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Acratech Long Lens Head - Opinion Wanted (1 Viewer)


HI All,

Recently I have stepped up to Canon 1D IV & 300mm f2.8 combo. Mostly I'm handholding this setup & have no problems doing so; but there are many occasions when tripod is really necessary.

I have considered gimbals & side-mount gimbals.

I was wondering whether anyone has experience with the Acratech long lens head; it seems to be compact, lightweight & they claim it can support 500mm f4. (https://www.acratech.net/long-lens-head/)

Can anyone suggest whether this would be correct option for travelling light & supporting 1dIV & 300 2.8 combo?

Though I have not used the Acratech head I use the same lens (+ a longer one) and feel that anything other than a Gimbal is going to be a compromise. I am sure the Acratech is good but it will not achieve the same balance as a full Gimbal.
Is there anywhere you could try it out for yourself - that's the only way to be certain.
Thanks for your views John. Gimbal seems to be the general consensus.
On the field almost every person I have met carrying a long lens, uses a gimbal head.
I like Gimbal heads but they are heavy! Also they are NOT cheap - but nothing really good is! Another alternative is the Uniqball. It is about half the weight of a Wimberley 2 and looks interesting. Andy Rouse is promoting it, in his usual enthusiastic manner, but it looks to be a viable option. I will be trying one out as soon as I can though I think I will stick with my Wimberley 2, however I am willing to change if it's as good as he says!

I was thinking of these head too recently as I have gimbal by Wimberley but too heavy to lugged around with tripod. Currently I'm happy using the Sirui L-10 Tilt Head with Nikon D3s + 300mm 2.8 VR II on monopod for longer walk in the rainforest.
I know nothing about this head specifically but I have another Acratech head, and am very impressed by the engineering of that one. Based on that I would trust descriptions on the Acratech webpage.

Not sure if this is still relevant, but I've used a couple of Acratech's heads. I'm not aware of a specific long lens version that Acratech makes, but I used the GV-2 and Ultimate ball heads with my 300mm f4 AFS (Nikon) and 1.4x converter. This setup worked fairly well, but, I did end up wearing out some of the internal spring components after a year or so. BUT, to Actratech's credit, they refurbished and fixed my ballheads without question, return shipping paid, and quickly. They are a great company! The newer GP ballheads may be better suited to heavier long lenses, but check with others. I would not recommend either of the 2 heads I used for heavier long lens work, and even the 300mm f4 seemed to stretch it's capabilities. BUT, bear in mind, I also carried my kit in the field with the lens/camera/head via the "over the shoulder" method, which can be taxing on the kit, and especially the heads.

I currently use an Arca Swiss Monoball Ballhead, and it works beautifully with my much heavier 300mm AFS f2.8 Nikon and TCs. This head is designed for long lenses, such that if you forget to tighten the head when/if you take your hands off, it doesn't allow the lens to automatically "flop" over (oval ball design I think?). I also occasionally use a Jobu Gimbal head, but I prefer the single knob use of the Arca Swiss ballhead for most outings.

Anyway, my 2 cents.
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