Home Accessories Get a grip on your Leica M with the Kamerakraft LM Grip 

Get a grip on your Leica M with the Kamerakraft LM Grip 

Product image shows Kamerakraft LM Grip V2.0 for Leica M10 cameras
Adds to the ergonomics of the camera – but not necessarily to the aesthetics: The Leica M10 with The Kamerakraft LM Grip V 2.0

Improved handling, easier access to the battery and a tripod adapter: The Kamerakraft LM Grip for the Leica promises many advantages. Despite my initial doubts, I soon came to appreciate its advantages. It’s just a shame that this beautifully made accessory is so hard to come by…

Product image shows Kamerakraft LM Grip V2.0 for Leica M10 camerasProduct image shows Kamerakraft LM Grip V2.0 for Leica M10 cameras
Adds to the ergonomics of the camera – but not necessarily to the aesthetics: The Leica M10 with and without The Kamerakraft LM Grip V 2.0

A Leica M camera is a bit like a Porsche 911, isn’t it? It looks best the way it comes from the factory. No accessories, no spoilers, no extra rims, no embarrassing stickers — none of that makes this icon any more beautiful. And no soft release button, no thumb rest, no grip or whatever on the camera — it will ruin the look of this design icon. That’s what I have thought for a long time.

Step by step, the camera got its accessories…

Then a thumb rest was added to my collection. It’s undoubtedly an improvement in terms of holding the camera steady in hectic moments, as well as in very dark situations where you don’t want it to shake.  I first had one for the Q, and later for the M. Now I needed a good connection for the M10 to my wonderful Novoflex tripod, which comes with an Arca Swiss compatible connector. And I came across the Kamerakraft LM Grip.

… until the Kamerakraft LM Grip proved to be a game changer

As usual, the Kamerakraft LM10 Grip version 2.0 was sold out. So, I put myself on the mailing list. After a few weeks, Kamerakraft got in touch. I ordered a black grip and received it a few days later, direct from France. I put it on the M10, and it has remained there most of the time. It’s definitely an improvement. I do have a better grip on the camera. And the battery door makes changing the battery (a frequent exercise for M10 users) so much quicker.

Just exchange your base plate with the Kamerakraft LM Grip

Kamerakraft is a business run by Vincent Bihler in France. He is a photographer and produces a few select accessories in an artisanal way. The Kamerakraft LM Grip is made from solid aluminium and appears to be very well made. The instructions are minimal: just remove the existing base plate (and preserve it for later, of course) and attach the grip. It can stay there forever — the memory card is accessible and there is a standard ¼” thread and a tripod quick lock rail (Arca standard).

The quality of the Kamerakraft LM Grip is excellent, and its effect on the camera’s appearance is less pronounced than I thought. On the other hand, the handling of the M10 is much improved, and it hardly takes up any more space in your bag. The material fits the camera well, and the profile is as grippy as the manufacturer promises. Finally, you can have your camera with or without the removable base plate, depending on the day’s mood.

The Kamerakraft LM grip is even useful for tripod use

In common with many other rangefinder photographers, I struggle with tripod use. It takes away all the elegance, speed and inconspicuousness of rangefinder photography. On the other hand, it does improve your results in low light, where you don’t have to go to extreme ISO settings. Shooting with super-high resolution sensors, such as the 41-megapixel sensor in the Leica M10 Monochrom, is also remarkably safer. Remember, the smaller the pixel pitch, the greater the risk of minimal blur due to camera shake.

Not from Leica – but neither is it cheap 

I have no idea what a Kamerakraft LM Grip for the M11 would look like. After all, there is no baseplate to replace. But there is a version for all film Leica M cameras, the Kamerakraft LM Grip V3.0. Unfortunately, it is usually sold out (maybe for good now). According to his website, Vincent Bihler is planning a new edition for 2023. The Kamerakraft LM Grip V2.0 for the M10 is also often unavailable. But with a little patience, you might get one of the planned 250 pieces. The price of €299 is no bargain, but I would say it is worth it. 

How does it look? Matter of taste, I would say

Back to the aesthetics: I got used to it. And several times in the past few weeks, I have been glad to have the quick release for the tripod. Incidentally, if you are wondering whether silver or black is better, the black version still looks pretty good on a silver camera, but the other way around, I doubt it. If you want the camera to look like it did when it left the factory, no problem. You don’t have to remove a bulky spoiler, just unscrew the Kamerakraft LM Grip in a few seconds and remount the original baseplate…

What do you think? Do you use an extra grip for your camera? Or a thumb rest? Or are you happy with the ergonomics of your camera as it comes from the factory? Is there an accessory you would particularly recommend? Or one that you have had bad experiences with? And is using a tripod an issue for you at all? Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

Read more from Jörg-Peter Rau

Read Jörg-Peter’s comprehensive review of non-Leica M-mount products, the M Files

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  1. Very nice and interesting article, Jörg-Peter, much appreciated. I’ve always found my basic Leica all-alu grip for my analog M’s very useful, the 14 405. It doesn’t cover the whole of the base plate, but protects it efficiently nonetheless, and is quick and easy to remove. This grip looks more refined and is more multifunctional. I wonder what the material of the handle itself is, is it wood, or also alu? Appears like wood on Vincent’s website. And does it fit as tightly as the base plate itself? And then, of course, there also is the M-winder, which also has a grip, albeit less optimally shaped.

    • Hi René, thanks for your kind feedback. On the Kamerakraft grip for the M10 that I use and that I have reviewed here, the grip itself is made from aluminum, but they seem to offer also models with wood. And it fits perfectly. For film-loading M cameras, the winder is certainly a good idea, but it doesn’t help on a digital M of course. Best, JP

  2. I love a quality handgrip on my Leica M cameras. Makes the camera a pleasure to hold all day. Seriously, I do not understand the issue of removing it to change battery or memory card. What camera user has to change these often?

    • Hi Brian, the grip reviewed here has a door for the battery / SD card compartment. In this sense, it is, by the standards of most camera users at least, even more practical than the original Leica baseplate.

      • I know this grip offers access. I should have clarified that. I am referring to the people that complain about no access or that you have to to remove some grips from the Leica M or “worse” from a tripod to replace battery or memory card. How often is this done with any camera? Seriously, Ansel Adams had to use animals to pack his hand coated glass negatives and so on. People complain about the silliest things today as they flush the toilet. This is a common silly “con” mentioned by incompetent “reviewers” for a camera that is rarely put on a tripod anyway. The world today loves to complain about everything instead of get out and do something positive.

  3. Thanks four sharing your experience, David. I’m still on my way to fully agree with you. But I can see your point and I’m becoming friends with handgrips even on the Leica M. JP

  4. Whether or not to add a handgrip to a camera has always been a vexed and controversial subject. Much like Marmite. For me, and for many years, I have been swayed by practical considerations, as I described in my website article here https://david2008.photium.com/news109616.html

    It always surprises me how denial of the battery door can sway so many people away from the added security afforded by a well-designed handgrip. One might be forgiven thinking some photographers are constantly changing batteries or cards. Be realistic. Such infrequent operations can easily be executed during a coffee or meal break.

  5. I use the Leica grip on my recently bought XVario. It certainly helps holding and stabilizing the camera and perfectly fits my hand. I bought it 2nd hand from Leicastore Konstanz and had a really good experience.

    • I have swopped back and forward with the Leica grip on my X-Vario. With it on, holding is superb, but all pretensions to being a “compact” are blown to the wind. Without it, a more firm hold is necessary, but the result wins on size and weight! I am looking for a lightweight stick-on finger grip – something like Sony do – and then the XV will be perfect.

    • Jean, I have to agree with you. I have never thought of the X-Vario as a pocketable compact camera. I doubt the designers did either. The D-Lux is my compact camera.

  6. I had the same thought at first, no thumb grip, or handgrip for me. But after using the camera with the Noctilux for a while made me change my mind. Better to be safe than sorry.

    • Perfectly right, Farhiz. The heavier the lens the more sensible the handgrip. For all kinds of security aspects. Avoids dropping the camera, can avoid motion blur, keeps your fingers of of the way. Good luck with the Noctilux. I’m in awe for anyone who reproducibly nails focus with it at full aperture! JP

  7. A perennial issue for Leica M’s, more acute now with mostly all of the digital ones because the film winding lever is omitted.

    Some time ago Macfilos reviewed a Japanese-Hungarian product, sold by MAP Camera, Japan, called “Thumb Rest Lever for M10”. It fit in the hot shoe and mimicked, successfully IMO, the film winder and its subsidiary usage as a camera stabilizer. I got one to review for LSI’s Viewfinder journal, and gradually found it so useful (and elegant) that I got a second one in black for my M10M.

    It is nowhere so sturdy as the device being reviewed here, I am sure. It is even more expensive. It does nothing for tripod mounting. But I am content.

    Thanks for the review.

    • You’re welcome, Ed. I had doubts over years if and additional handgrip is really a good idea. With heavier lenses, if you have to be fast in your photography or, in this case, on the tripod: it is. I have used handgrips on many MFT and SLR cameras with full convictions but refrained from it when it came to the M. Must have to do with aesthetics. And yes, I sometimes remove it when I want to have the purist look&feel. JP

      • One of the nice things about this Japanese accessory is that it makes your M10 look all the more like a film Leica to a potential subject. “Nice old camera you got there!”

        “Yes, mind if I take your picture?”

        It makes the digital Leica M, never much of a threat, seem even less so.


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