Car camera mount - roof rack

Hi, did someone tried to mount a camera up a roof rack?

Mounting a pipe tube with a camera on such a roof rack should give some pretty nice pictures. It’s higher and there is probably no problem with car parts in the picture or mirroring in the windshield.

Imagine something like this with a camera ahead: https://www.syncro-system.biz/api/img/allpurpose-roof-rack-with-steel-and-aluminum-tube-carrier_10339.jpg

if its just one camera you are thinking of mounting then using a monopod like this might suit you either and its quick enough to put up and take down when you dont need it


probably not great for long journeys though since the window has to be open slightly :slight_smile:

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i was looking for ways to mount cameras on roof railings, so not a complete rack, but everything seems to be “pro-grade” and fairly expensive, unless you go for a clamping apparatus of some sort. but then you get the anxiousness of how stable it is.

I did it using a railing:


(Sorry for the dirty car :smiley: )

Here’s what I use besides the Mi sphere camera:

Railing
Mount + Adapter
For securing the setup: Magnet, these metal ropes and zip ties.

The railing was the cheapest I found and considering that it’s okay. It’s making noises at 50+kmh because of the bottom being open, but I don’t care too much.

The ishoxs stuff is great though. I was sceptical that the camera could bend backwards from the wind, but it survived 100kmh. Didn’t test anything above that though.

The magnet has exactly the right strength for this. It won’t fall off or move no matter what you’re doing but you can still get it off with enough power applied.

I’ve attached a cable to the camera and wrapped it around the setup a couple of times to secure it, then went to the interior through the passenger side window.

All in all I’m happy, now I’m just missing time to actually use it. Couldn’t take much pictures with it yet, but here are some examples. Unfortunately I messed up the camera’s resolution setting so the pictures aren’t as sharp as they could’ve been, also I didn’t notice the cable is so far in the picture. Next time I’ll do better pics, this ride was more or less just speed testing the setup anyway.

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I’m using this custom mount.


It is semi permanent mount, so no fast dissassembly from roof rack. 4 screws are holding metal “base plate”. But I rarely use roof rack for transport, so it’s not problem.
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Now that is actually a good idea! How do you fix the monopod?

i have it tucked into the pocket of the door. luckily enough i have to bend it slightly to make it fit so it stays fairly snug just by itself

when i get onto the main roads and start driving faster the wind pushes it back but clipping on the gopro beside it was an easy fix for that

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apologies for the silly question, but where do you actually attach the magnets? I’ve seen a setup here that basically puts them on the corners of the roof, pulling the safety cables from the camera, but don’t think that’s the case here

I’ve just noticed the photo is without the magnets… oops!

But yeah, I do it the same way - I attach them in front of the camera as far as possible so that the rope is stretched to a maximum (to avoid the camera bending backwards from the wind)

Edit: I forgot, that’s only the case for the two pictures I’ve posted above; but you can see the connection to the magnet in the front right part of the roof in the published Mapillary sequence I have linked above.

This is how I once did it.

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oh right.
I am still hoping driving below 60kph would be safe enough with just a dji suction mount and no magnets

I had success at 50kph with this but I returned it for the safer setup I posted above. However if you want to go for suction cup and use the dji one I think it’s fine up to 60k, the dji mount even has 3 suction cups instead of just one afaik

To put the camera on the car roof I currently use a triple suction cup mount with 9 cm diameter cups. Once in a while one of the cup won’t stick when I put it in place. So be sure to verify that each suction cup sticks after putting the camera in place. Also I have a bottle of water and cloth so I can clean the roof before putting the camera in place (I also use it to clean the windshield since I also take front-facing pictures with my smartphone).

In any case I never found more than one non-sticky cup even when driving on uneven small roads (90 km/h) or on expressways (130 km/h) in winter. Plus everything is secured via a secondary cord that’s attached to the hand grips of the rear seats inside the car.

Note that suction cups don’t like cold very much but I still had success taking pictures in december and january when the temperature was below 10°C. Anyway, when it gets really cold the other problem you’ll face is frost on the camera lens.

Up the suction cups are a couple of aluminum GoPro extension arms. The aluminum arms are much stiffer than the plastic ones so I like them better.

And finally for the camera I use a KeyMission mount and a silicon cover so I can thread a cable to (hopefully) secure the camera in case the rest breaks off. Regarding the 1/4" mount, make sure to use the KeyMission one (just cut the pin that sticks out). The little round ones won’t reliably remain screwed tight.

For high-speed runs make sure the camera faces sideways: this minimizes wind drag, prevents the articulated extension arms from just folding, and almost entirely avoids bug splatter on the lens. In fact, I point the Mi Sphere to the left so that when I step out of the car I can see the leds blinking and thus easily check that the camera is still taking pictures in interval mode.

Here are the parts I use so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about:

Triple suction cup mount:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/SHOOT-Large-Small-Size-Car-Windshield-Suction-Cup-for-GoPro-Hero-6-5-7-Session-Sjcam/32836463522.html

Aluminum extension arms:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/SHOOT-Aluminum-Alloy-Helmet-Stick-for-GoPro-Hero-5-4-3-SJCAM-SJ4000-Eken-h9-Sport/32815361970.html

KeyMission mount:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/For-Nikon-KeyMission-360-Camera-Mount-Conversion-Adapter-GoPro-Accessory/32816485285.html

Xiaomi Mi Sphere silicon cover:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Silicon-Cover-Case-Skin-Cap-Protector-for-Xiaomi-Mijia-360-Panoramic-Camera/32822423625.html

Fish line and ties to secure it all (selected for its thickness so it’s not too sharp):
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/50Pcs-Set-Reusable-Nylon-Magic-Tape-Hook-Loop-Cable-Cord-Ties-Tidy-Straps-Organiser-Cable-Winder/32810578685.html
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/100M-japan-multifilament-braided-fishing-line-150LB-200LB-250LB-supper-strong-saltwater-fishing-8X-fishing-tools/32801831283.html

Add some GoPro screws from wherever.

Throw in an additional 10000 mAh USB battery in a mesh bag attached to the suction cup mount, a 128 MB microSD card, and you’re good for 8+ hour drives.

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thanks, that sounds like a good setup.
I was planning to do capture in sub-zero temperatures, but (probably luckily) the weather wasn’t great.
My idea for the setup involves some tethers for the cameras going into the interior (might dent the car, but keep the cameras at least), as well as power supplied from the lighter socket to all cameras.
Fusion goes on the dji mount with an aluminium selfie stick to elevate it, gopros go on the gopro suction mounts, and potentially extension arms like the ones you posted.
now I just need the time to set it all up