I recently did a round-up of retro cameras and accessories for Photo District News and soon after the article went live, I received a message from two guys in Colorado telling me about their company, Artisan Obscura, which makes shutter release buttons out of wood. I was immediately intrigued.
Preston and Steve originally started the company earlier this year (their website launched in March) because they wanted the buttons for themselves. But their idea grew, and now the buttons are available to anyone who has a camera with a cable-release thread. That includes any Fuji X-series camera, Leicas (from M2/M3 up to M9 and the new M) as well as any analogue cameras (like my old Pentax Spotmatics) that have a standard cable release thread.
The buttons are handmade in Colorado out of five different variations of natural woods, from deep, rich black to mid- and light-toned shades, so each one is unique, showing off the natural patterns of each material. You have a choice of small/large (for different camera models), concave/convex and etching/no etching.
I tried several buttons on the Sony RX1, the Fuji EX-1 and Pentax Spotmatic analogue cameras; they’re easy to attach—like a cable release, you just screw them into the threaded shutter button—and I loved the buttons’ touch and feel when pressing the shutter. And, frankly, they look very cool, too (especially if you have a retro-design camera).
Prices range from $30-to-35 each, depending on the options you select (e.g., etching/no etching) and come packaged in a wooden block for storage and an attractive box.