Does the New Peak Design Micro Clutch Live Up to Expectations? We Review

Does the New Peak Design Micro Clutch Live Up to Expectations? We Review

Peak Design has a great reputation for well-made equipment. So, I was eager to try out their new Micro Clutch, as it met a need I had. Would it be as good as it promised?

What Os the Peak Design Micro Clutch?

If you are not familiar with them, Peak Design manufactures a range of top-of-the-range camera gear products from bags to tripods and is probably best known for their camera straps. The company was launched by its CEO, Peter Dering, back in 2011. It’s an independent business with no external investors that is steadily growing. It is 100% carbon-neutral. They have earned a great reputation for innovative and high-quality products.

The Micro Clutch is a short, padded strap that runs from the right-hand side strap anchor on the camera to an L plate that is attached to the camera’s base. It’s designed for carrying the camera securely in your hand and is especially useful when you don’t want to use a neck or shoulder strap. It helps you grip the camera, thus adding stability.

My OM-1 fitted with the Peak Design Micro Clutch and one of the anchors from my strap.

What interested me was the inclusion of an Arca Swiss tripod plate that you can also attach. I often shoot seascapes using a tripod and will then dismount the camera to take some handheld shots. Therefore, a more secure grip when I scramble over rocks or wade into the sea would be ideal.

Getting to Know the Micro Clutch

In the all-cardboard packaging are the L Plate, strap, tripod quick-release plate adaptor, and attachment screws. Also in the box are a triangular split ring, a split ring sleeve, and a handy tool for threading the split ring onto the camera’s strap anchor point. There are also two different length screws; the longer one is used if you fit the quick-release (QR) plate.

The Peak Design Micro Clutch with the longer hand strap fitted. This was not supplied with the Micro Clutch and not available yet, but sent to me for testing.

It is a clever design that uses magnets that help align L and QR plates, and they also hold the integrated fastening tool in place within a slot on the side of the L plate.

Showing the integrated flat tool being released from the L-plate. It's used for tightening the L-plate to the camera. Held firmly in place by magnets, pressing at one end causes the tool to pivot out. It's a simple and well-thought-through design.

Everything is well made and up to the build quality one expects from Peak Design.

The Micro Clutch in Use

It took me about five minutes to assemble and fit the plate, but longer to adjust it to fit my hand. The clutch is designed for small and medium-sized camera bodies. I tried the Micro Clutch on my OM System OM-1 Camera and then on my older Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with the less pronounced grip.

Holding the camera using the Micro Clutch adds extra stability.

With the older, slightly smaller camera, the clutch worked perfectly. With my middle two fingers inserted between the strap and the body, it was easy reaching the shutter button. Furthermore, my thumb and forefinger could operate the dials with no difficulty.

However, with the OM-1, it took me some time to get it set up. Although it worked with this newer body – the OM-1 is Micro Four Thirds and not a large camera – it wasn’t quite as comfortable a fit as with my older model. I think this is due to the deeper and better grip and the recessed front dial of the OM-1 and my big hands and long fingers.

I got in touch with Peak Design, who said:

Due to the size of the OM-1, the Micro Clutch is slightly at the limit for configuration/compatibility, but a few adjustments can help to make it the most comfortable. When fitting properly, the band should remain loose enough to allow you to reach the camera controls, but tight enough that you can leverage the weight of the camera off your fingers without the camera falling out of your hand.

At first, I was dubious whether I would be put off by the Micro Clutch’s L-plate covering the battery compartment of the camera. However, with the integrated tool, it’s easy and quick to release it and swing it forward to access the battery. With the exceptional battery life of the OM-1 – I’ve done a 12-hour wedding photoshoot and only changed the battery once – it isn’t something I would have to do continuously.

The tool for releasing the plate slides magnetically into the side of the L-Plate.

Having the quick-release tool integrated into the base plate also meant it was possible to properly tighten the clutch to the camera. With tripod QR plates, I have often used solely the thumb screw to secure it to the camera. Having a tool gives additional torque, so it doesn’t come loose. At first, I was a bit scared of overtightening the screw, but that left some rotational play between the L-Plate and the tripod QR plate. However, with a bit of extra tension using the tool and that was resolved.

What I Liked and What Could Be Improved With the Peak Design Micro Clutch

At first, I didn’t like the Micro Clutch. I was really dreading having to write a bad review. But the niggles I had with it were user errors. It just took a little while to become familiar with how it works. After ironing them one by one, I ended up enjoying using it. More so for my Olympus OM-D E-M-1 Mark II, and it is likely to stay attached to that camera, especially when I am shooting seascapes on the beach. It added stability and made me less likely to drop my camera when rock scrambling. With the OM-1, it works, although it’s not a perfect match. The camera deep grip is just a little bit too big for it. That's a shame because the OM-1's bigger grip is a great feature of the camera. But for its predecessors, like the OM-D E-M1 Marks II and III, it works well.

For my hands and camera combination, the strap should be a tiny bit longer, with an extra notch; I do have big hands and long fingers. I suspect the larger Peak Design Clutch will be a better fit, and I will give that a go soon and let you know how I get on. I think that the Micro Clutch works better with cameras that have a smaller grip owned by people with average or smaller hands.

Another very minor issue I had was with the Arca Plate QR plate supplied with the clutch. One of my Benro tripod heads has a double-action locking screw to clamp the Arca QR plate in position. It is a failsafe that stops the plate from accidentally sliding off the tripod. With the Micro Clutch’s plate, unless I really force the thumb screw on the ball-head, the tightening screw doesn’t turn beyond the locking notch.

I also tried Peak Design’s standard Arca-compatible plate on that tripod, and the same issue is there. However, this is a unique situation, combining two products from different manufacturers. I have had no other issues with any other Arca plates working with that tripod head’s unusual feature. Similarly, the Clutch’s QR plate worked happily on all other tripods I tested it on. So, it was an incompatibility that won’t affect most people. Furthermore, the tripod I use with the E-M1 Mark II does not have that locking feature, so, although worth mentioning, it won’t be a problem for me.

The supplied Arca QR plate. Note the holes in the corners for attaching the anchors.
The supplied QR plate does have holes for attaching the Peak Design strap anchors.

The quality of the materials is spot on; it appears durable, and the finish is excellent. I was really pleased to see that it arrived in all cardboard packaging with no plastic, and they have a zero-carbon footprint. Also, the customer service from Peak Design is outstanding.

In Conclusion, Would I Recommend the Micro Clutch?

In short, this is a great product, and I can happily recommend it if you own a smaller camera.

You can buy the Peak Design Micro Clutch with one of two designs of the plate. Firstly, the L-Plate (the one I tested) fits cameras with a protruding grip greater than 3 cm from the center of the tripod mount and an I-Plate version is for those with a smaller or no protrusion. The Micro Clutch is also compatible with any of their excellent straps.

If you carry your smaller camera in your hand and want the extra stability and security offered by having one fitted, then the Peak Design Micro Clutch is a great purchase. The L-Plate version is available here, and you can buy it with the I-plate by clicking here.

Ivor Rackham's picture

Earning a living as a photographer, website developer, and writer and Based in the North East of England, much of Ivor's work is training others; helping people become better photographers. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being through photography. In 2023 he became a brand ambassador for the OM System

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Thanks for the review.
I ordered one, first time I back up a Kickstarter project, and I was a little worried of not liking the product. You reassured a little me, since I own a E-M1 Mk III and it seems perfect for that camera.
Mine is supposed to arrive in 8 days, so I'll see for myself then.

I think for the E-M1 Mark III it will be a good addition; it certainly works better for my Mk II than my OM-1, but even with the newer camera, I am getting used to it. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but it grows on you. Thanks for the comment.

i finally received mine 2 weeks ago. It fits properly on my E-m1 mk3 but not with my gx80 and gx9. Maybe i should have bought the I plate.
I'll get a grip for my gx bodies and maybe i'll be able to use it properly with the L Plate, or 'ill get a new one if i really feel I need it

That's good to hear.

Very happy with mine on an X-T5. As you say, spend a little while adjusting it and then works great.

I'm glad it works for you, Terry. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

I think a really cool addition to this, if there is a next version, is if there was an option to attach a plate to the side of the base plate that turns it into an L Bracket with a hand strap. Kind of like the three legged thing L plate. Nice review BTW.

Great Review Ivor. I'm the same as you when it comes to, in my case the X-T5, I found my hand and fingers slightly restricted when using it due to their size and an extra notch and slightly longer would be perfect. My colleague tried it however, and it worked perfect for him on the same camera.

Thanks Gary, that's good to know.

I am not with you on the functionality of the micro clutch. I was so looking forward to the micro clutch. I've had the Peak Design clutch for years, and it is really too big for my micro 4/3 cameras. So, I jumped on the Kickstarter promotion and bought two micro clutches. I put them on an Olympus OMD E-M1 M3 and the newer OM-System OM-1. Essentially, both cameras are the same as far as the micro clutch goes, and installation was fairly easy. However, I am not sold on the product at all. Here is what I have found so far.

The base of the L-plate projects forward of the camera body. Maybe that's just an issue with small 4/3 cameras, but it is not neat. I think the plate should fit completely on the base of the camera.

The tripod plate does not sit over the center of the lens. The plate is designed to sit off the big hole and fit snugly in the slot. That's a good idea and the magnets guide you to that position. However, if I let the tripod plate fits where it naturally wants to, the plate is off center by about 3/8 inches. In many cases this will be an annoyance, but when considering panoramas, it's really bad. You want the camera tripod plate to be on-center so the lens rotates around the focal plane.

I could live with having to take the L-plate off when changing batteries, but I'd rather not. So, I'm going back the the Peak Design Clutch.

Hi Steven, thanks for the great comment. The Micro Clutch's QR plate does line up with the center of the cameras. In your picture, you just release the screw and slide the plate a little (3/8 of an inch) to the right, and retighten the screw, it lines up.

I get your point about the mount protruding, but I think that is an issue with the design of all Arca plates. All the ones I have protrude from the front of the camera, and not just OM System models, but other models I have used too. But that doesn't worry me as it's under the lens and not in the way at all. The Arca Swiss system was originally designed for DSLRs and was not built with the thinner bodies of mirrorless cameras in mind.