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Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball ...
  
 
acoll123
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p.1 #1 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


HI everybody,
I am thinking of getting the RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head and using it with L-plates on my cameras for lenses without collars instead of a ball head. The reason is that I primarily use long lenses with collars so I need/want the gimbal head most of the time but I also use short lenses occasionally and don't want to switch between a gimbal and a ball head. I also don't want to buy another tripod.
So, does anybody use a gimbal for all their work on a tripod in lieu of a ball head? Is it steady enough for short lenses / long exposures? I also have a 3-series Gitzo tripod without a center column.

Thanks for your comments,

Andy



Jul 17, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #2 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


Gimbal heads are not that nice to use with normal sized lenses and attach the camera on it. I don't have the RRS gimbal but remember that the camera will attach in the wrong direction. So you need something between the body and the gimbal (if the RRS is like the Wimberley and others)


Jul 17, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #3 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head















Jul 17, 2013 at 08:30 PM
acoll123
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p.1 #4 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


This is what I was thinking about.







Jul 17, 2013 at 08:34 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #5 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


I will second what Lars had said. Andy, have you considered attaching dovetail bases to the bottom of your gimbal and ballhead to make them QR-compatible? Takes a lot of the pain out of switching.

I have the RRS full gimbal but have never tried to do what you are asking about.



Jul 17, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #6 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


Yes the dovetail base will be good.
Also remember that this is not the full gimbal head. So it will be less good for your long lenses that you use most of the time,

Edited on Jul 17, 2013 at 08:54 PM · View previous versions



Jul 17, 2013 at 08:49 PM
acoll123
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p.1 #7 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


Thanks for the advice Mitesh and Lars, I will look into the dovetail.

Andy



Jul 17, 2013 at 08:53 PM
kendalltristan
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p.1 #8 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


How big are your largest lenses? I bought a Wimberley Sidekick solely so I could easily switch between ballhead and gimbal with minimal effort when I need to.


Jul 17, 2013 at 10:55 PM
acoll123
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p.1 #9 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


Will be a 200-400 as soon as it comes in, so 8 pounds.


Jul 17, 2013 at 11:05 PM
 

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kendalltristan
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p.1 #10 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


Yeah, that's pretty big. The Sidekick claims to support as much as the ballhead will hold, which I don't doubt, it's just that I don't know that I'd trust that big of a lens on a sidemount gimbal though that could just be my own paranoia about the subject.


Jul 17, 2013 at 11:57 PM
acoll123
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p.1 #11 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


Sidekick was a good thought, I still might price it out as an option. The RSS stuff is super expensive, I'm barely going to swing the lens after selling three others . . .
Thanks



Jul 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM
mitesh
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p.1 #12 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


I don't think the 200-400 will be a problem for a Sidekick. I used a Sidekick as primary support for my 600/4 version 1 (11 lbs.) for about 8 months before I got the RRS full gimbal. The issue some people have is mounting and unmounting the lens. Because it is side mount, you have to support the entire rig in one hand while you screw/clamp with the other hand. For some, that can prove to be a challenge. Having used both setups, my opinion is that without a doubt, a full gimbal is the optimal solution for super telephoto work.


Jul 18, 2013 at 12:26 AM
dgdg
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p.1 #13 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


If your getting the 200-400, I would consider a good gimbal as part of the package. You'll be very happy.


Jul 18, 2013 at 01:05 AM
kendalltristan
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p.1 #14 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


mitesh wrote:
I don't think the 200-400 will be a problem for a Sidekick. I used a Sidekick as primary support for my 600/4 version 1 (11 lbs.) for about 8 months before I got the RRS full gimbal.


Very good to know. Thanks.



Jul 18, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Roland W
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p.1 #15 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


Even if the Sidekick can safely support a 200-400, there are three factors that should point you toward a real full gimbal mount like a standard Wimberley.

One is that the pan base of most any ball head you would have is not going to move as smoothly as a full Wimberley, and the locking system for that ball head pan base is not going to work well with a big lens. The pan base of a ball head was just not made to move with that much load on it, and the load is off center some using a Sidekick on that big of a lens.

A second factor is that side loading a big lens in to the clamp on to a Sidekick or other gimbal that only provides for side clamping is hard to do and somewhat dangerous to your $12,000 lens. A real gimbal mount has a clamp located on a platform at the bottom of where the lens goes, and you just set the lens on the open clamp and clamp it. When you need to set the front to back balance, the bottom clamp is easy to use, and the side clamp it difficult.

A third thing is that a Sidekick does not provide for adjustment of the balance in the vertical direction. That means you will not have perfect balance with a small camera body, and with a big body like a 1D series, your balance will be a fair ways off. That means for any shots where you point up or down, you will be pushing against the combination, and balanced is much better in those cases. I have shot a lot at air shows, and much of that is pointed up.

I can report that my 200-400 works very nicely on my old original full gimbal Wimberley. I have it set up with a lever release clamp on the Wimberley platform, and can go on and off of the gimbal mount quickly as I change from hand held to gimbal supported. My Sidekick is loaned out right now, but even if it was here, I would not bother trying it with my 200-400 to report to you, because I know I did not like it on a BH-55 with a smaller super telephoto lens. Get your self a Wimberley II, and use the RRS dovetail system to change heads. The dovetail system for quick change of heads that RRS sells is another thing that I use a lot, and it is great except for the added weight and added cost.



Jul 18, 2013 at 06:03 PM
acoll123
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p.1 #16 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


Roland W wrote:
Even if the Sidekick can safely support a 200-400, there are three factors that should point you toward a real full gimbal mount like a standard Wimberley.

One is that the pan base of most any ball head you would have is not going to move as smoothly as a full Wimberley, and the locking system for that ball head pan base is not going to work well with a big lens. The pan base of a ball head was just not made to move with that much load on it, and the load is off center some using
...Show more
Thank you Roland, I was concerned that the dovetail would just add another connection point where vibration could be introduced. Is that your experience?

Andy



Jul 18, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Roland W
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p.1 #17 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


The Really Right Stuff dovetail system, with their dovetails used on heads, and a high quality clamp on the tripod, seems plenty rigid and strong. I happen to use RRS lever clamps on my tripods to grab the dovetail, but a high quality screw clamp might be slightly better for a big load. For a gimbal mount on a tripod, it has more leverage that could act on the dovetail to try to overcome the clamping, but the load is well centered, so I do not see it as a significant issue. You do want to make sure you tightly attach the dovetail part and the clamp to each of the parts they go on, because a loose connection would clearly offer some wobble that you do not want.

A related topic is how you use your gimbal mount. If you do lock it down for fixed shots, you want a properly sized rigid tripod and rigid connections. But if you know you will be working with the gimbal locks loose, and will be tracking subjects, then you can get away with a much lighter tripod, and could even tolerate some poor connections, because all that is really going on is vertical support. And of course the big Canon lenses have high quality image stabilization, especially in the 200-400, so there are a lot of static shots where you might have locked down for, but that come out fine with loose gimbal support because of IS. Also, IS works very well for slow panning in Mode 1, and moderate panning in Mode 2.

I still will occasionally convert one of my Systematic tripods or my RRS TVC-33 over to direct connection of a BH-55 if I care about the extra weight of the dovetail system, but I do that only for weight, and not for rigidity.

Good long lens technique is an important factor to keep in mind. For clamped down shooting on either a ball head or a gimbal head, putting your left hand on top of the lens out toward the front adds that mass and adds a form of dampening, both of which reduce vibrations that might spoil sharpness.

One of the weakest links in a super telephoto is the lens collar structure. Some are better than others, but they really do not provide very rigid support of the lens. For the most critical of shooting, you should consider some form of added support at the front of the lens, like the long lens support systems that RRS or others have available. But we are mostly talking about long exposures that are too long for IS to handle vibrations, and those cases are rare for most photographers to shoot. I am about to set up long lens support for occasional use, but it will be mostly for astronomy uses with 30 second or longer exposures on a equatorial drive system.



Jul 18, 2013 at 08:44 PM
acoll123
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p.1 #18 · Really Right Stuff RRS PG-02 Gimbal Head instead of Ball Head


Roland W wrote:
The Really Right Stuff dovetail system, with their dovetails used on heads, and a high quality clamp on the tripod, seems plenty rigid and strong. I happen to use RRS lever clamps on my tripods to grab the dovetail, but a high quality screw clamp might be slightly better for a big load. For a gimbal mount on a tripod, it has more leverage that could act on the dovetail to try to overcome the clamping, but the load is well centered, so I do not see it as a significant issue. You do want to make sure you
...Show more

Thanks for your advice - Andy



Jul 18, 2013 at 08:59 PM





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