Branded the Tripod full of beans the Beanpod takes on old idea of a bean bag that's been used for decades to support cameras and brings it up to the modern day.
Where bean bags were filled with...you guessed it beans (hard dried ones!)..this one feels as though it's filled with small fishing shot sized polystyrene balls. The £9.99 bag is made from a leather look black vinyl and has Beanpod embroidered across the bottom left in red. You certainly wouldn't feel embarrassed about carrying this around whereas a cloth sack sewn together that rattles with the sound of hard beans may be a different matter.
The instructions are brief, you don't need any more, and there's a warning that it's not designed to be sat on. With a size of 11x19x4cm you'd have to have a very small behind to manage this, but I guess the manufacturer is covering all possibilities!
It's small enough to carry around in a camera holdall and would even slip into a coat pocket.
To use you simply lay it on a surface and sit the camera on top. There's no support just press the camera down firmly to make it rigid and have the camera strap around you neck just in case you let go.
I tried it using in a low light situation where the exposure was 1/2sec using a 105mm lens. I first took the shot hand held, then by resting against the corner of a wall and finally with the Beanpod position over the corner and the camera on top. The result is below.
|The corner rest wasn't enough to imporve the blurred shot I got by handholding (below left), but the beanpod shot (below right) shows a dramatic improvement.
It's not just about preventing camera shake though, another benefit is you won't scratch your camera baseplate when you rest it on a wall or fence.
It's small, it's light and it isn't embarrassing to carry around. If there's a wall, tree stump, fence or furniture that you can rest on, this will help you no end to gain better depth-of-field by using a smaller aperture and prevent camera shake. It's also useful for night photography and at just under a tenner it won't break the bank!
Test by Peter Bargh
More info on the BeanPod website.