Using the Capture Clip for EVERYTHING

The capture clip by Peak Design is primarily marketed as a belt/waist quick release system for your camera (I got mine here). The design is so smart, I use it for both strap and tripod uses, some of which are beyond the uses suggested by the manufacturer.

Advantages of the Capture Clip system

  • I was drawn to it because it uses a standard Arca-swiss plate which is compatible with a wide range of accessories. 
  • The Capture Pro Clip has two attachment methods - the entire body acts as a clamp when mounted to a belt or strap, and there is a 1/4"-20 and 3/8 threaded mount underneath so it can be attached to a light stand, ball head or directly to a tripod plate.
  • The clip is quick release. Most Arca-style tripod clamps (like this one) are based on screw pressure, which is why many use Manfrotto for their quick release system. The Capture Clip is truely quick release and has the bonus of a tightening screw that clamps down when you want extra stability instead. The critical benefit of using a clip as a ball-head clamp is because regular Arca clamps do not have a safety mechanism to prevent accidental release - unless using a non-peak Design Arca plate.

How I use my Clips

  • I like the Peak Design Slide, but it requires the use of quick release dongles that attach to the camera. I don't want anything over than the Arca plate on my camera. Instead, I made my own strap from seatbelt material and simply attached a regular Capture Clip to the strap. In this configuration, I use the tightening screw on the Clip to prevent the camera from jiggling about. I even use my heavy Hasselblad 500cm on this strap. 
  • Arca tripod clamps are not quick release and do not have a safety mechanism when used with the capture plate. So I replaced my clamp with a Capture Clip - seems simple but the threads are not the same. I had to get an adapter from eBay (the ONLY place I could find one) that fits the Clip (1/4" 20) and the thread on top of the ball head (M6). I had to take a metal file to one end of the adapter so that it didn't prevent the Clip from closing down completely. I can move my camera from my strap to a tripod very efficiently with the added bonus that it is securely locked in place.
  • Lastly, I use the Capture plates on my umbrella/speedlite adapters so I can easily use a tripod as a light stand at a moment's notice.

When does the system break down?

  • Film Leicas. This makes me sad. The old Leica rangefinders (Leica III and M) have removable base-plates for loading film. The tripod mount is located to the far side of the plate under the film spool. This means the capture plate sticks out over the side of the camera, and even if it didn't, the camera would be extremely off balance. The solution? Resorting to regular camera straps or a modern one like the SlideLite. The consolation is that I rarely use Leicas on a tripod, so having a convenient plate solution is not as critical as with other cameras.
  • Cost. The Capture clip is not cheap, but I have found it simplifies how I mount my cameras on straps and tripods. I use more plates than clips, and you can get plates individually. Plates that come with 3 Legged Thing tripods are Capture-compatible with the bonus that they are bright orange. These are my favourate plates and have them on my main cameras.

 

Camera Kit: Medium format film, Hasselblad 500

 

There is something special about an old Hasselblad. Even though it is a cube with no ergonomic considerations, it feels right in your hands. The cla-chunk thud from the curtain/mirror/shutter movements is satisfying. Its looks are timeless. Gooey sentiments aside, there are serious benefits to film medium format.

Hasselblad500

What is it good for?

  • Negative size larger than digital can offer.  There is no digital equivalent to even the small 6x4.5cm format (all digital medium format sensors are 'crop' formats smaller than traditional medium format, but larger than 35mm - more info here). So you can spend $10,000 on a digital crop camera, or $500 on a 6x6cm classic. The negatives are huge, dwarfing the grain to make images look clean rather than gritty.
  • Square format. Though other aspect ratios are available through interchangeable camera backs or other cameras, a square format is often used. It is no better or worse than 4x6 or 4x5, but changing things up is often refreshing. I like the square format to exploit symmetry or make a subject dominant by having it in the center of the frame. The rule of thirds is in the back seat here.
  • Seeing your images sooner. Though you get only 12 or 16 images on a roll, that means you also get to the end of a roll quicker than you would with a 35mm roll. One of my pet peeves of 35mm is having taken some great images and not being able to develop them quickly because there are 20 images still to take.

What's the compromise?

  • Equipment cost. A Hasselblad 500 used to be out of reach of the masses in its heyday. Today, they are relatively cheap, but still more expensive than building a 35mm film kit. KEH and UsedPhotoPro are good places to start looking.
  • Film cost. A roll of 120 film is almost the same price as a roll of 35mm, but you are only getting 12 or 16 pictures on the roll. This triples the cost of film per image.
  • Size. These are not discrete cameras. They are easily strap-mounted for hand-held use, but are heavy and I often use a backpack if i need more than one lens with me. They take up a lot of room and add weight to luggage making them a commitment if you want to travel with them. My Hasselblad with 3 lenses outweighs my large format camera kit with 3 lenses.

What's in my camera bag?

  • Cameras: Hasselblad 500cm with rapid winding crank, waist level view finder, focusing screens (x3)
  • Film magazines: 12 magazine (2), 16 magazine.
  • Lenses: Distagon 50mm f4 CT, Planar 80mm CT f2.8, Sonnar 150mm  f4 CT, Sonnar 250mm f5.6C.
  • Accessories: Extension tubes (10mm, 21mm, 55mm), Hasselblad to Canon EF mount converter, lens focus handles, UV filters, red filter, circular polarizer, cable release