Today’s Question: In a recent answer you mentioned using a beanbag when capturing a photo of the total lunar eclipse. Is there a specific beanbag you recommend as an alternative to a tripod?
Tim’s Quick Answer: I have been using The Red Pod from The POD (https://timgrey.me/redpod), and have been very happy with it. In particular, I like this beanbag because it attaches directly to the camera for better support.
More Detail: To be sure, a tripod provides a very stable platform for your camera, and is generally the best option for helping ensure the sharpest captures possible. In many situations, however, you may find that a tripod is not practical, or is not allowed to be used at some locations.
For example, I am currently on an extended trip for which I wanted to pack as light as possible. I will also have only limited opportunities for night photography, so I made the decision to leave my tripod behind. The Red Pod has provided a great solution, enabling me to capture photos that would have otherwise been difficult or impossible.
For example, I used The Red Pod to capture a photo of the total lunar eclipse last month, which you can see on my Instagram feed here:
What I appreciate most about The Red Pod is that it features a 1/4″ screw that mounts directly to the camera body, much as a tripod plate would. It is therefore possible to simply screw the beanbag directly onto the camera, and then set the complete assembly on a stable surface to capture an image.
Because the beanbag is somewhat pliable, you can shift the shape around a bit to get the camera at just the right angle. As much as a tripod would provide better results in many cases, I’ve found The Red Pod to be a great tool when a tripod can’t be used. You can get more details about this beanbag camera support here: