Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: AndyF on June 21, 2022, 11:15:59 am

Title: Hotshoe bird tracker
Post by: AndyF on June 21, 2022, 11:15:59 am
Here's a simple 3D printed target tracker I designed for my own use, which might be of interest to others.  The problem of following birds, aircraft, or whales is that if they move out of the frame on a long zoom, it takes too long to zoom wider, find them and recapture.  Whales don't move quickly but they dive and you have to watch more of the ocean surface to spot where they resurface.  It also helps in video mode since the mirror's up and viewfinder is closed (except on mirrorless).

Red dot trackers work and are accurate but are more expensive, taller, and need batteries.

The tracker slides into the hotshoe and has a low height so it's easier to sight through.  You sight through the central concentric rings, which are placed as far away from your eye as feasible so they're visible and not too out of focus themselves.  You can still see most of the scene around the target such as where the bird has moved to, where it might be going, what else is around the scene, or the rest of the ocean surface.  The outer rings protect the alignment of the sighting rings.  It's a friction fit and therefore could get pushed out and become lost, so use the little tether rings if you do buy it.

Title: Re: Hotshoe bird tracker
Post by: TechTalk on June 22, 2022, 09:00:10 pm
This type of framing device used to be fairly common and is known as a sportsfinder or sports finder. Hasselblad made a couple of different types of these for the V series which either slid onto the accessory rail on the side or clipped on the lens shade.  Hasselblad Sportsfinder Images (  There were a wide variety of types for other cameras as well.  Sportsfinder Images (

They can be quite useful for exactly the reasons you describe. Congratulations on your ingenuity and resourcefulness. Thanks for making these available to the wider photo community. I hope that it proves successful for you.
Title: Re: Hotshoe bird tracker
Post by: AndyF on June 23, 2022, 10:35:59 am
Thanks for the history on the sports finders - there are some creative designs in those examples. 

Looking forward, if eyeglass frames with an embedded display become common (and without the objectionable camera Google Glasses had), then we might have a Bluetooth link to the camera and have composing and live view through the eyeglasses.