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Camera rig options for pole

Some KAP camera rigs have an automated tilt function which can be used via remote control. Very handy for fine tuning your composition along the vertical axis. I do note that some people mount similar kinds of rigs with automated tilt to poles for another form of elevated photography (low level aerial photography.) Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm assuming that camera rigs with this tilt feature are mainly attached to the top of a pole and nowhere else?

There's a telescopic fiberglass pole that I'm considering purchasing and using for elevated photography. With this particular pole, the top sections would be too thin to support the weight of my camera. So I would have to clamp the camera further down the pole. And I'm guessing with this kind of arrangement, a rig with automated tilt would be out of the question?

Thinking about it more, I guess it might be possible if you use something like a double clamp arrangement. There are various devices on the market these days that allow you to clamp multiple photographic accessories at the same time. So I guess you could have such a device clamping the pole with another clamp on the opposite side gripping a tiltable camera rig. The only downside with this is all the additional weight hanging off the side of the pole.

I also notice that very long fiberglass poles like this tend to lean over near the top rather than remain vertical. And the weight of a camera might make it lean over even more. Assuming that the pole is self supported rather than holding it by hand, you could use guy ropes. Though due to the kind of environment you're working in, there may not be anything like grass to drive stakes into to attach the guy ropes. I'm wondering if it would be effective to attach guy ropes to a bunch of tripods? Even if that did work, there may not be enough space to set the guy ropes at the required distance from the pole (again due to environmental factors.)

I would be interested in hearing any possible solutions to such problems.


  • A rig like this one (which has been superseded by this one could be modified so the pole went up though the middle rather than the rig sitting on the top (see video here). The battery/electronics box acts as a counterweight for the camera.
    That said, I think carbon-fibre fishing poles are much stiffer than glass-fibre poles and avoid bending problems.

  • edited April 6

    That is a really nice rig. And yea I could see that it would have to be modified so that is works lower down the pole.

    Fishing poles are certainly popular for PAP but generally, I notice people use small light weight cameras with them. Whereas I want to use a larger, heavier camera with a bigger sensor. And yes, I do acknowledge that there may be issues with bending with a fiber glass pole, especially at the higher, thinner sections. However, the particular pole I'm considering is the Spiderbeam which has a very good reputation for strength and durability. Apparently, the individual sections have thicker fiberglass walls compared to similar kinds of poles. It's also noted that the fiberglass is wound in alternating directions (criss-cross) for greater strength. There are many favourable reviews on youtube and people keep saying how pleased they are with the strength of these poles. There was one guy who compared the Spiderbeam pole with a fishing rod and he reckoned that the Spiderbeam was superior in terms of strength. Though I'm not sure what material that particular fishing rod was constructed of.

    I'm guessing though that the pole would probably lean / bend in the direction of the camera (where the payload is.) If I hold the pole with one hand and pull down a guy rope with my other hand in the opposite direction to the payload and then place the guy rope under my foot or knee with tension, I wonder if that would correct the bend to a certain extent. Or perhaps not since it's recommended to have the guy ropes about 5 meters away from the base of the pole. I think with my first attempts, I'll simply hold on to the pole by hand rather than have it self standing with an external support.

    With the camera position, I would prefer about a 45 degree angle in terms of tilt. I guess I could incorporate the natural bend of the pole into this. Say set the camera at a shallower angle on the ball head etc and allow the bend in the pole to get that 45 degree angle. And if it's too much of a bend, tilt the whole pole back until the composition looks right (via wifi or other means.) The only other thing I'm worried about is swaying. There is one particular video which shows a Spiderbeam pole swaying back and forth like crazy. Though it looked like it may have been a very windy day when that wild swaying occurred.

  • This is me holding a 25ft fiberglass pole. It bends enough to capture a 30x30ft square straight down starting by my feet. Here I am using a analog camera weighing approx1kg.

  • Wow - Impressive PAP setup! How much does the pole and rig weigh?

  • edited April 16

    Pole and camera adds up to 3kg
    The camera is home-made: a 47mm Super-Angulon lens and a 6x6 rollfilmback connected by a balsa wooden frame. The selftimer gives me just enough time to extend the pole and get it in the right position (30 seconds)

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