Birth of the HandlePod–A Different Camera Stabilizer

HandlePod, A New Approach to Camera Stabilization

Brussels main square at night.

Brussels main square at night.

The HandlePod concept came about one summer night in Brussels. Magnificent buildings in the main square begged for a photo. I could have hand-held my digital camera with the proper technique, but I wanted to avoid any possibility of camera shake and had no tripod. Just as photography books and instructors have taught for years, I held the camera against a building and shot. Good results, no shake, but it was awkward trying to brace the camera on the building. The camera would not connect solidly to the stone. It provided some stability, but not the firm support of a tripod. And I was not thrilled about pressing my camera against stone or concrete. I needed a camera mount that I could hold against anything solid with my hand for camera stabilization. I decided to purchase such a device as soon as I got home.

The problem was no such device existed. There were camera mounts that would attach to support objects with clamps, suction cups, Velcro and the like. But there was nothing designed to be held on supports with just your hand. If I could use such a device, others could too and the HandlePod idea was born.

With rough plans in hand, a machinist built a prototype. It was simple but it worked. Testing in Europe proved the concept, no light level too low or exposure too long to foil the HandlePod. And there was no shortage of available posts, pillars, rails and other objects to use as supports. But the design needed refinement.

The back of the handle was a simple right angle with straight sides. Many support objects were vertical and had either round or angled surfaces. I would naturally try to nest the back of the HandlePod into the corners of square posts or other objects for a more solid connection. It occurred to me that a rounded back with four non-slip rubber feet would straddle round or angled objects and hold the camera absolutely steady.  And so the first four-footed, handle-shaped camera support device came to life.

But the HandlePod needed a way to attach to objects as well as being held in place by hand. Rubber shock cord provided the answer, but how to secure it? A tapered slot in the handle was the last refinement. It held the cord firmly without slipping yet came off instantly with a quick tug.

So there you have it. HandlePod—a versatile tripod alternative that is:

  1. A camera support that can be held by hand on literally any solid object.
  2. One that will attach firmly to many supports with an elastic cord.
  3. A comfortable handle that gives greater stability for hand-held stills and video.
  4. A tabletop mini-pod that is self-supporting on any flat surface.

HandlePod is all that and more—born from the lack of a tripod and reluctance to press a camera body against the stone of a building.

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