Richard Franiec’s Canon S90 grip

s90-grip-closeupI’ve bought many digital camera accessories during several decades as a photo enthusiast. But I’ve never been more excited about any one in particular than I am about Richard Franiec’s custom grip for the Canon s90!

Here’s the reason.

The s90 isn’t the easiest or most intuitive camera to hold. In fact, it can be downright awkward until you adapt your method of holding it. And you most likely will need to adapt.

The s90 is small and its tiny dials and buttons are close in proximity. As mentioned elsewhere in this Blog, the rear Control Wheel in my experience is a pain. [Learn why]

All this changed after installing Richards grip.

Using the thumb rest with the gripA place to grab

The grip gives you something to grab onto. In fact, it’s alleviated my problem with the Control Wheel while taking photos.

When grasping the grip there is less need to press my thumb down tight on the back of the camera to hold it securely. Most of the pressure goes onto the grip itself with the middle finger. As a result, my thumb now rests more lightly on the thumb rest located on the back of the camera just below the Mode dial. In fact, my thumb now arches naturally and it no longer inadvertently hits the Control Wheel. Yippee!

The grip also makes carrying the camera in your hand easier when not in use. I don’t, however, solely rely on the grip because of its size. I always use the wrist strap.

Much improved ergonomics

Richard’s grip has significantly, and I mean significantly, improved the ergonomics of the s90, making it easier and more secure to hold and use. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the grip to anyone who owns a s90. It’s high quality and the color matches the camera perfectly. It hardly looks like an add-on.

Installing the s90 grip

s90 grip - top viewInstallation is quick and easy if  you follow the instructions included with the grip. It’s important to take a few “dry runs” before removing the backing material from the tape.

Simply clean the area with rubbing alcohol, remove the backing material and then carefully position the grip in place. In a half hour, the camera is ready to use and full bond takes effect in a couple of hours.

Richards grip is a much appreciated, worthwhile and wise investment. I’ve gone from liking my s90 to loving it because I can now concentrate on taking photos rather than worrying about the free wheeling control wheel.

Even under heavy use, the grip will stay on the camera indefinitely. However the grip can be removed if you want to by using dental floss.

How the s90 grip is manufactured

According to Richard, like all his accessories, the s90 grip is manufactured in limited numbers. What makes the grip special is the process itself of making it.

It starts with handling a camera and scrutinizing every aspect of its feel in the hand in relation to placement of the controls and overall comfort using it. This step is performed by several people and everyone’s feedback is carefully analyzed.


The biggest challenge

The biggest challenge for the s90 grip is to find the right balance between the size of the camera and the grip itself. The goal is to not compromise overall good looks of the camera or the effectiveness of the grip.

Several step process

The machining process consists of several steps in different set ups and is performed on a CNC milling machine using ball nose tool and 3D machining method. The bottom of the grip is machined from solid block of aluminum to fit the special fixture for subsequent operations. Next the grip is mounted bottom side down and sculpting process of the top surface is performed in several more steps.

After machining is done, the grip is tumbled in a vibrating machine using special stones, then it is glass bead blasted to uniform finish.

Next, the grip undergoes anodizing process to match the color of the camera and improve surface toughness. Final inspection follows and adhesive is applied.

The current version of Richard’s grip fits on both the s90 and s95.


Richard makes grips for other camera models, as well as hot shoe covers, remote cable releases and other specialized camera accessories. For ordering and other information click here.


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32 Responses

  1. Tom says:


    I have tried both the RF Grip and the Flipbac Grip on different cameras. Recently I put the Flipbac Grip on my S95. I have found the Flipbac Grip to be much better value at $10 versus $35 for the RF Grip. The RG grip is good but too expensive. The Flipbac Grip looks good, and in some ways feels better. Plus if I get another camera in the future (highly likely) I can transfer it to that camera because it flexes to the shape.

    Take care

  2. Gail Bjork says:

    jaydee, yes the camera with the grip will fit into the PSC900 case. It will fit snugly, so you won’t be able carry any extra cards or spare battery. Alternatively, many use the Lowepro Rezo 30 case, which cost under $11.00 U.S. You can carry the s90/95 with the grip installed, an extra battery and a couple of memory cards in it.

  3. jaydee says:

    Will the camera fit into the Canon PSC900 leather case withe grip installed?  I don’t have my camera yet (on the way) but I did order the leather case.

  4. Gail Bjork says:

    Lisa, if a camera feels awkward in you hands, it may not be the right one for you.

    You can improve the feel of the s90 by using Richard Franiec’s custom grip. If the rear control wheel gives you problems, Lensmate offers a solution. These are additional costs over the price of the s90, but the price is about $100 less than when I first bought it. It currently is about $100 less than the Panasonic LX5.

    The LX5, a very fine and capable camera, is larger but has a built-in grip. The the lens cap is removable rather than integrated into the camera, which some find annoying. But this may be a minor issue if the camera feels better in your hands.

    I think the differences between the s90 and LX5 at the “long” end of the zoom are negligible.

    Another consideration is the Canon s95. While it still does not have a grip, the surface is textured and is easier to hold. The rear control dial is better too.

    I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these cameras; they all have plus and minuses. All have great image quality. In my opinion, ergonomics is very important so consider that in your final decision.

  5. Lisa says:

    I’m trying to decide between the Cannon S90 and the Lumix LX5  . Any opinions out there? I like the way the Lumix feels and the wider angle lense, but the Cannon has a better zoom and colors are true to life on the screen. It does feel awkward though!! Thanks, Lisa

  6. Gail Bjork says:

    David, the SD4500 seems like a great camera. Just realize it doesn’t have a very fast lens like the S90/95 or the SD4000 (which I love, btw) so you may not get as good a low light performance as the other cameras I mentioned.

    The SD4500 also does not have a very wide angle lens but that may not be important to you. Neither do the Fuji 300 EXR or the Lumix ZS7. However, the both seem like very fine cameras.

    Since buying a digital camera always seems to involve compromise, decide which is more important to you: better low light performance or a longer zoom range.

  7. David Sucher says:

    Thanks so much for these great ideas about improving the grip. As I wrote months ago I had to return the S90 (even though the images were great) because the ergonomics were so terrible. One spends a lot of time in direct physical contact with a camera and I couldn’t stand the way the S90 felt.
    But alas I haven’t found anything to match so far. Might the new Canon 45oo be a good choice? The Fuji 300 EXR looks intriguing and so does the Lumix ZS7. But from reviews the Canon S90 still tops in image quality.
    Any advice will be welcomed. I have to shoot a bunch of pix for a new project and I MUST get a handy camera with very good images…maybe the Olympus “PEN” (or similar) might be small enough but I don’t want extra lenses.