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Gimble Heads

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Old Thursday 8th November 2007, 15:32   #1
chrisjones
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Gimble Heads

I really need some more stability when tripod mounting a 1D3 and 100-400 IS doing bird photography.

However looking at two solutions:

1. A Wimberley Gimble Head vII
2. A Wimberley Sidekick on a Manfrotto 468RC2 Ballhead

They are both very pricey

I'd be gratefull for any other ideas, experiences.

Regards

Chris
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Old Thursday 8th November 2007, 19:48   #2
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The Manfrotto 393 is a popular option when looking for a cheaper gimbal - Manfrotto sell it as a long lens mount for monopods but it works well with tripods too. Andy Brights review of the 393 i about halfway down this page - http://www.digiscoped.com/manfrotto701RC2.html at ~120 it's a good deal cheaper than your other choices...
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Old Thursday 8th November 2007, 19:57   #3
chrisjones
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That's a great article, I was looking at the 393 after seeing an article on a US site, but it doesn't look very robust on the Manfrotto site. The page you refere to puts it in a much better light.

Thank you

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Old Thursday 8th November 2007, 20:53   #4
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Hi Chris
The Sidekick would suit your weight of lens and be adaptable for other photography. I have the Wimberley 11 and its is stunning. Flight shots are made so much easier and the system holds my 600mm with ease but may be overkill for a lighter lens like yours. For many years I used a heavy Manfrotto fluid head on an 055 tripod but swapped for a Gitzo/Wimberley a while ago. Much more stable and more than worth the money. I have a spare quick release plate that I use on other lenses when needed for landscapes/macro etc. A lot of money but not when you consider the cost of lens and camera.
Talk to Bob Rigby Photographic at Macclesfield, Cheshire ( www.bobrigby.com ) as they are the main dealers for Wimberley and verrrrry nice people. Don't go there though or your credit card will end up maxed out and you will drool at their kit!!!!!! -
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Old Thursday 8th November 2007, 20:55   #5
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I use a 393 with a 30D and 100-400 mounted on it. Works great for this combination. However I've also tried the Wimberley Gimble Head and it's in a different league although probably over kill for your lens.
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Old Thursday 8th November 2007, 21:06   #6
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into DIY :)
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Old Friday 9th November 2007, 07:27   #7
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Thanks for that Rob.... brilliant
Rgds
Chris
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Old Saturday 10th November 2007, 04:39   #8
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Hi Chris,

As Bob says above a Gimbal is probably overkill for your lens, I tried using one when I had a 100-400 and went back to a Arca ballhead. Which if I am not mistaken is all a Sidekick will fit. Dont know anything about Manfrotto heads.
So allow about 300 extra for a Arca Swiss head.
Apologies to Manfrotto owners if I am incorrect.

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Old Saturday 10th November 2007, 07:17   #9
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Hi Chris,

I've been using the 468RC2 (no sidekick,i think Deejay is right about compatability) with an MF4 tripod for the past 10 months supporting a 5D, 300 2.8 and convertors and found it to be a very smooth setup but i would say it was at it's max and the only problem i had was keeping shots level, if your thinking that at some stage a 500 or 600 will be on the cards then a much stronger setup will be required, in the past 2 weeks i have purchased the 600 f4, Wimberley MK11 and Gitzo 3540 it's a very strong setup and a little care leveling the tripod makes the Wimberley a dream to use with no fear of expensive equipment hitting the floor, easy to balance heavy setups, perfect horizons and so smooth to pan with.

Mitch
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Old Saturday 10th November 2007, 20:49   #10
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Chaps

Thank you for all your help.

I'm going the Manfrotto 393 route for now and will take the hit on not getting a wimberley when I get some bigger glass.

I've found the dialog most usefull.

Regards

Chris
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Old Sunday 11th November 2007, 15:36   #11
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This comes recommended by Art Morris for medium tele lenses:

http://www.4gdphoto.com/
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Old Sunday 11th November 2007, 21:32   #12
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And there's the Jobu range - the Jobu Jnr seems to be just the job(u).
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Old Monday 19th November 2007, 21:33   #13
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Chris, in VFM terms the 393 is a fine choice and works very well. I use one with my 7D and A100 with the Tammy 200-500 lens.

Some detailed shots HERE with the A100 and Tammy mounted.

Hope this helps.

Denis.
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Old Wednesday 21st November 2007, 12:58   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenisG View Post
Chris, in VFM terms the 393 is a fine choice and works very well. I use one with my 7D and A100 with the Tammy 200-500 lens.

Some detailed shots HERE with the A100 and Tammy mounted.

Hope this helps.

Denis.
Hello Denis,
what do you think of this head in terms of vibrations and ease of panning?
Thank you
Max
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Old Wednesday 21st November 2007, 23:10   #15
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Originally Posted by gmax View Post
Hello Denis,
what do you think of this head in terms of vibrations and ease of panning?
Thank you
Max
I have no complaint on either count Max. I tend to use mine with 2 lenses in particular but mainly with the Tammy 200-500. I do tend to find that used 'cradle style' seems to be a more stable way but there is little in it. The adjustment wheels on either side can be tightened for dampening.

Panning is pre-set at the factory but is adjustable if you wish with an alen key and screw inset into the centre swivel point. Jaybee on the 'Durham' forum uses his with the Sigmonster and like myself has found no reason to make any adjustment to the factory setting. However, the rubber grip on the centre swivel may require some additional adhesive but it is easy to do if necc and just needs a hole in the rubber to allow alen key access. A minor point but worth mentioning I think.

Either way it is very smooth in use.

A couple of other points. On my giottos tripod at full extention, the 393 used in 'hangar' style and the lens horizontal the camera viewfinder (or scope eyepiece) is over 6'. Ideal for the tall folks. Secondly in 'cradle style the camera baseplate is very close to the tripod mounting plate. This makes it slightly lower than a ball and socket head. I find the main advantage with this when shooting macro with the 180/200 lenses. In fact, with these lenses I find it ideal for macro work as there is no shift that you often get when locking an 'economical' (read: mine!) b&s head. If using a complex multi-flash system the whole set-up can be counter-balanced. This applies to all gimble type heads of course.

Regarding the Wimberley Sidekick mentioned elsewhere. On the face of it, it's a lot cheaper than the full-house version but for those wishing to step up to this from a b&s head, be very carefull. The sidekick mounts to your existing qr plate in horizontal format. This means that all the weight of the sidekick, camera, lens, battery pack, flashgun etc is only supported on the neck piece of the b&s. Not ideal if you are stepping up and have a cheapo version. The Sidekick and ideal b&s is almost more expensive than a full Wimberley.

Hope this helps.

Denis.
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Old Friday 23rd November 2007, 08:53   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenisG View Post
I have no complaint on either count Max. I tend to use mine with 2 lenses in particular but mainly with the Tammy 200-500. I do tend to find that used 'cradle style' seems to be a more stable way but there is little in it. The adjustment wheels on either side can be tightened for dampening.

Panning is pre-set at the factory but is adjustable if you wish with an alen key and screw inset into the centre swivel point. Jaybee on the 'Durham' forum uses his with the Sigmonster and like myself has found no reason to make any adjustment to the factory setting. However, the rubber grip on the centre swivel may require some additional adhesive but it is easy to do if necc and just needs a hole in the rubber to allow alen key access. A minor point but worth mentioning I think.

Either way it is very smooth in use.

A couple of other points. On my giottos tripod at full extention, the 393 used in 'hangar' style and the lens horizontal the camera viewfinder (or scope eyepiece) is over 6'. Ideal for the tall folks. Secondly in 'cradle style the camera baseplate is very close to the tripod mounting plate. This makes it slightly lower than a ball and socket head. I find the main advantage with this when shooting macro with the 180/200 lenses. In fact, with these lenses I find it ideal for macro work as there is no shift that you often get when locking an 'economical' (read: mine!) b&s head. If using a complex multi-flash system the whole set-up can be counter-balanced. This applies to all gimble type heads of course.

Regarding the Wimberley Sidekick mentioned elsewhere. On the face of it, it's a lot cheaper than the full-house version but for those wishing to step up to this from a b&s head, be very carefull. The sidekick mounts to your existing qr plate in horizontal format. This means that all the weight of the sidekick, camera, lens, battery pack, flashgun etc is only supported on the neck piece of the b&s. Not ideal if you are stepping up and have a cheapo version. The Sidekick and ideal b&s is almost more expensive than a full Wimberley.

Hope this helps.

Denis.
Thank you Denis for the useful info.
I'd like to move to a different set from my old 128RC2 video head and my choice has been hovering above the new 501 HDV video head and the gimbal 393 ... what I feared was that the 393 could have been some kind of an overkill for my actual rigs (400mm f/5.6 + TC and Tamron 200-500mm); one more concern was ease of use with small and uncomfortable hide windows ... I guess though that using the 393 in cradle style could be a valid solution.
One more question: what percentuage of (real life or psychological) safety do you get when carrying the tripod with lens mounted on the 393 over your shoulder?
Thank you,
Max
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Old Friday 23rd November 2007, 23:23   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmax View Post
Thank you Denis for the useful info.
I'd like to move to a different set from my old 128RC2 video head and my choice has been hovering above the new 501 HDV video head and the gimbal 393 ... what I feared was that the 393 could have been some kind of an overkill for my actual rigs (400mm f/5.6 + TC and Tamron 200-500mm); one more concern was ease of use with small and uncomfortable hide windows ... I guess though that using the 393 in cradle style could be a valid solution.
One more question: what percentuage of (real life or psychological) safety do you get when carrying the tripod with lens mounted on the 393 over your shoulder?
Thank you,
Max
Max, you will find my own opinions and tips on the 393 HERE.

Regarding over the shoulder, personal confidence is high because I have done this for many years without problem. The one thing I always do though is to check the tripod mounting plate bolt. I think I mentioned this in another post here somewhere. Some of these are 1/4" bolts bushed for 3/8" on a spring mount. Totally useless and highly likely to shear type failure. The 3/8" bush has a wall thickness of just 1/16" LESS the thread depth. Bad, bad design imho. Not necessary on the Benbo 'pods but essential on earlier Giottos Pro 'pods for instance. Some of these bolts are solid and double ended. Better, but if it's an alloy one, get rid and use steel. It takes less than 5 mins to do the Giottos but worth it. I use a 3/8" high tensile bolt. Because of this I have full confidence in carrying the 'pod, camera and lens over the shoulder.

Unfortunately, hides normally have a shelf for you to use a clamp with and are, in my experience, very likely to be unstable. Especially with people walking about!. Here's a little tip. Instead of using a clamp for your 'pod centre column, get one that will take a monopod (or get a monopod that fits your clamp!)That way you can cramp to the shelf AND brace against the floor as well.

Denis
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Old Sunday 23rd December 2007, 14:50   #18
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I use the 393 & find it a great divice for the bucks.

Have a look at this Link.

http://www.ophrysphotography.co.uk/p...mentupdate.htm
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Old Saturday 29th December 2007, 17:05   #19
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I use the 393 & find it a great divice for the bucks.

Have a look at this Link.

http://www.ophrysphotography.co.uk/p...mentupdate.htm
That's a pretty useful resume of some very practical aspects of long lens photography.

However, I think he's wrong about the material used for the Manfrotto #393 head. I've just checked mine, and I'm pretty sure it is aluminium, so it already is a light material. Whether going to magnesium would be better, I don't know - my suspicion is that magnesium doesn't have a high enough Young's Modulus. Many years ago for an avionics job, we chose to use a thin-walled stainless steel tube (instead of aluminium) so as to save weight.

See: http://www-materials.eng.cam.ac.uk/m...s/default.html for some info.

I really am impressed with the Manfrotto #393, a good simple design - the cantilevered designs (Wimberley, Kirk etc.) have to be massive in view of the off-balance forces they have to endure.
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Old Sunday 30th December 2007, 10:57   #20
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for those considering the 393.

This is a 16 pound 1000mm fl scope with an over-all length of 50 inches when setup for photography. The 393 is at it's limits this way but it works.
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