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Tripod, Beanbags & Other Rests

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bert
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Re: Just got my 100-400mm L finally - what beanbag / support?

Unread post by bert » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:48 pm

Simple bean bag
buy a small cushion/pillow ( for chairs) with a zipper
And fill with beans
btw, you will find using the IS on the lens does work when shooting from a car resting the lens on the window sill does also work.

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Re: Just got my 100-400mm L finally - what beanbag / support?

Unread post by Massimo » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:23 am

Hey guys, I use a sigma 150-500 which is a much heaver lens than they 100-400L. What you can do for the car is just take a simple pillow. Just test which one will help you with regards to the height as you dont want your camera by the roof of your car :mrgreen: .

and make sure that when you snapping away that the people in the car are sitting still and that "most important" that the car is turned off.

Might be going for a weekend trip to Kruger in November. Just wondering what body you using on the Lens?
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Re: Just got my 100-400mm L finally - what beanbag / support?

Unread post by JohnGore » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:08 am

Thanks for the responses RUMURUTI , bert and Massimo!

I actually went to the camera shop yesterday to pick up a serviced lens, and had a look at the window mount bracket and head. Its a Vanguard PH-304 . I had previously written off this as an option for my own uses, but once I felt the build quality and smooth fluid dampened pan and tilt function, as well as the resistance "settings" available, I decide to buy it! :lol: Also tested it in shop with a heavy body and lens combo, and was very impressed. In the end, it was around R500 and worth a try. One last point, the mounting clamp can open very wide (not just 5mm for the car window, but can open and clamp up to about 4cm thick! Ideal for in a hide?)

Also got a small bean bag from them at the same time. This way my wife can use the one, while I use the other. ;) We tend to have slightly different tastes in things, and often the one prefers a certain lens / focal length more than the other, and we swop when the opportunity arises.

Enough about all that.

Massimo wrote:I use a sigma 150-500 which is a much heaver lens than they 100-400L.


Agreed, it is heavy! doh! I have tested the Sigma bigma 50-500mm (friend has had one for many years), and done an outing with a 170-500mm Sigma (FIL has one), and found both to be wonderful lenses! But the weight was a bit much (even shooting out the window of the car) all day. Got some great shots with them though! Did not test the 150-500mm sigma with OS (IS), so can't comment, but have held one in shop.

Then I got to try the 100-400mm , and the faster AF and great IS, and being noticeably lighter is easier to hold steady hand held when needed, all added up to my decision to go for this lens. Got to use one for a whole day shooting a cycle race, and shot 3000 images in 1 day, almost all exactly the same! :wall: I was very happy with results! Over 90% of the total images were sharp, and often got 3 , sometimes even 4 sharp images of separate cyclists (almost fulling the frame) in 1 second :shock: . Method was to pan through the pack of cyclists using AI-servo mode, with shutter half pressed (constantly focusing), and then just dab the shutter down as each cyclist passed through the centre of the frame. I doubt it would be possible to get such consistent results with a non L lens. Now that my mind was made up, it has take the better part of the year before I finally actually bought the lens! haha!

Also looked at the prime L lenses, but the lack of versatility was a deal breaker for me (and of course the price!). Quality is better (argued in fractions IMO), but I dont want to have to carry 3 boddies around to cover the range. Often wildlife walking towards you (elephants for eg.) require the image to be composed again and again, which is harder with a prime. For me the (very) small difference in quality between primes vs 100-400mm is made up for by the versatility of the lens.

Enough about that (can you tell I'm excited?? :P )

Massimo wrote:Might be going for a weekend trip to Kruger in November. Just wondering what body you using on the Lens?

Cool, we must try meet up if you are there between 10 - 15 Nov. My wife and I + 1 back seat friend will now be shooting with:
40D with battery grip with 100-400mm on window mount
40D with 17-85mm on beanbag
20D with sigma 70-300 (non IS)
Sony HDR-CX110E (HD hanycam for video clips :P )

I have had all these bodys more than a year now, and have been looking at "upgrading" at least 1 to a 7D / 5D mkII , but to be honest these bodies (40D and 20D) perform wonderfully, are "cheep", and 40D fires off 6.5 frames per second all day long. (also have about 10 spare batteries, and all these cameras all use the same, 7D uses new battery format) Decided to go for upgrading glass rather, and keeping these bodies for at least another year.

I am yet to see leopard in the wild, and really hoping to get lucky this time. We spent 6 days in Kruger in Jan 2010, and had wonderful sightings, and did actually see leopard on a night drive, about 150m away (I kid you not), but it was spooked by the 20 screaming tourists, and climbed out the tree. Grrr.

What equipment do you use?

Any further tips for using the 100-400mm (or other "heavy lenses") would be very much appreciated.

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Re: Just got my 100-400mm L finally - what beanbag / support?

Unread post by DuQues » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:20 am

Further tips....

When walking extend the lens a little and tighten it again. Then your fingers will comfortably fit between body, lens and tripod stand.

Get the knack of telling your thumb where the buttons are. The important one is the distance button (for lack of a better name). If your subject is further away switch it to the 8 meters to infinity setting, that saves you some hunting if there is grass or branches in the way. (And if it doesn't want to focus on nearby things remember that you have to switch back, it's not the camera playing up on you, it's the setting. I have used some choice words before realising that. :redface: :lol: )

Always, always have the lenshood attached!!!

Keep an eye on the IS switch. Mine used to have the annoying habit of slipping into off mode. That may have been the beanbag, or my hands, or?
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Re: Tripod or monopod headache

Unread post by big5spotter » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:22 am

I have both and tend to use my mono-pod far more than my tri-pod.Mono-pod smaller, easier to handle, carry around.Only time I have used the tri-pod is when shooting the moon or stars.
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Re: Tripod or monopod headache

Unread post by bert » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:25 am

100-400 will be used for wildlife/birds around camp
And with IS on the monopod will do just fine

Or with high ISO (400) you will still get great frozen images

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Re: Tripod or monopod headache

Unread post by Bushbaby30 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:21 am

Thanks for the replies!
Looks like a monopod is my best option for now. Can anybody tell me which one will be good enough for my camera and lens combo and will still let my sister speak to me? The guys at the camera shop was so useless and just gave me the most expensive one to look at!
Any recommendations?

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Re: Tripod or monopod headache

Unread post by Alko » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:55 am

Hi Bushbaby,

For my Nikon D90, I use a VANGUARD Tracker AP-244 monopod with a Vanguard Ballhead. Not so expensive but works fine for me.

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Re: Tripod or monopod headache

Unread post by PAPA SMURF » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:12 pm

Just a further thought . With only one leg extended a tripod becomes a mono-pod, and you have the best of both. I also prefer a beanbag but as I shoot with "L" lenses, in camp I hand hold the rig.
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Bean bags(camera steady)

Unread post by H. erectus » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:32 pm

Any suggestions with regard to size, shape,
filling,...etc.
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Re: Bean bags(camera steady)

Unread post by michel367 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:06 pm

Just remember H.E.
Size does not matter. :lol:
Stability.
I have used a rolled up pair of socks put on my window and it worked very well. Or a piece of pool noodle.

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Re: Bean bags(camera steady)

Unread post by oddesy » Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:16 pm

HE, the pool noodle like michel mentioned works great and is lite and quick to use. A proper bean bag however will provide much more stabilisation but then again it does depend on the camera or camera/lens combo you have?

one that fits on either side of the window is best if its a single bag the window can just displace all the rice/beans and give you no support. Bigger is better though and always switch your car off otherwise those pesky vibrations just travel all the way up.
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Re: Newbie - Camera Package

Unread post by DuQues » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:53 am

Tripod: 190XPROB
I have that one myself, and love it. Quick to set up, light (1.8 kilo) and fairly small when not in use, so easy to sling into your luggage.

Binoculars... I am assuming you want to also bird with them, not too expensive, definitely not too heavy?
The I will certainly suggest these: Bushnell 8x42 NatureView Binoculars.
We recently bought these and they are indeed fantastic.
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Re: Camera accessory

Unread post by EOS_User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:11 am

Hi Mutiman;

I bought one just last week; specifically for my upcoming trip :D

It's effectively a compact beanbag that screws onto the tripod mount of your long lens; which means when you're swinging the lens around from one side of the car to the other, the 'beanbag' stays with you; minimising the amount of time you need to set-up on the other side...

Only been able to give it a brief test so far, (planning to give it a workout at a 'safari-park' next week before we go); but I see no reason why it won't work in practice... (I'm still taking a beanbag just in case); but on the face of things; it looks good...

Cheers...

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Re: Camera accessory

Unread post by DuQues » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:21 am

Tried it, and gave it away. It's nice for compacts, but for the lenses we use (300+ mm) it's way too small.
And it has an additional hindrance, it screws on, so if you need to turn the lens a bit to keep the horizon level it works against you. Especially if you decide to go for portrait photography.
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