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Gimbal ?

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by Bill Stewardson, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. Bill Stewardson

    Bill Stewardson Well-Known Member

    Hello to all.

    Now then seem to be doing ok with my d7500 and Siggy 150-600c, mainly I’m slowly getting used to keeping the focus point on the target- in this case birds, using the monopod.
    However, mobility is not the best for erratic birdies.
    Gimbals are hugely expensive as you will all know, so, are these “ball head” things any good ?

    Many thanks

    Bill Stewardson
     
  2. Lindsay Pennell

    Lindsay Pennell Well-Known Member

    I'm at a similar stage to you Bill, in my case D300 and the Sigma lens. I have a couple of Manfrotto ball heads (not sure why 2, must have cocked up at some time buying stuff), but the attraction of the gimbal head is that the movement of the camera/lens combo is more fluid and secure - if you use a ball head you have to either keep hold of it constantly or tighten it in position if you need to let go. Because if you let go with a ball head, the lens will tip forward or back suddenly with no friction until it hits the stop. Not healthy for expensive kit.
    I have my eye on the Brenro GH2 for £259. There are better ones with rather higher prices, and cheap ones, which I wouldn't trust. They don't seem to come up for sale second hand much at all sadly.
     
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Many ball heads have friction dampers.

    Yes, a good ball head can be excellent.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I'd tend to stick with the idea of a gimbal head.
     
  6. Bill Stewardson

    Bill Stewardson Well-Known Member

    Many thanks,,

    They are eye wateringly expensive.
     
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The Manfrotto is £179 from Wex, it does weigh a bit though. I agree that if you want a Wimberly they get a bit expensive. Almost as much as a spare lens hood for a Canon 500 F4 !
     
  8. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I’m delighted with my UniqBall head, which I find makes positioning much easier than with a conventional ball head, and also gives a fair imitation of a gimbal.

    I experience two major frustrations using a conventional ball head. When trying to take a shot of a static subject, it takes me some time to align the camera and lens so that the camera is level perpendicular to the lens axis, and the focal point is exactly where I want it. But as soon as I release the camera and lens, after locking the head, the weight of the lens causes it to droop below my target. (Some commentators recommend a very rigid, heavy, expensive ball, but most of the movement seems to me to be from compression of the rubber gripping surface of the camera plate and/or bending of the camera base.) When I release the ball to try to raise the camera and lens, I lose the levelling perpendicular to the lens axis, and have to start all over again!

    A 3-way head solves both these problems, but is cumbersome to carry.

    I now use the novel UniqBall head, which is basically two concentric balls. If you level the outer ball and lock it, the inner ball allows the lens to tilt up and down (pitch) and rotate (yaw), but not tilt sideways (roll). This avoids needing to correct roll each time the head is loosened, so the camera’s horizon always stays horizontal.

    I also mount a cheap “Nodal Rail” above the ball, so that I can position the camera body a little further back than the ball; about 50 mm balances the weight of a typical large-aperture full frame lens, which avoids droop when I release the lens after locking it in position. In addition, a cheap “L” plate makes use in portrait format easy.

    But the UniqBall’s other trick is that if mount my Sigma 150-500mm through its tripod bracket directly on the Uniqball, in a balanced position, and then loosen the inner ball, the camera and lens are free to swing left, right, up or down without any roll. It’s probably not as good as a gimbal; I’ve never tried one, and don’t use my long lens enough to justify buying one, but I find that setup very effective when using a tripod for birds and other wildlife.

    My UniqBall cost me about £250 new.

    I see that Flexline now offer a similar (or rip-off?) ball head which includes adjustable damping.


    Chris
     
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Sure. If that's what you need/want. But the question was, are B+S heads any good?

    Personally I like Linhof's 3-way head and my no-longer-available NPC ProHead. But high-end ball-heads are also good: Frances uses a ClassicBall and I have a MagicBall (both from Novoflex).

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  10. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Whatever you use make sure that you do not buy anything with a relevant amount of stiction.
     
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    you lost me, completely.
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear John,

    Surely sliption is more of a problem.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Pete,

    Stiction: coefficient of static friction, i.e. before it moves.

    Sliption: coefficient of sliding friction, i.e. once it starts moving.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Stiction is new one on me. Friction coefficient I would have understood. But the "don't buy anything with a relevant amount" leaves me confused.
     
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Pete,

    Well, yes. I was puzzled by that construction too. But I had assumed (by the look of it correctly) that the terms for the two coefficients of friction -- always different, sometimes VERY different -- were new to you.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  16. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I assumed a mispelling of friction!

    Getting back to gimbals. The advantage is that the lens just hangs there and you can pan and tilt instantly and effortlessly within the constraints of the mount.
     
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Pete,

    Then again, another good trick is to use a big ball-and-socket upside down, hanging from the camera support.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  18. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    That would work, though you'd need a heck of a big tripod if the legs were not to get in the way!
     
  19. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Pete,

    Follow the link.

    Cheers,

    R.
     

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