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Thread: [Review] Poor man's gimbal - Qing Zhuang Shi Dai (轻装时代)Q45 gimbal head

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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default [Review] Poor man's gimbal - Qing Zhuang Shi Dai (轻装时代)Q45 gimbal head

    Took a dive recently and ordered a very cheaply priced gimbal head in the famous Chinese shopping website. Qing Zhuang Shi Dai (轻装时代)Q45 gimbal head was purchased and shipping took all of 2 days to arrive at the doorstep of my apartment in China. Not at too much liberty to say exactly how much the head costs, but I can say it is under 100 SGD. And yes, it comes with the quick release plate as seen in the picture below. Size of quick release plate is 76mm x 38mm.




    The Q45 weighs 1.7kg and has a claimed weight load of 20KGs. It comes with a main knob at the top to control the tilting friction and angle. It also comes with a knob near the base to control the friction on the panning action. It also comes with an height adjustable arm, very interesting feature, especially at this price range. The quick release clamp is said to be acra-swiss compatible and it comes with a plate 76mm x 38mm. The plate is fitted with safety screws so it will not slide off the gimbal when not in full release mode.

    The main arm is aluminum alloy spray coated with a rubbery material. I have to say the rubbery material feels a little cheap to the touch but it does feel solid and can protect against knocks and dings. Overall the constructions looks a little rough. You will see bumps and marks on random parts of the gimbal, but nothing that hinders the workings of the gimbal.





    A quick look on the product card... lo and behold! Q45 is made by Beike. So this is probably a re-brand of the Beike BK-45.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 2nd April 2015 at 12:03 PM.

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    The pan knobs locks pretty well, but when it is loose, it really feels "loose". Panning is barely smooth. While there is no hindrance to movement, you can also feel some faint lubricated grinding. I definitely wouldn't be putting any money down to say that there are any ball bearings in the panning assembly. Adding friction to the pan knob is a little tricky. It add friction as if it is adding grinding force. The panning will become less smooth as a result. Pan friction is definitely unusable. In the meantime while trying this gimbal out, I am quite satisfied with just switching between full release and full lock (I had no choice actually).



    Ok, first thing first, I do not understand why they put a mini compass in the tilt locking knob... The idea of having it there perplexes me... I can come up with no situation where it would be convenient for me to use that compass.

    The tilting knob gave me yet another surprise. On unboxing, that is the first knob I tried. And it was stuck! But the arm can still swing!? I thought something must be wrong and the Q45 is busted and DOA. With gimbals I used in the past, when the tilting knob is locked tight, it means the swing arm is locked too. After twisting this knob a while in both directions, I was able to release it. And while on a roll I continued turning in the same direction and I managed to lock the tilt position. So the tilt knob on this gimbal ranges from locked (full release) to locked (full lock). Note that the full range of motion from the two locked positions is only around half a turn of the knob. One more caveat, as and when the swing arm moves, the knob will move with the swing arm. That means, if you tilt the camera up, the knob will turn the same angle as the swing arm. This certainly needs getting used to.

    On the tilting action, I have to say that I am actually pleasantly surprised that it is quite smooth. Even as I add more friction, it remains relatively smooth, unlike the pan knob. So this makes the gimbal extremely usable.



    The swing arm also comes with height adjustment for the quick release clamp. This is a very welcome feature, something I would not expect from a gimbal at this price range. The knob is quite smooth and locking is no problem. The only issue is that the height lever might not be too smooth moving up and down the scale when you have a lens attached. Otherwise there are not much complaints on this feature.



    There is bubble leveler built into the knob of the quick release knob. Why they do this and for what purpose, again, I have no idea, because I cannot imagine how it can be used at all. Remember, the quick release is not removable and cannot converted to side mount. So the placement of spirit bubble leveler there remains a mystery to me...



    The quick release clamp doesn't look as gracefully designed as others I have seen. The locking screw is exposed when the plate is off. You can also see the springs from the side cavities. But does the QR clamp work? yes it does. They even got the grooves right for the safety catch screws on the bottom of the QR plate. And it will work with most plates (I have tested with the ones I own).

    Last edited by daredevil123; 4th April 2015 at 08:26 AM.

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Mounting on my Tamron 150-600 with an Really Right Stuff plate (which cost as much as the gimbal), the QR Clamp works perfectly. Allowing me a range a motion while preventing the lens plate from sliding off. This will allow some flexibility for me to balance my setup. If the mounted camera is too heavy, you might want to consider a longer plate. The important thing is to first find the balance point of your entire setup.





    So the question of the day is: Can the Q45 lock and hold properly?

    I tried without my camera mounted (because it was at the office). But I did add a fair amount of force using my arms. Didn't bulge. I am sure this gimbal is capable of supporting at least the Tamron 150-600 with camera attached without any problems.

    With friction control, it is a little sensitive, but I am able to control it without much problems after figuring out the bite points. The movement up and down is actually acceptably smooth. This means it is acceptable but there is definitely no ball bearings in the assembly. Keep in mind I have been a user of fluid heads, so my acceptable level of "smoothness" may differ from yours.




    Impression so far:

    It sure isn't pretty. It sure isn't buttery smooth. But it works and it's cheap. For a price of a branded lens plate, you can get yourself an entire gimbal. This is definitely a welcome choice for beginning birders. I am sure most, if not all, of you will move on to bigger and better supports once you are able to afford them and want to bring this hobby to the next level.

    I would not hesitate to put my tamron 150-600 and APS-C camera on this set up. But if you ask me if I would put my 400/2.8 on this, I would tell you a resounding NO.

    PROS
    • Very Cheap.
    • Usable tilting up down motion and friction.
    • Not too heavy.
    • Able to adjust seating height.


    CONS
    • Panning friction is a joke (there is no usable friction for panning. Just full release and full lock).
    • Senseless additions of "features" like compass and bubble leveler.
    • Build is on the rough side.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 4th April 2015 at 08:20 AM.

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Depending on weather, my time schedule and my health (been sick lately), I will be bringing this into the field to do some bird scouting shots. I will share more experiences on field use as well as photos.

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    Senior Member richiemccaw1's Avatar
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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Very interesting item. Could be a nice entry level gimbal head for those not looking to spend too much for the time being.

    Although I already have the Jobu Jr3 for my 150-600, I'm still very keen to know more about how well it works in the field.

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Quote Originally Posted by richiemccaw1 View Post
    Very interesting item. Could be a nice entry level gimbal head for those not looking to spend too much for the time being.

    Although I already have the Jobu Jr3 for my 150-600, I'm still very keen to know more about how well it works in the field.
    My previous gimbal was the jobu Jr3 deluxe. That was before I switched to fluid heads.

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    Senior Member richiemccaw1's Avatar
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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    There is simply no end! Must say I am very pleased with how the Jobu works so far. The QZSD/BK looks largely similar to the Jobu though.

    How much smoother is the Jobu as compared to this gimbal head? Main reason I'm asking is I was told the Sirui PH20 is not as smooth as the Jobu so I sprang for the latter instead. I do think that as long as it works almost like a Jobu but at a quarter of the price, one cant complain much.

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Quote Originally Posted by richiemccaw1 View Post
    There is simply no end! Must say I am very pleased with how the Jobu works so far. The QZSD/BK looks largely similar to the Jobu though.

    How much smoother is the Jobu as compared to this gimbal head? Main reason I'm asking is I was told the Sirui PH20 is not as smooth as the Jobu so I sprang for the latter instead. I do think that as long as it works almost like a Jobu but at a quarter of the price, one cant complain much.
    The Jobu is already considered very smooth. QZSD-45 is no where close the smoothness of the Jobu. I have a couple of issues with the Jobu Jr3 though, one being the ultra low seating of the release clamp. More than once I have my plate end jam onto the bottom hub. And there is not much flexibility for me to move the arm up as that would already bring the CG up too high over the turning point. The Q45 does not have this problem because it is physically slightly larger than the jr3, and with the adjustable height, solved all problems the jobu presented. Jobu is lighter though.

    The final thing comes down to price. Jobu Jr3 deluxe when I got it was mid $400.... Q-45 is not just a quarter of the price. It is almost 1/6 of the price.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 2nd April 2015 at 12:11 PM.

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    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    "Ok, first thing first, I do not understand why they put a mini compass in the tilt locking knob... The idea of having it there perplexes me... I can come up with no situation where it would be convenient for me to use that compass." DD123

    Does it glow in the dark? Aligning with the stars maybe???

    Is this the type of unit one would want to use when doing astrophotography?
    Expand your mind or get left behind

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikonzen View Post
    "Ok, first thing first, I do not understand why they put a mini compass in the tilt locking knob... The idea of having it there perplexes me... I can come up with no situation where it would be convenient for me to use that compass." DD123

    Does it glow in the dark? Aligning with the stars maybe???

    Is this the type of unit one would want to use when doing astrophotography?
    Glow in the dark? I didn't try bro... maybe they were trying to accomplish this...


    But seriously, as a gimbal, I feel it works great for the price (around $60 USD). Not great for astro though. It will be great for sports and birding with lighter long tele lenses.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 2nd April 2015 at 12:12 PM.

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    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    I need a stouter tripod for my kit and cheap is good. I'm bookmarking this one. Thanks Albert.
    Expand your mind or get left behind

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikonzen View Post
    I need a stouter tripod for my kit and cheap is good. I'm bookmarking this one. Thanks Albert.
    Jeff it is available in the USA as Beike BK-45 on evilbay, of course at a significant price hike. Let me know if you are interested, I may be able to work something out.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 2nd April 2015 at 05:16 PM.

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    Senior Member ricleo's Avatar
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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    nice review... i bought the Beike BK-45 on ebay previously.

    i think there copy to copy variances for such MIC poor man's gimbals for sure hehe.... for mine the height adjustment lever is not that good and doesnt really lock in place. it can be tightened, but will slowly slide down and end up at the bottom. so i just take it as no height adjustment feature.

    agree the pan movement is not very smooth, but on mine the tilt movement is nice and smooth. perhaps some lubrication may help as per the mod below.

    http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/2...mbal-head.html
    A7R3|V12|V15|FE28|MS17|MS35|MS50|50lux|50C|50Artis an|FD85L|FE85|90 cron|
    Σ24|35L|Σ50|135L|70-200G2

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    Senior Member richiemccaw1's Avatar
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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    The Jobu is already considered very smooth. QZSD-45 is no where close the smoothness of the Jobu. I have a couple of issues with the Jobu Jr3 though, one being the ultra low seating of the release clamp. More than once I have my plate end jam onto the bottom hub. And there is not much flexibility for me to move the arm up as that would already bring the CG up too high over the turning point. The Q45 does not have this problem because it is physically slightly larger than the jr3, and with the adjustable height, solved all problems the jobu presented. Jobu is lighter though.

    The final thing comes down to price. Jobu Jr3 deluxe when I got it was mid $400.... Q-45 is not just a quarter of the price. It is almost 1/6 of the price.
    I must confess that I have fallen into the trap of not wanting to trust my lens with a cheap(er) gimbal head even though my mind tells me it should work just fine.

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Quote Originally Posted by ricleo View Post
    nice review... i bought the Beike BK-45 on ebay previously.

    i think there copy to copy variances for such MIC poor man's gimbals for sure hehe.... for mine the height adjustment lever is not that good and doesnt really lock in place. it can be tightened, but will slowly slide down and end up at the bottom. so i just take it as no height adjustment feature.

    agree the pan movement is not very smooth, but on mine the tilt movement is nice and smooth. perhaps some lubrication may help as per the mod below.

    http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/2...mbal-head.html
    Thanks for sharing bro. My tilting arm is actually a lot smoother than the panning action. I am actually quite satisfied with the smoothness of the tilting action. Maybe I did not reflect that well enough. I will edit the review to reflect that. The height adjustment lock on my copy seems very strong. Maybe they improved it over the years.

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Quote Originally Posted by richiemccaw1 View Post
    I must confess that I have fallen into the trap of not wanting to trust my lens with a cheap(er) gimbal head even though my mind tells me it should work just fine.
    It is a normal mindset to have, especially when you start to move up towards more expensive and better lenses. My other support setup for my other lens costs over 3k SGD.

    Funny thing is, I have no problems using this gimbal to hold my Tam 156, 70-200vr2 or my 80-200.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 2nd April 2015 at 10:53 PM.

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    Senior Member richiemccaw1's Avatar
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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    It is a normal mindset to have, especially when you start to move up towards more expensive and better lenses. My other support setup for my other lens costs over 3k SGD.

    Funny thing is, I have no problems using this gimbal to hold my Tam 156, 70-200vr2 or my 80-200.
    Something tells me I am unwittingly following in your footsteps.....Hopefully not!

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    Quote Originally Posted by richiemccaw1 View Post
    Something tells me I am unwittingly following in your footsteps.....Hopefully not!
    If you really love it, and can afford it then go for it. Life is short bro. I hesitated too, but my wife encouraged me on.

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal QZSD-45

    i own the beike bk 45, i using it with my d800e n tamron 150600. it work fine and never give me any problem so far.

    but becareful 1 thing, the quick release plate tightening knot which have this extra compass have a very "IMPORTANT USE", it works like a alarm.

    1.after several tightening n releasing of the quick release plate
    2.the compass will fall off(warning)
    3.must use the alan key to tighten the knot if not ur entire len and camera will drop, which almost happen to me.
    D800E / Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 / 150-600 Tamron

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    Default Re: [Review] Poor man's gimbal - Qing Zhuang Shi Dai (轻装时代)Q45 gimbal head

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    so becareful
    D800E / Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 / 150-600 Tamron

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