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Author Topic: Camera Carrying with medical problems  (Read 1547 times)

RT

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Camera Carrying with medical problems
« on: February 22, 2023, 08:15:33 pm »

Hi,

  I’ve been a photographer for almost 50 years and would like to keep it up until my body/mind completely gives out. Currently, my medical conditions mean that I can’t have anything that hangs around the neck directly and/or puts pressure on the cervical area; nor can I have anything that pulls against the neck as my cervical spine is deteriorated and a little fragile. Similarly, my arthritic hands and wrists make wrist straps unviable over any length of time. Ditto for my hips. After going through all the possibilities with my physicians, they basically said “Don’t use anything that impinges on your neck, adds weight to your hips or requires you to hold it for a long time.” So no backpacks, etc. or using my belt to hang anything from.  It’s an unusual situation, but I suspect there are others out there who are in the same boat.

Does anyone know a good solution for carrying my camera(s) that would fit the above criteria. I've looked at every alternative I could think of and all the major (and not so major) strap manufacturers, but no one has anything suitable. Yes, I did look very closely at Cotton Carriers and there's one slight possibility there.

I did come up with a custom design which I think will work and reached out to a few small strap companies, but no one did custom work as they were too busy (Good for them!).

I'm currently shooting with a Leica CL, Fuji Pro-3, and a Fuji X100V, all small or smallish cameras and smaller lenses. I do nature photography as well as street and political events.

Thanks for any suggestions,

Rene
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mcbroomf

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2023, 08:35:55 pm »

I can certainly sympathize having been in hospital a couple of times due to back problems.  Once I was back on my feet I did not have such a severe restriction as you though and I was able to switch from a heavy backpack and tripod to a small/medium shoulder bag until I recovered completely.  Obviously this is not what I'm suggesting based on your post, but the key thing for me was that I lightened my load (a lot!) and accepted that I would not have the range of lenses + backup + tripod for long expose shots.

So I'd suggest that you carry only one camera, perhaps extra 2 lenses.  Use a photo vest to carry the lenses and spare batteries, filters, cards etc that are needed.  Not sure about carrying the camera unless the vest has a large enough pocket or you don't mind keeping it in your hand.  Perhaps a light enough camera with a small lens would be OK on a wide and soft strap around your neck or over a shoulder.  There are some chest camera holders I think if that is an option.
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Conner999

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2023, 08:43:09 am »

Maybe take a look at double-straps like those made by Holdfast Gear, Bacak Rapid and others.
They moves all the weight to your shoulders. Just a warning - get cloth ones. The leather units are heavier than they look.
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PeterAit

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2023, 10:28:48 am »

Google "binocular harness." The weight is on your shoulders.
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RT

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2023, 07:49:52 pm »

Thanks, Peter, that's a very helpful suggestion. I've ordered one ad we'll see how it turns out.

Rene
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Dave Gurtcheff

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2023, 06:32:55 pm »

Hi Rene: I am 86 and I have had to modify the way I do my photography. I have arthritis in my hands, so I use  a hand strap to help me use my cameras. In my case using a monopod works very well. I like to do seascapes, so the camera and monopod also doubles as a walking stick when walking in soft sand. The camera vest mentioned above is also a great idea. I have two: a light weight one for summer, and a heavier one for colder weather. A vest, light weight camera, and monopod could work for you. I use quick release plates on cameras and monopods so no fussing with tripod screws etc.
Very best to you and keep at it.
Dave
Beach Haven, NJ
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Dave Gurtcheff

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2023, 06:36:00 pm »

I forgot to mention that the camera systems I use have IBIS. Being 86 with arthritis in my hands, it is a game changer.
Dave
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RT

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2023, 07:34:55 pm »

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your suggestions. I too have arthritis in my handstand wrists, and neck and shoulders and... I have pondered the vest option and recently bought a lightweight monopod which I haven't been able to test out yet due to the weather. Just curious about what monopod and head you own if you don't mind sharing?  I went cheap and very light to see how I liked the idea, but am having second thoughts.

Rene
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Dave Gurtcheff

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2023, 03:48:55 pm »

Hi Rene: I got my first monopod about 15 to 18 years ago. I was younger and had no arthritis hand issues then, and I was using a big Canon DSLR with 500mm f4 for bird photos. It is overkill for what I do and need now. It is a Manfrotto 679B monopod with big (heavy) Kenko FP-120 PRO ball head and Wimberly Quick Release. See first two pictures. The second monopod is what I now use most of the time. (See third and fourth photos). That monopod my wife got for me with her Amazon Account and is an "AMAZON BASICS" monopod and was VERY cheap, but is fine for what I use it for. On that monopod I use a 60 year old Leica "KGOON" ball head with quick release clamp. The quick release system I use for all my cameras, lenses, monopods, and tripods is the arca swiss system.
Good luck to you.
Dave
I do seascapes and still try to get out every season, every year.. My web site is here:
www.modernpictorials.com
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Harold Clark

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2023, 07:25:08 pm »

George Hunter, who worked almost until he died in his 90s, had a lightweight little carrier custom made with bicycle wheels about 22 inches diameter that could be pulled over rough terrain. The wheels detached for easy transport in the car. I believe he got the idea from Malak Karsh who also had one. George and I did a few shoots together, and we were using Mamiya RZ 67 systems at the time, so a fair bit of weight to haul around. Easier to pull a load than carry it.
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RT

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2023, 09:26:19 pm »

Dave, thank you for the information.  Looks like you've gotten good use out of that equipment.

Harold, I hope it doesn't come to that for me, but it's a good idea that I'll keep in mind should I need something like that.  BTW, I also carried around an RZ in my (much) younger days in a semi custom pack when I was hiking in the White Mountains in NH. The attached file is made up of three shots of Mount Washington in the distance behind the loverly Pond du Cherrie made into a panoramic.
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Dave Gurtcheff

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2023, 02:41:30 pm »

Beautiful image Rene. I have not tried stitching or panoramas.
Dave
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Chris Kern

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2023, 02:45:31 pm »

Yet another old man with arthritis and back problems, plus a cervical spine injury suffered in an automobile accident, admittedly quite a few years ago, which still makes me leery of carrying a camera around my neck.

I've been using UPstrap shoulder straps for years precisely because they distribute the weight of a camera—at least, the small Fujis I carry these days—so comfortably.  Highly recommended, but the principal of the company is no longer producing them (he is looking for someone to buy the business) so inventory may be limited.

I also would endorse the use of a monopod.  I have one that doubles as a walking stick which I carry when I am using a long lens.

Jonathan Cross

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2023, 04:14:24 pm »

I also would recommend a monopod.  I have a Manfrotto Carbon one that is light and the head is also light and small. As the monopod can obviously be rotated, the head only tilts back and forward in one plane.  The monopod can be used as a walking stick and has a wrist strap.  The only question is whether you are tall and so whether you can get one for your height.

Jonathan

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Jonathan in UK

leuallen

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2023, 02:21:57 pm »

This may not be for you but works for me. Bad back, etc forced the way I do photography. I do much of it from my van. I am in a rural area so there is not much traffic, lots of gravel back roads which lead to interesting spots, and room to maneuver the van into position for the photograph. Much of what I photograph is sunrises. Farmers doing the harvest, old barns, and some landscapes. You would be surprised at what you can do from the vehicle. This type of photography generally requires longer lenses. I have a custom window mount with a geared head which I use for the sunrises.

If you live in the city it is still possible to get good photographs from the car. But there is one problem that may occur. People will see you, think you are acting suspicious, or are a spy, and call the cops. Guess it depends on the type of city you live in. My town of 2000 is ok, one of the next towns over of 20,000 is problematic.

I also photograph local musicians performing in small venues such as bars. Here I generally carry a very lightweight folding chair and sit for much of the photography. But it is surprising my body does not hurt so much in that situation because I am so hyped taking pictures. I generally use one camera and carry in my hand as there is no problem with my hands. If the hands were a problem I probably would try a monopod.

I guess what I am saying is that your solution might be to find a type of photography that interests you and that your body can accommodate. That way you will get your photo fix.
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RT

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Re: Camera Carrying with medical problems
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2023, 09:02:35 pm »

Hi Everyone,

Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. I finally settled on a Vortex binocular harness which works quite well for me. There are a number to choose from more and less expensive than the Vortex which I choose because of its ease of use and it fitting me just right with  and with out a winter coat.  It will nicely hold my Leica CL and I'll use the monopod for the Fuji XPRO3 with a long lens.

Rene
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