Field test: the Scarabaeus camera clip

The Scarabaeus is a German hand-made camera holster system that clips to the waist belt allowing quick access to the camera. Generally, special holster for quick access camera attachment systems can be useful for street shooters. Ming Thein and myself have had one each to try out for the past several weeks. . In this article, I shall share my experience using the Scarabaeus camera clip in street shooting scenario. MT will add his thoughts towards the end, having also road tested it.

Disclaimer: the Scarabaeus was sent to us by; we agreed to try it out to provide feedback because it seemed like an interesting idea and solution to the problem for those who don’t like neckstraps, but still sometimes need their hands free.

The Scarabaeus is designed to be used with smaller cameras such as compacts or mirrorless bodies. It may take larger DSLR bodies but I would highly recommend the use of smaller camera bodies as you will be attaching that said camera onto your belt as you walk around. Having something bulkier and heavier may not be comfortable for a long walk. I have used Olympus E-M1, E-M10 Mark II and E-P5 with the Scarabaeus, and I find that it suits the E-P5 the best, due to the form factor of the PEN camera having a flat top and also the smaller size. I usually attach either the Olympus 25mm F1.8 lens, or the Panasonic 14mm F2.5 pancake lens to minimize the overall footprint of my setup.

Built quality is excellent, using all metal for sturdy construction and soft leather for areas in contact with the camera. The Scarabeaeus is easy to use once you have figured out the overall mechanism of how it works. It is as simple as attaching the Scarabeaus onto the belt via clip-on, then screwing a bolt or a metal plate into the tripod mount of the camera base, and finally sliding the camera into the Scarabeus. There is a security pin locking that helps to prevent the camera from falling out of place, and to secure it tightly in position as you move around.

It took me a while to get used to something being attached to my waist but once I was ok with the Scarabeaus it worked brilliantly when I needed to bring out the camera or quickly put it away to free both my hands. Walking around was comfortable and having a light camera setup such as the Olympus E-P5 and a Panasonic pancake lens helps, without straining the belt. During my photowalk testing the Scarabeaus, I had the camera in my hand about 80% of the time, so it was only the Scarabeaus clip attachment left on the belt without anything to hold it down.

Will I be using the Scarabaeus more and can I confidently recommend it to any one? Yes and no, depending on your shooting preferences and styles. The Scarabaeus is amined at minimalist photographers, mainly street shooters carrying only one camera body with one lens. It is also designed for people not using a camera bag or straps. If I bring out a camera bag, I would certainly be more comfortable keeping my camera in the bag, not having the camera being exposed all the time while I walk in public locations. Adding any kind of camera straps, either neck straps or short wrist strap would complicate things as you will end up having danggling straps that may get stuck or tangle with something along your walk.

I am a neck strap user, and I always bring out a camera bag that has maybe another camera as a back up body, a few more lenses, some more spare batteries, memory cards, a small bottle of Whiskey and maybe a peanut butter sandwich in the side pocket. My point is, I may use the Scarabaeus on days I decide to just shoot with one body and one lens, and those days do not happen that often.

For more information about the Scarabaeus, you may visit their official product page here.

MT’s thoughts: 

I too used one for several weeks for the compact (GX85) body. Whilst it works great with small and light bodies, fitting and removing the camera is a bit fiddly and care is recommended to ensure the screw is actually engaged and the camera is not at risk of dropping out. It can also be uncomfortable with heavier cameras as the system is all metal and hard edged; I tried it very briefly with an X1D but nearly landed up losing my pants and mooning the people of Tokyo in the process – smaller cameras (or compacts even) work much better. The hardware itself is solid and certainly seems more than durable enough to take some abuse, but care is still recommended to avoid scratching your cameras against the exposed metal surfaces.

All in all, like Robin, I found it both useful and not in equal measure – for a small, light second body (that won’t fit into a pocket because of lens protrusions, and doesn’t really justify a bag – i.e. most mirrorless) that you might want to have handy in case you see something whilst going about your usual routine needing both hands – it makes the most sense. MT


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  1. I’ve been using the Spider Holster Black Widow like this for years. It’s now pretty much the only way I carry my X100.

    I prefer it to this as it allows movement between the camera and my body. Also, so easy to use one-handed.

  2. Hi Ming and Robin, What high quality memory card do you recommend for stills/4k video? i have the oly em1 mark ii

  3. i use this clip with my d610. It is strong and it works great.

  4. Frans Richard says:

    Does the plate that needs to be attached to the tripod mount of the camera double as an Arca Swiss type quick release plate?

    • Frans Richard says:

      Apologies, forget that question. Looking better I see there is no plate attached to the camera, just a bolt of some kind.

      • Robin Wong says:

        You can either use the custom plate (their own design), or just a simple bolt, which I preferred and worked better for my E-P5. The plate works better for larger cameras though.

  5. How much does the X1D weigh with lens? Just curious, because a good belt should easily take 2 kilograms without any risk of pants falling down. I have several dress style belts that are used for concealed or open carry of firearms. They are very stiff and secure on the waist, but also very comfortable to wear, regardless if I’m packing or not. A loaded pistol and two spare magazines are around 2kg and I hardly notice if they are there. I’m 173cm and 71kg so not a big guy.

    • It’ll take 2kg, but the clip itself isn’t that wide and results in uneven (uncomfortable) loading. X1D and a lens is about 1.2kg.

  6. If you’d lost your pants in Tokyo, the X1D would have hit the sidewalk, a blend of humour and tragedy!
    I have quite a small case that clips to my belt, and it often seems to be hitting things as I walk around, go through a crowd, etc. Did either of you have this problem?

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