Cheap Tricks #24: Camera Bean Bag

In the world of photography, photographers are constantly looking for ways to steady their camera. There are a dozen manufacturers of tripods and monopods; there are also a dozen or so manufacturers of miniature camera supports as well. In the fight to keep our bags filled with useful AND lightweight gadgets there are decent options and bad options. This post is about a bad option (in our humble opinion). It's a bean bag, like the one below. Bean bags are designed to be very adjustable and to stabilize your camera on just about any surface. The problem with a bean bag is that you need a surface in which to put it on. In other words if there were no tables or chairs etc. you will be putting your camera bean bag on the ground. Further, the manufacturers market it it as "lightweight" at 12-17 ounces! This is not particularly lightweight; that's more than an amateur DSLR like a Nikon 3300! Which means you are carrying an extra camera. Further, it's bulky. So even if you are ok with the weight it will take up a lot of valuable real estate in your bag. Many tabletop tripods today can be about the same weight with a real ball head attached and is much more compact. So you'll have to decide which is best!