Sunday, August 30, 2009

Support Your Gear

Even if you have very steady hands and a stabilized lens or camera, for the sharpest images possible, using a tripod or other camera support is the only surefire solution.
By David Willis Published in Tripods
From left to right: Gitzo Ocean Traveler, Manfrotto 055CX3, Giottos MG8240B
From left to right: Gitzo Ocean Traveler, Manfrotto 055CX3, Giottos MG8240B
Kirk Enterprises Fat Bag


Beanbags offer fast setup and better flexibility for steadying cameras on uneven surfaces. Kirk Enterprises offers two bean bag-like products. The Fat Bag camera support is an ideal solution for shooting on the road, with a saddle shape that fits the contours of a car window. The Fat Bag is filled with crushed walnut, and you can adjust how much cushioning you need by emptying shells from or filling shells into the bag. The Fat Bag is available full or empty to save on shipping costs. List Price: $39 (empty); $42 (filled).

The Kirk Enterprises OmniPod combines the benefits of a beanbag with a standard threaded screw for attaching securely to the camera. The OmniPod is longer than many bean bags at nine inches in length to accommodate longer lenses, and the built-in bubble level ensures even framing. The OmniPod also is available with an optional two-inch Quick Release (QR) clamp. List Price: $24; $74 (with QR clamp).

VariZoom FlowPod


Now that D-SLRs are offering high-definition video, tripod manufacturers are offering photographers many of the same options that high-end video-support systems have been offering video professionals over the years. VariZoom, primarily a video product manufacturer, is the maker of the FlowPod 3-in-1 DSLR camera stabilizer system. The FlowPod can be used in three positions—as a monopod, in a low-mode mount for close-to-the-ground shooting and as a stabilizer for reducing movements during video tracking or panning shots. List Price: Starts at $599.

Video camera tripods require a higher maximum weight capacity and fluid heads that provide better control to avoid vibration and jarring movements when panning or tracking. The Manfrotto 701HDV,547BK Video Tripod System Kit provides a fluid mini-head for accommodating up to 9.5 pounds and aluminum legs for support of up to 33 pounds altogether. The midlevel spreader helps the legs to stay rigid in uneven or rough terrain when shooting in the field, and a soft case is included for carrying the entire system. Estimated Street Price: $300.


(HP Marketing Corp.)
(800) 735-4373

(800) 325-8542

Flashpoint (Adorama)
(800) 223-2500

(HP Marketing Corp.)
(800) 735-4373
Gitzo (Bogen Imaging)
(201) 818-9500

(888) 569-JOBY

Kirk Enterprises
(800) 626-5074

Manfrotto (Bogen Imaging)
(201) 818-9500

Monostat of Switzerland (Accurate Sales)
(718) 302-7063
(HP Marketing Corp.)
(800) 735-4373

Slik (THK Photo Products)
(800) 421-1141

Sunpak (ToCAD America)
(973) 627-9600

(512) 219-7722

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