Saturday, January 29, 2011

Digital Camera RIS Mount Mod

You'd think, with all of the first-person shooting sports videos posted on YouTube, that RIS mounts for standard digital cameras would be all over the place by now. But that's not the case. Even with the GoPro, the state-of-the-art tech for recording action sports, an option for a weapon mount is curiously left out of their mounts lineup (pictured above).

After scouring the Internet high and low, I found one reasonably-priced mount that didn't quite fit the bill. It actually provides a socket to plug in the male end of a standard camera tripod, but what's needed is a similar mount with a post to mount your camera onto.

Of course with some sawing down of a 1/4 inch bolt, you could probably mod this piece so that a post sticks out of the socket to mount your standard camera onto, but it could be very frustrating. You'd have no way of making sure the camera would line up straight with the front of the mount when you screwed it on, and there would be no way of tightening it so that it couldn't come loose.

RAP4 offers an option for mounting a camera to RIS rails, called the Land Warrior system, but the mount suits that one specific camera, which might not be what you want to use.

However, through the use of good ol' Canadian ingenuity and brain-wracking, I've come up with what I feel is a suitable, and most importantly CHEAP way to mount a digital camera with a standard socket to an RIS sytem.

The key lies in this socket, found on most digital cameras and other optical devices (like consumer night vision optics). This socket is suited to a 1/4-inch screw-in bolt, found on every camera tripod:

So the trick is to find a mount that would accomodate such a bolt, along with nuts and washers to use as spacers (and to make adjustments). That's where this little quick-detach sling mount comes in:

The beauty of this piece, from EBAirsoft at around $14 USD, is that the quick-disconnect sling attachment piece pops out, leaving an empty hole that you can put a bolt through:

After receiving this piece, I went to Home Depot and picked up various nuts and bolts to try out different combos for the mount. For trial-and-error purposes I spent about $2 CDN on these, and found it to be overkill. You can actually spend about $1 on 1 x 1/4-inch bolt (1 inch in length), 1 x 1/4 inch bolt (3/4 inch in length), 2 x 1/4-inch hex nuts, and 3 x 1/4-inch wide washers for spacing. This allows for different combinations that should allow any camera on the market with a standard socket to be fitted to this mount.

In this configuration, I've got the 1-inch bolt screwed tightly into the camera socket, with a nut underneath the mount to adjust tension and take up slack:

And in this photo I used the 3/4-inch bolt to mount another device, with no tension nut needed:

Different models of camera will have different socket depths, and you may need to play around with nut/bolt/washer combinations to suit each individual one.

Of course you can place your mount wherever there's RIS rails. Here's how a Canon camera looks when side-mounted with this method:

If you decide to use this method to mount some sort of optic, the beauty of the offset sling mount is that it offsets the optic to the side of the marker, so the stock doesn't get in the way of you looking through the optic while wearing a paintball mask. Here's a pic of a Pulsar Recon 550 mounted atop a T68:

And as for the GoPro, Paintballers wishing to mount theirs on their gun don't have to fool around with duct tape, straps, or mounts made in shop class anymore. All you'd have to do is buy the GoPro's Tripod Mount for under $10 USD, and mount it as I described above.

Have your own ideas for mounting cameras to your markers? Let others know in our comments section below, or better yet in the Grey Ops Forums so that others can search and find your tips in the future!

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