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Left handed camera for stroke vicitm

James Burke , Feb 07, 2005; 03:21 p.m.

I'm researching cameras for a friend of mine that has very limited use of her right hand due to a stroke but still wants to pursue casual photography.

Almost all cameras seem to be designed exclusive for right handed use and can be quite challenging for someone with only use of their left hand. Another factor is that her hands are on the small size so that pretty much rules out any of the larger digital cameras or SLRs.

The question is if anyone knows of any small film or digital cameras that would be easy to use with just a left hand. Thanks in advance!


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Howard Vrankin , Feb 07, 2005; 03:40 p.m.

My son has paralysis in his right extremities because of cerebral palsey. He uses a small camera upside down, left-handed. Except for flash pictures that have the light source coming slightly from below, he seems to have no other problems. If you can find a camera that works easily one-handed, your friend could perhaps use the same technique.

Tomas Peltan , Feb 07, 2005; 03:57 p.m.

What about to consider making some grip for left hand holding with the cable or wire release attached to it? it could solve your problem, especially if you are good enough craftsman:))). I have also seen some "gun-like" (pistol-like) grip, to which the camera was attached using tripod mount - it seemed to be able to use it with either hand without any problems. The shutter release was attached to it in the same way as in the "original" gun use:))).

These ideas will be probably unusable (and I am sorry for that), but I wrote it anyway hoping there is a small possibility it might help. Good luck finding what you need.

Charles Stobbs , Feb 07, 2005; 04:13 p.m.

Maybe a trial and error approach with various small p&s cameras, especially if they have a wrist strap or with a wrist strap attached to a tripod socket might work. Good luck.

hugh crawford , Feb 07, 2005; 04:25 p.m.

The Exacta is a VERY left handed camera, but it was pretty out of date in the 60s. I am currently suffering from tendonitas in my right thumb and was looking into this myself. I think if you could adapt a pistol grip like the old Nikon Pistol Grip II to digital camera it might work for left handed use.

Mike Elek , Feb 07, 2005; 04:26 p.m.

If you want to use a film, an older SLR mounted on a tripod and fitted with a cable release would work nicely. A pan-tilt head would be best, as it can be operated with one hand. And seek a tripod with a manual crank to raise or lower the head.

The Contax 137MD Quartz would be ideal for this.

First, it's a motor drive camera, so your friend only needs to learn to rewind and load the film using one hand.

Second, it allows the use of a standard cable release that you can buy in a photo store for about $5.

Third, these aren't too expensive, because they're older. I highly suggest buying a used one, which you should be able to find on eBay for $150 at the most. You might need to replace the light seals, which someone here can help with.

Fourth, it takes a line of mostly superb Zeiss lenses.

Mark Wahlster , Feb 07, 2005; 04:28 p.m.

You will have to go a ways back but the excellent Exactas had a left hand release.

I would also think a smaller Digital camera allowing it to be held in one hand reaching over the top to press the shutter while composing in the view finder would also work.

A simular option in film would be a Canon ELPH Jr. it is an APS film camera that would be very very easy for a left hand only person to hold load and with the AF no need to try to hold the camera while focusing. Film is a little limited but Kodak has assured me they intend on making it for quite some time.

I would strongly suggest if possible you take your friend to the largest camera shop you can find and see what fits her abilities.

Good luck hope you are able to get her back shooting.

Jonathan Stark , Feb 07, 2005; 05:00 p.m.

A couple of folks have mentioned traditional Exaktas. As a user, I think some of the other ideas, e.g. small digicam, etc. probably have more promise. Exaktas are not light. Exaktas were also designed for the right hand to both bear most of the weight of the camera (at waist level), and to focus the lens. The left hand presses the shutter release, winds the film, and steadies the camera against the strength of the right hand. They're not really left-handed cameras. They're a camera with a unique and individualistic design, but they do depend on the right hand being the "stength hand."

Richard Cochran , Feb 07, 2005; 05:12 p.m.

As one who learned on an Exakta, I agree that they are, at best, two-handed cameras. They seem to be more right-handed than left-handed to me, since the right hand is what does the hard work (focusing and supporting the weight) while the left hand only has the minor job of pushing the release. The incredibly long travel of the wind lever means that winding is usually a two-handed job, removing the camera from the eye. Of course, setting exposure is something that must be done in advance, with the camera away from the eye, and it's usually a two-handed job. The shutter speed dial isn't trivial to operate with one hand.

An Olympus Stylus Epic, held upside-down, is fairly simple to use with only the left hand.

Constance Cook , Feb 07, 2005; 05:15 p.m.

Probably a digital p&s and use it as suggested upside-down. It sounds as if she would have difficulty loading and unloading film.


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