Table Clamp for Macro Rail

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myxomop
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Table Clamp for Macro Rail

Post by myxomop »

Hello PM Community,

After being frustrated with using my tripod to focus stack specimens placed on a table, I recently purchased one of these Pedco clamps:

https://www.amazon.com/UltraClamp-Assem ... _p_ei&th=1

which I use like so with my Canon 6D, 65mm MP-E, generic Adorama rail, and Yongnuo YN12EX ring flash:

Image

It is, sadly, a piece of garbage. Half of the clamp's components are plastic, and the pivot/swivel points so instantly buckle under the weight of the equipment it is meant to support as to make it practically unusable. Thankfully, by slipping an electric tape-wrapped piece of 1x1 underneath the foot of the focusing rail, I am able to keep things relatively stable, but this is not at all an ideal solution.

It seems like the mechanics involved here are pretty straightforward, and yet I'm having a difficult time finding a high quality version of this type of device. I've considered approaching someone who works with metal to build me something out one or more heavy duty C clamps, but ideally I'd find something already designed and made for this purpose which does what it's supposed to do. Any recommendations? Advice?

Many thanks in advance,

-myxomop
MACRO:
Canon 6D, Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, Amazon.com : YongNuo YN-14EX TTL Macro Ring Lite Flash, Laowa/Venus Optics KX-800 Flexible Macro Twin Flash, Gitzo GT2540EX Tripod, Acratech GV2 Ballhead

MICRO:
Trinocular Olympus BHS, SPlan 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x (1.25 N.A.), SPlanApo 100x Oil (1.4 N.A.), BH2-AAC Aplanatic-Achromatic 1.4 N.A Brightfield Condenser, WHK 10x 20 L Eyepieces, NFK 2.5× LD 125 Photo Eyepiece, Diagnostic Instruments PA1-10A SLR Camera Adapter

OioMik
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 1:24 pm

Post by OioMik »

i am going to take a heavy piece of wood as a base for my macro stacks, more or less 50cmx20cmx5cm.

you can find screw 1/4" (or 3/8") and fix your rail on the base.
you should reach a good stability.



here a good example of macro setup
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... hp?t=15711

elf
Posts: 1398
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:10 pm

Post by elf »

I think the table is going to be prone to vibrations no matter how you fasten the camera to it, however, if you can drill and tap holes, then it would be easy to make a camera c-clamp.

This clamp would probably make a good base. It just needs a hole tapped for a ballhead (or pan and tilt head).

There are quite a few videos on youtube on how to make c-clamps as well.

myxomop
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:22 am
Location: New York
Contact:

Post by myxomop »

elf wrote:I think the table is going to be prone to vibrations no matter how you fasten the camera to it, however, if you can drill and tap holes, then it would be easy to make a camera c-clamp.
I'm not worried about the table vibrating any more than I'm worried about the floor vibrating. I just need the clamp to support the weight of my equipment. I shoot it quiet and calm surroundings and my high shutter speeds + flash take care of any incidental vibration.
MACRO:
Canon 6D, Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, Amazon.com : YongNuo YN-14EX TTL Macro Ring Lite Flash, Laowa/Venus Optics KX-800 Flexible Macro Twin Flash, Gitzo GT2540EX Tripod, Acratech GV2 Ballhead

MICRO:
Trinocular Olympus BHS, SPlan 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x (1.25 N.A.), SPlanApo 100x Oil (1.4 N.A.), BH2-AAC Aplanatic-Achromatic 1.4 N.A Brightfield Condenser, WHK 10x 20 L Eyepieces, NFK 2.5× LD 125 Photo Eyepiece, Diagnostic Instruments PA1-10A SLR Camera Adapter

myxomop
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:22 am
Location: New York
Contact:

Post by myxomop »

thanks elf and OioMik for your replies. Can I take this to mean there are no ready-made, metal, ballhead quality table clamp units available for sale out in the photo gear world? something that would, out of the box, attach to either my Acratech GV2 or directly to the rail?
MACRO:
Canon 6D, Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, Amazon.com : YongNuo YN-14EX TTL Macro Ring Lite Flash, Laowa/Venus Optics KX-800 Flexible Macro Twin Flash, Gitzo GT2540EX Tripod, Acratech GV2 Ballhead

MICRO:
Trinocular Olympus BHS, SPlan 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x (1.25 N.A.), SPlanApo 100x Oil (1.4 N.A.), BH2-AAC Aplanatic-Achromatic 1.4 N.A Brightfield Condenser, WHK 10x 20 L Eyepieces, NFK 2.5× LD 125 Photo Eyepiece, Diagnostic Instruments PA1-10A SLR Camera Adapter

elf
Posts: 1398
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:10 pm

Post by elf »

The usual way to handle this is to use a separate platform to hold the camera and subject. This can be isolated from the external vibrations. There are many examples in the forum from simple to complex.

myxomop
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:22 am
Location: New York
Contact:

Post by myxomop »

elf wrote:The usual way to handle this is to use a separate platform to hold the camera and subject. This can be isolated from the external vibrations. There are many examples in the forum from simple to complex.
I need for this setup to be mobile enough to, ideally, fit inside my camera bag. As previously stated, I am not so concerned with vibrations.
MACRO:
Canon 6D, Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, Amazon.com : YongNuo YN-14EX TTL Macro Ring Lite Flash, Laowa/Venus Optics KX-800 Flexible Macro Twin Flash, Gitzo GT2540EX Tripod, Acratech GV2 Ballhead

MICRO:
Trinocular Olympus BHS, SPlan 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x (1.25 N.A.), SPlanApo 100x Oil (1.4 N.A.), BH2-AAC Aplanatic-Achromatic 1.4 N.A Brightfield Condenser, WHK 10x 20 L Eyepieces, NFK 2.5× LD 125 Photo Eyepiece, Diagnostic Instruments PA1-10A SLR Camera Adapter

ChrisR
Site Admin
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Location: Near London, UK

Post by ChrisR »

There was (2011) a quite-good clamp by Manfrotto:

Image
Image
Chris R

myxomop
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:22 am
Location: New York
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Post by myxomop »

ChrisR wrote:There was (2011) a quite-good clamp by Manfrotto:
yea! that's looking more like what I'm after. don't suppose you have a name/model #?

EDIT: found it!

https://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-035RL- ... B0018LQVIA
MACRO:
Canon 6D, Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, Amazon.com : YongNuo YN-14EX TTL Macro Ring Lite Flash, Laowa/Venus Optics KX-800 Flexible Macro Twin Flash, Gitzo GT2540EX Tripod, Acratech GV2 Ballhead

MICRO:
Trinocular Olympus BHS, SPlan 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x (1.25 N.A.), SPlanApo 100x Oil (1.4 N.A.), BH2-AAC Aplanatic-Achromatic 1.4 N.A Brightfield Condenser, WHK 10x 20 L Eyepieces, NFK 2.5× LD 125 Photo Eyepiece, Diagnostic Instruments PA1-10A SLR Camera Adapter

Deanimator
Posts: 829
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:01 pm
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

Post by Deanimator »

My solution to relative movement between my camera on a tripod and the subject on a table (my living room floor is ridiculously unstable) was to buy a heavy wooden cutting board and mount a pyramidal wooden furniture foot at one end.

Into the foot, I mounted a threaded insert.

I used a short section of 3/8" threaded rod to mount a ballhead on the foot using the threaded insert.

I can mount whatever I want on the ballhead using Arca Swiss hardware. I can have the camera alone, the camera on a manual focus rail, or I can have the camera on my Wemacro.

In most cases (for macro) the subject goes on the cutting board, so if camera and subject vibrate, they vibrate together.

Under the cutting board I have four Sorbothane feet to dampen vibrations.

Along the long edges of the cutting board, I have T-track screwed to the surface to allow magic arms with manual speedlights mounted on them to be positioned where I want them.

It's a pretty stable setup, and inexpensive, especially compared to optical bread boards. It also has the advantage of being easily moved.

Deanimator
Posts: 829
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:01 pm
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

Post by Deanimator »

A picture of my current tabletop rig:

Correction: Oops, it seems that this isn't my current rig, but the one which preceded it, made from a piece of remnant plank rather than a cutting board. It's decent, but not as stable as the cutting board. Since it's longer, I intend to hang onto it for still life an lower magnification macro. I need to add some Sorbothane feet to it as well.

Image

klevin
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Post by klevin »

I took a piece of MDF (good damping properties), routed some T-slots, and made sub-boards to hold things, locked to the main board. That way, subject and camera are locked together, yet I have flexibility in positioning things, like when I switch between my macro lens and my microscope objective.

myxomop
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:22 am
Location: New York
Contact:

Post by myxomop »

klevin & Deanimator

thanks for the replies. i may graduate to such a dedicated tabletop setup at some point, but for now, I am OK with clamping my rail and camera and positioning specimens directly onto whatever table I have in front of me (with wadded up napkins shimmed under the legs as necessary ;) )

that being said, I am wondering about the combination of the "16mm hexagonal + M5& 1/4" threads attachment type" of the Manfrotto clamp and this Sunwayfoto Rail:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... _with.html

the underside view shows these two presumably threaded holes.

Image

I can't imagine just screwing the rail onto the clamp. assuming they even fit one another, once tightened, the rail could be facing any direction, not necessarily forward. what would need ideally go in between the clamp and the bottom of this rail? should I put my Acratech GV2 on the clamp pin/stud and the rail on the ballhead? is there another way which would reduce the overall height of the setup? clamp + ballhead + camera = many inches off the surface of the table, which may not necessarily be a bad thing...
MACRO:
Canon 6D, Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens, Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, Amazon.com : YongNuo YN-14EX TTL Macro Ring Lite Flash, Laowa/Venus Optics KX-800 Flexible Macro Twin Flash, Gitzo GT2540EX Tripod, Acratech GV2 Ballhead

MICRO:
Trinocular Olympus BHS, SPlan 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x (1.25 N.A.), SPlanApo 100x Oil (1.4 N.A.), BH2-AAC Aplanatic-Achromatic 1.4 N.A Brightfield Condenser, WHK 10x 20 L Eyepieces, NFK 2.5× LD 125 Photo Eyepiece, Diagnostic Instruments PA1-10A SLR Camera Adapter

klevin
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:28 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Post by klevin »

Not sure I fully understand your problem, but here goes. You don't want to just screw something into a tripod socket. Keep in mind how we use tripod quick release plates - the threaded screw clamps the camera to the plate, so the plate can be mounted in any direction you want. It's important that the bulk of the stress of the camera (or rail or whatever) is on the broad bottom, not on the socket.

I think your bigger problem is going to be vibration, unless your magnification is low. Tables vibrate terribly, unless they're a 1000lb balance table or a granite table top optical bench.

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