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I'm making my own bean bag and was going to experiment with moldable play foam something like this, as it's very lightweight and holds a shape nicely. I'm wondering if anyone can alert me to any drawbacks. (I also intend to fly internationally with it.)

  • I don't see why not. If you try, come back and post your results as an answer! – Please Read My Profile Nov 29 '14 at 21:29
  • Sounds like a step up from the traditional bag of beans. The only possible problem might be how it shows up on X-ray and other scanners. So if possible, use clear plastic for the bag itself and it couldn't hurt to save part of the box, either. – JenSCDC Nov 29 '14 at 21:41
  • Like others, I like your idea and am interested in your experience. Importantly, let me reinforce @AndyBlankertz concerns about airport scanners. My old beanbag camera support would regularly slow my Airport throughput. Eventually, I learned to simply pull the beanbag out of my carry-on along with my laptop. That way, the TSA agent could examine it quickly. As you may guess, they are concerned by a mass of material that looks like it could be some clay-like substance to their scanners. – B Shaw Nov 29 '14 at 22:19
  • Thanks for the feedback. I ordered the play foam and will report back. – Michael H Dec 1 '14 at 0:43
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It works well enough that I'll continue to use it.

Drawbacks:

  • Significant pressure is required to mold the play-foam to conform to the shape of the camera.
  • There seems to be very slight motion as the play-foam springs back a bit once the camera is resting on it.

Advantages over a bean bag:

  • Extremely light weight.
  • Compact. A small bag supports the camera with almost no foam displaced to the sides.

Coincidentally, in the airport while I was traveling, I saw a store selling sand with goo (probably the same goo) holding it together. It would be heavier, but I think it might overcome both drawbacks.

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I have never done this, so this is only a guess. I suspect the problem with the clay is that it will creep slowly over time with steady applied pressure. Granules like sand or beans won't do that.

If you plan to use the clay in a bag only to steady the camera while taking hand-held shots, then it should work. If you plan to use the bag to hold the camera still long-term as you might use a tripod, then I think you will have problems.

There may be a particular weight below which the clay won't more anymore, so maybe you can experiment and see what works and what doesn't.

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