Since image stabilization systems work best with rotational vibration, translational vibration can still create blurry pictures. By restraining the up-down left-right and back-front axis, you can lessen this vibration. Since with this design you still have rotational freedom, you can pan and follow something such as a bird or sports player. You can also recompose your shot with little trouble. Of course this technique also works well with non image stabilization systems.
More on VR here
-Easy to make
-No special tools needed (or really any at all)
-Hard to break
-You can use this where tripods are disallowed (such as museums)
-If the "tripod" gets dirty you can throw it in the wash
-If you misplace it, you can make another
-Rotational movement still available for panning and recomposition
-Does not hold as steady as a real tripod
-You can get some looks while using it
Step 1: Parts
1x 1/4 -20 Stainless steel eye hook or eyebolt. 2 inches long or shorter.
1x 1/4 -20 Nut (May come with the eye hook)
40ft Braided nylon and/or poly cord (Parachute cord is recommended)
All of these can be found at your local hardware store and should be had for about $5 total.
Step 2: Prepare the cord
Step 3: Connect cord to hook
It should look like what is pictured below.
Step 5: Camera installation
NOTE: If your camera has plastic threads, be careful not to cross thread the hook. You should never have to force it in.
Step 6: Using as a monopod
This is my preferred method when I need to move around a lot or need to setup quickly. If you have the hook already attatched to the camera it will take less than a second to get into position.
You can also tie a large loop at the end where your foot would be using a overhand loop and put your foot through it. You would not have to hold the end in this configuration.
NOTE: For each of these methods it is important that you do not put excess force on your camera. As every camera is designed different, you need to determine the amount of force your camera can take. With that said, I have been using this method for years with many different camera with no problems.
Step 7: Using as a bipod - Step 1
Step 8: Using as a bipod - Step 2
This method is good if you have a little more time on your hands or need a more stable shot.
If you are in a crunch, you can also just skip the last step and hold the end of the cord like when using as a monopod.
Step 9: Using as a tripod
This method takes the most time to setup and requires something in the environment to attach to. Also, front to back movement is not as bad as left to right or up and down. Personally, I hardly use this method but it is always an option.
Step 10: Tips & Tricks
Using the right shutter speed is essential, you should always use the maximum speed possible.
The rule of thumb for absolute minimum shutter speeds for a hand held camera is 1/focal length. For example a 135mm lens with a 1.5x crop factor (On an SLR) makes it 202.5mm. So hand held you should expect somewhat clear pictures starting at 1/200 or 200 shutter speed. It also matters how far away the subject is, the farther away - the faster the shutter speed needed. The third factor is how far the tip of your lens is from the camera, the further it is - the more it will amplify the vibration.
The string tripod requires a bit of practice and getting used to. I did not notice much of a difference at first, but after a while it really helped. After some practice, it should improve the minimum shutter speed to 1/2 or 1/3 that of hand held. With VR or IS and the string tripod, you should get 1/4 or 1/6 that of hand held.
So, if you are first starting out I would not go any slower than 1/100 with a string tripod at that focal length. As you can see in the chart I made in the instructable, after practice and with VR I can get clear pictures at 1/2 sec shutter speed at 300mm equiv at 10 feet.
With all of this said, it is extremely hard to generalize these numbers and each person is different. There are limitations on this design and those limitations will be different with each person. If you have not determined these limitations for you, leave the camera on P or Auto - this should optimize the shutter speed. Keep experimenting and don't give up, it will be worth it
To take steady pictures in general do the following:
-Get a good footing
-Compose your shot
-Keep your elbows tucked in
-Take a breath and hold it in
-Slowly depress the shutter
-Keep the camera at your eye for a few seconds after the picture is taken
Step 11: Conclusion
Below shows some tests done (Taken with a D200 and 18-200mm VRII)
Following that chart are three pictures taken at 135MM (202MM equiv) at 1/15 sec.
-The first is hand held no string tripod or VR.
-Second is with string tripod no VR.
-Third is with string tripod and VR.
Each of these is directly from the camera with no alterations.
The last picture was taken in real life with the string tripod. Tripods were not allowed in this aquarium.