How often have you attended an illegal street drag race or sat at a world famous surf spot and you didn’t have your tripod with you, but you wished you had? Or that you owned a tripod in the first place?
One of the most important aspects of photography is camera stability.
More stability = better photos.
The photography pros will tell you that slow shutter speed photography requires a deathly still camera.
In fact, if you want any photo to come out crisp, you need your camera stable.
How do you stabilise your camera?
You could invest in a remote control for your camera, but you’d still need one thing…
A tripod is a staple of photography. Without the tripod, those superb long exposure shots featuring stripey stars won’t be possible.
But the tripod is a bulky thing; a bit of a schlep to carry.
Even travel tripods are bulky
Someone needed to come up with an alternative.
So someone did. And it fits inside your pocket.
I’m not fond of the name of this product. But a bad name is forgivable if the product is amazing.
This one is.
It fulfils the role of a tripod so well that it’s a must have photography tool.
It’s called the Mini Plaster Hand, by Mini Orenji.
The name brings to mind a broken wrist, which takes me back to the time I was an apprentice toolmaker and broke my foot by dropping a 100 kg steel casting on it.
My foot was anything but mini after that accident. More like, Maxi Plaster Foot.
The Mini Plaster Hand’s functionality more than makes up for the lack of a good name.
Let’s take a closer look at why the Mini Plaster Hand is such an amazing product.
How does the Mini Plaster work?
The Mini Plaster Hand consists of an aluminium camera mount—which looks like a belt buckle—to which one end of a nylon strap—which looks like a safety belt—is attached.
The other end of the nylon strap houses an aluminium clip. (I’ll tell you what it’s for soon.)
To the untrained eye, the Plaster Hand looks like a funky belt.
And much like a belt, the nylon strap is looped around an object and connects with the main body at the other end.
The Plaster Hand is in its element when you wrap it around a hand-railing. Place the camera mount on top of the railing, swing the nylon strap around and slip it through the buckle.
The clip end of the nylon strap should now be hanging down.
Now, if you attach a heavy object, such as the Bobby anti-theft backpack, to the clip, the heavy object applies downward force, which tightens the nylon strap around the railing, which stabilises the aluminium buckle.
Your camera is now sturdy and ready for ultra stable photography.
Once you’re done taking pics, remove your camera from the mount, unhook the weight you attached to the aluminium clip, slip the nylon strap back through the buckle, roll up the Plaster Hand and put it away.
If there isn’t a hand railing to wrap the Plaster Hand around, fret not.
They designed the Mini Plaster Hand to stand on the aluminium buckle.
At a folded size of 82 mm x 60 mm x 27 mm, the Mini Plaster Hand fits into your pocket with ease, provided you don’t have a hamburger in there already.
The total length of the strap is 500 mm and the Plaster Hand weighs in at 103 g, thanks to the lightweight aluminium construction. Also, a nylon strap isn’t the heaviest of items.
Your camera’s weight plays a major role in how you use the Mini Plaster Hand.
Mini Orenji’s tests reveal that you can mount a weight of up to 1.5 kgs to a rail of up to 2.5 inches.
If your camera exceeds the 1.5 kg limit, use a rail of 3 inches or above.
Mini Orenji warns to test the product in a safe environment before using it in the real world.
For argument’s sake, let’s see how large a round object the Plaster Hand can be used on.
Let’s give the nylon strap a safe working length of ~400 mm. This leaves us with 100 mm of strap that can be used to add a weight to.
Going by those calculations, you should be able to attach the Plaster Hand to a round object of up to ~130 mm (5.11 inches) in diameter.
Let’s compare a travel tripod to the Mini Plaster Hand, so you have an idea of the difference in size.
The MeFOTO A1350Q1T Aluminium Roadtrip Travel Tripod, (the best travel tripod, according to The Wirecutter) has a minimum height of 391,16 mm (15.4 inches).
The Mini Plaster Hand is 82 mm at its widest point (when rolled up).
The Mini Plaster Hand is more than four times shorter than a travel tripod.
The main body of the Mini Plaster Hand is made from an anodised aluminium alloy.
The strap is made from nylon webbing, the same kind used to make seat belts from.
Mini Orenji says the nylon strap is non-slip. Their promo video shows them using the Plaster Hand in drizzly conditions. (Although you can see that the area they strap it to was cleaned off first; this is probably how you’ll be using it too, so that’s OK.)
Once you have a weight hanging from the strap, the Mini Plaster Hand won’t go anywhere. Your camera is secure, so get snap happy.
For maximum stability, mount the Plaster Hand close to a hand-railing support.
If you mount it in the middle of a long hand-railing and there’s no support structure around, your Mini Plaster Hand won’t be stable.
According to Mini Orenji, their Plaster Hand takes almost any type of camera, from point-and-click, to mirror-less, to mid-sized DSLR cameras.
Mini ball-head attachments
Mini Orenji makes two mini ball-head attachments for the Mini Plaster Hand. These ball-head attachments act as extensions that offer your camera lift.
The smaller ball-head extension gives you a load capacity of up to 1.2 kgs, while the larger gives a load capacity of up to 3 kgs. Both give you an extra 50 mm of height.
The smaller ball-head is designed to handle small, mirror-less cameras or small digital cameras. The larger is designed to handle DSLR cameras.
Legal to use
I was dumbstruck to learn that tripods are forbidden in some public places.
I couldn’t get my head around why a good-looking three-legged piece of aluminium would not be allowed to stand around and be productive.
The closest answer Google could supply me with was that it might be a tripping hazard.
OK, that makes sense, kind of.
(Or perhaps photographers making use of tripods are perceived as terrorists earmarking public places to vandalise or blow up later.)
The Mini Plaster Hand is the perfect companion, in that case, since it’s in no one’s way.
Photos taken using the Mini Plaster Hand
To view more photos taken with the help of the Mini Plaster Hand, visit Mini’s Flickr page.
Want to buy the Mini Plaster Hand?
You can choose from three options. You can buy the Mini Plaster Hand as a standalone item, or the Mini Plaster Hand with a 3 kg capacity ballhead, or the Mini Plaster Hand Superpack.
Here’s the pricing:
- Mini Plaster Hand standalone
- Mini Plaster Hand + 3 kg capacity ballhead
- Mini Plaster Hand Superpack
The Superpack contains the following items:
- Mini Plaster Hand
- 3kg capacity ballhead
- GoPro adaptor
- Smartphone adaptor
- 1/4 to 3/8 adaptor
The Mini Plaster Hand looks like an amazing product. It saves you needing a tripod whenever you’re on the move. This is a must-have travel item for those travellers who would love to up their photography game without having to bulk up their travel gear.
Find out more about the Mini Plaster Hand at Mini Orenji’s website.