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Thread: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

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    Senior Member cichlid's Avatar
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    Default Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    Hi fellow CSers

    Iím looking for opinions on tripod and ballhead/gimball for my birding setup. I have a Sigma 150-500mm lens, external flash, Nikon D90/D700. The heaviest mixed on this setup should be about 4kg.

    Currently, I use a Benro tripod and ballhead, they are rated 6kg (A-158) and 8kg(KS-0) respectively. After I tightened the knob, the ballhead would slack making it difficult to lock down on the focus point. What I usually do is to aim a bit higher and hope that it will slide down to my focus point. The Sigma is a slow lens, so my shutter speed is low and I need the camera to be as stable as possible.

    From what Iíve read, gimball heads are good for tracking and making the camera/lens weightless. But does it help in locking down tightly to minimize camera shake. Or, a good ballhead is better for my setup?

    Iíve read good reviews on the Jobu Jr 3. If I get it, is it a good match for my Benro tripod legs?

    But, I might just buy another set of tripod legs. Which tripod legs are a good match for my setup (with the Jobu). Iím looking for lens plate too, any recommendation, thanks!

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    Senior Member UncleFai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by cichlid View Post
    Hi fellow CSers

    I’m looking for opinions on tripod and ballhead/gimball for my birding setup. I have a Sigma 150-500mm lens, external flash, Nikon D90/D700. The heaviest mixed on this setup should be about 4kg.

    Currently, I use a Benro tripod and ballhead, they are rated 6kg (A-158) and 8kg(KS-0) respectively. After I tightened the knob, the ballhead would slack making it difficult to lock down on the focus point. What I usually do is to aim a bit higher and hope that it will slide down to my focus point. The Sigma is a slow lens, so my shutter speed is low and I need the camera to be as stable as possible.

    From what I’ve read, gimball heads are good for tracking and making the camera/lens weightless. But does it help in locking down tightly to minimize camera shake. Or, a good ballhead is better for my setup?

    I’ve read good reviews on the Jobu Jr 3. If I get it, is it a good match for my Benro tripod legs?

    But, I might just buy another set of tripod legs. Which tripod legs are a good match for my setup (with the Jobu). I’m looking for lens plate too, any recommendation, thanks!
    I used the Benro GH-1 on my Manfrotto 055CX3 - works fine with my 150-500mm siggy with a D7000. Haven't tried slapping on a flash though.

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    Senior Member cichlid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleFai View Post
    I used the Benro GH-1 on my Manfrotto 055CX3 - works fine with my 150-500mm siggy with a D7000. Haven't tried slapping on a flash though.
    Hi, thanks for your reply. How much does the Manfrotto cost?

    I went to TK Foto today and had a look at Gitzo, the GT2830 cost $639.

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    Senior Member UncleFai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by cichlid View Post
    Hi, thanks for your reply. How much does the Manfrotto cost?

    I went to TK Foto today and had a look at Gitzo, the GT2830 cost $639.
    Very long ago... can't remember... but definitely cheaper than $639. Gitzo is up-market stuff.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    my opinion is that gimball head is not necessary for your setup as the 150-500 zoom lens should not weigh that heavy, unlike the 400mm f2.8, 500mm f4 and above primes. If you can spend on sturdy tripod by all means get the best you can afford. However whether is it necessary is another question. Can consider sirui ballheads such as the K series, cheap and have good reviews. Tripod you might want to consider carbon fibre if you can afford as it will be light good for moving about.

    I think it would be good to pair a tripod that can handle a weight near to ball head, abit no use to get a ballhead that can handle 20kg weight but your legs only handle up to 6kg.

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    Senior Member cichlid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by gundamseed84 View Post
    my opinion is that gimball head is not necessary for your setup as the 150-500 zoom lens should not weigh that heavy, unlike the 400mm f2.8, 500mm f4 and above primes. If you can spend on sturdy tripod by all means get the best you can afford. However whether is it necessary is another question. Can consider sirui ballheads such as the K series, cheap and have good reviews. Tripod you might want to consider carbon fibre if you can afford as it will be light good for moving about.

    I think it would be good to pair a tripod that can handle a weight near to ball head, abit no use to get a ballhead that can handle 20kg weight but your legs only handle up to 6kg.
    ya, the Benro is my first tripod, didn't read the specs properly when I bought it, I emphasised more on the ballhead then. So, you reckon a good tripod and ballhead will do the job. This option is also good as I can use it for macro too.
    Last edited by cichlid; 26th September 2011 at 09:05 PM.

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    Senior Member cichlid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    Any Jobu users here? Please comment on the usage, thanks!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    what a gimbal head does is that it allow you to center the centre of gravity of your setup (camera, lens and maybe flash) on its axes. Especially for the pitching axis. When it is centered and balanced, the force that you will be applying to turn it, is equivalent to the force to overcome the friction in the bearings.... basically, it should glide smoothly and allow you to point your lens with near zero effort at your target.

    you probably have already checked out the Jobu Gimbal head, there are those that are meant for your setup like the junior 2 and 3 at maximum weight capacity of 8lbs and 12lbs respectively. For your need, probably the junior 3. http://www.jobu-design.com/catalog/i...54/7937720.htm

    Can you imagine doing a panning shot on a flying bird with a ball head versus a gimbal head?

    btw, one of the joy of birding, is capturing a perfect photo of a flying bird.
    Last edited by coolthought; 28th September 2011 at 06:01 PM.
    Coolthought - 冷静思考 - クールだ http://xaa.xanga.com/0aba0666d143253.../t35917343.gif

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by cichlid View Post
    But, I might just buy another set of tripod legs. Which tripod legs are a good match for my setup (with the Jobu).
    no recommendation for tripod legs
    Just look for one that can take your heaviest setup including the head, light enough for you to carry, comfortable height and within your budget.... (your budget issit limitless? )
    Coolthought - 冷静思考 - クールだ http://xaa.xanga.com/0aba0666d143253.../t35917343.gif

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    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    Birding is expensive.... you sure?

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    Senior Member cichlid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tripod/Ballhead/Gimball For Light Birding Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by coolthought View Post
    no recommendation for tripod legs
    Just look for one that can take your heaviest setup including the head, light enough for you to carry, comfortable height and within your budget.... (your budget issit limitless? )
    Quote Originally Posted by Reno View Post
    Birding is expensive.... you sure?
    Thanks guys for your tips. It's no good to have limitless budget, it takes out the fun of anticipating/deciding before buying, lol.

  12. #12
    Member Radiant's Avatar
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    Sirui has a "gimbal" attachment to their k series ball heads. Saw them at TK foto. you might want to ask them.
    Canon User

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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Or you can go for system tripods. Those that have a platform with no center column. Very stable. Sirui offers them too. Can go see at TK.

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