I realise that there will be camera historians reading this column who will take umbrage at the title - they'll be able to find lots of Leica and Contax and Exakta grip designs that have been sold long before the current Olymopus digital camera grips. Okay - I'll modify it for you:
Get A Grip Week- Day Two - The Grip Discovers Olympus
Olympus have always known where their chief marketing points are, and for a great deal of the time that they've been selling 35mm film and micro 4/3 digital cameras one of them has been the size of the apparatus. Olympus cameras are made compact - they contain all the good ingrediants, but they are small in the hand.
Good if you are a person with a small hand, as many of the people in the land where Olympus comes from may be. Targeted design. But the target shifted overseas decades ago, and much of the rest of the world has larger hands. This is not a problem - this is an opportunity - an opportunity to sell an accessory.
This fits an OM-D E-M5 camera. The shooting button is surrounded by an adjustment wheel to spread what you can do further away from the top plate of the camera. Literally, there is a bigger hand piece for the camera. But it also has provision for the attachement of a further grip, containing an extra connected battery and controls that in turn allow you to turn the camera on its side for portrait orientation.
That's why you see a connection of the electrical contacts through the bottom of the grip as well as the top. Clever marketing, because even if you are a landscape shooter you get to buy something for your money.
This one matches a micro 4/3 mirror-less camera that is on the more basic level. Basic, but equally small, and needing a grip boost if it is not to turn in the hand.
The grip has an unusual feature on the lower level - a slide switch. Pull it and...
And it comes apart. I can only surmise that you are meant to leave it attached for most of the time and then when you need to change batteries you trigger it off rather than screw it off.
This grip suits the new Olympus Pen F micro 4/3 camera - the one that looks like a rangefinder. It's been made with the recognition that more and more photographers are standardising their camera support systems to include the Arca-Swiss quick release fitting. The rail at the bottom of the grip is Arca-Swiss fitting, though they do allow you to second-guess your choices by also including a standard 1/4" tripod screw.
Note the open frame to allow for battery changing. Also note the allen-key screw head - this grip is designed to stay on permanently. I am speculating about the hollowed out portion of the casting at the left of the camera...being the fiddler I am I would make a small cover for this that would hide a couple of spare SD cards.
We'll return to the Olympus company at the end of the week...