a year ago
JonPatrickHyde
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DIY - Reflex Camera Sight
I was really intrigued by the use of a tactical reflex gun sight mounted to a camera's hot shoe for use with super telephoto lenses that I decided to build one for myself. Olympus offers a really nice pop-up design for $129 from B&H Photo in NYC. If you are interested - you can get it here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1116753-REG/olympus_ee_1_dot_sight_for.html
But for half of that price (or less depending on the sight you choose) you can build your own - and have a real - shock/recoil proof, multi-function sight (two colors - red/green - several reticle styles - several brightness levels) for your camera.
ABOVE - WHAT YOU WILL NEED - 1) One (1) standard hot-shoe to 1/4" female screw port adapter (I paid $5.99 for it at my local camera shop). 2) One (1) - three (3) inch Picatinny rail or NATO rail with 1/4" inch screw. I went with a NATO rail designed for camera mounts. It had several screw ports already tapped into it. I did have to use a file to file down a slot for the gun sight... Picatinny and NATO rails are the same size but the Picatinny rail has slots in it which allow the sight to be "locked" into place without fear of it slipping. Getting a rifle or gun sighted in is something that takes patience and you can't afford to have the sight slip and have the accuracy removed. (I paid $9.99 for the NATO rail at my local camera shop).
3) One (1) reflex tactical "RED DOT or GREEN DOT" sight. (I purchased a specific type of reflex sight design intended for a shot-gun or riot gun installation - it is regularly $99.99 - I got it on sale for $59.99 at Turner's Outdoorsman).
Let's talk about the NATO rail mod. Gun sights are subject to a lot of force and pressure from the recoil of the weapon as it is fired. Shot guns offer the most force. The Picatinny Rail is designed to offer two separate axis of stability to a weapon sight. The "dovetail" section of the mount offers 4 different surfaces at 45 degree angles for the sight to clamp to. The slots in the dovetail allow the forward clamp screw (which is squared instead of round) to seat into the dovetail - preventing it from slipping.
The Picatinny rail mount system is the standard for accessory mounting to US military and NATO military weaponry. Lasers, spotlights, stands, bi-pods, reflex sights, standard sights, grips, etc... all use this simple, but robust mounting standard.
Instead of taking a Picatinny rail and having to tap it in the right place for the screw mounts needed for photography accessories, it was easier to take a photography accessory and file a groove for the forward square mounting bolt of the Picatinny mounted sight.
Another thing to know-think about - a SINGLE mount point will be given to shifting left or right - so by adding a second screw/bolt to drive down into the hot shoe mount once it is attached to the rail - you create a locking bolt that prevents the mount from coming loose.
This way you can be sure that once you get your reflex sight adjusted and set to be dead center of the frame for the lens you've chosen, it isn't going to move if you accidentally bump it (during setup or transport).
There are multiple reasons why I went with this style of sight. 1) The design allows for better shading of the glass - meaning the sight is less likely to be adversely affected by ambient light (such as direct sunlight). The design works like a built-in lens hood.
2) The side adjustment knob is large, easy to adjust, and easy to see. The other - cheaper models have smaller knobs which are UNDER the back of the unit - making it more likely for you to have issues making quick adjustments.
3) By going with a tactical shot-gun rated unit - construction is all aluminum. This unit is water proof and won't break easily.
Once the unit is mounted, put a target on the wall or chose a stationary object that you can then focus your lens on and then adjust the sight for alignment.
The end result is a killer new piece of tech to assist me when using my super-telephoto lenses and I was able to build a better quality unit for 1/2 the price of the only camera-specific sight I've found on the market thus far.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK - IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO TRY ON YOUR CAMERA?

Photography & Cinematography 101 by Jon Patrick Hyde - 2015
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