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393 ( AKA Bogen 3421 )

tripod head gimbal
Manufacturer
Manfrotto

Item details

Gimbal design tripod head for long camera lenses and scopes.
Weight: 2.3lb

Latest reviews

Recommended
Yes
Price
0$
Pros
  • It is 1/3 the price of the Whimberley
Cons
  • None considering the price.
I have used this head for three years with no problem at all. It is a robust item which will never break. I have two of them. I think its made of solid flat aluminum bar.

I use it with a 500mm f4, 300mm f2.8, and a swaro scope.

It must be the best buy of all the gimbal heads. The weight is very similar to the Whimberley and the Black Widow. But it costs so much less.

If there is a gimbal that weighs one pound or so then maybe I will upgrade. But I won't "upgrade" to a gimbal that costs three times more and weighs the same.
Recommended
Yes
Price
0$
Pros
  • Best value for money
Cons
  • None worth a mention
Great bit of kit and worth every penny unlike some of the so called big brothers! I prefer to have it standing rather than hanging from the gimbal
Recommended
Yes
Price
199$
Pros
  • build quality, smoothness
Cons
  • for the price, how can you nit pick?
I have not used any of the higher priced gimbal heads, so my praise of this product may be skewed by such lack of comparison. However, I can comment on it's use vs. three other Bogen heads that I also own and use extensively: the 486-RC2, the 701-RC2, and the 501. All are built well, and operate in a acceptable range of smoothness for their given design. But none have been a good match for my ~7 lb 20D+grip/Sigma 150-500 kit. Of course easier tilting from better balance is achieved through the center of gravity design that gimbals are built for. However, what struck me immediately about this in use was just how silky smooth the 393 movement is in both axes. And although the kit that I currently use is no heavy weight compared to many of the bazookas out there, it clearly receives great benefit from support in the field for long sessions. Most noteworthy for smaller teles with shorter mounting brackets like the 150-500, is that I find the lens balances better when the support is set in the advertised up position with lens hanging. This seems opposite to most reported heavy lens users who like to set up in the traditional bracket down position.

I've read all of the complaints of this bracket: it's too big and heavy, it doesn't have a tilt lock beyond the tension knobs, it doesn't have a pan lock,... All these things are true, to a point. I believe the size and weight gives it a stability factor that could easily hold a setup twice the weight of what I currently use. And from what I know of mounting telescopes for astronomical use, a two armed design is always stronger than a single arm. Also, despite the lack of axes locking, I haven't found any need for these features in field use. I assume the complaint has arisen from transportation difficulties. Again, I haven't encountered these issues myself.

In the end, I believe that if I had payed $400 USD for this head I might be thinking about whether I should have purchased one of the other gimbal options. But for just under $200, there are no other options. For that single reason the Bogen rides alone.

It's stout, smooth, balanced and inexpensive. What more could you want?

Item information

Category
Tripods & Heads
Added by
Andy Bright
Views
31,825
Reviews
8
Last update
Rating
4.75 star(s) 8 ratings

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