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Tools we like: the Camera Muzzle  
Tuesday, May 9, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

For nearly six years, we've used a Camera Muzzle enclosure to help squelch shutter and mirror noise in shooting situations that require a more muted photographer presence.

Making pictures during church services, in quiet concert environments and even during small-group meetings, all these situations benefit from the fabric blimp's ability to knock back the sound output of a modern digital SLR. Combine that with the fact the camera's controls remains fairly accessible inside the blimp and the Camera Muzzle has become an essential photo accessory here.

It doesn't completely eliminate the clunk and whir of the camera reaching the ears of those nearby, but it does reduce the intrusiveness of the sound more than enough to allow a fly-on-the-wall shooting style when necessary. And it does this without making the camera unwieldy to use or turning your right hand into a sweaty prune. If you shoot in courtrooms (unlike our American neighbours, there are few jurisdictions in Canada where this is allowed), you're likely to find the Camera Muzzle indispensable.

While we've been using the Camera Muzzle for awhile, it's been some time since we checked in with Sam Cranston, the product's inventor, about its status. Now the Assistant Managing Editor for Photography at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Cranston says he's still actively developing the Camera Muzzle and selling it through two U.S. pro photo retailers.

In a recent email exchange, Cranston notes that the Camera Muzzle has been refined considerably since the early days. There is now a single model designed to fit Canon, Nikon and other brands of digital SLR, with room inside to accept larger bodies such as those in Canon's 1-series. It features a clear panel over both the rear and top LCDs, a stitched eyepiece opening that's shaped to fit Canon cameras (but mates equally well with Nikon models, including the D2H, D2X and D2Hs, says Cranston), zippered access for insertion of the camera body and an attachable baffle for 70-200mm f/2.8-size lenses.

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Keeping it Quiet: Views of the current, one-size-fits-all version of the Camera Muzzle. (Photos by Sam Cranston)

If you shoot on movie sets or in similar hush-hush locations, where the camera has to be silent rather than just quiet, then a full-on solution like the Jacobson Sound Blimp is a better choice. But for practically any other situation we can think of, the Camera Muzzle will do a superb job of taming camera noise without overly reducing camera usability.

The Camera Muzzle is sold exclusively by Roberts Distributors and Penn Camera; as of this writing, however, the product is on backorder at each location. Cranston estimates that both stores' shelves will be restocked with fresh Camera Muzzles towards the end of May 2006. Both U.S. retailers will ship the Camera Muzzle domestically, and each will on occasion ship outside the U.S. as well, though prospective purchasers not based in the U.S. should contact the retailer directly to discuss payment and shipping options. To reach Penn Camera, send an email to Jeff Snyder; to reach Roberts Distributors, send an email to Jody (Jonathan) Grober.

Revision History
 Revised the buying information for prospective purchasers outside the U.S. (May 9, 2006)

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