By Big Al
Now to most folk, taking wildlife pics from a vehicle is not common, but where I live, you can't leave your vehicle in the reserves (good chance of getting eaten or stomped on), so some form of vehicle lens support system is necessary. Now I've tried resting the lens on the window, but both the window and the lens get scratched when used like this. I've looked at bean bags and bean bags with panning plates, but the problem here is adjusting the horizon - also, you always need one hand on the camera or lens (to stop it falling out the vehicle ) which sometimes made it awkward to use the controls on the camera or lens.
On paper the Ergorest
looked ideal to overcome all these problems...
Here are some pics of it mounted on my pickup. Equipment: Canon 350d, Bigma and a Kirk BH3 ballhead fitted with a Manfrotto CR2 quick release clamp.
Now on the Ergorest site, they say "This makes it possible to use even heavy equipment (e.g. a camera + 600 mm f 4.0 objective) for photographing and filming from a motorcar." So the Bigma should be supported with ease... The biggest problem I found with the Ergorest is the amount of flexing both in the support itself and the window (the window flexed by as much as 5mm at the anchor point). This was very frustrating when trying to aim at an object, especially at 500mm. When the lens was pointing horizontally or above the horizontal, the centre of gravity was towards the back of the system, the system could be locked on the target fairly easily and then released to take the pic with a remote (remote is necessary because of the flexing movement in the system). However, when the target was below the horizontal (often the case in a 4x4), when the camera was released after locking on to the target it would carry on sagging forward because of the shift in the centre of gravity to the front of the camera + lens.
With the pics in this series (which was taken a standard road width away from the vehicle), the centre point moved by as much as half the bird.
So, to frame the bird, I'd have to start locking the Kirk BH about half the birds height above it to get it right
I think this would be ideal for a smaller, lighter prime lens (Canon's 400 f5.6 comes to mind).
- There is too much flexing for a heavier lens (I have a feeling this will be exacerbated with a heavier camera).
- With patience, you can get sharp pics with it.
I have decided to keep it as I really can't find anything which meets my needs. If someone can point me to something different, I'd really appreciate it.
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