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Thread: Using a camera that acts like a sail

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Using a camera that acts like a sail

    So I recently bought an 8x10 pin hole camera (ultra wide angle, f/400). I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed with the first couple of images I made as they were so blurry. Then I realised it was camera shake, not a misshapen / mismatched pinhole. So I came up with this idea:


    Stabilisation
    by zzpza, on Flickr

    As you can probably see, it's tent guy lines (with adjusters), tent pegs, and (off camera) a rubber faced wooden mallet. You have to get the guy ropes (paracord) pretty tight otherwise they create more vibration than they remove) but once you do, it's rock steady.


    _36_00161
    by zzpza, on Flickr

    It was harder work on frozen ground, resulting in a bent tent peg. So I have now bought some extra heavy duty ones for such occasions.

    I'm sure someone else has thought of this before (or it may be common knowledge) but I thought it would be good to share the idea on the off chance that it may be useful to another pinholer.
    Last edited by zzpza; 12-31-2014 at 05:54 AM. Reason: Typo

  2. #2
    Great idea, and you're correct, I've noticed this image softness issue also with larger cameras. One weak point in the camera/tripod mounting system is the attachment between tripod and camera, the mounting plate is just too small, considering the forces acting on the camera in the wind. I've thought about a surveyor's tripod, with large mounting plate with the larger threaded fitting.

    Your idea seems very practical and lighter in weight, though it might take more time to setup for a shot. I might have to try this.

    ~Joe
    "There was just that moment and now there's this moment and in between there is nothing. Photography, in a way, is the negation of chronology."-Geoff Dyer, "The Ongoing Moment"
    My Writing Blog: Joe Van Cleave's Blog
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  3. #3
    Three guy lines might also work.

  4. #4
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    I am curious to know where that bridge is located?

    This is a great idea. Some years ago I used guy lines to stabilize a vertical antenna made of pvc pipe, where even small motion caused electrostatic noise. It was amazing how rock solid a noodle-floppy pipe could be made with guy lines.

    I've reached a point where I don't even try when it is too windy. I think most of my cameras are too flimsy to tighten guy lines enough. If/when I make more solid cameras, anchors for guy lines is a good idea! I was already thinking about anchors for the bungee cords I usually use to attach the camera to the tripod platform.
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  5. #5
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    Thanks all for the kind words. I took the snowy photo at Ribblehead Viaduct in Lancashire (UK). The camera is made from a metal baking tray and wooden frame, with what I believe is a kitchen cupboard handle on the top. So is pretty sturdy, but the wood can still flex enough to cause blur. I went with four guy ropes tied to the handle so I can still change the film holder without removing the ropes. Because it's a wide angle 'lens' the guy ropes are just in front and behind horizontal so they are not visible or foul the holder. It takes about 30 seconds per guy rope and then another minute or so to bring up the tension whilst keeping the camera level.

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