A while back we wrote about the M-Plate, a high end Camera Strap system designed (among other things) to support a tripod. Of course, this is not the only solution, and cheaper easier solution (though a but more limited) can be designed at the cost of a few pennies.
Sun Sniper, C-loops and other straps are fine but all lack of one or two features that prevented me from breaking the coin vase. Some are too light and I wouldn’t dare relying on them with my camera, others don’t have threads to mount on a tripod, others just aren’t DIY. So I came up with my own design (more an improvement of other projects) that combine almost all the qualities of all the quick shooting straps made for compulsive photographers.
No problem to attach any DSLR (even the ones you only managed to buy after 10 years living in a basement of an abandoned building eating garbage and working 3 full-time jobs at a time)
You can attach a quick-release plate to be able to use your tri-pod without removing the strap
It is also possible to use it as an emergency table stand!
You Will Need
- Aluminum plate (120x30x2mm), I used two 120x30x1mm but you’ll get a better looking product if you get your hands on a thicker piece of aluminum. Look for blank aluminum otherwise it will break when you try to bend it.
- Climbing carabiner (the ones you trust you life with, strong enough to hold a car if needed) – NO KEYCHAIN CRAP HERE!!!
- Climbing sling (there are some that are sewn but they do not necessarily match your size and they will be harder to pad)
- Climbing string (the color will determine if you will look like an amateur DIYist or a professional photographer, just to avoid awkward solicitations I went for the first one)
- Old school leather case for analog reflex cameras (We only use that one for the nice tripod socket enabled screw, so if you can get this screw somewhere else, go for it.
- A drill & bits
- A file and/or sand paper
- A vice
First of all I tore the old case apart and saved the screw that attaches it to the camera.
See the little screw there? It attaches the case to the camera and has threads that allow mounting a tripod. Isn’t that great?
Next move is to drill the aluminum plate in its center according to the size of the screw. The screw needs to have a little bit of space to rotate.
Then I bent the plate at +/- 20° 3 cm from the edge. That is where the vice come in handy. Nothing very scientific just guessing what would be ok.
Two more drills to have the string attached and voila! I went on to file/sand all the edges of the plate and I was done with it:
I then just attached the plate to the camera with the screw (a washer comes between the screw and the plate (it will help the screw to stay tight while the camera is spinning), if there is room left a washer between camera and plate would do no harm… I had an old thin paper washer lying around that is working just fine.
The plate is attached to the camera and here comes the climbing gear into action. The sling is going to be the strap, so I had to adjust it to my body size with a knot (improvement needed here). I only had a sewn one but you can find it in outdoors equipment stores unsown. It avoids the bad looking knot and you would be able to slide it through some pads to make it more comfortable to use.
The climbing string is used to attach the plate to the sling. That is what the two remaining holes are for. I just tied the string there. Remember I am using climbing gear, these things are supposed to hold on your own weight (with some added metal gear around your hips and the forces developed by you falling like a rock) so no matter what DSLR/lens you carry around, it should never ever make these things break!
Then I attached the string to the sling with a carabiner (with screw = security, no way it opens unwanted). Again it is supposed to hold on 24kN that is more than 2 tons! If your gear is that heavy than your concern is getting your hand on a crane not a strap…
As I still was concerned by my DSLR trying on the free fall without parachute I thought of a backup in case the screw tries to screw me and my camera. Using an old camera strap I made a loop placed where the standard strap goes and attached that also to the carabiner. So in case the screw goes loose, my heart will stop beating for ½ a second but it should restart right away, and my camera should stay away from the floor.
This is the prototype, so there are improvements to be made.
First thing is the choice of climbing gear: I used what I had in my climbing bag. A black string and sling would give a much better look to the whole thing.
Drilling 2 holes at each end of the plate would make a better balanced system.
I went big and it surely is possible to make the plate a bit smaller.
I will definitively add some pads from some old luggage that I have somewhere to make it more comfortable.
Some extra pictures:
It is possible to attach a quick release plate to the screw!
The use with a tripod!
Emergency table stand! This is a free goody for the road as I only found out unexpectedly after I built my strap that with a light lens it could be balanced on the plate (of course you can forget about tilting and adjusting if the table is not even).
About The Author
Francisco Ary is a hobby photographer from Austria (Mozart not kangaroos). “The best way for me to say thank you to all of the amazing minds contributing to the site is to send my own DIY tutorial. It is more of an upgrade to some projects already seen on the site but still worth having a look.”