Review: Artisan Obscura Soft Shutter Releases and Hot Shoe Covers

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Artisan Obscura is another one of the companies jumping into the pool of elegant and beautifully designed accessories for cameras. The company was started in 2013 after being an idea in 2012;, but they had more than just manufacturing pieces of art for cameras in mind. They’ve partnered with a non-profit company in their local Denver area to find a way to give back to the community.

“We utilize responsibly sourced wood and keep our footprint small, which isn’t that difficult as our products are small enough that we can get about 30+ soft shutter buttons out of a 1″x8″ block of wood!” is what the company states on their website. Yes, all of their soft shutter releases and hot shoe covers have a bit of swag, but they also carry with them a fine sense of elegance and craftsmanship.

Think about it: how many of you could easily take a piece of wood and turn it into a beautiful button with smooth texture, a nice feel overall, and how many of them could you make by hand each day?

Gear Used

We put these hot shoe covers and buttons on the Fujifilm X Pro 1 paired with the Cub and Co Shooter strap and the Sony A7 paired with the Great State Classic Skinny Shoulder Strap.

Ergonomics

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Artisan Obscura sent us buttons and covers for two cameras: the X Pro 1 and the Sony A7. The soft shutter release button screws into the threaded shutter release for the X Pro 1 and the hot shoe cover slides right in too. They are both made of wood and feel very solid. In fact, the hot shoe covers need a bit of oomph to get them snugly and securely in place.

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The Sony A7 has a flat shutter button–so putting the Artisan Obscura button on requires you to use a sticky contact that comes with the set. This button is inlaid and is incredibly comfortable to use–leaps and bounds more so than the one for the Fujifilm camera.

Build Quality

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We’ve played with lots of soft shutter releases before and they all felt very…basic. For what it’s worth, I’m not too thrilled with the feel of the one for the Fujifilm X Pro 1, but I’m positively smitten with the release for the Sony A7. In fact, I think that the same release should be for the X Pro 1, but with the ability to screw into the threaded shutter release that comes standard with the camera.

As for the hot shoe covers, consider them nothing really else besides swag. I’m personally not a big fan of them because I use my flash hot shoe all the time. However, when I’m on a set shooting, it’s much tougher for me to lose these colors because of just how much they stand out.

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However, I wonder how much wood polishing I may need to do in the future since this is a constant contact point for fingers and grease.

Ease of Use

You pretty much just need to stick the hot shoe covers in with a bit of care and precisely paste the shutter release buttons onto said releases. But in the case of Fujifilm’s you have to screw it in. That’s really about it.

Conclusions

We don’t really have major complaints about these buttons or covers. They’re solidly made but we think that in some cases the ergonomics can be made a bit better, while in other cases Artisan Obscura is doing a fantastic job.