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Tripod and head for a D500 and 500mm f5.6 lens (1 Viewer)

rentoncharman

Well-known member
I have changed from a Canon 1dx and 500mm f4 lens to a Nikon D500 and the new PF 500mm f5.6 lens, considerably lighter to carry around. The weight of the camera and lens is only 2.2 Km. I need a tripod with a gimbal head for bird photography. Thought about a Wimberley Sidekick with a good quality head and a carbon fibre tripod.
I used to use the full Wimberley head which was brilliant. For the sidekick to be as good the pressure is on the head to turn easily in the horizontal plane.
Any recommendations for tripod and head from users of a similar system would be appreciated.
 

johnf3f

johnf3f
You have moved from a fairly heavy setup (I mainly use a 1DX + 800 F5.6) to a light setup with a similar focal length + a crop sensor - this will be harder to stabilise. Counter intuitive? Not really. With a heavy setup the small vibrations (that ruin shots) are quite effectively damped down by the sheer mass of large heavy lenses/cameras. For example IS is a complete irrelevance on my 800 F5.6 L IS yet is, sometimes, handy on my 100-400 Mk2. In a nutshell I can easily hand hold my 800 at half the shutter speed that I can get away with on my 100-400.

I would say use the same head and tripod that you had for the Canon setup. You Nikon setup is wonderfully light for walkabout shooting but it is still the same focal length so it will need similar support - or better due to it's lack of mass.

Just my observations from a lot of long lens shooting.
 

rentoncharman

Well-known member
Thanks for your helpful reply John. I hadn't considered the damping effect of the mass of the bigger camera and longer lens. I've gone to the lighter setup because of need through age! I'm not disappointed, getting some impressive flight shots hand holding but occasionally I think I might have done better with a tripod to get that extra bit of sharpness especially on distant birds. I take your point about using a similar support to that which I used with my long lens setup and the Gitzo/Wimberley II combo I had would have done the job. However, in the interest of keeping the weight down I'm looking for recommendations for a tripod and head to use with a Wimberley Sidekick that would give me the solidity and lightness needed. Hope someone who uses a similar setup could comment.
 

johnf3f

johnf3f
Thanks for your helpful reply John. I hadn't considered the damping effect of the mass of the bigger camera and longer lens. I've gone to the lighter setup because of need through age! I'm not disappointed, getting some impressive flight shots hand holding but occasionally I think I might have done better with a tripod to get that extra bit of sharpness especially on distant birds. I take your point about using a similar support to that which I used with my long lens setup and the Gitzo/Wimberley II combo I had would have done the job. However, in the interest of keeping the weight down I'm looking for recommendations for a tripod and head to use with a Wimberley Sidekick that would give me the solidity and lightness needed. Hope someone who uses a similar setup could comment.

I fully appreciate the benefits of your lighter setup, I am jealous!

Have a look at the Jobu Junior Gimbals. I have had a few plays with them and they are nicely made without being stupidly expensive:

https://carmarthencameras.com/tripo...obu-jr-3-gimbal-kit-with-swing-arm-hm-j2.html

As to tripods? You have already had a Gitzo so you know the answer! See if you can find a used Gitzo GT3530LS. They are only1.8 Kilos but quite usable with any Canon/Nikon lens. Gitzo now do a 2 series Systematic but it is the same weight and much more expensive - so not of any interest. If you keep the centre column down (or better remove it) then a Gitzo 2 series mountaineer (GT2531) will do the job but it is at it's limit. I own/have owned both of the above tripods.

Happy hunting!
 

opticoholic

Well-known member
Renton,
I also am planning to switch from a heavy 500mm f/4 to the new Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF lens, and like you I was thinking about shaving some weight off my tripod/head at the same time. In my case it is mostly the gimbal head; I'll probably stick with my current Gitzo series 3 tripod. Up until now I've used the Wimberley WH-200 and it has served me well for many years. But now I have my eye on the Jobu DMG-HD4 MK IV. I would go for the less expensive Jobu Jr., but the MK IV looks a little more adjustable and sturdy; it isn't that much heavier than the Jr.3 HM-J3D (still nearly a full pound less than my WH-200); and it will allow me to more easily keep using my current Wimberley flash bracket (the vertical arm on the MK IV has an Arca Swiss groove).

Dave
 
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marcsantacurz

Well-known member
Don't use the Jobu DMG-HD4, it's more than you need. I use the Jobu Design BWG-J3K. It has a load capacity of 12 lb / 5.44 kg and weighs 1.7 lb / 771.0 g. The HD4 is a fair bit bigger with a capacity of 25 lb / 11.3 kg and weighs 2.2 lb / 1.0 kg, and almost $200 more.

I use it with the Sirui T2205X carbon fiber tripod.

That combo will be great for the d500 & 500 f/5.6PF. Really it does hold my d850 + 800mm f/5.6, though not well (I use the Wh200 + gitzo for that).
 

opticoholic

Well-known member
Hmmm... Thanks I will think about that. I just wish there was an easier way for me to attach my Wimberley F-9 flash bracket (see attached photo). I guess I could keep my Wimberley WH-200 gimbal and switch to that when I want to use flash, but I'd rather not be switching heads very often. Also I have a much heavier and longer small telescope that I will use occasionally as a lens for birds, and I think the DMG-HD4 will be better for that. So if I get the DMG-HD4, I think it might work as a single gimbal to meet all my needs while being nearly 1 lb. lighter than my Wimberley WH-200, and I could probably just sell my WH-200.

Dave
 

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marcsantacurz

Well-known member
The wh200 is much more stable than the Jobu Junior, the weight helps dampen vibration. But I'm never doing long exposure with my birding lens, it's still always 1/120th or higher with VR on. I'm using it for panning or while waiting for a bird to do something interesting.

I'd use the wh200 on a gitzo for a heavy long lens (i.e. my 800mm w/ Olympus MFT for 1600mm effective) where small vibrations really will mess things up or for landscape or low-light long exposures. For moderate lenses with reasonable shutter speeds, the lighter gimbals work great.

I had to tighten up the screws on the Jobu and that got rid of any play in it.

Marc
 

Mark Jarrett

Up Ont’ Moors
England
I have a Canon 7D Mk2 plus 500mm f4 set up which I use with :-

Velbon Delta V Tripod

Lensmaster RH2 Gimbal Head

The tripod is fairly lightweight and retails at under £200 and I have had no problems at all. With regard to a Gimbal Head, I did a bit of research on these forums before coming across the Lensmaster ones (www.lensmaster.co.uk) which are significantly cheaper than some you could buy and are just as well made.
 

opticoholic

Well-known member
Yes, thanks for reminding me about the Lensmaster options. Right now I'm inclined to go with the Jobu 1.5 lb. "Jr. 3 Deluxe Kit" I linked above. It is lightweight (1/2 the weight of my Wimberley WH-200) but I like that it still has a platform to support the lens from underneath. I would keep the Wimberley for when I want more stability, and I might sometimes put the Jobu on a lighter tripod as well; then I would have a new "ultralight" tripod/gimbal alternative to my old Wimberley. But I haven't made a final decision yet, and I'll be waiting a while longer before I make this purchase regardless.

Dave
 
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