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06-15-2009, 08:35 AM   #1
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Found a relatively inexpensive gimbal style mount

Thought I'd share and let people know there are some alternatives to $400+ ones... just ordered a Bogen 393 after doing extensive reading and research. When I first started looking it seemed like Wimberley, Kirk and Joby were the only players, but the Bogen popped up in a discussion and after reading up on it and finding some reviews and comments I decided to order it. Should be here later this week.

The price? $179.

Here's one of the reviews:
Richard Peters Photography blog Blog Archive Manfrotto 393 gimbal head

Looks like a very good alternative to the expensive ones if you're on a budget.

06-15-2009, 09:07 AM   #2
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I know a couple of guys who have that head. It isn't up to the King Cobras or Wimberleys in terms of smoothness of use, but it is very good.
I went with the Wimberley because I didn't the Manfrotto just wasn't quite up to the task of holding my 600mm lens, but for anything shorter, it should be fine. I do know a fellow who uses it with his 600 and seems satisfied, BTW.
06-15-2009, 09:08 AM   #3
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I'm planning on using the 400/5.6 + 1.4x converter on it when the light gets low. Tried it on a (pretty good) ballhead and it just wasn't a very good setup.
06-15-2009, 09:26 AM   #4
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I don't really think ball heads are much good for longer lenses, whether or not the head is a good one.
To my way of thinking, if the rig is mounted by the lens rather than the camera, it should be on either a pan/tilt head or a gimbal head.

06-15-2009, 01:56 PM   #5
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Gimbal is the way to go with the Super teles

Bought the Bogen instead of the more expensive and better one's due to not needing it often enough to justify the extra cost.

I have use it with:
K10/20D with 500/4.5, 100-500 Vivitar series 1 Zoom, Tokina 80-400 and a borrowed FA* 250-600.

Pentax 645N with 300/4EDIF, plus 1.4X.

I have not have any issue with the usage of the Bogen over 9 yrs.
06-15-2009, 02:39 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
I'm planning on using the 400/5.6 + 1.4x converter on it when the light gets low. Tried it on a (pretty good) ballhead and it just wasn't a very good setup.
That's an easy load for the MA 393. I use it with the old Pentax 500/4.5 and sometimes 1.4x tc or with the Bigma and it easily can cope with these. It may have some more friction to overcome when you start a movement (to follow your subject), but I have no comparisson. As I use it infrequently anyway, it is a worthy investment , whereas a Wimberley, Kirk or Nil would be way too expensive for such an occasional use.

Ben
06-15-2009, 04:05 PM   #7
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Glad to hear you guys like it. Mine should be in Thur/Fri if all goes well. The 400/5.6 + 1.4x isn't a really big or heavy lens compared to the serious superteles, but I am mainly looking for decent stability when shooting in lower light where handholding becomes an issue. I can handhold down to 1/160 (at 560mm) and get decent results most of the time, but sometimes I end up well below that if I want an OK exposure...

06-16-2009, 08:57 AM   #8
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The trick to the gimbals is balancing the whole lens camera and TC combo properly.
06-19-2009, 07:00 PM   #9
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It is here. 20D and 400 mounted:

06-22-2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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but you are not mounted correctly.

to be ballanced the center of gravity needs to be at the center of the pivot.

I think you get front to back OK with the rail you have on the lens, but vertically you are too low.

the photos in the review have the camera too high.

In reading the setup instructions of the wembly you get a good idea of the objective for setup
06-23-2009, 04:30 AM   #11
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It took me a minute to get what you're saying -- I understand now, but how would you go about doing that? There are three holes on the inner U bracket so you can shift things around, but I don't think it can be precision tuned like a Wimberley to land the center of gravity exactly where you want it.

That said, with even the smallest amount of friction it'll stay put in any position at this point. The 400 isn't a very heavy lens so that probably helps.

Last edited by pingflood; 06-23-2009 at 04:58 AM.
06-23-2009, 05:04 AM   #12
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I think if you look at your photo, the answer is relitively easy.

The centerline of your lens is bleow the pivot.

You can either move to the next set of holes, probably too high, or add a spacer between your lens and the plate, making it the perfect height.

To get the balance along the lens. put your lens with the new spacer and the plate on a table, on top of a pencil. mark the spot where it is just in balance, and that is where the mounting screw needs to be.
07-04-2009, 02:37 PM   #13
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Thanks pingflood for posting this topic and I followed your link to B&H, also checked Adorama and they have free shipping on same unit so it is on order from them. Should be here some time next week. jim
07-04-2009, 02:46 PM   #14
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I tried one - it's a heavier beast and certainly not an easy item to pack for travel. That was my only gotcha, so I had to send mine back...

Otherwise a great option for those on a budget. Look forward to some BIF images!!!
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