$1 Camera Image Stabilizer




Add image stabilization to any camera. Works with video and still cameras and costs less than $1.

I have demonstrated the building process and use of the stabilizer in this video.

Here's a cool little gadget that you can use to seriously reduce camera shake. With this stabilizer, I find that I can hand hold still photos at least 3 stops slower that I could without it.

It also folds up to store easily in your pocket. Unlike a tripod, Its portable enough that you'll never mind taking it along.

Step 1: Parts List

For this project, you will need:

1 1/4 inch diameter bolt with coarse threads. You'll probably want the shortest one you can get. You could also use an eye bolt with the same threading.

1 piece of string a little longer than you are tall. The string needs to be a kind that doesn't stretch much.

1 large washer or other small weight. Take a look at the video to see how this works, and then use whatever you have available. One good idea might be something that you could wind the string around.

Take a look at the video to see how all this is going to work.

Step 2: Tie on the Bolt

Tie the bolt onto one end of the string. You can get all fancy and use a lashing like I did or you can use your best granny knot.

Step 3: Tie on the Washer

Tie the other end of the string onto the washer or whatever weight you have chosen.

Step 4: Connect to the Camera

To use the stabilizer, start by screwing the bolt into the tripod mount.

Step 5: Step and Pull

Drop the washer on the ground and step on it. Then, pull up with the camera against the tension on the string.

One of the really great things about this gadget is that it is so easy to pan back and forth with.

This stabilizer will almost entirely eliminate vertical shake, and the added stability greatly reduces horizontal shake. For medium shutter speeds you'll notice a big improvement in image quality. It will also make your videos look a lot better.

This obviously does not make your tripod totally useless. It really isn't going to work for long exposure times, though it would certainly help. It is also maybe not the kind of thing that you want to use with a big heavy lens for long periods of time. That might get a little heavy. This is, however, a great solution for a huge number situations where you might need to use only medium or faster shutter speeds and for times when you just really don't want to bother with a tripod.

You can easily pack one in your camera bag. Then you'll always be ready when the need arises. Try that with your tripod.

Video Demonstration.

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    34 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Nice trick

    If you only have a smart phone, save the bolt and tie the string around your phone!


    Sorry, I am very new to photography and I just have to ask everyone who owns a canon what camera it is. Rebel? by the way, Eagle Scout, nice.

    1 reply

    the rebel cameras are entry-level DSLRs which are simpler and cheaper.

    Top range cameras are xD, and xxD
    Entry level cameras are xxxD, and xxxxD
    These Australian names.
    x stands for the models eg 400D

    You can look on the canon website for more information



    7 years ago on Introduction

    I needed a lightweight solution for a hiking trip to the Outer Hebrides and I have found it here. Great ible.. so easy to get parts and make... even in foreign parts if you forget it!thank you !


    10 years ago on Step 5

    wait......whats with your shoes? they look like crocs, only cool.....

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 5

    Nike Zveddochka. Definitely better than croc. Just for trivia purposes, Nike developed the technology to make crocs, but didn't really know what to do with it. They were using it to make pool sandals.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 5

    well apparently they do know what to do with them, much more than that silly croc company. Also, very nice replacement for a tripod. I might try it out soon.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Genius, I wish I had known about this trick earlier but I plan to carry this on me on all my shoots.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks again for the excellent tutorial! I just created my own image stabilizer for 77 cents! (The string was free.) I wonder if I can take the stabilizer on an airplane... maybe in checked luggage? I better research. Thank you!


    10 years ago on Step 2

    Can you do a tutorial on how to tie various knots? This lashing technique looks so useful!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Is it possible to connect the system to the belt? This way it turns mobile.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Great Instructable - and, REALLY COOL SHOES - wicked cool, even.