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Gimbal Head Recommendations Please

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Old Monday 1st March 2010, 18:43   #1
Epsomsalt
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Gimbal Head Recommendations Please

I have a canon EOS 40D with BG-E2 Grip together with a canon EF 100-400L IS.

I either use a monopod (Manfrotto MN 681B with a 234 RC QR head) or my Manfrotto 055 MFV tripod which is presently paired to a 486RC Ballhead. I am considering an upgrade of the Tripod Head to something that has an 'Arca Swiss' type balance rail system and something that won't 'flop around' when you loosen the head to adjust it.

I think a full blown Gimbal might be overkill (in terms of needs and price!) and am considering something along the lines of the Jobu Jr - anyone comment on this or suggest another alternative?

Thanks in advance.
Chris
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Old Monday 1st March 2010, 19:25   #2
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Hi Chris,
Well as I have mentioned before I found the Manfrotto 393 a good bit of kit when I used it with the Bigma and the Manfrotto 393 can be modified to a 'Arca Swiss' mount.
I changed to a Wimberley when I purchased a FA 600mm f4.
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Old Monday 1st March 2010, 21:22   #3
Roy C
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Chris, the Jobu jr is a superb Gimbal for a lens like the 100-400, 300/4 or 400/5.6. I used one when I had the 400/5.6 and was over the moon with it. BTW I bought the full kit which included the full gimbal type mount but to be quite honest I preferred the sidekick version for the light lens (you can always add the full Gimbal mount at a later date if you wanted).
As far as I know it is the only Gimbal that is made specifically for these relatively light lenses. See HERE for more info. It weighs just 0.62 Kg and comes complete with a Swiss Arca mount ( the lens plate is extra)
I think you are right in your assumption that a heavier weight full Gimbal would be an overkill and would not work that well with a light weight lens like the 100-400. When I bought the 300/2.8 I upgraded to a Jobu Black Widow HD MkII Gimbal - I did try the 400/5.6 on it a few times but the lens was not really heavy enough drive the HD Gimbal that well.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 13:18   #4
Epsomsalt
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Thanks all,

This is the one I had in mind.

Chris
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 13:26   #5
Roy C
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Originally Posted by Epsomsalt View Post
Thanks all,

This is the one I had in mind.

Chris
That is the full kit that I had Chris, you can buy the exact same head without the horizontal mount thus making it a sidekick (which is how I preferred it).
THIS is the horizontal mount that you can buy separately.
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Old Thursday 1st April 2010, 01:22   #6
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This one works for me for over a year now:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Mini-Gimbal-Head...item20b01f499d

I use it with a 300 2.8 on a monopod and it works excellent. Compared with the other brands the finish is a bit crude, but I wrapped the whole thing with tape anyway, and it is a bit heavier.

I just ordered their full gimbal head for using it with a heavier combo, but if the sidekick can handle this bulkier combo as well it stays on the monopod and the swing goes on the tripod.
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Old Friday 2nd April 2010, 18:55   #7
hollis_f
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Originally Posted by Roy C View Post
When I bought the 300/2.8 I upgraded to a Jobu Black Widow HD MkII Gimbal - I did try the 400/5.6 on it a few times but the lens was not really heavy enough drive the HD Gimbal that well.
Hi Roy,

I've been playing with a Wimberley MkII with thoughts of buying it from a friend. But she's now in two minds as the whether she actually wants to sell it. So I may be having to buy new.

Have you tried the Wimberley? If so, how does the BW HD compare? I'm especially keen that it's as smooth as the Wimberley. I have one of the Indian knock-offs and it's just a little bit jerky. But that little bit is enough to be very annoying when trying to do video with the 300 + 1.4x TC.

Do you, or does anybody else, know of a place where I could try the Jobu heads out before buying?
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Old Friday 2nd April 2010, 19:24   #8
Roy C
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Hi Roy,

I've been playing with a Wimberley MkII with thoughts of buying it from a friend. But she's now in two minds as the whether she actually wants to sell it. So I may be having to buy new.

Have you tried the Wimberley? If so, how does the BW HD compare? I'm especially keen that it's as smooth as the Wimberley. I have one of the Indian knock-offs and it's just a little bit jerky. But that little bit is enough to be very annoying when trying to do video with the 300 + 1.4x TC.

Do you, or does anybody else, know of a place where I could try the Jobu heads out before buying?
I have never tried the Wimberley Frank, so cannot compare.

I find the Black Widow HD MkII superb for my needs - one of the main upgrades for the Mk II was the implementation a ball bearing system similar to the BWG-Pro to offer unparalleled smoothness in the tilt axis, it is smooth as silk on this axis although I usually prefer to add a bit of drag. The panning axis is not so smooth but perfectly adequate - I am not sure that having the panning axis mega smooth would necessarily be a good thing as it is nice to have a slight bit of drag, I do not find the head at all jerky. At 2lbs 11oz it is relatively light yet seriously stiff.
I see that the Wimberley II is over a 1lb heavier and around 150 more than the BW HDII.

If I was using, say, something like the 600/4 or 800/5.6 I would probably go up to the BWG Pro but for something like the 300/2.8 or 500/4 the HD II is ideal IMO.

I have always bought my Jobu gear from THG, not sure how far this is from you but I find the boss, Tony, to be a very helpful guy and I am sure he would let you try one out.
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Old Friday 2nd April 2010, 19:26   #9
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Originally Posted by hollis_f View Post
Do you, or does anybody else, know of a place where I could try the Jobu heads out before buying?
As far as I know TGH are the importer and at present the only UK supplier for Jobu gimbal heads. I've got a BW LW and also the newer BW Pro, if you're over in Norfolk anytime soon you'd be welcome to try them both.
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Old Saturday 3rd April 2010, 11:08   #10
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Thanks Roy and Pete,

Just checked and TGH are around 6 miles from where I'm staying at the moment Looks like I'll be giving them a ring next week to see if I can go down there and check it out.
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Old Friday 16th April 2010, 11:44   #11
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Well, it took a little longer than planned, but I popped over to THG this morning and came back with a nice, new BWG-HD2. One thing I've not seen mentioned in reviews, or even on Jobu's site, is how easy it is to attach it to a tripod with the knurled knob on the bottom. I've always found the Wimberley to be a real pain at this task.

I guess it's time to stick my Indianly Gimberley on the For Sale pages.
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Old Friday 16th April 2010, 12:18   #12
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Old Sunday 25th April 2010, 12:23   #13
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Has anyone ever done any "research" into what offers the least vibration, a side mounted lens or one on the full Wimberley type swaing arm?

I read on other forums, the view that there is less vibration when mounted on the side of a gimbal type arm. Anyone any views or opinions?
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Old Sunday 25th April 2010, 12:39   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryH View Post
Has anyone ever done any "research" into what offers the least vibration, a side mounted lens or one on the full Wimberley type swaing arm?

I read on other forums, the view that there is less vibration when mounted on the side of a gimbal type arm. Anyone any views or opinions?
I suppose the thinking is that the side-mounting gimbal has one less 'joint' that can wobble. However, my guess would be that there was so little difference that it's not worth worrying about.
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Old Sunday 25th April 2010, 14:24   #15
Roy C
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryH View Post
Has anyone ever done any "research" into what offers the least vibration, a side mounted lens or one on the full Wimberley type swaing arm?

I read on other forums, the view that there is less vibration when mounted on the side of a gimbal type arm. Anyone any views or opinions?
Barry, I have also seen threads on the subject and, like you say, a lot of people reckon the side mount would be a little more stable. When you think that a full Gimbal is just an extra bracket hanging off of the side mount it does seem logical that it would be a little better without the full Gimbal mount.

With the Jobu Blackwidow HD2 you have the choice between using it as a side mount or full Gimbal - to turn it into a side mount you unscrew a couple of Allen screws, take off the the horizontal mount and fix the lens plate clamp onto the side mount. This then becomes identical to the Blackwidow LD head which is a side mounter. Similarly with the LD you can buy a separate horizontal mount and turn it into the HD2 full Gimbal. The big advantage to the full Gimbal for me is that I find it a lot easier to mount the lens.

I have not tried the Blackwidow as a side mount yet but as Frank suggest I doubt if the difference would be that great.

It is interesting to note that a some of the top American bird snappers seem to prefer the side mounting Mongoose 3.5 over the Wimberley for lenses up to the 500/4 HERE is an interesting comparison by Art Morris - scroll down to BIG LENS TRIPOD-HEAD REPORT.

I have often wondered what the up/down platform was for on the BWG-HDII and Wimberley (apart from adjusting the height slightly). Art Morris explains all in the link.

Last edited by Roy C : Monday 26th April 2010 at 07:39.
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 01:33   #16
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The biggest thing for me on the side mount is that I do not feel comfortable handling my lens and camera combo, Nikon D300 with extra battery pack and the Nikon 500 f/4, as I side mount it. I have small hands and trying to one hand it to side mount it is not as comfortable as the full wimberley where I can use both hands.

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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 07:53   #17
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Originally Posted by flygirl View Post
The biggest thing for me on the side mount is that I do not feel comfortable handling my lens and camera combo, Nikon D300 with extra battery pack and the Nikon 500 f/4, as I side mount it. I have small hands and trying to one hand it to side mount it is not as comfortable as the full wimberley where I can use both hands.
This is the main reason I didn't go for a side mount. It's also a lot easier to balance a lens on a full gimbal - which is quite important. And on a side-mount, even if you have got it balanced perfectly, if the friction isn't set right then the lens will flop, one way or t'other. On a full gimbal, even with the tilt friction off, the lens will drop to a horizontal position - much less likely to cause damage.
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 08:26   #18
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Originally Posted by hollis_f View Post
This is the main reason I didn't go for a side mount. It's also a lot easier to balance a lens on a full gimbal - which is quite important. And on a side-mount, even if you have got it balanced perfectly, if the friction isn't set right then the lens will flop, one way or t'other. On a full gimbal, even with the tilt friction off, the lens will drop to a horizontal position - much less likely to cause damage.
strangely I have found the exact opposite to be true when I have tested heads - I found that the side mount is far easier to get balanced as it seem more forgiving. I can set the camera and lens (500 f4) up on a side mount and get it balanced very easily, it will remain balanced (without any adjustments) even if I add both 1.4x and 2x tca. However with a full gimbal I have found that setting the balance needs to be more precise and that adding a 1.4x to the set up is enough to upset the balance and leave em needing to adjust it slightly.
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 09:09   #19
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Only ever really use the Wimberley MkII with my K20D, battery pack and Pentax FA F4 600mm (7.5Kg plus) and find it quite easy to mount onto the Wimberley, as once it is in position the slide plate can be tightened with the head taking most of the weight.
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 09:45   #20
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Thanks for all the help, most appreciated.
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 18:35   #21
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Does Mongoose still make the 2.3 ? Can't seem to locate anything about it. The manufactures web site does not show it.
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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 20:26   #22
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Does Mongoose still make the 2.3 ? Can't seem to locate anything about it. The manufactures web site does not show it.
Thanks
Robin
Arthur Morris has been pushing the 2.3 Mongoose for use with smaller lenses - I thought I was going to get one. However, in a recent blog post, Arthur says that they have stopped making the 2.3. In addition, Mongoose has removed the 2.3 from their website.

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Old Monday 26th April 2010, 21:06   #23
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Thanks Greg and thanks for this thread. Having waded through the vast number of choices concerning heads etc, and having lurked here for months I had decided this would have been a perfect solution for a 100-400mm Canon and a big scope.
Too bad.
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Old Tuesday 27th April 2010, 09:01   #24
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Thanks Greg and thanks for this thread. Having waded through the vast number of choices concerning heads etc, and having lurked here for months I had decided this would have been a perfect solution for a 100-400mm Canon and a big scope.
Too bad.
Robin, Have you looked at the Canadian made Jobu Jr? it is ideal for the 100-400. You can get it in Sidemount or full Gimbal mode. More info HERE. I had one which I used with the 400/5.6 and it was superb for lenses of this size/weight.
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Old Wednesday 28th April 2010, 00:44   #25
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I think I will.............I'll eventually be getting a prime (500mm probably) and was hoping one gimbal head would do for everything but the concensus seems to be a full size Wimberly/Black Widow etc will not work effectively on a smaller lens like the 100-400mm and the smaller ones are, well, smaller.
Thanks again
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