The Eckla Eagle Car Door Lens Support
In various circumstances a car can make a useful hide from which to photograph wildlife. Many wild animals view a motor vehicle with less suspicion & caution than they do a human. However controlling a large telephoto lens that is poking out of a car window is not an easy thing. One simple solution is to rest a bean bag on the car door but on many occasions it would be good to have a more solid solution.
This is where the Eckla Eagle comes in. The Eagle provides a solid platform upon which to mount your gimbal or other tripod head. Even if you wish to use a simple bean bag solution, the Eagle provides a broader platform for such.
As can be seen the Eckla Eagle is a stout piece of manufacturing. Made from substantial aluminium plate with stainless steel fittings, I expect to be using this piece of kit for many years to come.
The bracket at the top in the first picture above, is designed to clamp on to a car door with the window fully open. It is also possible to reverse this bracket and after attaching the supplied piece of rubber, clamp on to the window glass itself. Whilst this is useful for car windows that do not fully open, I prefer clamping to the door itself; as shown in the second picture. In this picture you can see how the adjustable bottom plate rests against the door’s arm rest and so supports the weight of your camera & lens. Also seen above, protruding through the main plate, is the 3/8″ threaded bolt for mounting your camera head. All adjustment bolts are fitted with good sized hand knobs and included on the main plate is a bubble level to assist in level mounting. All metal edges are safely rounded off and the bottom plate is finished off with plastic covers so that it does not damage you car upholstery.
I have been using the Manfrotto 393 head (as previously reviewed) with the Eagle and so shall illustrate this review with its use. I believe any other 3/8″ threaded gimble head will function equally as well.
Adjusting the Eagle is made a simple task by the well thought out hand knobs, so no need for spanners or sore fingers. Attaching your camera head is similarly accomplished and it is possible to slide the head towards front or back of the main plate, as desired. The photo above is with the Manfrotto 393 now mounted to it:
These pictures are taken on the front passenger door of our family Renault. I’ve found that with the seat slid completely back there is a comfortable working position that allows good mobility with the lens. If working from a vehicle with a bench seat, such as some Land Rovers, the working situation will be even better.
Pictured below is the complete rig with camera & lens attached.
In this setup I have felt the camera & lens to be secure and easily used to pan with creatures moving past the side of the car. The rig also works well for more static shots and it is nice to be able to relax with the camera held firmly in position while you wait for the wildlife to appear.
I have driven slowly across farmland with everything in place but great care is needed particularly since the lens is protruding from the side of the vehicle.
Alternative use: I have one permanent timber hide at home and it has been possible to minorly adjust the window shelf to accept the Eagle. This has removed the clutter of needing a tripod in what is a relatively small space; a substantial bonus.
The Eckla Eagle is a well built & useful addition for anyone expecting to use their vehicle as a mobile hide. Having previously used some of the ‘cheap’ car window clamps available for smaller equipment; I can tell you that they are not comparable to this product, the Eagle is far more substantial and truly fit for purpose.
At the time of writing the Eagle retails for about £150 in the UK.
Manufacturer’s link: Eckla Germany
Positives: Strong, Versatile, Stable
Negatives: Not the cheapest car mount
Overall: If you shoot with long telephotos from a car then consider getting one of these as soon as you can.