Review: The Scarabaeus Camera Clip

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

The Scarabaeus is a unique new camera clip that attaches to your belt. It’s made by hand in Germany, and consists of solid metal and soft leather. Unlike other camera clips such as the Peak Design Capture clip, the Scarabaeus does not use a tripod plate to connect with the camera. Though it does attach to the tripod mount, its locking system is proprietary. And while the Capture clip is clearly designed to be able to carry heavy and bulky DSLR setups, the Scarabaeus is aimed at smaller and lighter setups, such as mirrorless cameras or compacts. In this review, we take a closer look at the Scarabaeus and assess its pros and cons.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Beautifully made, hand-crafted in Germany
  • Small and light, does not get in the way
  • Ideal for compact camera systems due to the unique way it holds the camera

Cons

  • Locking mechanism does seem a bit flimsy
  • Wearing camera on the belt may not be everyone’s cup of tea
  • Not suited for large setups such as a DSLR with zoom lens

Gear Used

For this review, we used the Scarabaeus camera clip with various cameras. The product pictures were taken with a Panasonic G1 and a Revuenon 50mm f/1.4 lens in Pentax K-mount.

Ergonomics

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

The Scaeabaeus comes in a simple and sleek black cardboard box that contains all the different parts you need to assemble the system. But the inside is a tad more complicated and beautiful.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

The box contains the Scarabaeus clip itself, the plate that attaches to the camera’s tripod mount, two different screws to fixate the plate and an Allen key for the screws. Note: you only always need one of the screws at a time. The smaller one with the flat head will sit flush with the plate once screwed into the tripod mount. You’ll use this one if you want to use the knob on the plate to fixate the camera on the clip. If your tripod mount is located at an unfavorable position, you can use the other, longer screw with the curved head, and use the screw’s head to lock the camera in place, instead of the knob on the plate. Which screw to use depends on where the tripod mount is located on your camera.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

At the bottom of the Scarabaeus is the clip itself which attaches to your belt. At the bottom left you can see the handle of the locking mechanism.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

At the top, the Scarabaeus features an engraving with its name. The brushed surface adds to its overall feel of solidity and craftsmanship. To the left, you can see the handle of the locking mechanism pulled out of the clip’s body, which means the mechanism is unlocked. In this position, you can slide the camera in and out.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

Now this is where it gets interesting. The Scarabaeus has a folding mechanism, which is why it is suited so well for compact camera systems. Unlike the Peak Design Capture clip, the Scarabaeus does not align the camera’s bottom with the inside surface of the clip, but rather the camera’s back. This way, a compact camera will sit flush with your body, with its screen pointing at the clip and the lens pointing forward. This makes the whole setup very compact, but this is also why it can’t be used with a huge DSLR sporting a long lens. Also, this means you will always have to protect your lens, since it is easier to damage the front element with the lens pointing forward instead of pointing downward, as with the Capture clip. A lens hood can take care of this problem to a certain extent.

Also in the picture above, you can see how the locking mechanism works: you slide the camera into the clip using either the knob on the plate or the one on the prolonged screw (depending on which screw you used to attach the plate), and then lock it in place by sliding the bolt inward.

The surfaces of the clip that get in contact with the camera are lined with soft leather, so the camera’s rear panel or display (depending on whether you’re using a digital or a film camera) won’t be damaged.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

The plate that attaches to the bottom of the camera via the tripod mount is lined with soft leather as well. It acts as a padding to also prevent scratching.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

This is what the plate looks like attached to a camera. It is very low profile and can blend in with the design.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

And this is what it looks like when the camera is attached to the clip. Don’t forget to lock it, though–in the picture above the locking mechanism is opened.

Build Quality

As stated earlier, the Scarabaeus is made of solid metal, which adds a lot to the high qualitiy feel of the clip. All the parts appear to be machined precisely, and the only part that doesn’t sit 100% tight is the handle of the locking mechanism. Also, due to the way the Scarabaeus is designed, the camera will always have a little play even when it is properly locked in place.

The leather lining, which is there to protect both the surfaces of the Scarabaeus and your camera, is also of high quality and sticks very tightly to the metal of the clip. All in all the product is very well made and appears like it could last you a lifetime.

Ease of Use

The Scarabaeus clip is very straightforward to use. It simply clips on your belt, and the camera slides into the clip and is fixated with the locking bolt. Attaching the plate to the tripod mount is also fairly easy; you’ll only have to mind the plate’s correct orientation. If the knob that slides into the clip’s locking rail is positioned at the wrong end, the camera may end up sitting too high or too low in the clip. In the end, though, it’s a matter of personal preference.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

As to daily use, I personally didn’t find the Scarabaeus very comfortable. I have used Peak Design’s Capture plate before, attached to my backpack, and didn’t warm up to that, either. Maybe I’m just not the type for these kinds of camera clips. I prefer to have my camera in my hand or in my bag. Also, I usually don’t put my shirts in my trousers, so they will always get in the way with the Scarabaeus.

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Scarabaeus Camera Clip Review

With the Scarabaeus on my belt, even when I only had my little Pentax attached to it, the weight was always noticeable. As I said before, it’s really only suited for use with small cameras, preferably compacts or mirrorless. I could imagine using it with something like a Sony RX100, for example, but with my Panasonic G1, it’s already pushing it due to the weight (and in the case of the G1 also the fact that the viewfinder protrudes too far back to carry it comfortably.)

Conclusions

The Scarabaeus is a novel way to carry your camera. It’s a clip that attaches to your belt and positions the camera with the lens looking forward, making it suited ideally for the use with mirrorless systems or compacts–cameras with a slim profile in general. It is also foldable, which means it doesn’t get in the way at all when the camera is removed. Build quality of the all-metal construction is excellent, and the leather lining protects your gear from getting scratches.

Personally, I couldn’t get really warm up to it, because I didn’t like feeling the weight of my camera on my hips. That said, I also couldn’t get warm with Peak Design’s Capture clip attached to my backpack, because I constantly had a sensation of weight pulling on my shoulder. So I, personally, may just not be the camera clip guy.

Your mileage may vary, though, and I absolutely see the place that the Scarabaeus has in the world of photography accessories. It’s a great alternative to carrying a bag with you, and it’s also a very convenient way of storing your camera when you’re not using it. What it boils down to, though, is whether you personally like to carry your camera that way.

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