Basic challenges

When you try to set up your laptop for tethered shooting, generally in a studio-like environment, you face a few challenges:

  • how are you going to secure the laptop so that it is

a) in a comfortable height and

b) not falling off when you touch it inadvertantly or by pulling on the USB tethering cable?

  • how are you securing the USB cable on the camera so that it doesn’t fall off or gets disconnected when you move around?

 

Solutions

There are a few professional solutions on the market to solve these problems, of which the company Tether Tools is probably the most known. But as always, as soon as you label something as specially made for photography, the price skyrockets.

So what did I do to solve this problem for me and why might this be a great solution for you if you are using it in a hobbyist or semi-pfoessional context?

 

Household gear

In fact, I made a short list of what I needed and then I first looked around me in my house to see what is available:

  • a platform to put the laptop on nice and practical height
  • clamps to secure it (without of course squeezing or damaging it)
  • options to avoid the cables are on tension on the computer and might fall off
  • how to fix the usb cable on the camera to avoid it being on tension

 

After strolling around the house, I was happy to see that the only thing I really needed to buy was the USB cable with a repeater (essential if you are using longer cables as the signal falls off). The short adapter cable is provided by Fuji in the camera box.

 

Putting everything in practice

Support tables

I had a column / podest that I inherited from my grandmother and which I use to put the laptop on a very nice height. 

An other option is the use of an old slide projector if you have one.

Securing the laptop

I used my Wolfcraft clamps ( DE , UK, US , FR )* to secure the laptop on the platform. But be gentle, don’t crash the case. A gentle pressure is enough to avoid tipping the laptop.

A nice side-effect is the possibility to push the cables through the clamps to avoid direct tear (you could even make an additional loop).

I even sometimes use a third clamp with which I “squeeze” very gently the power cable to fix it to the podest in order to avoid that it falls off (specific to Apple products with MagSafe 1 and 2)

Cable

I got a nice cable from CSL Computers ( DE , UK , FR )* which works perfectly well (I currently have the USB 2 version, depending on your camera you may also check the USB 3 option ( DE , UK )* ).

 

Securing the tether cable

The most simple solution is to use an elastic band. A more elaborate solution, which is also useful for a lot of other stuff, is the use of whips (from Think Tank ( DE , UK , US ) * ).

Price difference

A short price comparison, based on today’s (December 10, 2017) prices on Amazon in Germany shows a huge difference between the Tether Tools option compared to my solution (and this is not a criticism of TetherTools, they surely have fine products, it’s just about showing other options):

Tether Tools

  • Aero Tether Table: 260,50 EUR
  • TetherPro USB 3.0 cable: 48,65 EUR
  • JerkStopper: 30,98 EUR
  • Total: 340,13 EUR

My solution

  • Wolfcraft Clamps: 2 x 15,85 EUR = 31,70 EUR
  • Pulse laptop stand: 28,56 EUR
  • Think Tank Red Whips (=10 pieces): 21,10 EUR
  • USB 3.0 repeater cable: 15,85 EUR
  • Total: 97,21 EUR

This is a 71% saving compared to the Tether Tools option (and only if you don’t have standard elastic bands or clamps at home, in this case you could save even more).

Gear list

Tether Tools solution

  • Tether Tools JerkStopper   ( DE , UK , US , FR ) *
  • Tether Tools TetherPro USB 3.0 Active Extension USB Cable 5 m Orange   (
  •  , UK , US , FR ) *
  • Tether Tools Aero Tether Table Traveler 40x35cm, black   ( DE , UK , US , FR ) *

My solution

  • Whips: Think Tank Red Whips, Pack of 10   ( DE , UK , US ) *
  • Cable: USB repeater cable:
    • CSL – 5m (meters) USB 2.0 Repeater-/extension lead active with signal amplification   ( DE , UK , FR ) *
    • CSL – 5m (metres) USB 3.0 active repeater / extension cable with signal amplification   ( DE , UK ) *
  • Clamp: Wolfcraft 3457000 1 EHZ PRO 65-300 One-hand Clamp   ( DE , UK , US , FR ) *
  • Laptop stand alternatives
    • Pronomic PT-2 projector- and projector cart   ( DE , UK , FR ) *
    • Hama Projection Table 30X40Cm   ( DE , UK , FR ) *
    • Pulse PLS00318 Stand for Laptop/Projector   ( DE , UK , FR ) *

 

 

 

Please note that the links marked with an * are affiliate links. These may provide my with a small commission, but will not add any cost to your purchases. Thanks for your support.

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