Category Archives: Hand Held Stability

HandlePod Tames the Wild Super Zoom

Common advice from photography instructors and books is to “fill the frame”—get closer to your subject. The fault with many photographs is they include too much unnecessary material and the subject is too small. The usual fix is to “zoom with your feet” to get in closer and fill the frame. This advice applies to video as well which should always include close up shots.

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Frame grab of zoo animal video. HandlePod was braced against a barrier post.

But there are subjects and places where you can’t zoom with your feet to get closer. Examples include zoos, animal parks and wildlife preserves where there are barriers or restrictions on how close you can get to the animals you want to photograph. Then the camera zoom is the only way to really get in close. Today many cameras boast an optical zoom of 50X or even 60X. That is enough to get you eyeball-to-eyeball with an orangutan. Digital zoom will get you to the moon, but don’t go there. Avoid digital zoom because it degrades the image.

A super zoom can get you an extreme close up from a very great distance. The problem with zooming in that far is holding the camera steady. Human hands are not capable of maintaining a steady shot at fifty times zoom and video shake is unavoidable. Optical camera stabilization helps but is not a total solution. A video tripod with a fluid head would solve the problem, but who carries that for a day at the zoo? Check out this link for tips on zoo photography.

HandlePod is a pocket size camera support that delivers the stability to let you zoom in close and avoid video shakes. Just press the HandlePod against any convenient support, compose and shoot. And there are plenty of support objects to brace against, especially at zoos. Rails, barriers, walls—the things that separate you from the animals are the things you can use to stabilize the camera and get in as close as you want.

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Seal at a marine reserve. Frame from video shot from a cliff above the beach. HandlePod was braced on a fence.

Wildlife parks and nature preserves are more of a challenge, but there is usually something to brace against. If not, HandlePod still helps by providing a firm handle and added leverage to make hand support easier and more stable. Even at a 50X zoom your video will be smoother and steadier than it would be just holding the camera alone.

HandlePod lets you zoom with confidence that your video will not make viewers dizzy and induce nausea. Use that super zoom to get up close and personal with lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Tame that super zoom to make your wild animal video something special.

HandlePod, the Tripod Alternative That Does So Much More

The value of any photo accessory depends largely on the number of ways it can be used. Versatility is the key to something that becomes an essential must-have tool. HandlePod was designed to fill a wide range of functions for both still photography and video. The following is a discussion of some of the many ways that HandlePod can be used.

It’s a Handle

HandlePod provides a sturdy grip for greater stability when hand holding any camera from a DSLR to a smartphone with a tripod adapter. But it is a handle with a difference. You can hold it with your hand or you can press it by hand against any solid support for dependable camera stabilization. Anything can be a camera support with just HandlePod and your hand. Handlepod opens up a whole world of long exposure night photography without the weight and bulk of a tripod.

It’s an Attachable Camera Mount

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HandlePod attached to a power pole.

Want to attach your camera to an object? The elastic cord will secure the HandlePod to many supports, even large ones. The cord stretches to over four feet. Tie the HandlePod to power poles, lamp posts, trees—anything the cord can wrap around. It’s secure and strong. The cord won’t slip or come loose.

It’s a Portable Minipod

Need a camera support that sits on a level surface just like a mini-tripod? We’ve got that covered too—for both portrait and landscape composition. Just rotate the camera mount to balance it over the handle and it is self supporting on any level surface. No need to carry a mini-tripod when you have HandlePod.

And So Much More

With a few simple alterations and DIY additions there is even more that HandlePod will do.

It’s a Stringpod

Just add a length of nylon cord with a knot in the end and you have an instant stringpod. Slip the knotted end into the slot in the HandlePod, stand on the free end and pull up to create tension. The string tension plus the improved grip of the HandlePod offers greatly improved stability for hand held photography in low light.

It’s a Camera Slider

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HandlePod used on a DIY slider mounted on a tripod.

You can spend hundreds of dollars on a slider to provide smooth tracking video shots. Or you can use HandlePod to slide your camera over a smooth surface. A tabletop, a bar, a shelf, HandlePod will glide easily across any smooth object. All that’s necessary is to cover the high friction rubber feet to make HandlePod slide like a sled. Four strips of adhesive Velcro fabric will to the job. No Velcro available? A handkerchief or paper napkin under the HandlePod will do as a temporary cover on the rubber feet. No smooth surface available? You can make your own slider with just a strip of wood and a yardstick. Add ¼-20 T-nuts to the slider and you can mount it on a tripod and use it anywhere. And you can do all this with about three dollars worth of material!

It’s a Steadicam

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HandlePod DIY steadicam with gimbal and roller bearing.

Turn HandlePod into a Steadicam with a few dollars worth of PVC pipe and some nuts. This simple hand-held device can be built in five minutes. Yet it works extremely well even though supported by hand. Want more reliable stabilization? For a few dollars and a bit more work you can add a gimbal to further dampen hand motion. To completely isolate hand motion from the camera you can add a roller bearing to the steadicam for very little cost and not much extra work. The finished steadicam with gimbal and roller bearing provides impressive stabilization for that Hollywood style floating camera effect.

HandlePod can do all this and more. Use duct tape to attach HandlePod to almost any clean surface to support small cameras and smartphones. Secure it to the external mirror on your car to create an instant car cam for motion video. Versatility is the hallmark of HandlePod. Discover what it can do for you.