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Featured Contraptions: ingenious or weird . . .

Discussion in 'Other Cool Gear, Camera Bags, Camera Straps' started by Ann_JS, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. Ann_JS


    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    Sometimes I need some special equipment for a particular project and, although there is often a commercially-available product which would be admirably suited to the job (but often at an extortionate cost !); I frequently find myself building my own Contraption out of bits and pieces which I already have — plus some basic hardware from Home Depot.

    Safari Camera Rig:
    RRS sells a special Andy Biggs Safari Rig. I am sure that it is beautifully engineered but it costs $900.
    I looked at it in their catalogue and, being a bit short of a spare $900, decided that there had to be another way.

    So I bolted a couple of Manfrotto Super Clamps together at right-angles. The jaws of one Super Clamp grip the bars used on Safari Land Rovers (or any other handy railing or fence); and the jaws of the other grips onto my monopod.
    The monopod foot extends to the floor for support and stability; and its sections let me adjust the height to position the camera at my eye level. I mount my camera onto my Wimberly, or a simple ball-head, attached to the top of the Monopod.

    I already owned the necessary hardware so the total cost of my Contraption was about 25 cents for a couple of the European-threaded screws used to connect the two Manfrotto Clamps.

    NIKON D3    105.0 mm f/2.8    105mm    f/8.0    1/50s    ISO 800

    Close-up of the Clamps

    NIKON D3    105.0 mm f/2.8    105mm    f/8.0    1/50s    ISO 800

    Safari Camera Rig

    My Safari Contraption has served me very well on numerous trips for the past nine years and the components strip down and just travel in my suitcase. Several friends, who have seen mine, have also made one for themselves.

    Do add to this thread to share some of the Contraptions, which you have built for your own Photographic purposes, with everyone .
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    • Like Like x 4
  2. good thinking.
  3. Good work for sure! I've seen something similar using various sized vise-grips with a mounting stud on them.
    Last Christmas I used 2 bungie cords to lash my tripod to a railing so I could shot (using a remote) our family dinner.
    Yours is obviously more serious and more dependable.
  4. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    I used this very same set up in South Africa after Ann explained it to me. Brilliant! Even with a 500/f4 and gimbal on the monopod, it was very stable. And I could swing the lens from left to right, depending on where the action was (while trying to avoid bonking hubby's head as he ducked!) I had a plate/clamp under the gimbal so I could quickly disconnect from the monopod for hand hand shooting. I only did THAT a few times! But it plate/clamp did allow fast set up and take down.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Well, Ann, THAT sure didn't take long now did it! :)  Ann and I have been chatting about these types of things the last few days.

    Here is one of mine, Better Than a Beanbag for shooting out of my car window. This was built for my last car, I need to modify for my new one. I am actually thinking of stealing part of Ann's idea about for the attachment to the door.

    1. How it is stabilized inside the car
    NIKON 1 V3    ---    10mm    f/8.0    1/800s    ISO 3200

    2. A couple of rubber door stops stabilize the outside and protect the door.
    NIKON 1 V3    ---    10mm    f/8.0    1/800s    ISO 3200

    3. The slider is from Fotodiox, but any slider would work, gimbal is a Jobu Jr. 3. I can slide the camera for better angles and by moving the slider to the 3 sets of holes I can modify how far in or out of the car window I need to lean. One nice feature, I can move the slider all the way back and clear my window to shoot hand held without having to move the camera out of the way.
    NIKON 1 V3    ---    10mm    f/8.0    1/800s    ISO 3200
    • Wow Wow x 1
  6. Ann_JS


    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    That is the work of a true engineer: brilliantly thought-out and very neatly constructed.
    The rubber-footed doorstops for exterior stabilizers are pure genius.

    You would not be "stealing" my idea: merely borrowing it and it is free for anyone to use!
  7. Well, Ann, if you consider "genius" standing in Home Depot staring at shelves and thinking "How the $&#^ am I going to stabilize this on the outside" then yup, Genius for sure!

    Isn't is funny how this all works? I hope others join in, I have a couple I am going to send messages to who I know have created some interesting contraptions on the way.
  8. Ann_JS


    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    There was the day when I was standing in Home Depot having one of their staff saw plastic pipe (of two different diameters) into a number of 24", 12" and 9" pieces.
    The man was intensely curious about my intended project and I knew he wouldn't believe it if I told him.
    He didn't!
    (The clue is that I loved playing with TinkerToy as a small child and it generated the idea for that project.)

    I will post details of that one later . . .
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  9. Tripod%20Mount%2017Apr2017-XL.
    NIKON D7200    85.0 mm f/3.5    85mm    f/16.0    1/100s    ISO 500

    Tripod mount for the Nikon 105 mm VR Macro plus the Nikon 2X teleconverter. DIY with a 2" conduit clamp and a 2" screw. A small Acra-Swiss type plate is bolted to the bottom. One layer of gaffer tape on the teleconverter. Keeps the weight off the camera.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. What slider did you use? I would like to use this idea for my shooting window at my house.

    Apple    iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 3.99mm f/1.8    4mm    f/1.8    1/450s    ISO 20
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Mad scientist would be a more apt title for Bill. :cautious: 
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Neat idea, Jerry. I like your flash mounting.

    I used a Fotodiox Pro SlideCam 600 - 24" Video Slider. If I were to build another one from scratch I would look for a slider that I could attach from the top rather than the bottom.
  14. Thanks for the feedback.
  15. Is the glass with red liquid to attrack hummingbirds? :) :) 
    • Funny Funny x 2
  16. It is wine for the old bird taking the photos. Here is the shooting window at my other house:
    NIKON D7000    ---    16mm    f/16.0    1/60s    ISO 1000
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Ann_JS


    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    The container to keep the right Lubricant handy is an essential component of this Contraption!
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Here goes....
    This is the lid of my Genesis device...
    NIKON D50    ---    46mm    f/4.0    1/60s    ISO 200

    Even though it says 325 v on the switch the flash that charges it seems to have failed - either that or the Eneloop batteries I now use have given it a real boost because now it charges the 450 volt capacitor past 500v, then my multimeter reaches its limit. The old Sunpak flash has its capacitor hooked up to the 3300uf capacitor [big blue one] and charges the circuit. I have my flash circuit hooked up to the hotshoe trigger on the right which switches an 800 volt 3500 amp SCR to make it dump all the energy through a wire that explodes when I take the picture.

    NIKON D50    ---    50mm    f/4.0    1/60s    ISO 200

    It comes in useful for my experiments :) 

    • Wow Wow x 1
  19. Ann_JS


    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    And the fate of the microwave?
    :dead:  ?
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