We have tried many car window mounts (also known as door brackets or car-door lens supports) but have found the best window mount to be the Eckla Eagle.
The Eckla Eagle Cardoor lens support is the winner primarily beacuse it is more versatile than the other brackets (Kirk, Badger, Camstedi) in that the height can be adjusted and it is very stable.
We enjoy using our Apex beanbag but then we need to have our lenses on the seat next to us. Not a problem when it is just Jenny and myself but sometimes our vehicle has other people that come with us on a photo safari and we cannot keep our lenses on the seat.
This is when the Eckla Eagle gets used as we can then mount our lens to the bracket and drive with it mounted! We do this primarily in the Kruger Park as the roads are tar - we would not drive with the lens mounted in Etosha or the Kgalagadi as the dust (and flying stones from speeding vehicles) would wreak havoc with the lens.
The Eckla Eagle is great, as is, for mounting inside the vehicle but then I will be driving with my camera in my face so we had to try and see if we could mount the bracket on the outside of the door. (Another good reason to have the bracket on the outside of the vehicle is if you want to use a flash. If the bracket is mounted inside the vehicle then the flash will be inside in the window frame but if it is outside then the flash will be outside where it needs to be).
The key is to ensure that the window mount and your gear are stable, meaning they will not come loose while driving and send your lens and camera hurtling to the ground.
To achieve this we (Gavin, my brother-in-law, and I) had to make two small adjustments to make it the best window mount for our needs...
All we did was unscrew the L-Plate...
and turn it around so that the long side would now slide into the window recess instead of the short side.
This will ensure that the bracket does not come out the window recess if we go over a bump in the road.
The Eckla Eagle was designed with a hinged plate that rests on the armrest inside the vehicle but because we were mounting it outside we needed to 'create' an armrest.
I asked Han Boumeester,the inventor of the bracket, and he suggested using a glass mover. A what, I hear you asking!? It's a small handle with two rubber suction cups that is used to carry sheets of glass.
Instead of just resting the hinged plate on the glass mover Gavin suggested we attach it.
We found a thin strip of metal that was an off-cut from when our garage doors were fitted...
The end had an upturned lip that was just the right angle for fitting into the slot that was already cut into the glass mover handle...
We cut the metal strip, drilled two holes into it, painted it black and screwed it onto the hinged plate of the Eckla Eagle mount...
We then drilled a hole into the handle of the glass mover...
and screwed the hinged plate to the glass mover to ensure that the mount did not come out when driving...
We next got some adhesive black velcro strips and stuck a piece of the 'soft' side onto the plate that rests against the vehicle door...
The end result is a extremely sturdy and stable car door window mount that we think deserves the title of 'best window mount'...
Please click here to download the Eagle Eckla best window mount brochure.
We purchased our Eckla window mount from Outdoor Photo Gear. Their service and prices are great...
Please keep in mind that the Eckla does have its limits.
Like most window mounts it is designed for use inside the vehicle and some photographers have no problem with this but we did not like the fact that the camera sits between the driver and the steering wheel, hence our adaptations to use it outside the vehicle.
In addition, if you want to photograph birds high in the sky you will need a right-angle view viewfinder (such as the Nikon DR-3 or DR-6 depending on your camera model).
If you are wanting to shoot subjects low-down you will obviously struggle as you cannot tip the camera and lens down and still get your head behind the camera to look through the viewfinder.
This 'problem' occurs primarily when using long lenses, which reduces the angle of declination and inclination when photographing subjects below and above your position, and adding a Tele-converter to your long telephoto lens means you need to move even further back, thereby reducing even more the up and down angles. It's not a 'problem' unique to the Eckla and most photographers work around this.
Even with our Apex beanbag this is an issue and we use the right-angle viewfinder for high subjects and for low subjects we take the camera and lens off the beanbag and rest the panning plate on the window frame. Very high and very low subjects account for a very low percentage of our photographic subjects (way under 0.5%) so it's not an issue for us.
Just like lenses, where there is no one perfect lens, there is no perfect window-mount so you need to adapt it to suit your circumstances.
We currently use the Apex beanbag for most of our self-drive and guided safaris and use the Eckla when we need space inside the vehicle as the Eckla allows us to mount the lens and drive with it mounted, thereby providing extra space inside the vehicle.
We do this primarily in the Kruger Park and Pilanesberg as many roads are tar - we would not recommend driving with the lens mounted while driving on the dirt roads of Etosha and Kgalagadi!
Another option is the GimPro, which is the most recent window/door mount to be designed and built. We have not tried it out but it looks like it could be a very good window mount.
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