Recently I've been playing around with some longer exposures during which I rotate the camera in a way that, if structured, would have the axis running down the center of the lens. Here is one such image, as you can see the center of the image doesn't show much blur while the outside shows the effect of the half-second exposure during the rotation.

Motion blur while rotating camera

Is there any sort of device - tripod head or otherwise - that would allow one to mount a camera and then provide some stabilization for a smooth rotation such as this? I've thought about starting to build such a device, but if someone else has solved the problem, I'm certainly willing to buy such a mounting mechanism...


Really Right Stuff Camera Rotation Device CRD-87 is a device designed for such use with lens without a collar. Its components are also available separately.


Never heard of a dedicated device but the easiest way to get this effect is to use a normal tripod and a lens with a tripod collar.

This feature lets you attach the lens to the tripod and then rotate the lens within the collar. If you do not know what it looks like, here is an example. A number of lenses have this feature, usually long ones but they do not have to be that long. I have a Pentax 60-250mm and Canon 70-200mm which both come with a tripod collar.

If you need other focal-lengths and do not mind spending a good chunk of money, you can probably use a spherical panoramic head. You'll have to check a few models individually but some will let you do that. I suppose you can buy two L-brackets and assemble them to get that movement too.

  • 1
    Ah, hadn't thought of a tripod collar but that would definitely work for a SLR with a longer lens... – ahockley Apr 4 '11 at 17:15

With a long telephoto, you might be able to get away with using a slightly-loosened tripod collar. If you don't mind a bit of cleanup afterward, you could apply some Vaseline to get a smoother motion. Other than that, I can't think of anything...


There are devices called Camera Rotators that might facilitate this. They're designed to let you rotate your tripod-mounted camera between portrait and landscape orientation, so most of them seem to be limited to 90 degrees of motion.

  • 2
    I've used a few of them... they all seem to fail at a couple key points listed in @ahockley's question: smooth and axis down the lens. – cabbey Apr 5 '11 at 5:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.