need new head recommendations

Started Mar 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
Wyville
Senior MemberPosts: 3,351Gear list
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Re: Gimball
In reply to sooflyfisher, Mar 29, 2013

sooflyfisher wrote:

Well I'm looking at getting a new tripod head.  Primarily as I am finding the my current Mafrotto pan/tilt head, although its pretty solid, is still not adequate for use with my Sigma 120-300 F2.8 lens.  The tripod I have is decent, one of the heavier aluminum Manfrottos so dont plan on buying a new tripod.  Looking for recomendations on a new head. What would be the best most solid route for use with the big telephoto (6lbs +)  I primarily am looking at shooting wildlife and birds with this setup.

Any recomendations are greatly appreciated.  As per budget, I'm not completely sure what to say here. I probly shouldnt be spending anything lol! But oh well whats a lil smoking credit card lol!  So nothing outrageous for budget but I know I wont be getting away cheap on this one.

Thanks all

Mike

I think you might do best with a gimball head. There are many options ranging from the expensive Wimberley heads to the very affordable Lensmaster as well as a full gimball option, side mount gimball or sidekick (ball head with a side mount gimball conversion).

The three versions of the gimball are a matter of personal preference. The full gimball is probably the stongest option. A side mount is lighter (still very strong). The sidekick allows you to also use a ball head, but requires an expensive ball head to get the stability.

You can't really go wrong with Wimberley, but those are very expensive.

Jobu Design might be a bit less expensive and is still very good quality, surely enough to suit your needs. Their Jr.3 head is quite versatile and can be used as both a full gimball and side mount and has a load capacity of 5.5 kg (12 lbs). (Jobu Design seems to use conservative load capacity ratings. My monopod is rated for 5-7 kg (10-15 lbs), but will easily deal with double that.)

The Lensmaster is an option if you want to save a lot of money. There are two; the RH-1 (side mount) and RH-2 (full gimball) and are made by a British guy in his garage. They're really cheap, but also really smooth, strong and easy to maintain. If you can get passed their lack of a nice design (they're not really pretty to look at) and some compromises (that don't affect actual use), it might very well be a great option. Plus, Rob (the British guy) is really nice and offers great service unavailable anywhere else.

All the options I've mentioned use Arca Swiss type quick release systems. If you choose screw knob clamps instead of lever-type clamps, you will be able to use pretty much every brand out there. (Lever-type clamps are subject to variations in tolerances.)

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