Camera Q: Neck pillow vs bean bag?

May 4th, 2006, 02:34 PM
  #1  
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Camera Q: Neck pillow vs bean bag?

I have extra blow up neck pillows and was going to take that to use for the camera. I know allot of people take or make a bean bag. Is the bean bag really superior? Thanks
ALadyNCal is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 03:38 PM
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I know that Sundowner on this forum did just that - because I asked her! She said it worked fine.
cooncat3 is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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how do you use the bean bags for cameras or even a neck pillow? Basic question, but just couldn't visualize this.
lovetodiscover is offline  
May 4th, 2006, 03:45 PM
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Buy a Kinesis Safari Sack bean bag, either prefilled with buckwheat or empty. You can always fill one up with red beans when you get there.

yes, bean bags are superior!



Andy
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May 4th, 2006, 03:51 PM
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Given that you're going to southern Africa, I would imagine that you'll be in open game drive vehicles. There are few opportunities to use a beanbag in those.
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May 4th, 2006, 05:14 PM
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The neck pillow I used had the buckwheat in it. I used it on the airplane, used a bungee cord to strap it to my carryon so it didn't have to fit inside a bag, and used it as a support for my camera.

The safari truck did have bean bags filled with rice and some of the guys did have the Kinesis bean bags that they filled with rice. I just used mine. I haven't tried the blow up kind.

ShayTay is correct about not having many ways to use it in an open vehicle. The one we were in had a cab for the driver so the people in the front seats could put a beanbag on the roof of the cab.
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May 4th, 2006, 05:44 PM
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If you do use a neck pillow, I don't think the "blow-up" kind would be very stable. Try it out at home and you'll see what I mean.
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May 4th, 2006, 08:41 PM
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santharamhari
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I dont know what camps in Southern Africa you are visiting......but they are provided at all wilderness and Kwando vehicles. Most Sabi sands properties hv them also. Very convenient.
 
May 5th, 2006, 09:44 AM
  #9  
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To see what our itinerary is, you can view my post: "Suddenly our S.A. Safari is So Soon! {Kruger/Cape Town/VFalls/Botswana}"

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34798992

We are mostly self drive + then mobile camping in Botswana.

OK, I hadn't really tho't thru the inflatible neck pillow I just wanted to go with that because I have spare ones and they take up no room ;-)

I have a neck pillow that is filled with SOMETHING but it isn't heavy enough to be buckwheat.

Will practice with the inflatible and look around the house for bean bag ideas

Thanks!
ALadyNCal is offline  
May 5th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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ALadyNCAL,
The Safari Sack mentioned by Andy Biggs is the way to go. We are really fortunate to have Mr. Biggs on this Forum. Many participants follow his work, and owe much of their success to suggestions made on his website. His work is of the finest quality and I would really consider his suggestions as being of the highest significance. I hope he will continue to monitor this forum and to offer advice. As far as the original question is concerned, I have used the Kinesis "Safari Sacks" filled with rice, polystyrene beads and Buckwheat Hulls. I like the rice best. The weight makes it very stable. Just drop it down anywhere and rest your long lens and camera body on it and it stays put. I am concerned about use in the open vehicles in Botswana. I am not sure if there will be any sort of platform upon which to place the bean bag. I know Andy once had the same question himself and wish I knew what he would recommend. There are clamps made by Manfrotto But I don't thinks there is anywhere to clamp them on an open vehicle. I wonder whether a monopod with a quick release clamp would be of any use. I hate to take even a lightweight tripod if it will be of no use except for landscapes. My baggage is overweight with photo gear as it is. If Andy is available perhaps he can make a suggestion concerning these open vehicles in Botswana.
Cheers, CJ
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May 6th, 2006, 05:18 AM
  #11  
africnow
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Would rice be easily available in Arusha or is it better to bring the bag already filled from home?

Others have mentioned filling it with beans - which are easily available locally.

Is there a major difference between the two fillings?
 
May 7th, 2006, 04:08 AM
  #12  
 
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Africnow,
We had our guide stop at a local market in Arusha and buy some rice (6 lbs per bag). Beans would work just as well I think. We were watching our total baggage weight to meet limitations for internal flights, otherwise I would have brought the rice from home just to save time. In the future I'll bring a filler (rice or beans) from home then dump it when I need to meet a flight weight. Some photographers use sand. Take along a few zip lock bags to fill with sand and put those into the Safari Sack.You will want something with enough substance so that your camera will remain steady when you press the shutter. Just a shutter press can cause enough movement to ruin a good shot. Kinesis sells both polystyrene beads (very good) and buckwheat hulls (lighter but not as stable). I was able to get some great images at 1/60 sec at 400mm with bean bag stabilization. The Kinesis Safari Sack includes straps that allow you to place the bag over a window ledge or other solid ledge to stabilize your shots. Often, shooting from a lower angle (window ledge) will give a better photo angle than from the rooftop. Have fun...
CJ
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May 7th, 2006, 09:59 AM
  #13  
africnow
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Thanks. Yes the weight is exactly the problem I was thinking about. Sand sounds great!
 
May 7th, 2006, 10:43 AM
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CJ-

you are really too flattering. I am blushing by your comments, and don't know how to respond.

Southern African safaris can be a challenge with camera support in the vehicles, and there is no single way that everybody agrees is the best approach. We all have different gear, and are sensitive to different aspects of each solution. For example, I love bean bags, and also find gimbal mounts (like the Wimberly) too inflexible and slow to setup. I miss too many shots this way.

The Kinesis Safari Sack is currently the best solution out there. You can purchase one pre-filled with buckwheat, or you can fill one up when you arrive with beans (I prefer red beans).

I am writing an article at the moment on many of the popular camera support methods. I am taking photographs to illustrate each method, but my article won't be out until late June, maybe July. It is just one of many articles that are going into a book project of mine on how to photograph on safari. Tons more writing to do!

Andy
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