Seeking ways of tracking birds in flight with 500mm lens

Started May 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
Barry Pearson
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Re: While on the subject of Gimbals
In reply to solarider, May 25, 2013

solarider wrote:

I found one article about Gimbal heads, perhaps there are others to help round out the subject that someone would like to contribute?

http://www.shutterbug.com/content/gimbal-heads-essential-long-lens-accessory

While that article is probably right about the need for a strong tripod for the biggest lenses, that is not the case for lighter lenses. My lenses that I use on my Lensmaster RH2 gimbal weigh either one kilogram (Pentax 60-250mm f/4 & 300mm f/4) or three kilograms (Sigma 500mm f/4.5).

Although I also have a heavy duty Manfrotto, I want a tripod that I can carry around in my back-pack along with the gimbal head and my lunch. I use the Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 which (gasp, horror!) has 4-section legs and a center column. It worked for me with the Sigma lens on.

Here is a 2002 article at Luminous Landscape:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/accessories/wimberley.shtml

The principles it talked about are right, but there is more competition now.

Here is the maker I and a friend use, primarily for price, GDP118 and GBP148:
http://www.lensmaster.co.uk/index.htm

The Lensmaster website has a couple of useful videos showing the freedom of movement with a light touch. I love being able to leave the camera & tripod & gimbal to stand by themselves while I have lunch or a chat, then when bikes or cars start to approach be able to position the camera with an easy touch.

Manfrotto supply the 393 gimbal head, which appears not to be well known. I don't know a lot about it.

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