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Thread: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

  1. #1

    Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Question for all the photographers...who uses a camera/video bean bag and what are your experiences with them? I have found one in particular to be extremely helpful with my photography! It is perfect for setting up for those shots where you just can't use a tripod.

    Wild Grizzly Products has manufactured a new Camera Bean Bag (named Grizzly Bean Bag of course) and would like to get feedback and design ideas. They're always looking to improve on the gadgets in the marketplace and would like to hear from other photographers. The bean bags are currently used by outdoor and studio photographers, as well as eBay and Amazon sellers.

    Hope this helps!

  2. #2
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Never used one as my tripod will put the camera pretty well on the ground - lower than a bean bag in fact.

    And since I shoot almost exclusively with a tripod, there's no point in buying more gear and having to carry it around; just an added nuisance.

    I would suspect that for focus stacking, I would rather rely on the tripod.

    Glenn

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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Doesn't this smell a bit of spam? (as posted to multiple sites)

    Anyway, I have a few bean bags and often carry one, as it is a good way of keeping a camera steady. I make them myself, as it is quickly done with a sewing machine, no fuss really. I have a couple of different sizes, depending on which camera I would carry, and they are small, small enough to carry in a pocket. The Grizzly type may be good for using over a car door, as presented in marketing material, but it is far too big for me to tote around while walking, hiking, cycling. I often use a small bean bag for my compact camera that goes anywhere I go.

    I understand you'd like design ideas, and I have one, a very good design idea, but I think I will keep it to myself for a while. I might want to patent it and sell such bags myself.

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    drjuice's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    I use bean bags with the stuff that's used inside bean bag "chairs" as the "stuffing". Generally, I wind up using them when I'm in areas with wildlife that can't be trusted (try Jellystone, Everglades/Big Cypress, and Glacier) and use the larger of my bean bags to provide a firm surface by setting it to cross the top of the window storage slot from which I can take pictures with my big lens of a bear, moose, Roosevelt elk, alligator and the result looks like I'm about eyeball to eyeball with the taller ones and about 10-15 feet away from the shorter ones. I use the smaller ones on a straight back chair to take pictures of flowers and put the smaller bean bag across the chair arm while holding the camera in the customary way, but more stably than if it were completely handheld.

    I forgot to say the bigger bags are really good for catching jumping critters in the ocean as well. The best humpback picture I ever took was with my camera handheld but steady on a large bean bag which was resting on the gunwale (pronounced gun-ul, if you're not familiar with the term). The bag is big enough and has enough beans in it such that substantial amounts of the beans hold the bean bag close to the inner and outer sides of the hull so that the camera remains pretty stable unless you're in rough seas.

    I'm jes' sayin'....

    virginia
    Last edited by drjuice; 16th April 2013 at 04:49 AM. Reason: Forgot one thing

  5. #5
    MattNQ's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Personally, I have never seen the need to get one - my Joby works almost everywhere, is light & easy to carry, and I can have it sitting several inches deep in water & not have to try & dry it & the filling out later !

    Can a bean bag do this?
    Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

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    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Mmmm can't seem to track wild grizzly products on the net

    For what it's worth, though, bean bags can be very useful when wildlife shooting from a vehicle, as drjuice says. You do have to remember to turn the engine off, though! At my last safari camp the beans had to be replaced by something else - the monkeys ate all the beans

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    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Yep, my wife knocked one up for me in about ten minutes. I think it has dried rice for a filling, which could prove useful if I'm ever marooned on location!!

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    allenlennon's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Quote Originally Posted by Inkanyezi View Post
    Doesn't this smell a bit of spam? (as posted to multiple sites)
    I believe it is a spam, as he is asking about the product, and telling us about the certain prodict for which his user name has a remarkable same name as the product

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    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattNQ View Post
    Personally, I have never seen the need to get one - my Joby works almost everywhere, is light & easy to carry, and I can have it sitting several inches deep in water & not have to try & dry it & the filling out later !

    Can a bean bag do this?
    Matt:

    A bean bag might to it, although I suspect it would tend to roll down the hill.

    The Joby is a good solution in difficult places such as the one you depicted.

    I know that my tripod would work on this site too, and it could also put the camera very close to the ground if I chose.

    Glenn

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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    I find the bean bags that I use particularly helpful when shooting small things at very low camera positions, particularly at a very close distance. Then it is easy to slide the camera back and forth over the bean bag for focusing and pressing it to a suitable shape for more exact positioning. The below shots were all made with the Panasonic G1 from a bean bag on the ground with an enlarging lens mounted on extension rings (no helicoid or bellows, just rigid rings):
    http://uploads.ifokus.se/uploads/ef0...lister-006.jpg
    http://uploads.ifokus.se/uploads/c2c...lister-008.jpg
    http://uploads.ifokus.se/uploads/2f5...patica-015.jpg
    http://uploads.ifokus.se/uploads/77a...patica-010.jpg
    http://uploads.ifokus.se/uploads/9cc...vatarv-015.jpg

    I also use it on furniture indoors, or doorposts or directly against a wall, as in this shot below, which is taken with a simple compact camera without stabilisation, pressed against the wall, and a long shutter time:
    http://migrated.ifokus.se/uploads/17...a-de-marta.jpg

    Of course all could have been done with a tripod, but less comfortably, both for carrying and setting up.
    Last edited by Inkanyezi; 16th April 2013 at 08:36 PM.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    I find one useful in the car or in bird hides (blinds?), but I didn't buy it from Mrgrizzly

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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Yep,

    A bean bag is a useful addition, but the DIY sort are almost certainly better and cheaper than the one mentioned above. My grandmother used to make them out of butter beans. Polystyrene beads are likely more durable and lighter.

    Better than a Gorillapod in some situations but not others. (I wouldn't like a rice/bean filled ones getter wet). Smaller and lighter than a tripod, but all of these items are a case of 'horses for courses'. Having them all in the kit cupboard for different situation means I am lucky enough to have tried them all.

    But the delight of the commercial bean bag I did buy was because of its price. It was in the seasonal 'end of line' cheapo bin with a further 50% reduction. Hope the one mentioned can compete!!

  13. #13
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    For traveling, I often carry an empty beanbag and purchase beans or rice with which to fill it at my destination. Polystyrene beads are a great suggestion.

    I am thinking that for several shots in Venice and Istanbul that the beanbag might come in hady. I was thinking about the Rialto Bridge in venice and the Galata Tower in Istanbul...

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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    I have an old shoe pouch in my camera bag and when needed I fill it (approx 3/4 of it) with sand or whatever I find in the field

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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Sand and gravel can be the best filling for stability, and as Arslan mentions, 3/4 fill, to make it flimsy, so that it will take form after where you put it and to the camera. But as nobody would like to carry a bag of sand, and not much more a large bag with rice or other heavy stuff, large bean bags are often filled with the styrene stuff that is not as rigid as sand, beans or rice. Maybe that's why I don't use any large bean bag, but only a small one that fits in my pocket.

    I don't have large heavy cameras and don't use very long lenses. My cameras are relatively small, and I mostly use the bean bag for close-ups at low level. Sometimes I use it with some support, as a railing, a table, a chair, door or doorpost, but i find the large "saddle" types a bit unwieldy. Once where it is to be used, it might be practical, but to get it there, I'd either have to carry that weight and bulk, or find something to fill with nearby. I find a small bean bag most handy with a compact camera, so I prefer a bean bag that can be carried as easily as the camera. I have tried filling such small bean bags with the light styrene pearls of the "sacko" type chair, but those are not rigid enough to my taste.

    So I mostly use a rather small one that I can carry in my pocket. When needed, I prop it up with a stone or anything I find or use railings, fences, posts, trees or whatever I find handy.

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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    I have a Green Pod. I use it a lot for sports. This past basketball season, I used my D7000 for action shots (because of the higher fps), but I kept my D800 + my 14-24 with a PocketWizard on the floor beside me, mounted on the pod. I love it.

  17. #17
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Quote Originally Posted by cliffmccartney View Post
    I have a Green Pod. I use it a lot for sports. This past basketball season, I used my D7000 for action shots (because of the higher fps), but I kept my D800 + my 14-24 with a PocketWizard on the floor beside me, mounted on the pod. I love it.

    Oh, oh - I think the link could be cutting into sales of the Grizzly Bean Bag.

    Glenn

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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    I think many of those are a bit grisly anyway, even if practical at times. I tried the idea of the pod, and it is of course great when in operation, but not so great when you have to tote the things. I prefer the slim small bag that I can carry in a pocket, and that I use just when I want that steady shot from any kind of supporting object or surface. The pod attaches to the camera, thus is useful when you want to use the self-timer and be in the image yourself. In most other situations I would rather like the bag detached from the camera. So the one I use most is one that initially was sold as a means of de-stressing, a stress-bag, about the size of a wallet and filled with some kind of grainy stuff. I haven't opened it to find out what it is.

    The bean bag is one of the best DIY items for the camera. It really can make a difference to the pictures, and it is dead cheap compared to other paraphernalia. My first bean bag was made from the cut-off piece of a trouser leg, when adjusting it for my leg length. For some time I used a 1 kg jute bag of raw rice, as sold in the grocery store. It worked fine, but was a bit too big and heavy.

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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    I've found that the best bean bag for use when shooting from a car or truck is an 18" long piece of a Noodle as used in swimming pools by kids. The Noodle costs less than $5. Simply cut off a piece about 12 - 18 incles long and split along one side from end to end so it will slide over the slightly raised car window, and you're in business. A section of foam pipe insulation will also work, but not as well as the Noodle. You can also use it to rest your camera/lens on the hood or car roof.

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    Re: Has anyone tried a camera bean bag?

    Used extensively for wildlife shooting from a vehicle on safari. Didnt use a commercial product but something our guide provided which made an excellent shooting platform for long range shots where a tripod wasn't viable.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/1131133...56365638856994

    https://picasaweb.google.com/1131133...56713953676098

    https://picasaweb.google.com/1131133...67926059182610

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