Dumb idea: DIY camera accessory box

An idle mind is an incubator for dumb ideas. My latest hack proves just that. If you happen to wield a seriously heavy piece of machinery like a Nikon D800, it's tempting to leave the photo bag with everything in it behind and head out with just a camera on a strap and a few essentials like a spare battery, an extra storage card, and other bits.

You can the tuck lose items into pockets, or pack them in a pouch. That's what I did anyway, until one day I thought that it would actually be pretty nifty to have a box with all the essentials in it that I can somehow attach to the camera itself. It sounded like a dumb enough DIY project for a lazy weekend, so I went to work.

Step 1: Proof of concept

A quick dive into storage boxes produced a plastic box and adhesive pads. Five minutes later I have a usable, albeit wobbly and not entirely secure, proof of concept.

Let's build a prototype first

Camera, plastic box, adhesive pads

The box turned out to be perfectly sized for storing a cable, a battery, a storage card — with room to spare for other useful bits.

Yup, that's exactly what I had in mind

Camera with the accesssory box attached

Step 2: A more permanent solution

Satisfied with the initial prototype, I rummaged through the boxes once again in search of a screw I could use to attach the box to the tripod mount at the bottom of the camera. I didn't find a screw that would fit. But I did find an ultra low-profile anchor mount that came with a Peak Design Slide strap. All I had to do was to make a hole in the box and use the anchor mount to attach the box to the bottom of the camera.

This looks better and infinitely more secure

Plastic box attached to the tripod mount

Step 3: Success

For a dumb idea such as this, the final result turned out to be quite usable.

Perfect fit, and there is still room left for small bits

Packed carry box

Further improvements

The plastic box I used has some flex to it. So the next step is to procure a more sturdy case and add compartments for organizing individual items and preventing them from rattling. While the anchor mount does its job, screwing and unscrewing the box is a bit awkward. Perhaps using Velcro would be a more practical solution.


If for some reason you want to build an accessory box for your camera, I have two tips for you.

  • Position the box so that it's flush with the backside of the camera. Otherwise the protruding part will make it awkward to use the camera.
  • Make sure that the box doesn't block the door of the battery compartment. That one is obvious.