some of my (photo geek) friends that I have put on to your site – actually saw this post first yesterday and texted me that I had to check it out! That was really cool.

        Anyway, I’m really glad you like the Grip. And your review has me scrabbling to get more built ASAP – I sold out of my in-stock inventory within two hours of your post. I quickly added more inventory that can be ordered by next week’s ship date – so thank you again!

        I have some new products I’m announcing in the next week or so that I’m really excited about…

        – J.B.

    • Lajo,

      the em1 was purposely upsized to be slightly bigger so it is more comfortable to shoot professionally. it’s nearly the perfect balace of size and handling. for someone with bigger hands, the small addition makes it so their pinky has a place to rest. without it, even average size hands, you pinky tends to drop below the camera unless you squeeze them together.

      even with the extra grip, it’s still a far, far smaller camera. just a visual compare link:

      the size difference is massive and if you have held both cameras, even with the full battery grip, the em1 is still signifigantly less bulky by a large margin. 2x smaller is about right.

      • I’m not challenging a person’s preferences for size or form factor. I think the A7s are nifty, clever little cameras: they’ll be popular with people who value lightness and compactness. What I WAS questioning was saying something is “2X smaller” than something else, and for me, that is meaningless. I know people have long used hyperbole to emphasize how they favor or dislike something, so I’m assuming that’s what’s going on here. However, a lot of the discussions on this blog deal in specific and quantifiable values. For example, an f1.4 lens is one stop faster than an f2.0 lens. A 200mm tele lens is half the magnification of a 400mm lens. The Nikon Df body reportedly weighs 710 grams. When someone says that another camera body is 2x smaller, or lighter, or whatever, that doesn’t translate into comprehendible math — it’s an abstraction. The person obviously doesn’t mean that camera B is 1,420 grams lighter (which would be 2x), so what are they really trying to say? Did the person mean it was HALF the size? If the Df costs $2,800 and someone says camera B costs 2X less, how much is that? In the memorable words of Strother Martin, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” (Steve, can you or someone else clarify?)

  8. In researching the J.B. Grip…I came across the RRS BOEM-1 grip which also enlarges your grip base on the camera, allows use of Arca Swiss style heads without need for mounting plate and also centers the tripod mount location centered with the lens and still allows access to the battery. Costs more, is probably heavier , but also has some nifty accessories.

    Both grip bases look very good for different reasons.

  9. I ordered mine, it is just a smidge more to grip on to and will balance out the camera for the way I walk around the streets of the MidWest. Makes my E-M1 even more lovable.

  10. I also have their E-M5 one, it’s like a bumper for my camera. So solid feeling to match the OM-D weightyness.

    Just wondering Steve does the 20mm 1.7 band at high ISOs on the E-M1 like it does on the E-M5?

  11. Thank to your review I bought an E-M1 and I really enjoy to use it.
    The goal was to divorce from my panzer Nikon D700 to get a smaller and lighter camera really responsive and delivering great IQ. I got it. The grip is really good, so I don’t see why I should now enlarge it and make it fatter. It’s just IMO.
    Thank you steve for your great work on this website. I visit it everyday and really enjoy your punchy reviews.

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