$19 Laptop Platform For Photographers

Inexpensive laptop tray for photographers.

I was looking for a laptop tray for use while shooting tethered, and was having trouble finding one that didn’t seem overpriced. The least expensive one I could find was this one from Kupo, which at $75 isn’t that cheap, especially considering it’s not adjustable (unless used with a ball head on a tripod; neither included). Others, from Benro, Matthews, and Foba, ranged from $119 to a whopping $469. I don’t mind paying for high quality, well-built gear, but I don’t know why a simple metal plate has to cost over $100.

FStoppers has plans for a DIY laptop platform for $30, but it requires a bit more work, and is less than elegant, involving nuts and bolts and a slab of wood.

It occurred to me that a music stand might work, and those can be had for less than $50. After I began looking at music gear, I stumbled on this: a $15 laptop tray (MSA-5000 by On-Stage) with socket fit for a microphone stand. Add a $4 adapter (3/8″ female to 5/8″ male) to it, and the platform will attach to light stands, tripods, and other photo gear. If you want to really splurge, for $15 to $30 you can get an umbrella adapter, which will make the tray tilt-adjustable.

If you’re shooting outside in bright sun, you can use the $5 Dröna box from Ikea as a laptop shade (it’s 15″ wide; my 15″ Macbook fits snugly). That’s what I use, with slight modifications: I cut a slot in the side for my USB cable to reach my Macbook’s USB port, and I also cut two slots in the bottom of the box that laptop tray’s tabs fit into. Thanks to DIY Photography for that idea.

So $19 for basic laptop tray to fit a light stand or tripod; another $20 to $40 for adjustable grip and shade.

 

Parts

Parts for cheap laptop platform.

 

  • On-Stage MSA5000 Laptop Mount (shown in photo at top of page; $14.95)

  • 3/8″ Female To 5/8″ Male Threaded Screw Adapter  (above photo, bottom left; $4.95)

  • Umbrella adapter with 3/8″ stud ($13 – $33; I’d recommend a high quality model like Manfrotto 026 for the most secure setup. Be sure the umbrella adapter you get has a 3/8″ stud; the kind with a flash shoe won’t work with the laptop platform.)

  • Light stand or tripod (if you have a tripod with heavy duty ball head, you don’t need the umbrella adapter).

Attaching adapter to bottom of laptop tray.

Attaching adapter to bottom of laptop tray.

Dröna box from Ikea, used as laptop shade.

Ikea Dröna box with On-Stage laptop tray and umbrella adapter.

 

Warning: Be sure the tray is mounted securely to tripod or stand before adding laptop. You might want to use a strap or something similar for safety, to be sure the laptop doesn’t slip off.

 

1 Comment $19 Laptop Platform For Photographers

  1. joe

    i find this funny because a true hardware and thread size nerd would already have mic stands and not need an adapter

    Reply

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