$99 or $500 Gimbal
/forum/topic/1105558/0

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Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9300
Country: Japan

Hi guys. Just a little heads up. I recently tried the Beike BK-45 gimbal head which costs $100 delivered. It's a chinese knock-off of the $550 Wimberley WH-200 version II head as is the $490 Induro GHB2. Guess what.. It's actually better than the Wimberley. So the only downside might be that it's a chinese knock-off. I say "might be" because I think the Wimberley may also be made in China - the Induro GHB2 is.

So in the end it may just be down to how much you would like to pay for the same thing.

Here's the models being talked about:

The Beike BK-45 - Or here.
The Wimberley WH-200 II
The Induro GHB2

The Beike BK-45 is a slightly smaller near perfect Wimberley WH-200 vII knock-off. It's only "near" because the BK-45's surface coating is actually better and it offers centimeter marking on both sides of the vertical slide arm. It has the same zero play, the same lock dampening, the same arca-swiss tolerances and fitting, and the same super-smooth panning and tilting. The only odd thing about the BK-45 is that they stuck compasses in the tilt-lock knob and in the plate-lock knob when I think they meant to place levels of some sort there instead. Whatever... I guess if I ever get lost while shooting wildlife I can just remove the head and find my way home.

It's slightly smaller in two important dimensions. From the inner surface of the vertical slide bracket (height adjustment) to the arca-swiss plate's center screw is 58mm while this distance on the WH-200 is 74mm. If that becomes an issue I suppose you can order the Wimberley plate holder and regain the extra extension. I've tried it with a few fast 300mm a few fast 400mm and a few fast 500mm lenses and this difference doesn't seem to matter at all. All of the tested lenses balance perfectly with the GH1 without coming too close to that arm. With a heavier camera it gets even better.

The other dimension is the height from the tilt pivot's center-point to the lowest position of the arca-swiss plate surface. On the Wimberley it's 118mm whereas on the BK-45 it's 98mm. I think this is not too critical either as I can't imagine those two centimeters causing balancing issues of any consequence. Again all the lenses I tried balanced up and operated perfectly even though two of the 500mm lenses appeared to be about 1cm above perfect middle at the slide's lowest position. However, even when tilted to extreme angles the balance did not shift.

In conclusion if you were on the fence about getting a gimbal head because of the $500 and $600 price tags this might be the model to get you down off that fence.




ryanpfleger
Registered: Dec 08, 2009
Total Posts: 419
Country: United States

Bifurcator wrote: The only odd thing about the BK-45 is that they stuck compasses in the tilt-lock knob and in the plate-lock knob when I think they meant to place levels of some sort there instead. Whatever...

Whuuuu

Could be useful for the nature shooter!

Thanks for the find Bifurcator!



freaklikeme
Registered: Apr 08, 2005
Total Posts: 5853
Country: United States

Thanks, Bif. Hard to pass up for that price.



oldrattler
Registered: Aug 04, 2009
Total Posts: 5191
Country: United States

Wow... I am in need of a gimbal... Thank you



amplexis
Registered: Mar 11, 2005
Total Posts: 331
Country: United States

after trying several gimbals for pano shooting 4 years ago i got a Mongoose http://stores.4gdphoto.com/-strse-118/M-dsh-3.6-~-Gimbal-Tripod/Detail.bok and i really like it. i sent it back last year for a $100 upgrade to all the latest. it's made for big lenses but it is so much lighter than others and the radiused arm dampens vibration a lot more than a right angle configuration.
yes it is $598 but what a great tool.



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9300
Country: Japan

But these have zero vibration! Really, zero! Any vibration that might exist is solely in the tripod legs.

Anyway, yeah those are the first things I noticed with these. Panoramas are just total cake!! There's no droop because everything is balanced perfectly. And there's absolutely no vibrations to contend with because the weight is perfectly centered on the pod and the arm is a massive chunk of steel (tested with all three).



Lars Johnsson
Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Total Posts: 33650
Country: Thailand

I have used a couple of the Chinese Wimberley knock-off that they have in Bangkok. It's a big difference from the original. But they cost a lot less also.
I don't know for sure but I belive the original is made in USA. Wimberley heads are at least 20 years old and have been around a long time. Induro is of course made in China. It's a Chinese company.

I don't really get it when you say "it might be a knock-off " If you are saying it could be the real thing. Then you are wrong. It does not look the same as the original Wimberley head



Thatspeck
Registered: Dec 13, 2003
Total Posts: 743
Country: United States

Remarkable, how do they do it?

http://www.fool.com/investing/international/2012/04/14/why-do-we-put-up-with-chinas-nonsense.aspx



lou f
Registered: Nov 18, 2005
Total Posts: 5205
Country: Ireland

interested to see a stress test on the materials, anyone want to buy a lens plate off them and put it up against a western brand?

http://www.bikerumor.com/2012/03/13/thomson-demonstrates-why-you-should-watch-out-for-counterfeit-parts/



ukkisavosta
Registered: Nov 28, 2010
Total Posts: 418
Country: Finland

lou f wrote:
interested to see a stress test on the materials, anyone want to buy a lens plate off them and put it up against a western brand?


I bought a Manfrotto superclamp knock-off without paying attention to this detail, and the first time I gave the clamp a good tightening (with the hand, of course), the pivoting pin sheared off from the clamp body, and the clamp is now useless.

Learned my lesson there.



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9300
Country: Japan

Lars Johnsson wrote:
I have used a couple of the Chinese Wimberley knock-off that they have in Bangkok. It's a big difference from the original. But they cost a lot less also.
I don't know for sure but I belive the original is made in USA. Wimberley heads are at least 20 years old and have been around a long time. Induro is of course made in China. It's a Chinese company.

I don't really get it when you say "it might be a knock-off " If you are saying it could be the real thing. Then you are wrong. It does not look the same as the original Wimberley head


This sentence: "So the only downside might be that it's a chinese knock-off. I say "might be" because I think the Wimberley may also be made in China - the Induro GHB2 is." ?

That "might be" is qualifying the advantage or disadvantage of such a purchase decision. It's a fact that this and the Induro are knock-offs. And that would be a downside IMO because buying copied designs where royalties were not paid for is unethical IMO. Basically you're supporting crooks besides paying for the prosperity of other countries over your own: "Made In China". So there's two things at play there. Most people don't share one or both, of my ethical positions on this subject so for them it "might be" a downside or not - depending.

Sorry for the confusion.


BTW, What differences did you notice between the knock-offs you used and the original Wimberley, and which head type were they (based on which Wimberley model)?



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9300
Country: Japan

lou f wrote:
interested to see a stress test on the materials, anyone want to buy a lens plate off them and put it up against a western brand?

http://www.bikerumor.com/2012/03/13/thomson-demonstrates-why-you-should-watch-out-for-counterfeit-parts/


I needed a longer lens plate myself for testing. I bought the one from Wimberley. So I can't test the knock-off plate. The Wimberley one fits perfectly in the Knock-off head.

To be perfectly honest though I don't like arca-swiss. I don't trust it. I like the Pentax designed QR plate best myself.





Thatspeck
Registered: Dec 13, 2003
Total Posts: 743
Country: United States

Looking at the Wimberley website, I can find no claims as to country of manufacture... hmmmm Interesting. I did "test drive" a wimberley head recently and sent it back, just couldn't justify the price over the Sidekick for my limited use.

Didn't mean to re-direct your thread Bif, I've got a little sore spot from a recent financial loss via Chinese intellectual property theft. The culprit on the Western side is in jail while case after case is being thrown out of Chinese courts

Buying Chinese products is unavoidable anymore but I'm now a lot more careful and will pay more for the same product made almost ANYWHERE else.



Smiert Spionam
Registered: Jan 15, 2008
Total Posts: 2678
Country: United States

The Wimberley catalog says that everything is made in the US. This is a long-standing company policy, as far as I know.

"Hi guys. Just a little heads up. I recently tried the Beike BK-45 gimbal head which costs $100 delivered. It's a chinese knock-off of the $550 Wimberley WH-200 version II head as is the $490 Induro GHB2. Guess what.. It's actually better than the Wimberley. So the only downside might be that it's a chinese knock-off. I say "might be" because I think the Wimberley may also be made in China - the Induro GHB2 is."

Spend your money however you want -- but I get really tired of seeing people justify intellectual property theft by obscuring the origins of the real thing. People pulled the same crap in trying to justify buying Benro copies of Gitzo designs, and it was bullshit then, too.

And even if Wimberley products were made in China, the copies would still be knock-offs. How can a photographer be so ignorant of intellectual property?



Dan1
Registered: Apr 28, 2005
Total Posts: 362
Country: Canada

Did you check it with a Geiger counter?



Lars Johnsson
Registered: Jun 29, 2003
Total Posts: 33650
Country: Thailand

Bifurcator wrote:
Lars Johnsson wrote:
I have used a couple of the Chinese Wimberley knock-off that they have in Bangkok. It's a big difference from the original. But they cost a lot less also.
I don't know for sure but I belive the original is made in USA. Wimberley heads are at least 20 years old and have been around a long time. Induro is of course made in China. It's a Chinese company.

I don't really get it when you say "it might be a knock-off " If you are saying it could be the real thing. Then you are wrong. It does not look the same as the original Wimberley head


This sentence: "So the only downside might be that it's a chinese knock-off. I say "might be" because I think the Wimberley may also be made in China - the Induro GHB2 is." ?

That "might be" is qualifying the advantage or disadvantage of such a purchase decision. It's a fact that this and the Induro are knock-offs. And that would be a downside IMO because buying copied designs where royalties were not paid for is unethical IMO. Basically you're supporting crooks besides paying for the prosperity of other countries over your own: "Made In China". So there's two things at play there. Most people don't share one or both, of my ethical positions on this subject so for them it "might be" a downside or not - depending.

Sorry for the confusion.


BTW, What differences did you notice between the knock-offs you used and the original Wimberley, and which head type were they (based on which Wimberley model)?



Why do you think Wimberley are made in China? Wimberley say that they are made in USA. Induro is of course made in China. It's a Chinese company with tripods and heads from China.
I belive the American brands like Wimberley, Kirk or RRS are all made in the USA.
And I don't mind buying equipment from Chinese or other Asian countries. As long as they are not just cheap copy knock-offs

The 3-4 Chinese knock-offs that I have tried in Thailand are less good that the original. The paning and panning knob is not at all as smooth. And the same goes for the tilt and tilt knob. The balance and vertical adjustment is not as good as the original when using a big lens. And the plattform with the Arca-Swiss style clamp is often not good at all.
It cost a lot less of course. But I would not use it for my super-tele lenses. A super-tele lens and a camera often cost $ 10-15k . And then the savings on the knock-off head isn't worth it (IMO). When using smaller and cheaper tele lenses it can be worth it. But with those lenses you don't really need a full wimberley head



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9300
Country: Japan

Thatspeck wrote:
Looking at the Wimberley website, I can find no claims as to country of manufacture... hmmmm Interesting. I did "test drive" a wimberley head recently and sent it back, just couldn't justify the price over the Sidekick for my limited use.

Didn't mean to re-direct your thread Bif,

NP, There's actually no intended direction... It's just wherever it happens to go.


I've got a little sore spot from a recent financial loss via Chinese intellectual property theft. The culprit on the Western side is in jail while case after case is being thrown out of Chinese courts

Buying Chinese products is unavoidable anymore but I'm now a lot more careful and will pay more for the same product made almost ANYWHERE else.


Smiert Spionam wrote:
The Wimberley catalog says that everything is made in the US. This is a long-standing company policy, as far as I know.

"Hi guys. Just a little heads up. I recently tried the Beike BK-45 gimbal head which costs $100 delivered. It's a chinese knock-off of the $550 Wimberley WH-200 version II head as is the $490 Induro GHB2. Guess what.. It's actually better than the Wimberley. So the only downside might be that it's a chinese knock-off. I say "might be" because I think the Wimberley may also be made in China - the Induro GHB2 is."

Spend your money however you want -- but I get really tired of seeing people justify intellectual property theft by obscuring the origins of the real thing. People pulled the same crap in trying to justify buying Benro copies of Gitzo designs, and it was bullshit then, too.

And even if Wimberley products were made in China, the copies would still be knock-offs. How can a photographer be so ignorant of intellectual property?


Cool! So there are people who think like I do. Nice! Every time I say such things I usually just hear something like: "STFU and get with globalism" said in different ways of course...





Lars Johnsson wrote:
I have used a couple of the Chinese Wimberley knock-off that they have in Bangkok. It's a big difference from the original. But they cost a lot less also.
I don't know for sure but I belive the original is made in USA. Wimberley heads are at least 20 years old and have been around a long time. Induro is of course made in China. It's a Chinese company.

I don't really get it when you say "it might be a knock-off " If you are saying it could be the real thing. Then you are wrong. It does not look the same as the original Wimberley head

Bifurcator wrote:
This sentence: "So the only downside might be that it's a chinese knock-off. I say "might be" because I think the Wimberley may also be made in China - the Induro GHB2 is." ?

That "might be" is qualifying the advantage or disadvantage of such a purchase decision. It's a fact that this and the Induro are knock-offs. And that would be a downside IMO because buying copied designs where royalties were not paid for is unethical IMO. Basically you're supporting crooks besides paying for the prosperity of other countries over your own: "Made In China". So there's two things at play there. Most people don't share one or both, of my ethical positions on this subject so for them it "might be" a downside or not - depending.

Sorry for the confusion.


BTW, What differences did you notice between the knock-offs you used and the original Wimberley, and which head type were they (based on which Wimberley model)?

Lars Johnsson wrote:
Why do you think Wimberley are made in China? Wimberley say that they are made in USA.


I didn't think either way. I looked on their site and it didn't say either way. As mentioned above I guess it's in their catalog.

Induro is of course made in China. It's a Chinese company with tripods and heads from China.
I belive the American brands like Wimberley, Kirk or RRS are all made in the USA.
And I don't mind buying equipment from Chinese or other Asian countries. As long as they are not just cheap copy knock-offs

The 3-4 Chinese knock-offs that I have tried in Thailand are less good that the original. The paning and panning knob is not at all as smooth. And the same goes for the tilt and tilt knob. The balance and vertical adjustment is not as good as the original when using a big lens. And the plattform with the Arca-Swiss style clamp is often not good at all.
It cost a lot less of course. But I would not use it for my super-tele lenses. A super-tele lens and a camera often cost $ 10-15k . And then the savings on the knock-off head isn't worth it (IMO). When using smaller and cheaper tele lenses it can be worth it. But with those lenses you don't really need a full wimberley head


Thanks! On this particular one the height adjustment slider is a little sticky due to a lower level of surface finishing on those parts but the knobs, frictions, and tolerances are the same as the Wimberley - or real damn close anyway. It's better than the Induro. The surface coating on the main arm is superior to Wimberley's imo.

In my case the super-teles I have are older models costing about $1K a piece $500, and yet still require or at least benefit from, the full sized gimbal.



davidearls
Registered: Mar 09, 2006
Total Posts: 3507
Country: United States

I'm not sure if on a properly balanced gimbal this makes any difference, but I noticed the rated capacity was 8kg. Whoa! My old 600 f4 weighs that almost by itself -

Otherwise looks like excellent gear. I use one of the Manfrottos that looks just like the thing they strap the space shuttle onto a 747 with when they fly it around. Ugly. Cumbersome. Great in the field.



Bifurcator
Registered: Oct 22, 2008
Total Posts: 9300
Country: Japan

Yeah. I think these makers don't know anything about what they're talking about - at all. The designer is a copy-cat goof-ball who probably never held a camera in his life. I mean WTF, magnetic direction compasses stuck sideways in two knobs? And for $100 delivered... I'm certain there's no QC, and no testing done on these. So that 8kg or any other specs they mention are just picked out of thin air guesses. It might be 8kg, it might be 14kg... 8kg seems a little light for this particular unit tho. I bet I could lift up the front end of a '72 VW bug with this thing - no problems.

I just tried hanging a 15kg barbell weight off the arca-swiss release knob while my camera and a Sigma 500/4.5 APO lens was mounted and it didn't seem to phase it. Totally I guess that's about 18 or 19 kg and it had the same smoothness in all directions - as could be tested. I guess I would totally trust this thing under all circumstances with 15kg mounted. But that's just another guess tho. Like Lars pointed out; if you're long lenses are high-dollar units then you probably have the money to get the real deal and that's going to feel better all around anyway (emotionally, ethically, sense of secureness, etc.).



Javier Munoz
Registered: Nov 10, 2007
Total Posts: 536
Country: United States

A gimbal is an amazingly simple piece of equipment. The price that Wimberley et al charge is on the outrageous side of the equation. Gimbal heads should be priced similarly to the manfrotto 393. Having a sturdy piece of metal with a couple of knobs at 100USD is not far-fetched.

BTW, it is my understanding that RRS also outsources its products.



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