Camera Question

Nov 16th, 2007, 07:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 229
Camera Question

Hi -
Leaving for first Africa trip in 40something days...Was reading all the camera messages and was wondering if someone could please explain to me what the bean bag is for. We have a Canon 30D and a 300 lens...Everyone says you need the bean bag, but I don't even know why! Please explain - thank you so very much.
shothyme77 is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 07:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 343
You do not "need" a been bag. The bag does give you extra stability but it is not a necessity. A good portion of the shots you take, you will not have the luxury of resting on the bag. I have never used one on my 5 trips.
mytmoss is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 08:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 95
The bean bag is typically used with a large telephoto lens to reduce camera shake from trying to hold the camera and lens by hand. Resting the lens on a bean bag gives you stability to reduce camera shake.
Bobcaat is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 579
Photographers always aim to eliminate or at least as much camera movement as possible. Even with image satbilized lenses it is better to have the camera a still as you can. This way your images will be sharp and will allow you to crop (enlarge) them enough to make an interesting composition. The general reul of thumb is to use a shutter speed equal to or faster than your total lens/camera focal length. Since you will be using a 30D with a 300mm lens, your working forcal length will be 1.6 X 300 or 480. That means you will need to use a shutter speed of at least 1/500 of a second. Some of your best photo opportunities will be in early morning and late in the day, just when the light is least. So you will be forced to use slower shutter speeds and require you to hold the camera as still as possible. A bean bag is the easiest and most common way of doing this, at least in Tanzania and Kenya, where the vehicles are closed 4 X4's. I always take two bean bags and all of the photographers I know use them with cameras and lenses like yours. For a nice introduction to safari photography, I would go to A few people might be so steady as to not need a beanbag, I don't know any.
safarichuck is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 579
Sorry that sould be
safarichuck is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 579
Sorry that sould be
safarichuck is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 235
BTW, you can leave the beans at home. Just bring a cover you can unzip and then fill it with sand.

Very light and no trouble.
one2travel is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 01:03 PM
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A beanbag is probably the most important piece of kit in your arsnal. It can be used in all types of vehicle, both pop top and open. It really is the key to getting sharp images.

The other good secondary device is a manfrotto superclamp, onto which you can attach a tripod head. It gives more movement though not quite as sturdy as a bean bag. Plus there may not be bars to attach it to in the vehicle.
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