In this review and shot breakdown from photographer Stefan Schäfer you might feel your hands getting sweaty at the sight of a camera and articulating arm hanging over the railing at the Cayan Tower in Dubai. While the arm does have the weight capacity to handle the load of the camera and lens, we must issue a disclaimer that there is an inherent risk to both your gear and those on the ground below you by mounting your camera in this way. If you attempt to duplicate this setup, please exercise extreme caution and use straps and other safety measures.
My name is Stefan Schäfer, I am a photographer from Berlin, Germany and I have specialized in landscapes and cityscapes. In the beginning of October, I traveled to Dubai to photograph the sky rises and city. This setup I used comprised of the below, all from Tether Tools.
I used to have the Magic Arm from Manfrotto. But as I shoot with a Nikon D800 and the 14-24mm lens, and I needed an arm that could carry this weight. In my testing, the Manfrotto Magic Arm could not. At Photokina 2016, I became aware of the aforementioned Arm, Clamp, and Camera Platform combination from Tether Tools. According to the description, the arm would be able to carry double the weight of my setup. So I ordered it and tested it with full anticipation. The Manfrotto Magic Arm I have relied on friction to hold gear in place while the Master Articulating Arm has locking teeth and pad slips to keep everything secured. The setup is extremely stable and easily held the weight of the setup.
In Dubai, as elsewhere in many cities, you cannot place a tripod anywhere. This setup, with the arm with the clamp is my favorite alternative. You can really fix it anywhere and adjust it as you need it.
The biggest advantage for me came however with the so-called “Vertical Shots”. In these pictures, I am standing on a high-rise building and photographing with the camera 90-degrees downwards tilted straight down. This gives a very impressive perspective, usually unseen in other landscape and city scape photos of Dubai.
Of course, you have to be very high for it to work well, but once you have found such a point, it is absolutely fascinating. In order to achieve this perspective, it is important to hang the camera over the railing, in order to create a certain distance from the building. Here the arm plays its advantages completely out in contrast to a normal tripod. With the arm I can get far away from the building and still have extreme stability.
In the photo you can see how I stand on the Cayan Tower in Dubai and mount the camera using this setup.
After testing, here’s the advantage at a glance of this setup:
- Extremely stable and also suitable for heavy cameras and other things
- You can fix it everywhere
- By loosening the center-screw on the arm, you can move the arm to where you need it
- The arm allows the camera new perspectives
- Good alternative when tripods are not allowed
- Can also be used in many other situations – e.g. For an iPad holder or similar
Rock Solid Camera Platform, Rock Solid Master Articulating Arm, Rock Solid Master Clamp