Introduction: Using SUGRU™ to Modify My Sony Cybershot Point-n-Shoot Camera
This Instructable is to show how I used Sugru moldable rubber to resolve some occasional photographic issues I have had with my camera for the past several years.
Before learning about the Sugru product I was unable to find what I considered a suitable material to easily and inexpensively fix the problem.
Step 1: INTRODUCTION
A few years ago I bought a new Sony Cyber-Shot point-and-shoot camera (Model DSC-HX5). I previously shot all my photos with a SLR camera and I drastically wanted to get a smaller yet somewhat capable camera that I could carry around easily, and access quickly enough to allow me to shoot fairly high-quality candids and street photos. In general this little Sony has been the right camera for that and I've learned to take some really nice pictures with it. Unfortunately while shooting my photos I have sometimes had issues with the ergonomic design and the 'fit' of the camera in my hand. Additionally, I find the location of a few of the camera's features somewhat irritating.
This is where I thought that trying some of the following Sugru modifications could help me fix these problems.
NOTE: SUGRU™ is a moldable silicone rubber that comes in small packets of various colors from the factory. When opened it is pliable and moldable - just like clay, then in 12-24 hours it cures into hard rubber, just like a grip on a tool or a bicycle handlebar.
Additionally it has excellent bonding, adhering, and temperature resistant properties so it can often even be used as a sort of epoxy cement, or to form a gasket-like seal.
For more information go to: http://sugru.com/about
Step 2: The PROBLEMs: the 'Quick-Start' MOVIE Button
1. A small red Quick-Start "MOVIE" button is located directly under where I place my right thumb to grip and hold the camera. Unfortunately it is extremely easy to push by mistake, and when you do you unexpectedly begin shooting a video and you don't realize it until you try to take a still picture, and you can't because you are locked out of that function. This can frequently be quite obnoxious and has forced me to lose many good shots over time.
That same video 'Start/Stop Record' function can also be performed by using the circular 'Photography Mode' selector knob on the top right of the camera body. One of these selections includes the 'MOVIE' mode and when selected video recording starts and stops as usual just by pressing the shutter. So the quick-start button on the back of the camera is redundant and (to me) completely unnecessary. Since I seldom shoot videos with my camera I have no use for that quick-start Movie button being there at all, it only creates problems.
Step 3: The PROBLEMs: Problematic In-Camera Flash Position
2. A second issue I have is that the in-camera flash is positioned in an awkward, poorly chosen place. It is embedded flush into a small slot in the front-face of camera body; you can barely tell it's even there. And it is located directly below where your index (shutter-button) finger is, and directly next to where your middle fingers need to be to firmly grip the camera. If you're not VERY careful a finger tends to slide in front of the flash while you're shooting, ruining pictures.
Normally most manufacturers will put this type of built-in flash on the opposite side of the lens, where it's less likely to be inadvertently interfered with by the photographer.
Step 4: My SUGRU Solution:
So, I needed to figure out a way to keep my fingers away from these areas on my camera and at the same time allow me to just stay focused on shooting good photos.
Hopefully, some Sugru customization would be my answer.
By doing a few modifications using the silicone rubber on the front and back of the camera I hoped to keep my fingers from sliding into places they should never be. At the same time the changes I make have to allow a good enough grip to keep the camera from becoming harder to hold in my hands.
Step 5: The FIX: the MOVIE Button Issue
First I'll deal with the 'Movie' button on the back.
I decided to create a small mound around the red movie button to isolate it from my being pushed anymore by mistake.
I used red Sugru here make it a little more visible to me, especially while shooting in darker surroundings.
I also tried to shape the rubber into a natural resting place for my thumb and become part of a 'positive grip feel' and not a hindrance to it.
Step 6: The FIX: the In-camera Flash Position
Next up - the Flash Fix.
I did a similar thing to the last step on the front of the camera body.
Using black Sugru I created a form fitted mold for my bottom three fingers in their proper placement positions on the camera's face while my index finger rests on top of the shutter button (ready to take pictures).
I then let the Sugru dry for the recommended 24 hours to completely harden.
Step 7: 2nd Day Finishing Tweaks - Adding More Sugru Rubber Supports
I came back the next day to check out the new 'feel' while holding the camera.
While it was much better than before there was a bit of tweaking left to do.
I thought it would be another improvement if I was to build up and mold rubber on the inside of my fingers as well, to give a more customized and positive one-handed grip while holding the camera.
I opened one more pack of Sugru (black) and formed it onto the camera's side-front edge to fit the inside grip of my fingertips and counterbalance the now hardened molded rubber I had applied the day before.
I also added a small piece of the black Sugru in the same spot on the back to add more support to the thumb grip area.
Step 8: The RESULTs:
Success!... The modifications seem to work very well.
The only way I am now able to activate the movie button on the back is to use the very tip of my little pinky finger to push it in with.
So no more "Oops", and starting a video recording with my thumb - it is just no longer possible.
Step 9: The RESULTs:
On the issue on the front side of the camera my fingers are now 'walled-off' from getting anywhere near the flash without feeling that distinct, uncomfortable 'ridge' underneath.
That means that those half-dark, half-lit flash photos I used to take are now a mere annoying memory in the past.
Step 10: CONCLUSION:
I'm very happy with the way things came out.
I would encourage anyone to make similar Sugru modifications on the grips or controls parts of your camera if you are having these type problems with your photo gear.
I am looking forward to shooting many thousands more photos with this camera, knowing now that I will have better results in the future because of these simple remedies.