I have looked for a good twin camera bar. I was using bars by Jasper Engineering but these were not made any more. Also, they were a bit heavy and rather expensive. There are plenty of inexpensive twin camera bars but they leave something to be desired, in my opinion. So, I ended up making my own twin camera bar, shown here:
To make this, I buy the parts and put the bars together myself. So they might have some small imperfections due to the fact that they are custom-made by hand and not factory-made. But they work very well. Also, they might be slightly different than the ones pictured here but quite similar and identical in specifications and function.
What I personally like about this twin camera bar is that it is lightweight (due to the large openings that you see in the pictures - note that the weight of the bar itself is about the same as the weight of the platforms) and also sturdy. It will support most cameras without problems. Also, the sliding platforms allow you to change the spacing of the cameras without disturbing their alignment. (Note: The platforms move by friction only.) Finally, it is possible to connect two bars to make one of twice as long but still easy to transport.
(1) Bar (rail) 300mm (~12in) in length
(2) Pair of sliding platforms (see below).
(3) Allen (hex) key, 5/32" size (about 4mm) needed to attach the cameras to the platforms.
(4) Nylon stoppers: Standard 1/4"x20, attach to the bar and prevent the platforms (or cameras!) from falling off. They can be removed if desired. Other screws or accessories can be attached there too.
(5) Tripod support via 1/4" adapter. It can be removed to reveal a 3/8" socket, if needed.
(6) Friction pads, prevent the bar from sliding on a smooth surface or scratching furniture. They can be removed if desired.
- Length: 300mm (12").
- Weight: 125g (6.5 oz) without the platforms (bar only) or 330g (12 oz) with the supplied platforms.
Instructions for Use:
- Attach the cameras to the sliding platforms using the supplied hex key. The large platform screw goes normally to the back of the camera.
- Make sure that the platform is parallel to the camera (look at the back) and tighten the screws using only hand pressure.
- Place the platforms (with the cameras attached) over the the bar and tighten the platform screws so the cameras do not move around.
- Loosen the platforms to slide the cameras to change the spacing of the cameras as required, and tighten again.
- You can converge the cameras for close ups. You can also change their vertical alignment by changing the loosening one platform just a bit (not a lot).
- You can use the stoppers or not, it is up to you. If you are not using the stoppers, be careful that the camera(s) do not slide and fall off the rail (it has happened to me!)
- Put the Allen key somewhere that you can find it when you need it.
The beauty of this system is that the cameras are attached to sliding platforms (rails) which slide (with friction) when attached to the bar. So you can very easily change the space of the cameras without loosening anything and risking rotating the cameras. But you need a small Allen key (supplied) to attach the cameras on the platform.
The platforms are spring loaded and can be tightened or loosened to your satisfaction. I often use 100-300mm lenses with my GX1 cameras. At 300mm these lenses are equivalent to 600mm and any (vertical) misalignment is obvious. I am able to slightly converge the cameras on the platforms (for close-ups) and also achieve perfect vertical alignment by tightening or loosening one of the platforms a bit.
The same platforms can be used with other bars too. For example I use them with a long & heavy bar from Really Right Stuff.
You can also use different platforms if you like, to replace the standard platforms supplied with the bar. You can find these from many vendors. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
The screws in the rails are standard 1/4"x20, 5/8" length. The Allen key is 5/32". The screws are being held in place by the rubber pads who also serve the purpose of holding the cameras in place better. You can remove the pads if you need to (be careful not to lose the screws if you remove the pads).
With the stoppers used, the cameras can be separated up to 205mm (approximately 8 inches). Without the stoppers, you could extend them all the way to 12 inches, but with the rails hanging out of the bar (do this with care!)
It is possible to connect two (or more) bars to make a longer bar - see a separate blog on this: http://drt3d.blogspot.com/2016/10/connecting-pair-of-twin-camera-bars.html
- I find a grip handle useful for holding the bar. I like this particular handle shown here because it both soft (lightweight) but also substantial.
- I used to make a longer twin bar (16") but I could not find the parts and stopped making it. From experience, there is not much difference in the pictures taken with these two stereo bases. Plus, the 12" bars are easier to carry and also attract less attention through security screenings, etc.
Here is a picture of me (from 2015) and this slide bar with twin Panasonic GX1 cameras, with a wired remote: