• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Leveling with a Gimbal Head (1 Viewer)

RyanEustace

Ecology Student
Hi All

Right i rember how hard it was when i had a gimbal head to level it off, having to adjust the legs constantly when i changed location, am i being stupid here, or is this the only way to really do it. With a Ballhead you can just tilt it but you can't do this with a gimbal, as i am 'in the market' i can't help feeling like a good ball head may be a better option (to be used with a canon 100-400mm)?

Ryan
 
yes you are stupid.....NO

I fail to see the problem. You can regulate vertical, horizontal, and whatchamacallit well the camera position on the tripod mount/ring.

So what is it you can do with a ballhead that you cannot with a gimbal?

If you do alot of work where u need a ballhead you might consider the ballhed-sidekick combi.
 
Hi

I understand that you can move the camera horizontally and vertically, but you can not tilt it as the gimbal arms prevent it. So in the picture i've given the tripod is not level, with a ball head you could just tilt it the opposite way to the way the tripods tilting, but with a gimbal head i assume you have to get the legs level every time as theres no room to adjust sideways?

Ryan
 

Attachments

  • Untitled.jpg
    Untitled.jpg
    7.4 KB · Views: 215
Not really sure what you are getting at here Ryan! with a Gimbal its swings/moves in both the tilt and panning axis's.

I always think that using a ballhead with a Gimbal makes the whole rig less steady which is why I have always used Jobu's as even their side-kicks do not require a ball head.

The main reason why people use a Gimbal that works on a ballhead is that they can quickly remove the gimbal if they want to use just the ballhead for, say landscape shots with a different lens
 
Last edited:
Hi

Its difficult to describe, lets say the tripod isn't level, its leaning to the right, and your photographing the sea with a definite horizontal line. Now if the tripod isn't level the horizon line isn't going to be perfectly horizontal its going to be slanted to the right in this case. With a gimbal head you can pan horizontally, but this isnt going to fix it , your just going to see a diffrent part but still with slanted horizon, nor is moving vertically as your just going to see more sky or more water. With a ball head there are 3 axis of movement like a 3 way head, pan, vertical and tilt to the side, by tilting the ball to the left you could correct the right hand tilt of the tripod, with a gimbal it has 2 axis of movement doesn't it, pan and vertical but you you cannot counter act the tilt of the tripod?, hopefully with the picture below you will understand me.
 

Attachments

  • 3728419104_5fc1d2d9b8.jpg
    3728419104_5fc1d2d9b8.jpg
    93.7 KB · Views: 196
As kurakura said, if you're on uneven ground then just rotate your tripod ring until you get a flat horizon.
 
aaa well, my tripod ring is loose alot of the time. easier and faster to compose that way. When I need the lens to be dead still and during transportation I tighten it.

So you only run into trouble if you are using a lens without tripod mount. However, you should always try to get your topplate of the tripod to be level - stability will be compromised if not. You can do that by adjusting leg length or by adjusting leg angle - sometimes it works well by putting 1-2legs in a diffenrent angle. Sometimes the terrain is not really for a tripod, then I just fold the legs together like a threelegged monopod (hope you understand)

Roy C: I also use an Jobu Design Black Widow MarkII - very satisfied. That is the side mounted model they carry. Wimberley make something similar, but they also make the sidekick which is different, that is to be used on a ballhead. Jobu Design got a sidekick equivalent to the sidekick is called Jobu Micro Gimbal/Ballhead Adapter - and as far as I know you need a ballhead for that.
 
Roy C: I also use an Jobu Design Black Widow MarkII - very satisfied. That is the side mounted model they carry.
I use the Black Widow HD Mark II which is exactly the same as the LD model that you use but includes a horizontal mount plate. To use the HD as a side kick model like yours you can just undo a few screws, take off the horizontal arm and fix the mounting plate in the side mode. So the HD model is either full Gimbal or sidekick.
When I had a 300/2.8 I found it easier to attach the lens on the horizontal mount so I prefer the full gimbal mode.
 
I understand the problem Ryan is having.

Isn't the answer to use a levelling base which either replaces the tripod top plate (like this Gitzo version http://www.gitzo.com/product/0/GS5121LVL/_/Series_3,_4,_5_Systematic_Leveling_Base ) or sits between the plate and the gimbal head (like this Manfrotto version http://www.manfrotto.com/levelling-base )?

Bill
A leveling base will work Bill but they have there limits as to the amount of tilt and they would be slow compared with just rotating the tripod ring imo. Also some of these bases can add a pound or two to the weight (and relieve you of a pound or two of cash lol). I also think they do nothing for the stability of a big lens on a gimbal. From what I gather they are mainly used when someone want a very precise level which is not really the case with birds has you often have room to level and crop in processing.
 
Roy

We may be talking about different things, but I can't see how turning the top plate on my tripod (which is very firmly fixed and would require a hex key to loosen) would have any effect different from simple panning the gimbal head round, which is when the horizon gores to pot.

Though I do agree that for many practical purposes straightening it up and cropping later would work.

Bill
 
RoyWe may be talking about different things, but I can't see how turning the top plate on my tripod (which is very firmly fixed and would require a hex key to loosen) would have any effect different from simple panning the gimbal head round, which is when the horizon gores to pot.

Though I do agree that for many practical purposes straightening it up and cropping later would work.

Bill
No we are not talking about the top plate of the tripod Bill but the lens tripod ring which allows you to rotate the Camera/lens through 360 degrees, if you couple this with the pan and tilt axis's of the Gimbal then any angle/ leveling is possible.
 
Regardless of what type of head you are using your tripod will be more stable if you level it, or maybe more correctly, plumb it.

I do this almost without thinking every time I move my tripod.

1. Extended all legs to the same length.

2. Place the tripod on a sloping surface with one leg uphill and the remaining two legs downhill at the same elevation on the slope.

3. Loosen the leg clamp for the uphill leg and shorten it until the center column is plumb and your head is level.

4. Shoot.

By placing the two downhill legs at the same elevation your tripod is already plumb in one direction, and adjusting the uphill leg plumbs it in the other.

I extend the uphill leg before I move on so I am ready to set up again at the next site.

Mike
 

Attachments

  • Tripod Setup.JPG
    Tripod Setup.JPG
    205.1 KB · Views: 201
Regardless of what type of head you are using your tripod will be more stable if you level it, or maybe more correctly, plumb it.

I do this almost without thinking every time I move my tripod.

1. Extended all legs to the same length.

2. Place the tripod on a sloping surface with one leg uphill and the remaining two legs downhill at the same elevation on the slope.

3. Loosen the leg clamp for the uphill leg and shorten it until the center column is plumb and your head is level.

4. Shoot.

By placing the two downhill legs at the same elevation your tripod is already plumb in one direction, and adjusting the uphill leg plumbs it in the other.

I extend the uphill leg before I move on so I am ready to set up again at the next site.

Mike
Yep, you are right Mike that it is best to level the pod on uneven ground by shortening one leg (or sometimes even two legs if you are on a compound angle) if you have time, That is fine if you are setting-up to shoot from one spot but I often walk around with the pod/camera over the shoulder ready to plonk it down and shoot if a bird comes along. If I had to level the pod every time the bird would be long gone! providing you are not too far out of level I find it a lot quicker just to rotate with the tripod ring collar, similar to what you would do if you wanted to change from landscape to portrait mode.
 
Warning! This thread is more than 13 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top