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Thread: Fabricating a shoulder pod for a long lens

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Richard

    Fabricating a shoulder pod for a long lens

    I can't hand hold my 400mm f/5.6L lens anymore due to a combination of old age and arthritis. Although I most often use this lens on a tripod or monopod, I really desired to be able to hand hold it at times.

    I investigated several aids to supporting a camera with a long lens, such as the Bush Hawk, but none were totally satisfactory to me. I decided to try my hand at fabricating a stable hand held platform for the 400mm f/5.6L.

    My pod is made from some low cost materials available at any home improvement store and using just a few readily available simple tools.

    Images of my pod, a list of materials, and fabrication procedure is on my smugmug site at:

    http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/gallery/6...36822870_3vQ4W

    I am expecting to post some birding images shot with this rig as soon as the weather clears up a bit!

  2. #2

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Fabricating a shoulder pod for a long lens

    Interesting design - how tired do your arms get if you have to hold it in position for more than a few seconds?

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Fabricating a shoulder pod for a long lens

    Actually, they way this is configured, my elbows rest against my (unfortunately somewhat ample belly) and support the weight of the pod and camera/lens very effectively. That is why I suggested customizing the length of the straight tubes to the builders body setup rather than giving a one-size-fits-all recommendation.

    The pod itself is extremely lightweight. Unfortunately, I don't have any way to weigh it but, I suspect that it weighs less than one kilogram.

    In reality, it is easier to hold the camera/lens + pod than to hold the camera/lens without the pod.

    Some of the options I plan to include are:

    ... Incorporating a carrying strap

    ... Incorporating a quick release system

    ... I am debating on whether I want to change the cap nuts securing the two bolts to the straight tubes to wing nuts so that the entire unit would be more easily collapsed for storage without needing a wrench. I can take the rig apart fairly easily right now but, need a wrench of some type to accomplish this. The downside of using wing nuts is that they might catch on clothing or some other protusion.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 12th August 2009 at 04:46 PM.

  4. #4
    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Mark Fleming

    Re: Fabricating a shoulder pod for a long lens

    I come from an engineering background and although the original design is good, it doesn't (I presume) eliminate the original problem; Arm ache, discomfort? Obviously one arm should stay up to operate the shutter. My suggestion would be this; Put the release on the righthand side. Reverse the left arm and add weight in the back of the pipe to counter balance the weight of the lens and adjust to suit. (This is probably something you've already tried, and if so )

    Mark

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