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Herb Oct 2, 2005 12:59 PM

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The Image stabilization system on my Canon S1IS is useful, but it doesn't do much for me at low shutter speeds.

So, reasoning that more weigh = more inertia = less camera shake, I poured a bar of lead & embedded a brass screw in it (to fit the camers's tripod bushing).

The lead bar turned out much heavier than I expected - about. 27 ounces - so I'm going to make a lighter one, around 16 ounces, but I attached this 27 ounce one to the camera anyway and tried taking some pictures in the shade.

It didn't always work, but I found that if I was careful I could often get a sharp picture with a shutter speed of 1/10 second - something that I'd previously found impossible.

Herb Oct 2, 2005 1:06 PM

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Here's a picture taken with the weight attached to the camera. It's the original size, but the file's been compressed.

hgernhardtjr Oct 2, 2005 6:38 PM

Excellenttip, Herb.

And that is one reason I am surprised at some so-called "knowledgable" pros who brag about theirhandheld feather-weight cameras with very long lenses!

I have always taught my students thatmore mass= less shake, especially with telephoto. And that is what makes the Canon 20D, for example and IMHO,FAR superior toits lightweight kin (Rebel, etc.). And I alsolike the heavyweight Sony DSC=F828; all in one and rock steady ... my "always-with-me-and-ready-in-an-instant" shooter.

In fact, I even use about 12 pounds of weights on my astronomical 8" SC telescope especially when taking photos ... the extra mass, besides acting as counterbalcance to the camera, reduces a heck of a lot of vibration.

normc Oct 3, 2005 5:39 AM

Maybe a bean bag would work as well?

mikesjoint Oct 3, 2005 6:35 AM

I had seen a rig basically like this for video camera stabilization, this is a intersting idea that could really be expanded upon with a little creative thinking huh.......mmmmmmm maybe take a clay impression of the botton 1 inch of the camera, to make a form fitted mold, pour the lead, then coat it with the rubber tool handle dip stuff in the color of the camera. Then it'd be a bit less likely to scratch anything. It would then look like a verticle grip, or extended battery pack. Could even put a long brass nut in the bottom to put it on the tripod too. Well now that this idea is in my head it will stay there all day.

Michael Grace

Herb Oct 5, 2005 11:43 AM

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I've just revised the design. Instead of embedding a bolt in the lead bar, I cast a plain lead bar & then drilled a hole in it, big enough to pass the bolt through it to screw into the camera's tripod bushing. It's made attaching the bar to the camera much easier. I've also covered the bar with adhesive backed felt, so there's no problem with either scratching the camera or getting lead on my fingers.

Here's another picture, this one also hand held but at the maximum 10x zoom. The Stop sign is several houses away from where I was standing.

hgernhardtjr Oct 5, 2005 4:15 PM

Many years ago, back when Edmund Scientific was still selling WWII surplus lenses, Cornelius aircraft compressors to make your own scuba tank compressor,and myriad other junk in the mid-60's, I purchased a smal surplus 2 pound gyroscope from them for $8, made a powersupply (if I recall it was 48v/400hz) and attached it to my camera+300mm lens. The spinning mass acted like 50 or so pounds of weight and the photos were rock solid even hand held. While it worked, the motorcycle battery I then used was a heavy beast to lug, so I eventually got rid of it somewhere along the line.

I decided to see if anyone makes such a stabilizer today ... indeed, Kenyon does and it looks remarkably like what I made exceptmy surplus gyrohad flat ends (not rounded) and was krinkle-black and somewhat smaller. See it here

pip22 Nov 25, 2005 2:59 PM

I've been using cameras for forty-five years and learned long ago that heavier cameras are easier to hold steady compared to lighter ones, and the fact that rangefinder and SLR cameras which you press against your face to take a shot also helps to keep it still. Compare that with a point-and-shoot digicam's LCD panel viewfinder -- you have to hold the camera away from your face, added to the fact that the camera makers are fighting it out to see who can make the lightest one --- little wonder many people are complaining many of their pics are showing signs of camera shake in low-light/slow shutter situations. Feather-weight cameras with LCDviewers are agreat invention for taking literally anywhere, but they have also increased the likelyhood of visible camera shake.

Herb Nov 25, 2005 4:01 PM

I agree. That's why I would't buy any camera that didn't have an eye-level viewfinder, whether an optical one, or a mini LCD. We have an old Fuji 1700MX and a Canon S1IS and almost never use the large LCD screen on either.

tmilner Jan 18, 2006 1:00 PM

The neatest looking device I've seen for camera stabilization looks like a rifle stock. Of course, in today's climate, I'm not sure I'd want to be in a crowd pointing something that looks like a weapon. I can remember a photography teacher showing us how to use the camera strap, wrapped around the hand and under one arm, then pulled tight, to stabilize. A variation of this is a strap that attaches to the bottom of the camera and is long enough to stand on, creating tension; sort of a reverse monopod. Also, don't underestimate the value of just exhaling and holding your breath just before shooting....this also works in target shooting.

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