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Gimbal Alternative

Lou Buenaflor , Apr 10, 2007; 11:41 a.m.

Hello all. I have recently acquired a 500 f/4 P and a Gitzo 1325, and not have much of a budget left for a Wimberley gimbal, I am now looking for alternatives. I will not have funds for a Wimberley for quite some time, but would like to start using this lens. I am pairing the lens with an f100, and thought a beanbag would help, but I simulated a bean bag with towels and found focusing to be problematical. I would like to use this lens in a "hide" shooting Whitetail deer, and maybe birds at the bird feeder.

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Amol Khedgikar , Apr 10, 2007; 12:19 p.m.

I have recently ordered a Bogen 3421 gimbal. I too had budget constraints. works excellently, no restraints so far. takes some getting used to. of course it is not wimberley/ king cobra / sidekick .but it more than serves the purpose, I was pleasantly surprised. check some pics here. http://www.pbase.com/littleflurry/bogen3421 one of the best birders in philipines uses the same support http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/image/74190167 Amol

Walang Pangalan , Apr 10, 2007; 12:23 p.m.

It's not as nice, but you can use a normal ball-head. When doing so, remain vigilant: act as if it is on a monopod, not a tripod.

Shun Cheung , Apr 10, 2007; 01:24 p.m.

I have had 500mm/f4 lenses since 1992 and in the first 14 years, I simply used them on regular ballhead and other heads. It wasn't until late last year that I bought a Wimberley head. Of course the Wimbeley is much better and I wonder why I didn't get one much earlier, but you can get by with a ballhead.

Bob Atkins , Apr 10, 2007; 01:41 p.m.

I'm still using a B1 ballhead with my 500/4.5L. Works just fine. Maybe a gimble head would be better, but it would also be just one more thing to carry around.

The Wimberly and other gimble mounts are great for tracking fast moving targets, but for birds at a feeder they are really not needed, and unless the deer are running, you won't need them for whitetail either! In a hide you really won't be able to track moving subjects easily anyway.

Lauren MacIntosh , Apr 10, 2007; 02:36 p.m.

I got myself the Gitzo G1267M head for myself and shooting birds and wild life My budget is real short :} so I checked around and came up with this head which has two Knobs for three actions on the head! Take a look at it , Maybe you will like maybe you will not: Good Luck::\\\\Lauren

Lou Buenaflor , Apr 10, 2007; 02:46 p.m.

Thanks for the help. Looks like I'll try the ball head route, I couldn't see buying a Wimberley for just one lens. If I buy a ball head at least I can use it with many lenses. I'm sure I'll be fine to "limp" by for a while, until I can afford a gimbal.

Benoit Sauzier , Apr 10, 2007; 06:15 p.m.

You don't need the full Gimbal support for that lens, the Sidekick at a fraction of the price will do just fine, and will make a world of a difference compared to using just a ball head. The beauty of the Sidekick is that you can buy it later when you have the funds, but make sure that it will mate to the ball head you choose now. I use the Sidekick with a 600mm F5.6, and I must admit that it is the best photo accessory I ever bought so far, in terms of price vs usefulness.

Frank Dzambic , Apr 10, 2007; 07:15 p.m.

I'll second the suggestion for the Bogen 3421. I love that head, and I can't believe how incredibly cheap it is compared to the Wimberley. There may be some advantages to the Wimberley, but not an extra $400 worth. My only real complaint with the Bogen is that they don't provide any way to completely lock the head, so that when you're carrying everything over your shoulder it makes it awkward. But, a drill and tap and a bolt was all that was needed to make a quick and easy diy locking "mechanism".

If you want to get into off-camera flash and battery packs, again the Wimberley might have an advantage as it takes standard Arca-Swiss (I believe) plates, and manufacturers make flash brackets that clamp onto those. But again, I ended up fabbing up my own flash bracket that does everything I need it to do out of a $5 piece of aluminum flat bar and some spray paint.

Personally I wouldn't even waste my time with a ballhead for a big lens like that. (I know because I struggled with a 600/f4 on a 3-way head). Once you've experienced a long lens on a gimbal head, you'll never go back to anything else. Especially for the reasonable price of the Bogen.

Shun Cheung , Apr 10, 2007; 09:42 p.m.

I can tell you that my Wimbeley head worths every penny it costs over my Arca Swiss B1. The nature of its design makes it a stable set up without any outside force so that there is no "flop" issue. It lets you pan very smoothly both horizontally and vertically, making it very suitable for action photography.

If you are a long lens user and can afford one, I highly recommend it, but I managed without one for 14 years such that I wouldn't say a gimbel head is required. However, I should have gotten one a long long time ago.


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