The Brother of Invention…

A few weeks prior to the surgery that has my right arm immobilized for the next 4 weeks, I began researching how I could shoot with my left hand so to avoid having to set up every shot on a tripod.  My first thought was to rent a left-handed camera body for the next month…problem solved. Except…the major camera companies do not mass-produced cameras with left-handed controls. You can custom order one, it takes months to build and will cost you 10x the regular retail price. That obviously was not an option.

I then headed to the internet for answers. I searched the techie sites and bulletin boards for practical solutions to the left-handed dilemma to very unsatisfying results. Most people’s best suggestion was some kind of modified Jimi Hendrix variation that included flipping the camera upside down. This is all well and good with a 6 ounce point and shoot camera but not really an option with a heavy DSLR.

So, I started digging through my piles of camera gear and all the gadgets I have amassed over the years and found a very simple solution to my seemingly complex problem. I found my flash mounting bracket and a remote shutter release and came up with the configuration pictured here.  First, I removed the bulky battery grip from the camera. Then, I removed the hinged part of the bracket that attached to the flash leaving only the L shaped handle which easily screws into the bottom of the camera. I swung the L handle to the left side of the camera. I then plugged in the shutter cable which was easily long enough to reach my right arm in the sling. The remote switch can utilize the auto focus the same as the shutter button on the camera. I obviously have to struggle a bit to adjust the shutter and aperture while shooting but if really pressed I can tether the camera to the computer, call out my readings and have my assistant change the settings remotely. It seemed really good on paper.

I tried it out yesterday to amazing results. I had no unmanageable issues using this setup and felt relieved knowing that the next weeks will be without considerable struggle to get my work done.

I also thought that for shooters who cannot use their right hand to trigger the camera, simply taping the shutter release to the bracket handle could also work pretty well. So, its said that necessity is the mother of invention…well, I think in this case it was more like adaptation was the brother of invention. Problem actually solved.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “The Brother of Invention…

  1. Pingback: DSLR Hack For Left-Handers | Gizmodo Australia

  2. Pingback: Left-Handed DSLR Hack – Take That, Righty!

  3. jimbob

    There are commercial pistol grips:

    Here’s a shoulder brace for a monopod, more bulky but it looks very stable:

  4. Simple, gets the job done, almost always a big win. Best wishes on a swift recovery , Cheers JPA

  5. Pingback: Left-Handed DSLR Hack – Take That, Righty! • Tea & Gadgets

  6. sorry you came upon being left handed so late in life. I can’t imagine the world any other way.

  7. Pingback: Left-Handed DSLR Hack – Take That, Righty! | eMediaOne – Your daily dose of news and blogs…

  8. You can also use a blow switch. It’s popular with extreme sports cameramen who need both hands.

  9. Pingback: DSLR Hack For Left-Handers | Lifehacker Australia

  10. Pingback: A DSLR Hack for Left-Handers [Cameras]

  11. Excellent hack — hope your right arm heals soon, just the same. BTW, did a quick search on “camera blow switch” and found some cheaper options for those needing / wanting to go this route:

    http://www.skydanceheadgear.com/product_info.php/products_id/17
    http://www.chutingstar.com/newgear_en/blow-switch-still-camera-trigger.html

  12. baron

    Actually upside down is the way to go. Trick is that you have to get the battery grip for the camera, then the vertical shutter button will fall naturally under your left index finger. I’ve done this before and know of a gal who doesn’t have a right arm that does this.

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