The bean bag is a tool that photographers sometimes use to stabilize their camera. Plop it down on a fixed platform, and the bag can do wonders for achieving sharper shots. Instead of buying a bean bag for a marked up price, you can easily create a do-it-yourself version at home. After all, it’s just some beans in a bag… Digital Camera World has a step-by-step tutorial on how you can create one using some lentils and a pair of unwanted jeans.
What’s great about using a pair of jeans, beside the fact that denim is a very durable material, is that you can cut out the crotch section — a bit strange, we know — in order to give your bean bag a built-in zipper. This makes filling the bag a breeze, and allows you to quickly change the number of beans inside to make the bag softer or firmer.
If you’re in need of some quick image stabilization but don’t want to shell out the $16+ dollars it takes to buy a real one, an old broom handle can do the trick. All you need besides the handle — or a 1-inch wooden dowel, or a big stick — are a hex nut and hanger bolt for the tripod mount and a spiral nail for the base. MAKE has the lowdown on how you put the ingredients together to form “the world’s cheapest monopod”.
One of the interesting features in Olympus’ OM-D EM-5 retro-styled camera is the 5-axis image stabilization, which shifts the sensor in 5 different axis directions (existing systems generally use 2) to compensate for camera shake. It’s a feature that caught the eye of Vimeo user Fiatopichan, who suffers from essential tremor (a neurological disorder that causes his hands to shake at about 5-10 Hz). He decided to buy the camera to test out the new system, and reported his findings in the video above. The stabilization is quite impressive.
Heavier tripods are generally more stable than lighter ones — wind doesn’t affect them as much — but hauling them around can be a pain. Instructables user Andrew Axley came up with the brilliant idea of making his simple tripod more stable by adding his own weight hook. The tripod is light when not in use and when you need extra stability you simply hang your camera bag onto the hook. All you need to do is figure out a way to attach a hook securely at the center — Axley chose to drill a hole through the side of the center column and attach an S-hook using a bolt and nut.
Sharp recently announced its AQUOS SH-01D phone, which is one of the few phones on the market that feature optical image stabilization. The phone is powered by Android OS, and features a 12.1 megapixel 1/3.2-inch CMOS sensor. The demo above shows how effective the stabilization is at canceling out small movements of the sensor.
If you ever find yourself needing some quick stabilization when recording video with your DSLR, but don’t have a fancy rig with you (or you’re in a place where you can’t bring one), you can use an ordinary tripod as a makeshift shoulder rig for some extra stability.
Gomite’s new Tiltpod is a simple “tripod” designed for people who do a lot of traveling with a compact camera. Stored on the end of your hand strap, it attaches quickly to your camera’s tripod mount to help you frame and stabilize your shots when there’s no one around to help you take it. The underside is made of a “grippy” magnetic material that helps it stay still on most surfaces, and the angle of the base can be adjusted after the camera is attached. Read more…
Back in March of 1954, Popular Science magazine featured an invention called the “dentapod” — a metal bracket attached to the tripod mount that you bite with your teeth to stabilize your camera. For some reason, this didn’t seem to catch on back then, but if any of you aspiring entrepreneurs decided to revive this thing for DSLRs, I’m sure it would be the next big thing.