Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

Started Feb 7, 2013 | Discussions
NancyP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,506
Re: keep exercising

I encourage you to keep on doing your exercises. It took me about 6 months to return to fully pain-free happy use of my relatively light 400mm f/5.6. I keep on doing the exercises as prevention. If I think that I am going to be in one spot for any length of time, I deploy either my monopod or tripod, whichever is with me. I am back to my "run and gun" hand-held use for short spurts, though. I am a middle-aged woman, not particularly athletic, what strength I have is in my legs (hiking). I don't know that many birders who hand-hold their 10+ pound lenses.

For a joke: From Juza in Italy :

http://www.foto-biz.com/Lenses/Sigma-200-500

Go forth and click, and be humbled.

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Sigma DP3 Merrill
Y0GI Veteran Member • Posts: 5,233
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

Greg Lavaty wrote:

I have a Wimberly WH-200 and it is a very nice head for a long telephoto lens like the 500mm f/4. I recently purchased an Opteka GH1 head from Amazon.com for $150 and I have to say I like the thing even better than the Wimberley that cost so much more. Anyway I would hesitate to recommend the Opteka GH1.

Greg

Greg - You seem to have some conflicting information here.  Did you mean to say that you would not hesitate to recommend the Opteka GH1?

Thanks!

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Yogi
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of photography, the results depend on the 'nut' behind the camera!
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Greg Lavaty Contributing Member • Posts: 878
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

Yogi,

Yes that is what I meant, I guess my brain got ahead of my fingers.  The Opteka is a fantastic product and is what I use when I do use a tripod these days.

Greg

AvyMan
AvyMan Veteran Member • Posts: 3,154
Re: keep exercising

NancyP wrote:

For a joke: From Juza in Italy :

http://www.foto-biz.com/Lenses/Sigma-200-500

Go forth and click, and be humbled.

Thanks for the link, Nancy. That's really a cool lens.

I just showed it to my wife ... "Honey, it's only $25,000. I could really use one of these."

She simply replied with a straight face: "You're just using psychology on me so when you show me a $2,000 lens it will seem really cheap."

Dang, you gals are smart

Nick

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Y0GI Veteran Member • Posts: 5,233
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

Greg Lavaty wrote:

Yogi,

Yes that is what I meant, I guess my brain got ahead of my fingers. The Opteka is a fantastic product and is what I use when I do use a tripod these days.

Greg

Thank you, Greg!  That is some very good information for me.

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Yogi
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of photography, the results depend on the 'nut' behind the camera!
See the 'Gear List' in my 'Profile' for my current equipment.
Check out WilbaW's beginner FAQs at - http://snipurl.com/RebelFAQ

 Y0GI's gear list:Y0GI's gear list
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NancyP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,506
Re: keep exercising

Major networks and news agencies occasionally use one of these for sports events - someone posted a World Series panoramic in which one could identify one of these SigZillas in the network photographers' area on field level.

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Sigma DP3 Merrill
Greg Lavaty Contributing Member • Posts: 878
Re: keep exercising

Yes, I am sure that thing has its place just like the old Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L did.  I would also add that if you do keep exercising a lens like the EF 400mm f/5.6L shouldn’t be too tough to use hand-held all day long.  My girlfriend (a small asian lady) hand-holds her 500mm f/4 all day long when we go out birding and does quite well with it.

Greg

qianp2k Forum Pro • Posts: 10,350
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

TTMartin wrote:

Get a gimbal head like the Manfrotto 393 Heavy Telephoto Lens Support for Monopod or Induro GHB2 Gimbal Head.

That's what I use also but usually I mount upside down so the lens suspending from the top. It's cheap. However it's big. The largest problem is that it unable to hold still on a heavy lens such as 500L as two snubs are not strong enough and you cannot fasten horizontal rotations as well (there is no snub) for a moon shot for example, not a problem in shooting moving subjects however. It also interferes left side of the lens a little bit where all buttons locate. Personally I'd buy a gimbal head such as Induro GHB2 if I start from scratch now.

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qianp2k Forum Pro • Posts: 10,350
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

Greg Lavaty wrote:

I have a Wimberly WH-200 and it is a very nice head for a long telephoto lens like the 500mm f/4. I recently purchased an Opteka GH1 head from Amazon.com for $150 and I have to say I like the thing even better than the Wimberley that cost so much more. Anyway I would hesitate to recommend the Opteka GH1.

Greg

Greg, you seriously think Opteka GH1 at $150 is as good as Wimberley WH-200 that is about 4X cost? What you think Opteka GH1 is even better? I read Amazon users' reviews and seem they overwhelming like it. If this is true I'd like to buy one (and sell Manfrotto 393) for my planned Africa safari trip to use together with 500L/4.0 IS. I have not done much birding yet, too lazy largely.

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Greg Lavaty Contributing Member • Posts: 878
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

I own both of them and I can say for sure that I prefer the Opteka.  The Opteka was a little tight when I first got it but after my first couple of outings with it, it loosened up and felt as good as my Wimberley.  If you think about it, the Wimberley is a really simple design and isn’t tough to copy and really isn’t all that difficult to build.

What I like better about the Opteka is that it is smaller and easier to travel with.

I didn’t like the Manfrotto 393, I found it to be quite a pain to use.  Too bulky, too heavy and you couldn’t lock it like you can the Wimberley and the Opteka.

Greg

qianp2k Forum Pro • Posts: 10,350
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

Greg Lavaty wrote:

I own both of them and I can say for sure that I prefer the Opteka. The Opteka was a little tight when I first got it but after my first couple of outings with it, it loosened up and felt as good as my Wimberley. If you think about it, the Wimberley is a really simple design and isn’t tough to copy and really isn’t all that difficult to build.

Thanks Greg, that is $150 vs $600, the brand name means nothing to me if they can do the same job.

What I like better about the Opteka is that it is smaller and easier to travel with.

Even better.

I didn’t like the Manfrotto 393, I found it to be quite a pain to use. Too bulky, too heavy and you couldn’t lock it like you can the Wimberley and the Opteka.

Exactly I found #1 issue is that unable to lock it for a still moon shot, and it's big and difficult to move my fingers around on the buttons of the lens.  I will sell 393 and get this one from Amazon that has the best hassle-free return policy in case I don't like it.

Thanks again.

Greg

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TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

qianp2k wrote:

. . .

Exactly I found #1 issue is that unable to lock it for a still moon shot, and it's big and difficult to move my fingers around on the buttons of the lens. I will sell 393 and get this one from Amazon that has the best hassle-free return policy in case I don't like it.

Thanks again.

. . .

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I'd highly suggest you keep your 393 until you decide you're going to keep the Opteka one.

I haven't been impressed with the quality of Opteka items I've purchase.

Not to be confused with, OP/Tech USA stuff which I've been very happy with.

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qianp2k Forum Pro • Posts: 10,350
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

TTMartin wrote:

qianp2k wrote:

. . .

Exactly I found #1 issue is that unable to lock it for a still moon shot, and it's big and difficult to move my fingers around on the buttons of the lens. I will sell 393 and get this one from Amazon that has the best hassle-free return policy in case I don't like it.

Thanks again.

. . .

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I'd highly suggest you keep your 393 until you decide you're going to keep the Opteka one.

I haven't been impressed with the quality of Opteka items I've purchase.

Not to be confused with, OP/Tech USA stuff which I've been very happy with.

Thanks for your advice. I will keep it for a while before I am sure about. But there are several other cheaper alternatives of Wimberley in the market. I think I need a real gimbal head.

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Calliope
OP Calliope Senior Member • Posts: 1,536
Re: keep exercising

Greg Lavaty wrote:

Yes, I am sure that thing has its place just like the old Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L did. I would also add that if you do keep exercising a lens like the EF 400mm f/5.6L shouldn’t be too tough to use hand-held all day long. My girlfriend (a small asian lady) hand-holds her 500mm f/4 all day long when we go out birding and does quite well with it.

Greg

Greg, Hand holding is okay for a day here and there. This trip was non-stop shooting for four days and by the end I was getting shaky waiting for the birds to take off. If I get a 500mm I definitely want something to support it at places like Bosque where you stand there for hours on end. Kudos to your girlfriend for hand holding a 500!

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TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: Best tripod head for BIF... Dead arm syndrome in full effect

qianp2k wrote:

TTMartin wrote:

Get a gimbal head like the Manfrotto 393 Heavy Telephoto Lens Support for Monopod or Induro GHB2 Gimbal Head.

That's what I use also but usually I mount upside down so the lens suspending from the top. It's cheap. However it's big. The largest problem is that it unable to hold still on a heavy lens such as 500L as two snubs are not strong enough and you cannot fasten horizontal rotations as well (there is no snub) for a moon shot for example, not a problem in shooting moving subjects however. It also interferes left side of the lens a little bit where all buttons locate. Personally I'd buy a gimbal head such as Induro GHB2 if I start from scratch now.

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The key to the top two nuts holding the lens, is to make sure the lens is balanced front to back.

On bottom rotation. I took off the rubber cover on the knob at the base. There is a hole under it. I used a 2.5mm allen wrench and loosened the allen nut inside the hole.

This allows the the top of the knob to unscrew from the bottom of the knob (the part that attaches to the tripod/monopod).

But, more importantly it allows you to tighten the top of the knob down further and lock it to keep it from rotating.

I'm going to look for a small brass or Aluminum rod to put in the hole in the bottom of the knob to allow it to be easier to loosen and tighten that fitting, and ensure it's tight on the tripod/monopod. If I find one I'll post a photo.

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Greg Lavaty Contributing Member • Posts: 878
Re: keep exercising

I hand-hold my 500mm f/4L IS USM pretty much every single day.  One of the major components of my business is birding/photography trips where we shoot pretty much all day long for every day of the trip  Most of the participants hand-hold.  Hand-holding a big lens takes some getting used to but it really isn’t so bad once you have gotten used to it.

Of course there are plenty of different ways to get good results.  If you want a good tripod setup that Opteka GH-1 on a decent set of legs is really tough to beat not just in price but in performance.

Greg

Alton (TN) Senior Member • Posts: 1,092
Wimberly
1

The pain moved from my shoulder to my wallet, but I'm glad I went with the Wimberly. It is smooth and steady just like I hoped it would be.

I also bought an Arcatech GP that works "like" a gimbal head. I bought it for smaller lens, but it is a good head on it's own.

There are other gimbal heads that I would also consider, but I'm happy now that I bought the Wimberly and don't have to worry about it anymore.

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Alton

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