Reviews

Two Camera & Lens Support Solutions for the Nature Photographer – Part 2 – The Puffin Pad

by Maxis Gamez | November 29, 2010

© Maxis GamezIn the first installment of this article, I talked about the benefits of using the Skimmer Pod II. In Part No. 2 I will talk about a very cool and interesting product that we as nature photographers can benefit from: the Puffin Pad.

Let’s read more about the specifications of the Puffin Pad.

Overview

  • Weight: 3.4 oz
  • Dimensions: 7″ X 5″ X 5″

Build

The Puffin Pad is a light-weight alternative to the traditional beanbag. The Pad base is made of durable automotive foam and topped with a 1/2 inch of memory foam. The Puffin Pad is a simple, lightweight, and very useful product to use when photographing from your vehicle.

Benefits

  • Supports your camera with a long or short lens without damaging your equipment
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Inexpensive

Design

Puffin Pad in use © Maxis Gamez

The idea behind the Puffin Pad deserves a high five. It is much more lightweight than similar products on the market. However, the design causes some limitations when traveling. The main reason is because the Pad is not compact nor can it be folded flat like you would with a beanbag. The Puffin Pad was designed to be used mainly from your vehicle.

Another important factor to mention is that at 7″ long, The Puffin Pad may not support larger lenses like the Canon EF 800mm L f/5.6 USM or the Nikon AF-S Nikor 600mm f/4 II lens worry free. The maximum diameter of the Canon is 6.7″ while the Nikon is 6.6″. That means that even when centered on top of the Pad, these lenses will be almost at the edge of the Puffin Pad, which can prove tricky when you rotate your camera and lens from horizontal to vertical for a different composition. I often find myself lifting my Canon 500mm L lens before rotating to vertical or horizontal.

In the Field

The Puffin Pad supported my longest lens nicely while photographing from my vehicle’s window. If the situation allows, you can get out of the car and set the Pad on top of your vehicle’s roof and support your lens that way as well.

The Puffin Pad can be also be used in those awkward locations like a fence pole or if you are photographing from a boat.

Puffin Pad and car window © Maxis Gamez

Puffin Pad on car door © Maxis Gamez

Final Thoughts

Overall, The Puffin Pad will serve and support your equipment well. There are endless ways of using it and the more creative you are the better the Puffin Pad will deliver!

Bird portrait © Maxis Gamez

About the Author

Maxis Gamez is for the most part a self-taught photographer. He started photography as a hobby, but has now decided to devote his time and energy full time to photography. He has discovered that with photography, he has found a medium that enables him to express his creativity and use his abilities to teach and educate others with his workshops and programs. Viewing the world in a different way, he is capable of capturing wonderful images. These images have been featured in local galleries, published in nature magazines like Audubon, Shutterbug, Outdoor Photographer Magazine, Nature Photographers Magazine and now published in National Geographic. To learn more please visit his website at www.gvisions.org.

One thought on “Two Camera & Lens Support Solutions for the Nature Photographer – Part 2 – The Puffin Pad

  1. The Puffin Pad is very versatile — it can even be used on a fence rail or atop a fence post. Its downside, however, is that it is very weak at the top of the pad above the cut-out. It is easy to split that narrow strip with too much weight on something thin, like a car window. It is also vulnerable to breaking by being crushed on its side. I’ve been careful with mine but I know people who have had theirs split and the manufacturer’s respons is “you must have stepped on it” — pretty insulting for people hauling around thousands of dollars of camera and long lenses.

    A cheap alternative? Go to a hardware store and pick up a thick pool noodle float, one of those long foam tubes that your kids beat over each others’ heads in the pool. Cut a 2 foot section, slit it lengthwise on one side, and it’s a perfect soft fit over the edge of window glass. You can make a number from each cheap float. A friend is so confident of his that he shoots his Canon 500mm. on it regulalry and has never had a problem. And if it blows away, he makes another — piece of cake.

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