In case you are planning a safari, the probabilities are good that you’re enthusiastic about taking a bigger digital camera and lens with you. These can produce fantastic wildlife photographs, however in addition they include a draw back, which is that they are often heavy and laborious to carry for extended durations of time.
Usually the answer to a heavy lens and digital camera is a tripod or monopod. Nevertheless, most safaris have you ever observing wildlife from inside a automobile, the place it’s typically not potential to simply arrange and use both a tripod or monopod. That is particularly the case when there are just a few individuals within the automobile vying for viewing house!
Nevertheless, you don’t wish to miss a fantastic shot of a lion or an elephant as a result of your arms are drained from holding your gear up. As an alternative, you need to take into account investing in a images bean bag.
On this article, I’ll let you know how they work, why you may want one, necessary options to search for in a images bean bag, and provides some suggestions on a number of the finest images bean baggage for safari.
I like to recommend studying this publish together with my information to getting great photos on safari, in addition to my information to the best safari camera and lenses, so that you’re totally ready on your journey.
Causes to Use a Images Bean Bag
A images bean bag, because the identify suggests, is a bag stuffed with beans (or related materials) which is used to assist a digital camera when taking photos.
These will be positioned both over a window body or on the highest of the automobile if you’re standing up and searching of a pop-up prime, and can assist you to maintain your digital camera pointing in the suitable route with out tiring your arms out.
It would additionally assist you to use slower shutter speeds if required, relying on the accessible mild and the way a lot your topic is transferring.
Basically a images bean bag gives related advantages to a tripod or monopod, however in a smaller and extra versatile bundle. Some key advantages of a images bean bag embody:
- You don’t have to carry up your lens and digital camera
- It offers a spot to relaxation and regular longer lenses or recognizing scope
- They shield your gear from having to relaxation on the usually soiled and uneven surfaces of the edges of the automobile
- It will probably additionally shield your gear and provides stabilization if taking pictures from the bottom
- It’s extra versatile to be used in lots of conditions in comparison with a tripod or monopod
After all, these images bean baggage are usually not simply helpful for safari however for all kinds of nature and out of doors associated images situations. So it’s nice if you will get a bag that additionally, you will have the ability to use elsewhere.
Listed here are a few photographs of me on safari with and with out a bean bag to offer you an concept of the distinction. I’ve used numerous these bean baggage on varied safaris throughout numerous African nations.
What to Search for in a Images Bean Bag for Safari
Earlier than offering some steered bean baggage, I wished to share my recommendations for what to search for in a bean bag for safari images. This may make it easier to to resolve which bean bag goes to be finest for you.
The very first thing it would be best to take into consideration is the form of the bean bag. Images bean baggage are typically not simply shapeless spherical blobs, they have a tendency to have a selected type which permits them to work extra successfully.
There are three fundamental shapes of images bean baggage. First, there’s a cushion-like flatter form which is the only choice. Then, there’s the double cushion, which is successfully two cushions sewn collectively.
Lastly, there’s a model which seems a bit like a decrease case “n” (or an inverted “u”). This form has two “legs” with a cushion half on the prime. It’s successfully a saddlebag form, and is the preferred choice.
Beneath are some photographs exhibiting a few of these totally different designs.
Which form will give you the results you want will rely a bit on the place you’re prone to be taking pictures. I discover the saddlebag model gives an excellent little bit of versatility as it may be tailored to suit quite a lot of places, from taking pictures over a window body to balancing on the sting of a automobile roof when taking pictures by way of a pop-up prime.
It additionally has the benefit you could invert it when taking pictures on a flatter floor to offer a type of cradle on your digital camera.
The easy flatter cushion-like form can show to be fairly versatile, particularly when taking pictures on the roof of a automobile or from the ground. Personally I discover it a bit much less sensible for safari use because it doesn’t mildew to a automobile window or door space in addition to the opposite choices.
Images bean baggage are available in quite a lot of sizes. The principle factor is to make sure that the bean bag you select is giant sufficient so your digital camera and lens will comfortably match on it, while not being so large that it’s impractical to make use of and carry.
Many bean baggage include the choice to buy them with a filling or with out. We typically discover it’s simpler to journey with an empty bean bag after which fill it with an acceptable filling at your vacation spot, corresponding to buckwheat (hulls), fowl seed, or dried beans. This reduces the journey weight and bulk of the bean bag.
Nevertheless, it’s also possible to decide to buy a bean bag with a filling, which is usually one thing like polystyrene balls to maintain delivery weight down. This could undoubtedly work and offers you a light-weight choice, though it gained’t be as steady as a heavier choice.
Word that many kinds of uncooked and dried beans will be toxic to wildlife so when you use them to fill your bag you’ll wish to take additional care to maintain your bag away from animals and maintain them secured contained in the automobile whenever you go away it.
Now we have had monkeys, significantly baboons, attempt to snatch the luggage from the autos, as they’ve learnt that the fillings generally comprise tasty treats!
While the fabric the images bean bag is made from can have some impression on its weight, the primary factor that impacts its weight is what it’s stuffed with.
If it’s stuffed with a lightweight materials like polystyrene balls for instance, then it will likely be very mild. If it’s stuffed with dried beans or seeds, then it can naturally be heavier. The bigger the bean bag, the heavier it will likely be.
We’d typically suggest utilizing a heavier filling like beans or seeds because the bag will maintain its form higher when arrange and supply a extra steady base. Nevertheless, we’ve additionally used a images bean bag stuffed with polystyrene balls with good outcomes.
On our final journey, we stuffed our bag with a mixture of dried beans and a few pillow stuffing which was an excellent combine .
A safari will be fairly a difficult atmosphere, with a variety of bumpy roads in addition to autos containing laborious edges.
It’s necessary that you just use a images bean bag which goes to resist the rigours of this atmosphere. You undoubtedly don’t wish to be in a state of affairs the place the bean bag develops a gap and bursts open half means by way of your journey!
A well-made bean bag that has good stitching and which is constructed from a sturdy materials corresponding to canvas or one other thick hard-wearing materials could be finest. Evaluating the 2 photographs under, the bean bag on the suitable is constructed from a harder canvas like materials which can doubtless last more.
On safari you typically need pretty impartial colours that don’t stand out. You additionally wish to keep away from blues and blacks which might appeal to tsetse flies.
Most images bean baggage we’re conscious of are available in shades of inexperienced or beige, or are in a type of camouflage sample of greens and beige colours, which works properly.
One of many extra necessary options of a images bean bag is whether or not or not it may be refilled. I’d argue that with the ability to empty and fill your bean bag is basically necessary.
That is so you possibly can change the contents to fit your wants. For instance, if you’re travelling mild or wish to scale back bulk, you may wish to empty out your bean bag and fold it up. Then, whenever you arrive in your vacation spot you possibly can pop to a market and purchase some dried beans, rice, or buckwheat to fill it with.
Most images bean baggage are refillable. Some open with a zipper while others open with velcro. I’d personally suggest a system that closes with a zipper as it’s far safer and there’s much less danger of it coming open by mistake.
You’ll after all wish to take into consideration worth when buying a images bean bag. The excellent news is that almost all bean baggage are properly priced, typically coming in at round $25 – $85 USD.
After all, you possibly can pay extra (and fewer!), however in comparison with the worth of many images equipment in the marketplace in the present day we predict that is undoubtedly one of many extra inexpensive choices you should purchase to enhance your photographs and make your images expertise simpler whereas on safari.
In addition to the above options, some images bean baggage produce other options you may discover helpful. These embody straps or pockets, or issues like being water-proof.
A strap or twine can undoubtedly be useful as you should use it to safe the bean bag when in use. Water proofing may also be useful when you assume you may be taking pictures in moist environments.
Some have shoulder straps to make them simpler to hold if taking pictures on foot – these straps may also be used to safe to the automotive. As well as, a number of the flat baggage may also be used as ballasts on your tripod.
Talking of tripods, some images bean baggage even have the choice to connect a ball or pan head to the bean bag, providing you with a better of each worlds choice.
The Greatest Images Bean Baggage for Safari
I’m now going to undergo what I feel are a number of the finest choices for images bean baggage for safari. These are ordered by worth, though pricing can fluctuate so do test.
You’ll discover this isn’t an enormous checklist. That’s as a result of there are just a few manufacturers who deal with this type of product. Nevertheless, these manufacturers do know what they’re doing and the result’s a stable product.
Moreover, with Kinesis and LensCoat, they provide a variety of choices at totally different sizes and worth factors to swimsuit most digital camera setups.
Kinesis have been making images bean baggage for safari for a few years, designing their bean bag merchandise particularly for photographers heading on safari in Africa. What we like about them is that clearly Kinesis have put some thought into what’s necessary for this type of product.
They’ve a variety of safari bean baggage, however we propose trying out the SafariSack 1.4 as an excellent choice when you would favor a flatter bean bag choice.
This bag is constructed from rip-stop 400-dernier nylon. It has a zippered compartment so you possibly can simply fill and empty it. It has D-rings on the ends so you possibly can match a strap, and there’s additionally a small sewn-in strap which can be utilized to safe it to a automobile.
This may work for smaller and bigger cameras alike. When you have a smaller setup particularly then this could be a nice choice.
My favorite choice from Kinesis is the SafariSack 4.2, which is designed for these of you with bigger lenses and cameras.
The SafariSack 4.2 is double-stitched for sturdiness and constructed from powerful rip-stop Nylon. You get a rubberized backside to forestall it from slipping, and there’s an optionally available shoulder strap in addition to a hand strap.
Maybe one of the best characteristic although is the 2 built-in quick-release straps. These permit the SafariSack for use in two fundamental modes when on safari. With the straps undone, you should use it as a flat sack, which is extra fitted to use when taking pictures on the highest of a automobile or different flatter floor.
You possibly can alternatively join the straps to create the basic saddlebag form, permitting it for use over a window. Basically you get one of the best of each worlds, making this a contender for one of the best images bean bag in the marketplace.
The bag is obtainable with or with out a fill, and there’s even a alternative of filler materials.
The NatureScapes SkimmerSack II beanbag was developed by a full-time nature photographer who wished a bean bag that will meet his wants. The excellent news is that this has resulted in a beautiful product that’s preferrred for safari images.
The SkimmerSack II is constructed from powerful 500 dernier nylon cordura, with a non-slip rubbererized coating beneath to assist forestall it from transferring round when in place.
The inside is constructed from a rubber-like materials, giving it some water-resistance. It’s double-stitched for power and has a zipper opening for including your personal fill. There’s additionally a hand-grab loop strap on every finish of the bag, and there are a pair of straps on the base to assist you to safe it to a door deal with or roof rack for security.
One other well-known model within the images bean bag world is LensCoat, who make a variety of bean baggage that may accommodate a variety of lenses. They’re additionally accessible in a number of colours.
We’d suggest having a look on the LensCoat LensSack Professional Jr. This saddlebag formed bag can deal with lenses as much as 500mm in size (variations are additionally accessible with assist as much as 800mm).
There’s a non-slip coating and it’s constructed from sturdy waterproof Cordura with bolstered seams. It additionally has two storage pockets, MOLLE webbing straps, and two locking YKK zips that make it straightforward to fill and empty.
Maybe essentially the most fascinating characteristic of this bean bag although is the truth that it comes with a detachable mounting plate with a 3/8″-16 thread. This can be utilized to connect a gimbal or ball head, that means you possibly can doubtless use it together with your present tripod head. This provides you one of the best of each worlds – the compact and transportable advantages of a bean bag, with the pliability of a head, making it simpler to trace transferring topics with out having to regulate the bean bag.
Make Your Personal Images Bean Bag
On account of a last-minute baggage mix-up previous to a current African safari, I used to be left with out my images bean bag simply earlier than the journey began. Fortunately, my mum is an professional with a stitching machine, and occurred to have some good high quality thick linen materials handy.
Between us we got here up with a design for a u-shaped bean bag with a zipper. My mum made it with a heavy calico material and a zipper. We then dyed it inexperienced. As soon as in Uganda, we stuffed it with dried beans and a few pillow stuffing.
It labored nice, and goes to indicate that if you’re a bit inventive, you possibly can undoubtedly make your personal bean bag resolution. Nevertheless, this selection might be finest for these with a stitching machine and a few fundamental stitching abilities!
Ideas for Utilizing a Images Bean Bag
Now that you’ve chosen your images bean bag, I wished to share just a few tricks to get essentially the most out of it, based mostly on my experiences.
- Invert your tripod collar. When you have a digital camera with a tripod collar, rotate this so it’s on the prime of the digital camera reasonably than the underside, as in any other case it’s going to get in the best way of the digital camera resting totally on the bean bag
- Fill it in vacation spot. In case you are touring, as you doubtless shall be for safari, it can save you your baggage house by filling the bag in vacation spot reasonably than travelling with an already full bag
- Select your filling properly. There are a number of choices for a filling. I discover buckwheat, sunflower seeds, or bigger dried beans works properly. The form of rice means that’s can compact a bit an excessive amount of and means you possibly can lose a number of the versatile form advantages of a bean bag. Polystyrene balls can work however I discover them to be a bit too mild and noisy, to not point out environmentally unfriendly.
- In case you are utilizing an natural product to fill your bean bag it would be best to take care that it doesn’t get moist, and bear in mind that it would must be changed now and again.
That’s it for my information to one of the best bean bag for safari images. Should you discovered this handy, you may get pleasure from a few of my different images content material. Listed here are some articles to get you began.
- I’ve an in depth information filled with safari photography tips that will help you get nice photographs no matter your digital camera is
- A even have a information to the best cameras and lenses for safari, that will help you resolve what to take in your journey of a lifetime
- I’ve a information to my favorite photo editing applications, in addition to one of the best alternatives to Lightroom
- When you’ve taken all of your photographs you don’t wish to lose them! Learn our information to backing up your photos for an concept of tips on how to maintain all of them protected.
- Wildlife images can usually lead to noisy photographs. See my information to the best noise reduction software for some concepts on tips on how to get one of the best out of your photographs even after they may be a bit noisy
- Now we have a information to how to use a compact camera, how to use a DSLR camera, and how to use a mirrorless camera. We even have a information to how a DSLR works
- Understanding tips on how to compose a fantastic picture is a key images ability. See our information to composition in photography for many recommendations on this topic
- Now we have a information to what depth of field is and whenever you would wish to use it.
- We’re large followers of getting essentially the most out of your digital picture information, and do to that you’ll want to shoot in RAW. See our information to RAW in photography to know what RAW is, and why you need to change to RAW as quickly as you possibly can in case your digital camera helps it.
- You’re going to wish one thing to run your picture modifying software program on. See our information to one of the best laptops for photo editing for some recommendations on what to search for.
- Should you’re on the lookout for extra recommendation on particular ideas for various situations, we additionally have you ever lined. See our information to Northern Lights photography, long exposure photography, fireworks photography, tips for taking photos of stars, and cold weather photography.
- Shade accuracy is necessary for images – see our information to monitor calibration to make sure your display is about up accurately.
- Should you’re on the lookout for a fantastic present for a images loving good friend or member of the family (or your self!), check out our photography gift guide,
- Should you’re available in the market for a brand new digital camera, we’ve an in depth information to the best travel cameras, in addition to particular guides for the best cameras for hiking and backpacking, the best compact camera, best bridge camera, best mirrorless camera and best DSLR camera. We even have a information to the best camera lenses.
- If you need a digital camera or lens, however the costs are a bit excessive, see our information to where to buy used cameras and camera gear for some finances financial savings choices.
- Now we have a information to why you need a tripod, a information to choosing a travel tripod, and a round-up of our favourite travel tripods
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And that’s it! I’d love to listen to about your ideas on wildlife images on safari, and am blissful to reply any questions you’ve gotten. Simply pop them within the feedback under and I’ll get again to you as quickly as I can.