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04-12-2017, 05:16 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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Car Mount for Nature Shooting

I just finished the prototype for a home-built window-mount for my K-5lls with the Sigma 150-500mm. I thought it might either be useful to some of you or inspire better ideas fro others.

Lung surgery this past February means I won't be traipsing the fields for a while, but I will be able to cruise the nearby wildlife preserves. The car makes a pretty good blind, so I was looking for the best way to have the camera convenient for shooting. Experience told me that constantly picking it up and putting it down wasn't the best method for me. Buying a mount seemed a good idea, but the Eckla Eagle is $230 and I didn't like the ones that clamp to the glass. So...


Camera mounted on car door for quick access from driver's seat.


The suction cup holds everything solid to the car door.


The camera is at eye-level and ready for shooting.


The key to this is the $7 suction cup handle which is meant to be used for glass handling. It holds everything solid to the door of the car. The rest of it is just scrap wood, a door hinge, a piece of aluminum angle, 2 u-bolts and some miscellaneous nuts, bolts and screws. Total cost about $12.00 - way better than $230! (sorry B&H)

The concept is to swing the camera inside while the car is moving and swing it out when stopped. In the driveway it all works. Once I try it out, I'll make any adjustments needed and clean it up and paint it.

If you have done this differently, I am open to other thoughts and ideas.

Don

04-12-2017, 05:24 PM   #2
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The only issue with that solution, Don, is that you transfer a large amount of vibration to the camera. Ideally, you want some kind of shock absorption device where the camera is supported at the window track. That is, if you plan to use it over dirt roads.
04-12-2017, 05:30 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
The only issue with that solution, Don, is that you transfer a large amount of vibration to the camera. Ideally, you want some kind of shock absorption device where the camera is supported at the window track. That is, if you plan to use it over dirt roads.
You have to turn off the engine before you use the camera. That is axiomatic. I should have mentioned it in the original post. But you have to do that anytime you are shooting from a car.

Last edited by AggieDad; 04-12-2017 at 06:48 PM. Reason: removed word "almost"
04-12-2017, 05:32 PM   #4
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That's fascinating. Thanks for sharing. Is it on some kind of swivel arm so you can swing it in or adjust for comfort? Or do you unsuction it every time to adjust.

04-12-2017, 05:50 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by AggieDad Quote
You have to turn off the engine before you use the camera. That is almost axiomatic. I should have mentioned it in the original post. But you have to do that anytime you are shooting from the car.
I understand. I was more concerned about driving with it there - road vibration than engine vibration.
04-12-2017, 06:06 PM   #6
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Very interesting

Some questions:

1 is the board going into the car level, it appears to me to be tilted slightly downward as it enters the car

2 once you have attached the suction cups, the device is fixed to the door, and remains there. Correct? Do you leave it in place as you move along? Do you leave the camera mounted? Or do you release the device totally when you move the vehicle?

3 the white "shock" cord is attached to what in the vehicle?

What advantage do you see to this device as opposed to a bean bag dropped over the window with an attachment that you affix the gimbal to?
04-12-2017, 06:16 PM   #7
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Looks pretty sweet. I'm betting you'll iron out the bugs quickly. I'm glad you got through the lung surgery OK, looks like you made good use of the time to design this.

04-12-2017, 06:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wissink Quote
That's fascinating. Thanks for sharing. Is it on some kind of swivel arm so you can swing it in or adjust for comfort? Or do you unsuction it every time to adjust.
The camera is mounted on my gimbal. The mount is located on the door (fore and aft) depending on your seating position. It is at a good height for my eye, but the height can be raised or lowered when you are building it.

---------- Post added 04-12-17 at 08:27 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
I understand. I was more concerned about driving with it there - road vibration than engine vibration.
No. the parks and preserves are 50 miles or more from my house. Like any other equipment, the play would be to set up once you are there. If you are going over off-road terrain, I guess you would want to remove the camera from the gimbal while driving.

---------- Post added 04-12-17 at 08:34 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
Very interesting

Some questions:

1 is the board going into the car level, it appears to me to be tilted slightly downward as it enters the car

2 once you have attached the suction cups, the device is fixed to the door, and remains there. Correct? Do you leave it in place as you move along? Do you leave the camera mounted? Or do you release the device totally when you move the vehicle?

3 the white "shock" cord is attached to what in the vehicle?

What advantage do you see to this device as opposed to a bean bag dropped over the window with an attachment that you affix the gimbal to?
Q-1. The board should be level (in the photo it is not - it needs an adjustment) but it is not critical with a gimbal mount

Q-2. The camera is actually inside the car, so for moving along I just swing the camera so it is parallel to the car. That brings the lens inside. Of course in a preserve, you are moving at a walking pace, so all is good. If you are traveling, I suggest removal - it only takes about 30 secs to re-mount.

Q-3. The bungee cord is wrapped around the armrest. It is a safety. It is possible I may eliminate it as my comfort level increases, but for now it make sense.

Last edited by AggieDad; 04-13-2017 at 05:06 AM.
04-12-2017, 06:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by AggieDad Quote
The camera is mounted on my gimbal. The mount is located on the door (fore and aft) depending on your seating position. It is at a good height for my eye, but the height can be raised or lowered when you are building it.

---------- Post added 04-12-17 at 08:27 PM ----------



No. the parks and preserves are 50 miles or more from my house. Like any other equipment, the play would be to set up once you are there. If you are going over off-road terrain, I guess you would want to remove the camera from the gimbal.

---------- Post added 04-12-17 at 08:34 PM ----------



Q-1. The board should be level (in the photo it is not - it needs an adjustment) but it is not critical with a gimbal mount

Q-2. The camera is actually inside the car, so for moving along I just swing the camera so it is parallel to the car. That brings the lens inside. Of course in a preserve, you are moving at a walking pace, so all is good. If you are traveling, I suggest removal - it only takes about 30 secs to re-mount.

Q-3. The bungee cord is wrapped around the armrest. It is a safety. It is possible I will eliminate it as my comfort level increases, but for now it make sense.
Thanks for the answers

Good luck with it please keep us updated
04-12-2017, 07:33 PM   #10
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That does look like a good start, with a little use you will make some adjustments and have a nice little rig there.

I know those suction cups are strong but I would be so worried about it falling, I would keep the bungie cords or some sort of strap for back up.

I look forward to your updates.
04-13-2017, 05:03 AM   #11
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Great Idea but it is out of my reach too because of mobility issues and I imagine if there was a store bought version it would be pricey! Unfortunately I'm restricted to Hand Held just now but I have a window mount coming that I'm hoping will give me more latitude with my Sigma 150-500. Has anyone used the cheaper window mount to any extent?
04-13-2017, 07:43 AM   #12
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l l rue has something similar...the groofwin...and it is expensive and his site is being rebuilt ( Welcome to L.L. Rue )
there are several mounts that serve this function and most are expensive but you can search for safari photography and find these things

the suction cups that aggiedad used are probably going to be nicer than the friction and magnetic attachments other mounts use

as far as the inexpensive (cabela's are at 40usd) window mounts go...they work
I've been using one since for decades even with the 150-500 and large spotting scopes
with a heavy lens you just have keep track of things so it doesn't flop around and hurt itself or something else
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