Public Lab Research note

Floating camera rig

by eustatic |

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What I want to do

I want to be able to recover the memory when the camera gets wet from flying over wetlands, and well, falling into the water for various unforeseen or foreseen reasons.
Shannon and I have dipped an A490 into Lake Pontchartrain (8ppt), and the camera survived.
I have dunked a Canon into Weeks' Bay (15 ppt salt) , and the camera died, but the memory lived.
I have lost one camera in Barataria Bay, which was a total loss --MIA
And during kite pilot training, we dragged a camera through Grand Isle Sound, for a camera and card death in 25 ppt saltwater.

My attempt and results

How about a faucet cover? it's the appropriate size and shape, minimal cost at $2, and easy to sculpt.

it's very light

It can be tied akin to the usual Soda Bottle Rig method, once sculpted with appropriate holes

how does it work? you decide.
As a reminder to the easily traumatized, the camera is still going to get wet, and possibly die, especially in brackish or saline waters. The memory may even be killed by saltwater, depending on its manufacture and conditions of recovery.

(no operational cameras were soaked in this brief experiment, only a loyal unit which had previously expired, with batteries for accurate weight.)

This wasn't exactly terminal velocity.

Questions and next steps

I've flown a version of this already, and modified it by adding a ring of gaff tape around the edge, for some additional structure. It worked swimmingly.

I also added a couple slits in the bottom to secure the rubber band harness better. Solid as a rock--and, in fact, I now much prefer this to the Soda Bottle Rig, even for flights over land.

I should post my modification to the Lippincott harness. i added more rubber bands, so that the camera will almost never tilt from line turbulence.

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very nice....perfect solution to avoid losing images. Bet the foam has really nice shock mitigation qualities say the camera falls on a rock like mine did. Ingenious idea!


I think this is lighter than a soda bottle rig too! nice!

I put it on the PET bottle rig page

I wonder if you put it in a ziploc bag, or maybe one of those more clear types of very crinkly plastic they use at fancy bakeries... I tried photographing through a plastic box with a Raspberry Pi cam and it worked great.

Or just saran wrap it tightly!!! Maybe?

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If there was an alternate spot to attach the rubber bands, then the flat opening could be saran wrapped tightly, maybe. with a foam plug in the other end the camera might survive a water landing.

This has great potential. If you add a few extra pieces of styrofoam around the top of the bell, then the whole rig will float with the camera well out of the water. It should be easy to buy a $5 clear camera filter (e.g., UV) and silicone it to a hole in a good plastic bag. Then you need to figure out how to hold the camera in front of the filter and it will be pretty water repellent.

Or, since you must be buying new cameras regularly, buy a Powershot A590 ($30 on ebay) which has a secret magic removable ring as does the entire A540 to A630 product line:

Then buy a $6.00 filter tube made to twist onto the camera and a $5.00 filter:


This holds the filter in front of the lens. Then do the silicone the filter to a hole in a plastic bag trick. The camera could survive a water landing. I just bought three of each: A590, filter tube, and filter for about $130. For another reason.

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