One thing that really irritates me is when I have to adjust "my way of doing things" because there's no apparent "need" in the marketplace to develop a tool or product that will help me do things the way I like them done. For instance - I regularly set my cameras down during shooting in my studio. Why put them on a tripod or stand if I'm not using one for the shoot? And why should I keep the camera hung around my neck with a strap?
If I want to adjust a light or grab some other piece of equipment I need to safely set the camera down. I have shelves and tables in my studio that are ideal for setting the tools I'm using for any given shoot on. It's just habit that I will often set my camera(s) down when I am working in my studio.
So why is it expected that you'll set up a tripod just to be able to put your camera in a safe place for a minute or two at most?
I've looked high and low and there are only a couple of flimsy - plastic - "camera feet/camera stands" on the market and they are not Arca-Swiss compatible. I decided to make my own - it wasn't difficult.
I use ARCA-SWISS compatible dovetails, brackets, mounts, tripod heads, etc... in my studio and in the field with my cameras. I use a ProMediaGear Arca-Swiss L-Bracket (it is an L-shaped cage with Arca-Swiss dovetails built-into the design - this allows me to mount the camera either vertically or horizontally to an Arca-Swiss clamp) on my Nikon D4s and I use a Really Right Stuff Arca-Swiss L-Bracket on my Nikon F5 - SEE BELOW
These brackets assist in stabilizing the camera if I set it down - so long as there's a small lens on it. Put a zoom lens or ANYTHING larger than a 50mm lens on the camera and it becomes "LENS HEAVY" - see the image below. By moving to a larger/heavier zoom or a longer focal length such as the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G - the camera becomes unbalanced and if you set it down - you have to rest it on the lens = WHICH IS REALLY BAD AND NOT RECOMMENDED.
The solution would be to find a bottom bracket that has legs or supports on it to help manage the weight of the heavy lens.
LONG LENSES often have TRIPOD COLLARS - these are tripod mounts integral to the lens that allow you to mount the lens to the tripod instead of the body of the camera. This is VERY important because quickly as you move up into longer focal lengths, the lenses become heavier than the camera body. Nikon's F-Mount has a relatively small diameter and although it is a bayonet style mount with 3 contact points for the lens, a really heavy lens can and WILL bend the mount - or worse; break it.
LENSES EQUIPPED WITH TRIPOD COLLARS = You should ALWAYS use the tripod collar to support the weight of the lens and camera - or do what I do - use a stabilization mount that connects BOTH the camera body and the lens collar to the tripod. But I will discuss this in another card. This card is about building a camera "stand/foot" for lenses that do NOT require a lens collar.
Since I am using an Arca-Swiss compatible L-Bracket on my camera bodies - it makes sense to use Arca-Swiss compatible components to make my "camera stand/foot".
WHAT YOU NEED -
Desmond DLR-2002 - 200mm Double Macro Rail ($19.95 - Amazon.com)
Desmond Dual DAC-25 Bi-directional Clamp ($39.95 - Amazon.com)
Some adhesive felt pads for protecting furniture from your local hardware store - I got a set from Lowes for $1.99.
IT IS REALLY EASY TO BUILD. Arca-Swiss components are pretty much the Lego Blocks of camera support. You can configure them in any number of ways. The parts I used for this stand build out are spare parts I have in my studio from other mounts - tools I've built for my cameras. The rail and the clamp are pretty much turn key.
You'll want to take the felt pads and put one on each corner of the bottom of the rail; and then you are good to go.
Because the bi-directional clamp can be slid back and forth on the rail, you can move the placement of the camera on the rail to optimize the weight distribution. For heavier lenses the camera should be placed further back on the rail. For lighter lenses you can place the camera more towards the center of the rail if you prefer.
What makes this such a great DIY tool is that it takes just seconds to pull out of your camera bag and set up. It works with pretty much any non-collared lens Nikon makes (or that you can get for your Nikon by other lens makers).
What is MOST IMPORTANT is that it protects your camera, your camera's lens-mount, and your lenses from the stress of sitting them down in a way where they might get damaged.
FOR MORE USEFUL TIPS AND DIY PROJECTS FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY NEEDS - BE SURE TO FOLLOW MY "PHOTOGRAPHY AND CINEMATOGRAPHY 101" COLLECTION.
Photography & Cinematography 101 by Jon Patrick Hyde - 2015
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