wheelchair photography?

zensu

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due to health problems (Parkinsons) I now am needing to use a wheelchair with my photography and was hoping I could find info about about that option. I'd appreciate any info you might nave regarding this. Thanks to all for taking time to read this.
 

RichardC

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Hi Bobby - I guess it depends what info you need.

For example, my wife uses a powerchair, but has no problems (yet) lifting or holding a camera steady. Her biggest issue is people standing in front of her (I'm thinking of getting her some air horns lol).

In retail, finding ways to attach a camera support or head to some sort of (they are all bloody different unless hospital issue) chair was a common question. We used to have an engineer who would make camera supports on swivels for something to do. He's long gone though.

What do you think would help you most (apart from the air horns which are practically a necessity)?
 

Replytoken

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I am sorry to hear that you are having health problems, but it is good to hear that you are not letting it prevent you from keeping up your photography. Are you wanting/needing a camera mount?

--Ken
 

Keeth101

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If you 'Gargle' 'Disabled Photographers' you should find societies and help in your country.

Here in the UK we have the Disabled Photographers Society among others.

Hope that helps

ps, The DPS accepts donations of equipment to help others less fortunate to pursue their hobby.
 

RichardC

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Any info about shooting with the camera attached to a wheelchair.
It really depends so much on the individual - what they shoot, what they use etc.

If it's aids that you are looking for, the only 'aid' that I've ever seen which could be described as 'universal', as in, you could fit one to a number of different chairs, was a service tray. Just a tray in front of you. I know a gentleman who used a bean bag on top of one of those trays very successfully - but he had to adapt to looking at the rear screen rather than through the viewfinder.

Clamps married to tripod heads are easy to come by (Calumet/Bogen/Bowens studio clamp, plus spigot adapter, plus head), but these things require good finger strength and dexterity - because being fixed in one place isn't always helpful.

Mr Google is, unfortunately, probably your best bet. Whatever you are trying to do has almost certainly been done before.
 

Apollo T.

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I found this page with links to American Parkinson's Disease Assoc.--- Alabama. They should be able to help direct to folks that will be able to help with more than mounting a camera to your chair.
Please let us all know how you fare.
GL
 

Apollo T.

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I asked elsewhere and we've come up with several ideas: website REDDIT, often has solutions to such problems. @Keeth101 suggested the Disabled Photographers Soc; that's a UK charity with no mention of a US affiliate. I'm sure they have some insight to offer. Contact your state university's photography dept. They have probably solved this issue for a student.
Give us a progress report.
 
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Sorry to hear about your condition, @zensu. But, you're not giving up on photography. Good on ya. You probably want to go with a lighter kit to relieve some of the need for heavy duty arms and clamps. If you have to shoot above your head or above other people, you might consider mounting the camera on a monopod or extension pole and using Olympus Image Share to view and control the camera, provided you don't need four hands to do all that. :) I'm thinking about the time when I was shooting a 35mm SLR with a broken right collarbone and left wrist. I mounted the camera on a monopod to support the camera. I also used it to lift the camera over people's heads (at a high school graduation) to get some shots. I used a cable release to trip the shutter. Couldn't see what I was shooting, of course, but got a couple of decent shots.

Good luck finding what you need. If I see something that looks useful, I'll send a link.

How about something like this, in conjunction with a Super Clamp?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/354220-REG/Manfrotto_196B_2_196B_2_Articulated_Arm.html

This one is heavier duty.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...o_396B_2_Double_Articulated_Arm.html/overview

Not endorsing them. Just thought they might be worth a look. They are also available without a camera bracket, so you could rig up your own mount and ballhead.
 
Last edited:

januarys_v

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Using service tray sounds like a good and simple solution.
Have you also considered using an iphone instead of a camera? it is lighter and is probably easier to mount, it is more forgiving to focus errors. Photo quality is quite decent with the recent iphone 11 and 12 and you have superwide, wide and tele (sort of) lens.
 

John M Flores

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Sorry to hear about your condition, @zensu. But, you're not giving up on photography. Good on ya. You probably want to go with a lighter kit to relieve some of the need for heavy duty arms and clamps. If you have to shoot above your head or above other people, you might consider mounting the camera on a monopod or extension pole and using Olympus Image Share to view and control the camera, provided you don't need four hands to do all that. :) I'm thinking about the time when I was shooting a 35mm SLR with a broken right collarbone and left wrist. I mounted the camera on a monopod to support the camera. I also used it to lift the camera over people's heads (at a high school graduation) to get some shots. I used a cable release to trip the shutter. Couldn't see what I was shooting, of course, but got a couple of decent shots.

Good luck finding what you need. If I see something that looks useful, I'll send a link.

How about something like this, in conjunction with a Super Clamp?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/354220-REG/Manfrotto_196B_2_196B_2_Articulated_Arm.html

This one is heavier duty.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...o_396B_2_Double_Articulated_Arm.html/overview

Not endorsing them. Just thought they might be worth a look. They are also available without a camera bracket, so you could rig up your own mount and ballhead.
I was thinking along the same line. I have this Magic Arm with a knob mechanism:
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It requires a decent twist to tighten it. This may be more suitable if hand strength is an issue.

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Note: This is a two-handed operation, one hand to hold and position the camera and the other hand to tighten the arm.

Best of luck, Bobby. Hope to see your photos!
 

PhotoCal

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You could probably find some way to add a lever to the twist knobs.
My first thought was something like a filter wrench.
 

scb

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You may also consider using your camera tethered to a computer or tablet when using your camera on a tripod, especially when the tripod has the camera in a position that makes it difficult or impossible for you to access the controls. With a tethered tablet, you can control the settings.

You may have already done this, but using a remote shutter release is a great solution for combatting problems with the hands.

Others have already posted some hardware suggestions. Seems to me that you want to find an easy way to attach your camera to your chair that allows you to have the camera mounted on a tripod head, and find a tripod head that has knobs will work for you.

I'm sorry to hear that you are battling Parkinson's disease. Keep up the good fight!
 

Quadna71

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Depending upon the style of chair, maybe you can make an articulating mount out of RAM components. https://www.rammount.com/shop-all/popular-components/c-size

I'm thinking the "C" size ball. It is a 1" diameter rubber ball so has a good amount of surface area for gripping and handling the weight. I use one in conjunction with a glass-mount suction cup to create an articulating camera or phone mount. Once you snug down the clamps, you are hard pressed to get any sort of movement out of them. Find a way to put a ball head on the top plate or just use the straight camera thread adapter and take your time leveling - either could work. The clamp on the chair would basically stay in place, but a couple turns on the clamp knob of the lowest arm will allow you to slip it off and remove when not needed. You can reinstall in seconds.

Camera mount 2.JPG
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Here's a sort of staggered visual of what I'm taking about. The bottom photo is where it would clamp to the chair, then use two clamps with a dog bone in between them and end up with either a camera plate or flat plate for a ball head. This combination below gives you a total of 20" reach is stretched straight and less if you introduce any angles at the dog bone. Might end up at a good position for viewfinder use. Sorry, the pictures aren't sized correctly. Each ball is 1" diameter and the clamps are lengthed at 8" from center of top ball to center of bottom ball. The top plate is standard 1/4" camera thread.

Camera mount.JPG
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Double arm.JPG
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Doubler ball adapter.JPG
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Double arm.JPG
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Chair mount.JPG
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Quadna71

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Here's an example from the internets of a camera mounted to bike forks.

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John M Flores

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Here's an example from the internets of a camera mounted to bike forks.

View attachment 868381
RE: RAM mounts. They are lighter than the Magic Arm but have shorter reach/extension and require using two knobs to adjust.

With a Magic Arm, you can hold the camera in the position that you want it to be in and then with one turn of a lever/knob lock it in that position. Likewise if you need to reposition. The Magic Arm can also be purchased with a quick-release plate.

With a RAM mount pictured, you need to tighten and loosen two knobs every time you want to reposition or just one if you are fine-tuning the position. And you'd need to add a quick release plate if you want to simplify setup time. And the setup pictured will not likely bring the camera up to eye-level.

I've used both extensively and the Magic Arm is easier to use but heavier and more expensive.
 

oldracer

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... With a RAM mount pictured, you need to tighten and loosen two knobs every time you want to reposition or just one if you are fine-tuning the position. And you'd need to add a quick release plate if you want to simplify setup time. ...
No on having a two-knob problem. The camera should be on a ball head. Yes on the QR. I would suggest the Manfrotto RC-2 system where the clamp automatically locks when the camera plate is inserted into the clamp. There is lots of RC2 workalike hardware available on eBay for very cheap.

On a wheelchair I would probably look for 2 or 3 places to sem-permanently mount balls, then clamp the rest of the assembly wherever it is best for the shot. I would also buy only metal hardware. The RAM stuff was originally all die-castings but now they offer an alternative line of plastic fittings. The plastic allows way too much flexing for my taste. BTDT.
 

Tentseller

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My father used a variable friction (big knob) magic arm attached to the arm of the chair with a Superclamp. He loosens the knob a little to position camera with some resistance and a quick turn to lock.
This was before the times of rear display.
 

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