How can I use a tripod with a camera that has no tripod mount?
December 1, 2007 11:37 AM   Subscribe

How can I use a tripod with a camera that has no tripod mount?

I love my Kyocera SL400R. It's small, it's fast at loading up and taking pictures, and... I already own it. Unfortunately, Kyocera decided it was too slim to have a tripod mount. I'm guessing that someone else has run into this problem at some point with another camera, so do you have any suggestions?
posted by abkadefgee to Media & Arts (17 answers total)
Would there be any way to attach a camera plate onto the camera's body?
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:02 PM on December 1, 2007

Also, depending on how low-tech you want to go, you could affix a clamp or a sturdy rubber band/tube to the tripod itself.

Or, build a small, grooved object which could hold your camera like a taco. Give the grooved object a tripod mount and shoot away.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:06 PM on December 1, 2007

OK, stay with me here...
How 'bout something like this, but reverse its usage. In other words, maybe you can gently clamp it onto the camera, and use it as a table-top tripod. Picture the 3 legs of the trips being the flipout legs and the actual tripod head serving as the 3rd "leg."

Now, to use it with a regular tripod, clamp your camera, and use a female 1/4" x 20 deep nut (sometimes called a collar) to attach both male tripod threads together.

Could work... inexpensive enough to give it a shot.
posted by The Deej at 12:19 PM on December 1, 2007

OK, here is a quick mockup of how it might work. Note that the "legs" won't be llevel, for table top use, but your camera lens swivels to compensate.
posted by The Deej at 12:33 PM on December 1, 2007

Response by poster: Sticherbeast - No, a camera plate can't be attached from what I can see because there is no place to screw on the plate on my camera. I'm not sure what you mean about the taco-cam. Can you elaborate?

The Deej - That could work, except there is one thing that I am concerned about. In order to have a decent optical zoom, the lens assembly actually flips out to be perpendicular to the part of the camera with the screen. Therefore, one side of the camera might be secure along the side while the lens assembly would only be touching the clamp in one smaller area. I'm not sure I would count on it to be secure.

I'm wondering if using the collar would work with a flexible tripod like this. I'm afraid, though, that it would be very insecure as well. Would there be something that could be a little more rigid and would hold the camera with three similar prongs?
posted by abkadefgee at 1:18 PM on December 1, 2007

Response by poster: On second thought, maybe that clip could work if I used it with a different orientation.

Another idea could be gluing on a nut to the bottom of the camera. The disadvantage would be that the camera might no longer fit into its case which also serves as the only means of covering the lens.

So, I guess I'm still wondering if anyone has more suggestions...
posted by abkadefgee at 1:22 PM on December 1, 2007

I think what was meant by the taco-cam idea was that you'd just create something for the camera to rest inside of. To take a steady picture in this manner, you'd want to use the camera's timer (which is a good way to take steady pictures, even with a camera mounted securely on a tripod).
posted by DMan at 1:23 PM on December 1, 2007

Response by poster: Hmm... I just thought of another idea, along the lines of the taco. Maybe a small metal plate at the bottom with a nut attached for the tripod screw, and then use velcro straps to hold the plate to the camera. Is there a way to get a small metal plate like that at the hardware store, or would I need to get sheet metal and snips?
posted by abkadefgee at 1:53 PM on December 1, 2007

Best answer: Maybe this would work: Get a metal strap from the hardware store. Might be called a "mending strap." Maybe 3/4" wide and a few inches long. (This is just a flat piece of steel with some holes for screws.) Get a 1/4 x 20 nut, and have it welded to the strap. A machine shop should do it for cheap. Or call in a favor from a friend. Get some velcro with the tape adhesive. The "hook" part of the velcro goes on the strap, and the fuzzy part goes on the bottom of the camera. You can cut it to fit the camera. It will still fit in your case, and you just attach your nut-strap-velcro invention to a tripod as needed.

I'm sure that will work. I wouldn't turn the camera sideways like that, or tilt it too far up or down. The leverage against the velcro may be too much. You can rotate the lens to achieve the tilting up and down. For portrait mode shots, you might just have to crop as needed.

And, I would guess you could use put an elastic band around the whole set up for extra security.
posted by The Deej at 6:23 PM on December 1, 2007

Response by poster: Ha! I just found this little tip.
Too bad I couldn't find that before I posted the question. I guess my search-fu is weak.

I don't think I'll use that method now, as I will most likely combine the ideas above with a metal strap and the use of velcro straps over the camera to hold it more securely. Thanks for your help, everyone!
posted by abkadefgee at 2:28 PM on December 2, 2007

Well, that tip is exactly what you considered but already dismissed anyway:

Another idea could be gluing on a nut to the bottom of the camera. The disadvantage would be that the camera might no longer fit into its case which also serves as the only means of covering the lens.

Plus, even if it fits in the case, I wouldn't trust that it wouldn't get knocked loose at some point. Loose enough to not notice until it fell off the tripod. Might make a final interesting last photo though: a blurry image of you with an "OH CRAP" look on your face. :)
posted by The Deej at 3:14 PM on December 2, 2007

You could just get a small platform and attach it to your tripod. The downside is that you can only do level shots.
posted by Sukiari at 6:43 PM on December 2, 2007

Response by poster: The Deej - I'm not sure you understood. I realize it is the same idea as I considered earlier, so I'm continuing to dismiss it. I was just surprised that I finally found something on the topic after posting my question.

My current plan is to use the metal strap, attach a nut onto that, and hold the metal strap on with velcro straps going over the camera.

The possibility of it coming loose would be a concern with glue, but I've never taken anything to a machine shop. How does that work? What does one look for in the yellow pages? Machine shop?
posted by abkadefgee at 12:08 AM on December 3, 2007

Ah, gotcha. You would indeed think there would be more about it. I'm sure many others are in your same predicament. I share your concern about glue.

Yep, "machine shop", or maybe "welder". Tell them on the phone what you want to do and get a price. It will take them all of 10 minutes, but here's probably a minimum fee.
If it sounds like the minimum fee is more than it's worth to you, post back here and the brainstorming can continue.

Ask around among your friends though. You might be surprised at how many shadetree mechanics and other handy types have their own welding kit.
posted by The Deej at 5:32 AM on December 3, 2007

Response by poster: Well, I asked friends through facebook and heard from some people who might be able to help me out, as long as they can find welding equipment to use. Someone, however, suggested using a product called JB Weld. Does anyone have experience with this product?

As described on the website:
J-B WELD is packaged in two tubes. One contains liquid steel/epoxy resin, and the other contains hardener. When mixed together in equal portions, a chemical reaction occurs that turns the mixture into a compound as hard and tough as steel -- and with similar properties.
posted by abkadefgee at 10:08 PM on December 3, 2007

I've seen JB Weld, but never used it. I am not an epoxy expert of any sort. But do keep in mind the issue is not how hard the epoxy ends up, but how well it adhered to the surfaces.

Here's a no-weld method that should work, complete with professional, high-level diagram.

-Get a mending plate as mentioned, make sure there is a hole near the END.

-Get a 1/4 inch x 20 bolt short, maybe 1/2 inch long.

-Get a deep nut like this (or deeper), 1/4 inch x 20 thread, and attach the mending plate to it with the bolt. The nut should be deep enough that you can run the tripod thread into it from the bottom.

-Get velcro with the self-stick backing. Attach the loop part to the plate and the fuzzy part to the camera bottom. Since the bolt is toward the end of the plate, it should not get in the way iof mounting the camera to the plate.

Here's the diagram.
Please, no autographs.
posted by The Deej at 1:32 AM on December 4, 2007

HA! That was NOT the diagram! That was my friend Warren. HERE is the diagram.
posted by The Deej at 6:08 AM on December 4, 2007

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