how to adapt F80 for one-handed (left-handed) use?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tricia, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. I'm having difficulty using my camera (F80) because of disability-related issues.

    1. I use a forearm crutch on the right side which means only my left hand is free to hold
    my camera up to eye level. I can use both hands to briefly hold the camera in front of me
    and adjust the settings but I can't reach to hold it at eye level with both hands. I've been
    trying to figure out a way to hold and operate the camera at eye level with just the left

    2. I have weakness in both hands/arms so find the camera a bit heavy to hold in one hand.
    (Actually there are times when it's too heavy to hold in both hands. But not all the time,
    fortunately.) I really like this camera. (Have had F601 and FM10 in past; this one is my
    favourite.) Mostly use a 50mm f/1.8 lens. I really like having control over all the settings,
    but am wondering if I'll have to switch to something much smaller and lighter. I can't
    afford to buy anything new, so would have to trade in this camera.

    I am wondering if there is a particular way to hold the camera that might work, or some
    way to adapt it. Any suggestions?
  2. Hi Tricia

    I am currently in plaster due to a broken elbow so I am attempting to use my camera with
    one hand.

    A suggestion might be to use a light monopod which can be held in your right hand the
    monopod will bear the weight of the camera so that you can adjust settings with your left

  3. I broke my right arm 1 week before a trip to Zion & Bryce Canyon parks and could not hold the camera up to my eye because of my arm being set at a right angle.

    My solution was to use a right-angle finder (Nikon DR-3 in my case) and cradle the camera in my left hand, looking down into the finder. I also had an MB-15 on the camera so I had the secondary shutter release that my arm could get to easily.

    That cradling position is really pretty stable, and comfortable. It salvaged the whole trip!
  4. tapas and eric's suggestions are a very good combo. the right-angle finder will put the F80 chest level with a short monopod supporting it. this will not put strain in your arms.....the monopod can be carried with a shoulder strap when not in use. you can put a quick-release plate between the camera and the monopod so you won't have to fondle with the turn knob of the monoipod.........the mb-15 might make the F80 a little bit heavier, which is already a concern.
    .....maybe somebody can suggest a lighter camera that will give you the freedom to control......keep shooting. good luck.
  5. While I don't think that there is an electronic cable release for the N80, I remember that years ago someone made a mechanical release that could be mouth-operated. This would fit any normal SLR. Perhaps the AR-3 could be adapted?
  6. This is a grip for a Bronica Medium format camera. It could be modified for left hand use. I seem to remember a similar grip was made for the Mamiya M645 series cameras also.
  7. The Graflex XL also used a grip which could be modified for your use. These cameras can be picked up fairly cheaply on ebay.
  8. gib


    I wonder if you might try contacting Nikon USA (if you are in the States) directly. They might be able to suggest the lightest weight AF camera in their line, one which might have a electronic release.

    I initially wondered about a camera like an FG, but then you have to deal with manual focussing, so perhaps that adds another question rather than a comprehensive answer. It is a very light weight camera and has P an A modes and offers TTL flash exposure. Put an E series lens on it and you have a light weight rig.
  9. Tricia, I was born with a disability that limits the use of the right side of my body.

    As a result I shoot predominantly left handed. When using prime lenses with cameras that don't have motordrives I cradle the camera and lens under the lens barrel reaching the shutter with my left index finger.

    With my N90s with MB10 attached(my primary film camera) I just hold the bottom of the motor drive and shoot with the same finger. I always have the camera neck strap safely arround my neck. When I get tired I let my neck handle the weight.

    I have found using a monopod somewhat cumbersome for most of my shooting situations. I use it when either shooting with my 300f4AF or sometimes with my 80-200AF-D.

    I am attaching some pics as examples of how I hold my camera(s)with 50mm AF attached.
  10. vertical again
  11. and horizontal again
  12. I have found that shooting is a lot about balancing the camera and being patient with your limitations.

    email me if you have any questions

  13. The F80 is currently the lightest Nikon AF SLR that takes a cable release.
  14. Tricia
    Check out the Slik mono-pods, the model I have comes with a quick release plate and the top tilt to vertical. The camera takes any screw in release cable.
  15. This grip would fit your needs. Mamiya TLR C220 left hand Pistol Grip with Cable Release. Item number: 7541822359 On eBay. I know dosn't like links to eBay but this grip should do the job.
  16. Tricia, how about a flash bracket? Lots of flash brackets have handles on the left side. It wouldn't add much to the weight of the camera, and with a cable release you could even fire the camera one handed.

    The N80 (F80) has got some nice features and it's pretty light, so I think it might be the best you can do for this purpose.
  17. Thank you everyone for your responses!

    Tapas, and Jim M. -- I've never used a monopod (and am not sure that carrying another
    item help more than hinder) but am curious and will take a look at some at my local shops
    this week. Thanks for the suggestion. And Tapas, here's hoping your elbow heals well and

    Eric -- Right angle finder is an intriguing idea, especially as my ability to raise either arm
    all the way to eye level is variable. I'm not sure if they're made for specific camera models,
    or if such is available for the F80, but am going to check it out. Hey, that's great you could
    still go on your trip even with a new injury. Those parks sound like beautiful places to see.

    Ramon -- You're right, it may be good to combine a couple of ideas. I guess it's a matter
    of experimenting and finding the right combination. Thanks for the encouragement to
    "keep shooting" -- not taking pictures makes me sad and I miss it a lot.

    Alex -- I don't know about the electronic releases but I do have some mechanical ones
    and am going to give that a try.

    John -- The grips look very interesting. Thank you for looking up and posting the photos.
    Looks like when you hold it the shutter release will fall under your thumb, is that right? It's
    something I'll check out because even though my camera is fairly small it can be hard to
    keep a firm hold on it.

    WJ Gibson -- I'm in Canada but could still contact Nikon and have been checking out their
    information online just now. I chose the F80 (N80 in U.S.) because of its combination of
    reasonably light weight and features that I like to use. Used to have the FM10 but between
    my less-than-perfect eyesight and somewhat limited manual dexterity, manual focus was
    too difficult. (I actually loved that camera otherwise: didn't even need a battery, as I rarely
    agreed with its light meter so used a handheld one or made my own estimations.)

    Jim I. -- I really appreciate your contribution. The photos showing how you hold your
    camera are particularly helpful. I've been trying various hand positions but hadn't come up
    with your method yet. I have the camera on a very long strap and hang it diagonally across
    me so it rests by my left hip when I'm not using it. I suspect that I too would find a
    monopod too cumbersome to use. Fumbling with changing lenses is really what got me
    into using the 50mm lens so much, and fortunately I no longer find it limiting in most
    situations. Yes, balance and patience do seem to be the big issues. I may well take you up
    on your offer to email you about this more. Thank you for that.

    Adam -- Yes, I thought so! Thanks for confirming that.

    Matt -- I haven't seen flash brackets yet, but am adding it to my list for my camera shop
    visit. Thanks for another idea. Yes, the F80 is a nice camera for sure. I'd much rather find a
    way to use it than get a different camera.

    Everyone's suggestions are giving me a lot of new ideas to try. It's very encouraging, and I
    thank you for your help. In the mean time, I've borrowed a decent compact camera
    (Olympus Stylus Epic, a.k.a. Mju) and am seeing what I can do with that. It's quite an
    adjustment for an SLR user but I'm going with the idea that the best camera is one that's
    there when you want to photograph something. I develop and print my own pictures so I
    can still retain control of what I'm doing in that regard. It'll be interesting to see how it
    goes. But I'm really looking forward to being able to use my F80 again!
  18. Hi folks, just thought I'd add an update on the off chance that someone peruses the archives and is interested in this topic.
    I ended up trading in the F80 because it became too heavy for me to handle. (Brackets and monopods, etc., were great ideas, but I now use two forearm crutches rather than one, and so carrying extra equipment has become completely impractical. I also quit using the darkroom because of physical limitations and allergies to the chemicals.) I've switched to a compact digital camera. After much research, I chose the Fuji F30 because it allows for decent results in low light, and gives a good amount of manual control, which makes it far more than a "point and shoot" camera. While I certainly miss shooting with a film camera, and miss making my own prints (I rarely get anything printed anymore because I'm never satisfied with the results!) I am now able to take my camera everywhere and actually use it. Now I just need to find the time to participate in to a greater extent!
    Hope you're all enjoying doing photography wherever you are ... and please know that I very much appreciate the help you gave me back when I posted this topic.
  19. Glad to hear you found a solution that helps you continue to enjoy photography, Tricia. It can be challenging to adapt. I've stopped using motor drives on my Nikon FM2N and F3HP to save weight.
    Some P&S digicams offer remote controls that can operate more than just the shutter release, another potential benefit to folks with mobility issues affecting the right hand.
  20. Thanks for your reply, Lex. Such a remote would be a great thing to have, for sure. Even a simple cable release would be helpful - I've been thinking about ways that I might put a very lightweight bracket on my little F30 to let me use a cable release. Meanwhile, for low light shots, I brace the camera on something and use the 2-second timer, which gives decent results in many cases.
  21. Tricia,
    It was great to read your update. I don't know if this would help but there is a company named Conceptus that makes mouth operated shutter releases.
    the link is
    A website I have also found to be informative and inspiring is Rolling F Stop -
    Looking forward to seeing your posted pictures.
  22. Hi Jim,
    Thanks very much for responding and for passing on those links. I'm particularly interested in the Rolling F-stop site.
    I've been looking at your page here and am very much enjoying seeing your photography .... and am looking forward to contributing some photos to the site soon.
  23. Hello, someone on another forum pointed out this thread to me, this was the question I had asked;
    Hello, I am looking for help from someone who owns a G1. Basically, I would like someone to try it out so that I know if it could be operated single handed, but unforunately it has to be left handed.

    I have spent the last 30 years almost, searching for a camera that I could use left handed and found none until the Digital Ixus came along. There are camera phones of course but they are not much use and not easy to use either in many cases.

    Over the years I have contacted almost every camera manufacturer there is and had one reply which was, "use a tripod"

    I currently have a Canon Digital Ixus 870 IS which I can use quite well apart from the focus lock and a couple of other things that require the use of both hands. I've always wanted a SLR but they are too big and even though the G1 is relatively small, I think it probably is still too big as well

    I had forgot to mention in that post that I lost the whole of my right arm in an accident but anyway, that's what happened.
    I am really encouraged by jim interliccio's pictures of how to use a camera left handed, that has really made my day!
    At the same time, I'm sorry Tricia that you are no longer able to use the camera you'd like to and hope you will still enjoy taking photos.
    After all these years I'm just starting out
  24. hi Alan,
    Some days it certainly gets me down to not be able to do photography like I used to do, but then I figure that I can consider using a more limited camera to be a challenge, and do my best to take interesting photographs within the parameters it allows. I'm very much a black & white film photographer at heart, but am gradually learning to appreciate colour and other possibilities of digital photography, too, so that's positive.
    Unfortunately, I know nothing about the cameras you've mentioned here so can't be helpful with your question, but I think it's great you're seeking a camera that will better suit your purposes, and wish you very well with that search and with your photography!
  25. Thanks Tricia.
    In case anyone else comes across this thread... I went to try out some cameras and the SLR's were pretty awkward to handle because of the lenses so I have ruled them out. I was able to use the Nikon Coolpix P90 and the Panasonic Lumix FZ28 left handed in the same way that Jim Interliccio showed in his pictures further up this thread. I will choose one of them. Thanks to Jim for posting those pictures
  26. You're welcome Alan,
    Have you tried the Canon G10? For a bit more money than the P90 you have RAW capablities .
    I haven't handled the P90 but from online pics of it, the G10 seems about the same size or perhaps smaller.
    Whatever you choose - Happy shooting!
  27. I see it's two years since anyone added to this post, but thought I'd offer an updated comment anyway.
    I've recently switched to the Lumix DMC-LX5 which is compact and lightweight and offers the features that I most desire: has a bright (f/2), wide angle (24 mm) lens, allows fully manual exposure, shoots in RAW, and has a high quality lens that results in good image quality. (I don't make huge enlargements, so very large prints are not an issue for me.) It also has a small zoom range (up to 90 mm) which is handy. While I did use my previous camera (Fuji F30) extensively and got a lot of good shots on it, I greatly prefer the higher quality of the LX5, and still find it manageable to use. After all my years of film shooting, I'm able to shoot handheld at pretty low shutter speeds, which means I can really enjoy night photography with it, too.
    Alan, I hope you found a camera that suits your needs. Every time I visit a camera shop, I am discouraged by the complete lack of cameras made for left-handed use. It seems like such an obvious gap in camera manufacture and something that would be useful not only to those without use of a left hand, but to anyone who is left-handed and would like the option.

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