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05-15-2015, 12:12 PM   #16
csa
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"All Gimbal roads lead to the Katana."

Perhaps for you; but for that price I could have a K3! I'm on a very limited budget, and while I know the highest priced things tend to be the best; I really would like to afford to eat for the next 6 months!

I guess I had thought I would get suggestions in the price range I could afford; rather than constant pushing for an item way out of my reach, money wise.


Last edited by csa; 05-15-2015 at 12:24 PM.
05-15-2015, 12:26 PM   #17
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Nest has a new carbon fiber one for about $300 available here. I know nothing more about it.
05-15-2015, 12:32 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by csa Quote
"All Gimbal roads lead to the Katana."

Perhaps for you; but for that price I could have a K3! I'm on a very limited budget, say Social Security; and while I know the highest priced things tend to be the best; I really would like to afford to eat for the next 6 months!

I guess I had thought I would get suggestions in the price range I could afford.
I started with one of the eBay units and ultimately bought a Katana myself.

All of the lower priced units seem to be the same clones of each other, the next step up is much more expensive.
In looking at the Opteka, and reading the reviews, I get the sense that Opteka just buys whatever generic gimbals it can get its hands on and slaps its name on it.

For example, the picture shows an uncoated metal unit, but reviews state that it is rubber coated.

I suspect that they are the same units that are being sold for $79 elsewhere, so if you want to just start out with items in that range get the $79 version as it will probably turn out the same.

With some DIY effort you can probably get it to perform better than new, as described in the reviews.
With the one I bought I did end up taking it apart and sanding down a washer and adding some lubricant and it was much smoother, but I could never cure the issue that when I loosened the swing knob it would droop ever so slightly.

That's when I decided to cut my losses and invest in a better gimbal.

I think these will all work similar to the Opteka based on the critical reviews.
camera gimbal head | eBay

And the BK-45 can be ordered from China much cheaper.
05-15-2015, 12:41 PM   #19
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"Nest has a new carbon fiber one for about $300 available here."

Now that looks interesting, and the distributor is right here in Montana! Thanks so much for that link!

05-15-2015, 01:12 PM   #20
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After reading some reviews of gimbals, including one in Shutterbug ( Gimbal Heads: An Essential Long Lens Accessory | Shutterbug), I decided that a reasonable compromise between quality and price was the Jobu BWG-J3K Jr. 3 kit, about $329 at B&H. You also need a lens plate, which varies in cost depending on the lens. I am using this model for my K-5 and DA* 300mm f4, and am very happy with it. It operates quite smoothly and easily handles the weight of the camera and lens. I did get one surprise when I went to purchase it. Aside from having a tripod that can handle the weight of the head, camera and lens, Jobu recommends a tripod with a 3/8" mounting screw (a 1/4" screw plus adapter is not allowed) and the tripod should have set screws to lock down the head. I was using a Velbon aluminum tripod that could handle the weight but didn't have the 3/8 " screw or the set screws. Undeterred, I tried the head, camera and lens on the Velbon. The tripod easily handled the weight, and was stiff enough to not move around, but the head did have a tendency to loosen up in a short period of time. I have since added a Benro Classic A2580F which is even sturdier than the Velbon and has the 3/8" screw and the locking screws. The locking screws seem to make a big difference. I don't know about the other gimbals you might try or what tripod you have, but you should be aware of this.
05-15-2015, 01:38 PM   #21
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I'm ok with the 3/8" screw:

" The center column has a 1/4-20 stud on one end and a removable 3/8-16 stud base on the other end."

I'm using a TeleVue Telepod tripod that handles 22lbs.
05-15-2015, 01:43 PM   #22
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I found this to be an interesting review of the MOVO. Good info about the other cheap gimbals too.

Another new gimbal to test and evaluate, MOVO GH700 (Gepe GH01)

05-15-2015, 02:24 PM   #23
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That definitely is a good report, and reading that, I think I'll save up a bit and go for the Nest NT 530H at $300.
05-15-2015, 02:40 PM   #24
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I gambled with a cheap gimbal, I just made sure it had a 26+ lb capacity, will write a detailed account once it arrives..


Last edited by Stavri; 05-15-2015 at 03:20 PM.
05-15-2015, 02:56 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stavri Quote
I gambled with a cheap gimbal, I just made sure it had a 26+ lb capacity, Let write a detailed account once it arrives..
I have one of those, and for my purposes, it's more than adequate. I can understand that people appreciate something more sophisticated (literal meaning: "complex") but a well-constructed and maintained plain bearing (bush) can be just as smooth and robust as a ball or roller bearing for simple pivot duty, and is usually more forgiving of worn or imperfect seals in harsh environments. It's main drawback is its weight, but I've been thinking of taking mine to a friendly machine-shop to add lightness (as Colin Chapman put it).
05-15-2015, 03:04 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stavri Quote
I gambled with a cheap gimbal, I just made sure it had a 26+ lb capacity, Let write a detailed account once it arrives..
I'll be interested in your detailed account when you get your gimbal.
05-15-2015, 03:16 PM   #27
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The Wimbley's and other premium gimbals are pricey, paying 500+ for a piece of cast iron with bolts and nuts seems a lot to me.
05-15-2015, 03:28 PM   #28
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I bought one of Larry's Katanas and it's very nice, but as you say, pricey (worth it for me though). The Wimberley is a little less, but still pricey. Another option you might look at is the Acratech GP heads.

Acratech GP Ballhead 1155 B&H Photo Video

A ballhead that can be used as a gimbal. Never used one but have heard good things. And since it's also a ballhead, if you have another ballhead you might be able to sell it to help offset the cost.
05-15-2015, 03:43 PM   #29
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Thanks, but I want the regular gimbal. The one I'm thinking of is $300, and that's really stretching what I can afford for one. I will not/cannot go higher.

Last edited by csa; 05-15-2015 at 03:50 PM.
05-15-2015, 03:55 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The only middle ground between the cheap junk and the expensive pro stuff available from a US seller is the Manfrotto 393.

It uses a proprietary quick release plate and the twin arm design can make using the controls on the lens awkward.

Manfrotto Heavy Telephoto Lens Support with Quick Release 393
I will put a second consider-this-head on the Manfrotto. Have one and pleased with it. Have used it with the swing arm above the lens, tripod socket rotated to top, then mounted a flash with tele projector lens on that upper arm. Much sturdier that having it on the hotshoe.
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