My own version of the $1 Image Stabilizer

I've seen the $14 Steadycam "The Poor Mans Steadicam" in the past and always thought it would be a cool project to tackle whenever I have some free time (aka never). Even though I own more tools than I'm able to name (when you take care of your own rental properties you need a wide array of tools!), the large number of tools and parts required for the "Poor Mans Steadicam" always turned me off.

Then I saw this cool $1 Image Stabilizer video from MetaCafe:

$1 Image Stabilizer For Any Camera - Lose The Tripod - The best free videos are right here

Sure enough, I found an immediate need for an image stabilizer when I took pictures of the box for my new MacBook Pro power supply. I had some rope in my closet and I remembered the tripod adapter which screws into the bottom of my camera already had a little hole that I could loop the rope through. It took two minutes of my time to tie the rope around the tripod adapter. I then stood on the excess rope and pulled up to steady the camera:

It worked great! Here is the first picture I took without the stabilizer and here is the second picture taken with the stabilizer. You can clearly see the difference!

My co-worker, Raf, spontaneously came up with the idea of using a giant rubber band instead of string or rope. Just as he was laughing it off as a silly idea, I told him I actually have giant rubber bands that I use for fitness. As I was writing this post, I decided to try out his idea:

It also worked well, however the because the rubber band needs to loop around the camera, it was uncomfortable and also difficult to access the camera controls. Besides, not only would I not want to carry around a giant rubber band, I also wouldn't want the camera to slip out of my hands and go crashing to the ground just as I lifted it to take a picture!

I love the way pictures come out when taken with natural light (no flash). However, when the camera detects low light it slows the shutter speed down so it can absorb enough light to make a clear picture. Even the slightest movement during this slow shutter speed will cause the picture to come out blurry. It's quite amazing how such a simple image stabilizer fixes that problem!

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  1. Gonna have to make me one too! It’ll definately make the next trip to Vietnam. Wifey purchased me a new tri-pod over Christmas (it can also become a mono-pod).

    There’s also a way to wrap the neck strap around your arm 2 times to help with camera shake. I’ll find that and show it to you sometime.

  2. Definitely making myself one of those. But seriously if you set-up a second camera on a tripod w/ a timer to document your trial of such a silly appendage (as it appears in the initial photo) then you have way too much free time on your hands brother.

  3. I didn’t setup a second camera with a tripod. I simply put my point-and-shoot (Olympus 770 SW) down on the table and used the timer. It took me a few minutes tops. I always try to set aside a little time every day to write a post on my blog and that was time well used.