Zimbawbe (Hwange) safari: Monopod or Bean bag


Oct 27th, 2013, 06:51 AM
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Zimbawbe (Hwange) safari: Monopod or Bean bag

This question goes to safari photographers. Planning to do a safari in Hwange (maybe staying at the Hide) and need advise regarding what type of support will be the best option for my Nikon camera with a 80-400mm f 4.5-5-6 ed AFS-VR.

Thanks for any advice.

Gilawi02 is offline  
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Oct 27th, 2013, 10:45 AM
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I've not stayed at the Hide (been to Somalisa and Makalolo Plains.) From their website, it looks like you are either in open vehicles or out in the open, so I don't think a beanbag will be of much use. You might consider taking a monopod and leave it "closed". You can then support it on the seat or ground between your legs and use it as a camera support that way. A fellow traveler did that in Botswana a few years ago and I'm planning to do the same there in a couple of weeks due to their use of open vehicles.
ShayTay is offline  
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Oct 28th, 2013, 05:57 PM
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We spent 4 nights in Hwange last year at this time at Davidsons. Fantastic. Use a monopod, I think. Ask to take a walking safari as well. Really a first rate experience. One of the guests in camp with us was a photographer, there for a month. He apparently visits once a year for an extended stay, and arranges for a single vehicle and guide the whole time. What a luxury! There is no internet or phone signal, and after a couple nights, you realize you are totally focused on your experience without another care in the world.
uhoh_busted is offline  
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Oct 29th, 2013, 05:42 AM
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As ShayTay has said you'll probably be in open vehicles,so a bean bag is practically useless as the 'body'of the vehicle (On which you'll rest the bean bag & lens)is too low.That leaves you with a tripod or a monopod.Get a hybrid.A Manfrotto mono with legs.
I too took a 80-400mm nikkor.The biggest problem is the auto focus hunts at 400mm,a blade of grass or a twig in the foreground can ruin a good foto op.Its is quite slows and is a struggle to get anything moving into focus.To add to that,however steady your with the monopod,a slight sway is good enough to blur images at full zoom.The lens is best for focal length of 300 and below.
inquest is offline  
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Oct 30th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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Has anybody had great gameviewing in Hwange besides for countless elephants? I was there during a late July and besides the ellies, gameviewing was pretty sparse with few predators. Besides that, wow, I've never been so cold while on safari than during my early mornings in Hwange.
Roccco is offline  
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Nov 3rd, 2013, 03:58 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Wil check carefully on what type of vehicle is used in he HIde. Maybe shoud take a Monopod and an empty Beanbag, just in case.
Gilawi02 is offline  
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Nov 3rd, 2013, 04:58 AM
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I would always bring a bean bag, and you can save weight by pre-filling the bag with buckwheat hulls. You can buy the hulls on Amazon, in case you can't find any locally. I have found a bean bag to be my go-to way to stabilize my gear, even if the bars between each row of seats are on the low side. I would rather it be low than too high. I am not a fan of the monopod approach, primarily because my lenses tend to be a little larger (ok, a bunch larger) and I find a monopod difficult to manage.
andybiggs is offline  
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Nov 3rd, 2013, 10:20 AM
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We had great game-viewing last year (October). Besides the elephants: Lions, Sable, Buffalo, zebra, jackal, hippo...the whole zoo. I was surprised how close the buff and zebra let us get on our walking safari. It was VERY hot.
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