Mounting Twin Sony DSC-V1 Digital Cameras for Stereo Photography

I wanted to mount my digital cameras in a way that would be easy, compact, light, and stable. So I patrolled my local hardware store for ideas. Finally, I settled on some aluminum bar stock (1 x 1/4 x 48 inches), and a small bag of 1/4 x 20 flat head 1/2 inch machine screws (1/4 x 20 is the diameter and thread pitch used for the camera tripod mount on the bottom of the cameras). The hardware store happened to have a vise in the back, and before I left, I made a couple of 90 degree bends in the bar using the vise and my hands. They didn't have a torch handy (and neither did I), so I didn't heat up the crease for a smoother and tighter bend. After turning and measuring the cameras for a while against the bar stock, I finally started cutting.

I ended up with two versions, a short portable version and a longer tripod mount version, but they are both basically the same. I like the larger one better actually, and I now just leave this version on the cameras. I had some rubbery electrical shrink wrap tubing (from Fry's Electronics, flexible polyolefin, one inch diameter) that I used to grip the cameras, and the longer length version of the mount seems to hold the cameras more securely with less critical tightness of the mounting screws. In addition, the bend of the longer mount gives me a place to grab the cameras, which otherwise is a delicate procedure since the cameras bristle with buttons, and I may but another hole in the bend area for a neck strap.

I cut holes in the shrink tubing for both ends of the screws. The head end is not cut quite as large as the head of the screw so that the screws stay in. I also drilled and tapped a 1/4 x 20 hole at the bend end of the larger mount to accept a tripod mounting screw. My tripod has a very short mounting screw, and I didn't trust it with this aluminum mount. Rather than inset a steel blind nut in the aluminum base, I just replaced the tripod platform screw with a longer 1/4 x 20 screw.

The pictures show the sequence of installing the mount. First, I secure the mount to one camera perpendicular to the camera, with the screw snugged, but not tight. After mounting the second camera securely and tightening its screw, I rotate the first camera into parallel position, a maneuver that further tightens its screw. Tiny little plastic tabs protrude from the bottom base plate of each camera, and these were tearing up the shrink tubing, so I shaved the tabs off with a knife. With the short mount, I can open the battery compartment and remove the memory stick, but I can't quite remove the battery. With both mounts, I can access all the controls, and all the data and power ports.

These mounts seem to be secure, look reasonably good, and put the cameras at a lens separation of about 6.5cm, just where I wanted it. I notice that the mounts hold the cameras at a slight toe-in position of a degree or so, probably related to a rubber tab on the camera bases that I did not shave off--I'm going to try it for a while and see how I like it. On the larger mount for the tripod, the right camera side helps support the mount by resting on the tripod platform.

Good luck,
Rob Crockett
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