Last year I broke a cardinal rule of my photographic lifetime and instead of buying a new film SLR camera, I chose a digital instead. It doesn’t really matter why – oh well, so many reasons really, but mainly seduction by pixel meant that I had largely abandoned the slide film that was the mainstay of my photography.

My favourite all time digital camera was the Sony Mavica that my husband Thatch had bought quite a few years back. It was the Poloroid of it’s generation but a bloody good camera as well – but while Sony released many upgrades – they never built a Mavica that could rival an SLR. So I dabbled with digital but always returned to my first love until the print quality began to approximate film. I had also discovered that you could do so much more in the digital darkroom than I ever could in my real one.

Since taking photos without a flash has always been the golden ring for me. The canon EOS 50D came with many megapixels (suffice for a decent print size) and a sensor that could take a photo in an unlit closet. Yep, many megapixels meant that I needed a new faster bigger stronger computer to handle the processing of these megapixels. No no! Stop twisting my arm!

The canon I purchased is a brute of a thing – heavy; made more so by virtue of the dual battery pack I’ve installed. All this weight exposed a limitation. Taking a sharp picture was proving difficult except in the best of lighting conditions. What to do? I needed stability so that I could focus effectively – that much was obvious. A tripod takes up much more real estate than is sometimes practical and takes up too much time setting up when you are on the move. I have a gorilla pod (small flexible tripod) for those times when it is useful – but I scoured the net for an overall solution.

Joolsus the grey

Joolsus the grey

In the end I bought a slik monopod; but it is heavy too and I often feel like Gandalf the Grey when I walk about with the chunky leg extended staff-like, topped by the mystic eye of my camera and telephoto lens. But it does work and together with the pistol grip ball head that pivots smoothly and locks securely – I have a solution that is largely successful and marvellously adaptable.

It is not the final solution though. There has to be something out there that is small, light and compact but strong and stable, perhaps like a waist mounted, shoulder supported steadycam like unit for my camera with a pistol grip and ball head that also lets me move around easily and that folds out of the way when not in use and is repositioned in milliseconds.

So that’s my wish list – anybody have any ideas?

P.S The accompanying photograph was taken with the Sony Mavica.

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