Physical disability & your equipment.

Started Dec 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
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R Neuschul
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Physical disability & your equipment.
Dec 17, 2013

Does anyone here suffer from any form or degree of restricted physical capability?

My wife suffers from a form of degenerative arthritis which is increasingly restricting both the extent of angular and the degree of axial/rotational movement in many joints; this condition also significantly reduces the physical force she can apply to every-day objects - her hands no longer grip properly on jars and other objects, whilst even opening a standard tyvek mailing bag or jiffy bag, opening an amazon parcel or locking the legs of a tripod can all be very challenging for her, depending on how badly affected she is from day to day.

One of the other annoying issues for her is products with over-packaging or badly designed packaging, such as blister-packages used for batteries and other small objects which utilise dense plastics which are almost impossible to open without a very sharp craft or packing knife and strong hands.

Overall this means that taking pictures - one of her great passions in life - is now a fairly major undertaking often requiring significant pre-planning; there's rarely any impulse "let's go for a walk" shooting any more. It's also now an activity she can rarely undertake on her own except with the very lightest of cameras - and then only when the controls are suitably ergonomic such that they don't require too much range of extension of the hands to use the controls or too much strength/force to hold the camera. All of which means that when she wants to go out to take pictures she's often dependent on the good graces of other people in a manner which can be challenging for both parties: she hates that dependency and also hates the sense of "imposing" on others in that way. Perhaps the greatest impact is that loss of spontaneity.

This message is most definitely not an appeal for sympathy; it's an enquiry about the overall design of equipment. Designs or adaptations which allow those who suffer in similar ways to continue to with their hobby and/or profession. As a one-time engineer I now find myself looking at the designs of many physical objects with very different eyes over the last 10-12 years since my wife started to suffer in this way: a simple example in photography would be tripods which use either very short lever-arm locks or small rotating lock-collars on legs and extensions which require significant force to shut/open [significant as measured by people like my wife, not by those with normal mobility and strength].

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from such mobility/strength restrictions? If so how are you/they coping? What adaptations have you/they made to equipment in order to cope? What are the significant daily irritants in photographic life? What would you change about product designs to make photographic life easier?

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