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Rosbag can only record full topics, not only some fields from a topic. However, if for some reason you want to omit some fields from a recorded bag file, you can use rosbag's Code API, which is pretty amazing. It should take less than 10 lines of code to filter a "full" bag file, drop some fields, and write the result a second (reduced) bag file.

when I try to play back, rosbag shows this error: [FATAL] [1338427215.385261009]: Time is out of dual 32-bit range

Yes, that error message is not very intuitive. :-)

What's happening is this: When you do, say:

rosbag record /scan/ranges

... rosbag thinks that you want to record the topic /scan/ranges, but that doesn't exist ("ranges" is a field of topic "scan"). That means that your resulting rosbag will be empty, and that is what the error message really means. It's misleading though, and I filed a bug report here.