It wasn't long after I purchased the Q that I realized that I would like something extra to protect it from the elements. I spend a lot of time running around St. Louis and Chicago photographing the cities, which means that it's pretty common for my cameras to come into contact with concrete, rocks, dirt, and a number of other elements; knowing how often I set my camera down on concrete, it was obvious to me that I wanted something solid, weather resistant, and nice looking. When I started looking at my options I kept coming across leather cases, something I had no interest in. Then, after a quick search on Amazon, I came across the J.B. Camera Designs Leica Q Grip, an incredibly attractive wood and aluminum grip. The J.B. case offers a unique look that I could not find with the leather cases or the standard Leica designed grip.
The J.B. grip has an incredibly beautiful wood grip with a dark stain. The actual grip handle is made out of a piece of aluminum that has been painted black, and although it's the same color as the body of the Q, the texture is very different. This isn't a bad thing though. In fact, the horizontal lines of the grip play nicely off the diagonal lines of the Q's machined body. The wood base is a single block of wood that curves to the base of the Q. Additionally, the base has a cutout where you can access the battery and memory card compartments; the battery has enough room to slide in and out without resistance. The memory card, on the other hand, is aligned closely to the back edge of the Q and although J.B. Camera Designs carved the base to allow the removal of the memory card, it's difficult to get a grip on the card due to a very tight clearance. I cannot fault the manufacturer on this design though, as it's apparent that they attempted to make extra room to make memory card removal easier. Nevertheless, it is still a common struggle for me as I regularly remove the card to upload images onto my computer.
What's most impressive about the case is how it fits in the hand. I thought the Q had a great feel before the grip, but now I feel even more comfortable shooting with this camera. The base has already begun showing wear from my hand resting on it and it's looking great. The grip provides enough room to hold onto the camera, but it's still slim and unobtrusive. It's really helping to make this camera even more stylish and effective.
Ultimately, I suppose it comes down to the question if the J.B. Camera Design Case is worth its cost. I'd argue yes, and not just for aesthetic value, but because this case is hand made by a guy in Oklahoma. Can you purchase cheaper cases? Maybe. Maybe not. But this case stands for a number of values which I commonly align. It's a locally handcrafted product that is made out of great (non animal) materials that will stand the test of time and elements. I would purchase another grip from J.B. in a heartbeat, even at $80.