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04-09-2014, 07:04 PM   #1
Melacrunch
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Lefty camera-no use of right arm

Hello friends,

I recently lost use of my right arm (likely permanent) and am looking for a lefty friendly DSLR. I know I can flip it over but without my right hand to stabilize I would prefer to find a more compatible solution. Any helpful thoughts or ideas? Thanks in advance

04-09-2014, 07:37 PM   #2
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Southpaw Shooting?

Hello Melacrunch, welcome to the Forum!
Sorry to hear about your loss, hope you can carry on without too many problems. But, as a born lefty, I can tell you Pentax DSLR's are no better or worse than any other DSLR for left-handed shooters, which is to say, miserable.
All major shooting, exposure, focus and both scroll (thumb) wheels are on the right side of the pentaprism. Yup. If you hold the camera (carefully!) in only your left hand, you might be able to turn the mode dial (used rarely), activate the pop-up flash (even more rare), change from manual-focus to auto and RAW to Jpeg. Oops, forgot metering mode, and on the back, photo review and delete. That's it.
It's a right-handed world, get used to it.
Lest we forget, the vertical hand grip is on the right side.
However, with the optional battery grip (BG-4 in the case of my K-5) mounted, it IS possible to hold the camera firmly with only the left hand. Now, with the camera in vertical orientation, your left forefinger can reach the (grip) shutter release/on/off/DoF switch, front thumb wheel, esposure comp and ISO buttons.
By sliding your left thumb slightly upwards, you can reach the rear thumb wheel, AE Lock, AF button and green button. In other words, everything righties take for granted. That thumb slide trick makes the overall camera grip less secure as you move your thumb, you'll see.
But, I couldn't use it (leftie only) in landscape or horizontal position, too awkward. Vertical only and even that's a strain. Maybe you would get better at it with practice, I just gave it a trial run.
The simple fact is, SLR's and DSLR's are made for two-handed shooting, one hand in a pinch. But, that one hand isn't the left.
Good luck!
Ron

Last edited by rbefly; 04-10-2014 at 05:50 AM.
04-09-2014, 07:59 PM   #3
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Apparently Canon makes a left-handed 7D

Pity it was an April fools' joke....
04-09-2014, 08:46 PM   #4
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I would imagine a mirrorless camera would be a better choice. Either a K-01, but perhaps a m4/3 camera would be easier to use 1 handed.

04-09-2014, 08:48 PM   #5
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Not a DSLR, but I thought there was a Soviet era medium format camera that had the shutter release button on the left hand side. Was it a Kiev 6C or something like that?
04-09-2014, 11:31 PM   #6
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I would think mounting the dslr/camera permanently on a tripod may be one solution. They tend to topple over if you are not always watchful--but people managed view cameras more or less permanently on tripods. And you could trip the shutter with a remote.

If you hang the camera from your neck you likely can look down to frame and shoot. And the tension pulling down w/ left hand and up with neck would steady the camera, and again a remote could allow the release of the shutter. You could probably tape the remote to a convenient spot on the camera with gaffers tape.

But if you shoot pulling down on the camera and up with your neck--this ideally requires something equivalent to the old twin lens reflex. i.e., a rear view screen that pivots out/rotates up 90 degrees, or a dslr where you can remove the prism and look down (like some of the top line film SLRs). I am not familiar with what newer/digital cameras have in this area. Also shooting this way you likely need a broad hat/dark cloth as used w/ old view cameras--if there is bright sun light. However a largish level attached to the top of the camera would let you make sure it is level and by "eye" you could point it. This could be quite accurate w/ practice.

Best of luck. I would expect someone more experienced in the particulars will reply--but in the mean time hopefully my comments may help. For what it's worth I am aware that working with a disability can lead to more creative work than those w/o. Not that you wanted/needed the disability.

---------- Post added 04-09-14 at 11:48 PM ----------

I believe medium format Hasselblad digital allows removal of the prism--but they are costly.

There are lots of older film medium formats cameras that allow removal of the prism--or don't have one. Indeed the Rollei Twin Lens Reflex would be fine, or 35mm like the Pentax LX, NIkon F (F1 thru F5, I believe). If the shutter is on the right side a cable release could be used/mounted on left side. But that means film/scanning.

Last edited by dms; 04-09-2014 at 11:53 PM.
04-09-2014, 11:59 PM   #7
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you know, there are tiny, super cheap PCs like raspberry pi that could easily fit inside a battery grip that has a second left-handed grip and complete second set of controls that could be used with tethering software connected to the camera through the usb port. anybody wanna set up a left handed dslr project on kickstarter? :P
04-10-2014, 05:33 AM   #8
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A little handheld Sony or something would be easy to operate single-handed, but a DSLR is going to be tough.

The tripod or monopod idea is worth considering. Here's a pistol-grip ballhead, very intuitive and easy to use. It has a trigger which I can confirm operates the autofocus and shutter trigger on Pentax cameras. With this you could set all your settings, then concentrate on getting images.
Vanguard GH-300T Pistol Grip Ball Head GH-300T B&H Photo Video

I wonder if something like the old medium format wood handles - on the L brackets - could be used? A trigger on top using the cable could operate autofocus and shutter like the Vanguard unit above.

04-10-2014, 09:41 AM   #9
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If you have access to an OT (Occupational Therapist, I'm thinking you might as part of your rehab process) you might take this question to an OT, if you have not already done so. Part of their expertise is in the area of adaptations and adaptive equipment. Perhaps they might have some ideas to offer, though I cannot guarantee that thay will.


Best wishes,


Bill
04-11-2014, 10:00 AM   #10
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Maybe a K-01 held vertically would be best - you could set it to 1:1 native format if you don't want everything in 'portrait' mode.
04-11-2014, 10:54 AM   #11
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I don't know about anything in the digital world, but Exakta manual-focus SLRs are left-handed as far as the shutter release, and so are the Polaroid 600SE/Mamiya Press medium format cameras, though in the case of the big Mamiyas, I'd say you definitely need to use both hands...they are not comfortable to shoot with one hand at all.

You may find this link helpful: http://www./2009/12/26/how-to-shoot-with-your-left-hand-only/
04-11-2014, 10:58 AM   #12
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My left arm is mostly paralyzed. I do a lot of tripod shooting. Be patient. You will figure out ways to do things.
It took me five years to get over the fact that fishing and golf aren't my hobbies anymore.
04-11-2014, 11:40 AM   #13
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You have my sympathies for your recent disability. Fortunately so many tools today are more forgiving in operation. I'm sure with patience, research, and ingenuity your photographic practice will kick in just fine. Regarding DSLR choices, my recommendation would be to search out something that has touch screen controls, tethering capability, and support from third parties. Generally, that means a brand other than Pentax, so it's good to be not religious about brands.

I do recommend you check out the Canon SL1. I purchased one for my teenage daughter a few months ago. It's so much fun that I've been borrowing it from her more frequently than I expected. It is very light and small so a quick release bottom plate to attach to a support won't be a weight burden. The menu-based controls including assigning focusing points are all touch-screen enabled--and it works really well. The camera can be tethered in Lightroom so you can operate it from a laptop. There is some button customization as well. Larger, more advanced Canon bodies like the 5DMK3 allow customization of most of the buttons and functions. Also remember to research how much control you can exert using a remote device--either wired or wireless.

I would also research whether you can activate voice control using any smartphone apps.

Hope this helps and happy shooting.

M
04-11-2014, 11:42 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Melacrunch Quote
Hello friends,

I recently lost use of my right arm (likely permanent) and am looking for a lefty friendly DSLR. I know I can flip it over but without my right hand to stabilize I would prefer to find a more compatible solution. Any helpful thoughts or ideas? Thanks in advance
Additionally, I have a left handed pistol grip thingy that has a cable release and mounts in the tripod socket. If your Cam has a standard cable release like the Df or X100 that would likely help. If you want it let me know.
04-11-2014, 01:35 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bill2849 Quote
If you have access to an OT (Occupational Therapist, I'm thinking you might as part of your rehab process) you might take this question to an OT, if you have not already done so. Part of their expertise is in the area of adaptations and adaptive equipment. Perhaps they might have some ideas to offer, though I cannot guarantee that thay will.


Best wishes,


Bill
I am an able left hander.

I find it hard to imagine using a DSLR without my right arm.

But this idea came. If you can do the preliminary settings with LH supporting the camera with the neck strap it can get to a ready to use state.
Then lift to eye with LH, supporting the front heavy load of the lens.
The last step is shutter release. This would be best using a remote release device activated by something other than LH - probably mouth. (Trying to release with LH which is also supporting the camera would induce shake.)

I think you need a camera with a viewfinder, not a screen, because the screen results in holding it way out in front which make vibration horrendous.
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