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What do you find you use the most, hand held, monopod....

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...tripod, beanbag while on a game drive? How often do you use a tripod at other times? Thanks for your thoughts. Patsy

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...tripod, beanbag while on a game drive? How often do you use a tripod at other times? Thanks for your thoughts. Patsy

 

Monopod on game drives, tripod to clumsy

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Large beanbag used in a vehicle wherever possible; tripod when out on foot.

On safari I take a large refillable double beanbag empty and buy/procure rice from a roadway stall or the camp kitchen staff to fill it.

 

I will handhold on the very rare occasion when there is no other way to get the shot (I'm often shooting with a 500mm lens + 1.4xTC).

I shoot a lot of birds as well as wildlife.

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It partly depends on the vehicle. I have a 100-400 lens.

 

In the fully open type vehicles like they have in Botswana/Zambia I find it difficult to find somewhere to rest a bean bag. I tried a monopod but found it clumsy and unwieldy, and when the animals are moving around I was more likely to miss shots, so I ended up mainly hand holding. Perhaps I need more practice with the monopod.

 

I've just got back from Kenya (Kicheche Camps) where they have vehicles with open windows but a roof with openings in it. For that, a beanbag was perfect as there were loads more places to rest it. I think a monopod would have been much more difficult.

 

For photography, I prefer the vehicles we had in Kenya, although they're not as enjoyable to drive around in when you're not taking photos.

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...tripod, beanbag while on a game drive? How often do you use a tripod at other times? Thanks for your thoughts. Patsy

 

Where are you heading? As that would influence my suggestion.

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Handheld.

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Always a beanbag, sometimes a monopod. Always take a tripod which I've used in open vehicles for landscapes when unable to leave the vehicle, or I get out and use it where walking is allowed. Would never go without my tripod, but I do a lot of landscapes.

Handhold for any moving animals or birds. But I don't have super telephotos.

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...tripod, beanbag while on a game drive? How often do you use a tripod at other times? Thanks for your thoughts. Patsy

 

Where are you heading? As that would influence my suggestion.

Sabi Sands, so open vehicles and two places in Zambia. Londolozi, Camp Jabulani, Victoria Falls and Sausage Tree Camp.

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It partly depends on the vehicle. I have a 100-400 lens.

 

In the fully open type vehicles like they have in Botswana/Zambia I find it difficult to find somewhere to rest a bean bag. I tried a monopod but found it clumsy and unwieldy, and when the animals are moving around I was more likely to miss shots, so I ended up mainly hand holding. Perhaps I need more practice with the monopod.

 

I've just got back from Kenya (Kicheche Camps) where they have vehicles with open windows but a roof with openings in it. For that, a beanbag was perfect as there were loads more places to rest it. I think a monopod would have been much more difficult.

 

For photography, I prefer the vehicles we had in Kenya, although they're not as enjoyable to drive around in when you're not taking photos.

Working on your trip report I hope??? Looking forward to it.

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Monopod for me. But until I got used to it and worked out how to use it in a way that works for me, it was more of an impediment. Now I wouldn't go without. Handholding is the same though - unless you regularly shoot e.g. birds you might not have the right muscles developed and you'll shake after a while (sooner the bigger the lens). Try both at home and see what suits would be my advice and maybe do a bit of very targeted weight work! :)

 

I always take a tripod even though I rarely use it. I use it more and more every trip, though.

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For video from the vehicle I use this $50 homemade rig but I also take monopod as well as my tripod.

 

Botswana2010rig1.jpg

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For video from the vehicle I use this $50 homemade rig but I also take monopod as well as my tripod.

 

Botswana2010rig1.jpg

Now that's a nice piece of kit (the support system) -I'd happily pay £2-300 for something like this!

 

Do you have a retail outlet? ;-)

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Monopods are unsteady. Bean bags are great except you still miss shots because you have to to them down first, then place your camera. With some vehicles, there is no place to put the bean bag.

 

I use a product called the "Red Pod". It's a small bean bag that screws into the tripod mount (for big lenses) or the bottom of the camera body itself. The steadiness is somewhere between a tripod and a monopod, and I can be quick enough so that I don't miss shots.

 

I have gotten better at using it, so it's more like a tripod in terms of steadiness now... In open vehicles for instance if there are no logical place to rest the Red Pod on, I will either put both my feet up and rest my elbows and Red Pod on my knees, or I will cross one of my legs (to make one leg horizontal) and put the Red Pod on my shin.

 

Perhaps I should do a late night informercial video...

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Handheld mostly, although I do have a tripod and monopod. But I often drive myself, and than even a monopod is cumbersome. I just rest the lens on the dashboard, windwow or my knee.

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Posted (edited)

Hand held 98% of the time. But I always have a tripod, which occasionally comes out for landscapes and sometimes videoing (on foot, not in vehicles)... but then I'm just a hack.

Edited by ZaminOz

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Patsy

 

I have checked the images of the camps you are visiting, though I would ask for an up to date image of the vehicles.

 

Number 1: The Skimmer Pod

 

I am not a fan of using just a bean bag, as the movement is not as fluid then tracking your subject. If you get the Skimmer Bean bag, not shown in this picture, it is as stable as a tripod. Would recommend a gimbal head if you have a large lens.

 

U9H8918.jpg

 

Number 2: This is a picture of a skimmer bean bag though without a skimmer pod being used.

 

T8C3171-2.jpg

 

Number 3: A manfrotto superclamp with attached gimbal head. These clamps are around $25 plus $5 for the connecting stud. I provide these to all participants on my trips :) Work in open vehicles, like Londo with bars the holding bars. There is a pic on the Londo website of someone using one.

 

The clamp turns the vehicle into a mobile tripod.

 

T8C3161.jpg

 

The reason I am huge fan of the Skimmer pod is that is very handy when photographing outside the vehicle. As you mentioned you wanted to capture bugs etc, it is a handy tool to have.

 

mg_0705-as-Smart-Object-1.jpg

 

Monopod

 

Monopods in an open vehicle can be very handy. One of the main issues is people misuse them, hence why they are not widely recommended. I would avoid using any kind of ball head etc and attach the monopod directly to the lens foot.

 

This technique is easier when using a fixed lens. You will probably still find yourself resting it against something.....

 

Tripod

 

Take one for landscapes - You will probably use it more in Zambia for the Falls and sweeping vistas of the Zambezi.

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I used the Apex bean bag in Tanzania and some extent in Bots. It takes a lot to fill it but then its as sturdy as a tripod and sits perfectly on closed vehicles or the front seat window in open vehicles. The inner side of the molar legs is made up of some rubber material that sticks to the window not causing any movement against it.

 

It also has a plate that slips through on the top on which you can screw a ball head. It was perfect in Tanzania where you are at some distance from the animals so being low doesnt matter so much and the best setup for birding. You can also put it on the arm rest of the rows in an open vehicle but not so comfortable to shoot. In Tanzania I had my camera permanently mounted on it even while driving and covered it fully with a sports jacket and kept a hand on to minimise time on mounting it again and again.

 

Downside- for concessions where you end up being so close to animals its too much height- I bought the big version plus the ball head itself added a lot to the height but thinking of getting the smaller apex bean bag and see if its as sturdy.

 

Next time for Bots or open vehicles I am thinking the smaller apex bean bag and manfrotto clamps ( I got these for Bots but strangely every time I re-ordered Amazon sent me the wrong stud with it even when I spelt out the one I want in big BOLD- so currently have 4 Manfrotto clamps with studs that dont go into the ball head but will go in the camera- if anyone wants to swap!!!!

 

 

http://www.essentialphotogear.com/proddetail.php?prod=ApexBeanBag

 

 

However if you are in shared open vehicles, you might find monopods the best option as you would not always get the whole vehicle to keep moving around your beanbag.

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~ A handheld Manfrotto 680B monopod which is not opened up or resting on the ground or floor.



It functions as a mount, balancing camera and lens.



Tom K.


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