Photography Hack | Instamorph Camera Grip

A while back the rubber for the CF card door fell off of one of my D3 cameras. Replacements were either hard to find, bundled with other rubbers I didn’t need right now, or expensive. Instamorph seemed like a good solution worth trying.

Here is what the intact rubber looks like on the other, lower mileage, D3.
D3 CF door rubber intact

Here is the D3 with the rubber missing from the CF card door.
D3 CF door rubber missing

Instamorph to the rescue!
Instamorph

Simple enough 😉
Instamorph instructions

Ready to go.
Instamorph_camera_grip-5

I start off with one tablespoon.
instamorph hot water

Of course, the obligatory macro shot of it melting. It goes clear.
instamorph melting macro

While I wait the two minutes I am supposed to I clean the area to receive the product with my good ol’ buddy, Isopropyl alcohol.
Instamorph_camera_grip-8

I ended up using half of this amount. Once removed it is best to mold and dry and it off with a paper towel to push the water out from the little pockets it may form. Then you are ready to shape it onto the camera.
hot instamorph

Start by pushing it into the corners. Best done without holding a camera in the other hand.
molding instamorph into camera grip

So far so good.
molding instamorph onto camera

Here I hold the camera to let the plastic mold to the contours of my hand while under load with an attached lens. I figure this will make it as custom fit as possible.
instamorph hand contours

Here it is after curing.
instamorph cured camera grip

I like it so far. I will have to shoot with it for a whole day to really tell if it works as a replacement. Already I do feel it to be a tad too slippery. I may go at it with some rough sandpaper or maybe try to carve in some knurling. Were I do do this project again I think I would have covered the hot plastic with a textured cloth before doing the hand contour shaping as I believe that would have imprinted the texture onto the plastic at the same time. That might have improved the grip.

I also don’t expect it to hold to the camera for long; never did really. In fact I hope it does fall off so I can make another mold and see which I prefer before gluing one on for good. I will update this as things progress.

Cheers!

Update 1: After taking a mini-file to the surface it got a bit grippier. I shot an 8 hour event with it over the weekend and by the end I was really enjoying the fix. It takes a little getting used to. You can’t dig in your thumb and lever the camera around one handed any more without the rubber grip, so you have to rethink holding the camera. The mild instability with one handed operation makes you keep the second hand on the camera as much as possible; kinda like those choir chairs that you would slip right off of if you started to slouch or lean back. I think this will be of benefit to me though, since one handing the camera is hard on the thumb and wrists and something I shouldn’t do when working anyhow.

Comments

  1. Tavis Veighey says:

    The great thing about Instamorph is that you can just re-heat it and then apply your texture.

  2. Eric Kotara says:

    You are absolutely right Tavis. Even if the idea had not worked I could have just tossed the part back into the jar of instamorph for re-use later on; it’s great stuff. I’m not done with the project yet as the possibilities for improvements are myriad.

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