If you’re into wildlife photography than you no doubt have found yourself driving down the road to get bird pictures or animal pictures and wham out of nowhere that bird you’ve just been dying to get a good shot of is right there on the side of the road. Your longest lens is mounted and on the front seat with you but you know if you try to get out of the car it’s bye bye birdy. So you do what I have done for years, you pick up 15 lbs of glass and camera and try to hand hold it to get the shot. If the light is good you just might get the shot, but odds are when you get home you’re initial excitement turns to disappointment as you review one blurred image after another. It is this very scenario that began my quest for the best bean bag for wildlife photography.
After many reviews and videos I finally ordered the Apex Bean Bag from Essential Photo Gear . As you can see from the photos this unit can be used as the standard wildlife photography bean bag or you can mount your tripod head with the included mounting plate to turn it into stable base from which to mount your big glass. I had visions of using it from my car with a Wimberley style head attached so I could pan with my Nikon 600mm lens from my car. When it arrived I promptly filled it up with sunflower seeds, mounted my Jobu BWG Pro head, slapped on the 600m and ran out to the car to give it a try.
In the video of the Apex Bean Bag they depict the Apex with a long telephoto lens being used from a truck. When I mounted the Apex on my Honda Accord which obviously has less window clearance then a truck (15 inches to be exact) I did not have the clearance from the top of the door frame to the top of the lens which meant this bag was not going to work for my intended use. The logical solution of course was to trade in my car and buy a new truck but for some some reason I was unsuccessful selling this idea to my wife. LOL
The more sensible plan was of course was to contact Essential Photo Gear to discuss. Now here’s my real reason for writing this blog. What I expected when I contacted the supplier with this issue is that they would advise me to send it back and they would refund my money. SURPRISE, SURPRISE what I got was this response from Travis Peltz, “Give me the measurements for your car’s window frame and I will design a bean bag that will work for you.” Seriously, in this day and age how often do you get that kinda of service. I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I was in dealing with Travis. Sixteen email exchanges and two design iterations later and presto the Low Profile Apex Bean Bag was born. The Low profile version sits a full 4 inches lower then the original Bean Bag and works great from my Honda Accord so needless to say I am a happy camper. Long story short, if you’re into wildlife photography and you can’t sell you’re wife on a new truck the Apex Low Profile Bean Bag is your best option.
Verdict: This redesigned Low Profile version combined with exceptional customer service makes it the best photography bean bag I have used and earns it a COOL Wildlife Photography two paws up.