I have the new 600 mm f/4 Nikkor lens and I love it. However, I am very concerned about ballhead flop. It already has happened to me twice and it was very scary. So, it looks like I am going to have to get a different head to hold the lens. I was looking at the Wimberley head, but it has to be attached separately to the tripod (i.e. cannot be attached to the ballhead), so that means buying and carrying a separate tripod, which just isn’t practical for me. So, I have a few questions:
1. Does anyone have any suggestions for a head that will hold the large lens and still attach to a ballhead?
2. Will the Wimberley Sidekick hold the 600 mm lens?
3. If I get a head that will attach to the ballhead, how does it prevent ballhead flop of the whole unit?
Thanks for advice anyone can give.
#1. "RE: Wimberley and 600 mm lens" | In response to Reply # 0nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Sat 22-Mar-08 10:55 PM
I shoot a 300/2.8 and 500/4 on both Wimberly gimbals. A 600/4 is a very different (heavier) beast than my 500. Wimberly has a good FAQ on your question. You would need a low profile foot, for starters, to get the lens closer to the center of gravity of the ballhead. Basically, the Sidekick will support your lens. Wimberly suggests the Sidekick is actually more stable than the full Wimberly. My own tests suggest they are more or less even but that is with my 300/2.8 working at 500.
An alternative procedure, which I would personally do if shooting your lens, is to mount the lens to the Sidekick (with the lens laying on the ground), and then mount the Sidelick to the ballhead. Once you figure your balance points (it will vary depending on TC's, flas, etc.) you could mark them on the plate to at least get you in the ballpark before you heft it up onto the ballhead.
The problem with a 600 is not really shooting it. It's getting it loaded and balanced. The Sidekick is "side mounted", which means you have to support your lens with one hand while you adjust the clamp in the other. The full Wimberly top loads, which is much easier and very arguably safer.
I am unaware of any other gimbal that mounts to a ballhead other than the Sidekick and certainly none that top load.
An acquaintance once loaded his (Canon) 400/2.8 in my Sidekick. He didn't have a problem, he shot it and he seemed to think it was similar in handling. I was busy playing with his full Wimberly so I didn't get a chance to handle his lens. A 400/2.8 is very close to a 600/4 in basic geometry.
Your third question is more complex, depending on the context of your question. If I answer the wrong question, let me know
The idea is that you perfectly balance your lens, such that when you let go, it will stay put regardless of attitude. You do this with either the Sidekick or the full Wimberly. The full Wimberly, though, allows you to raise and lower the clamp platform to get exactly the center of gravity you want. You may not like the lively action of perfect vertical balance, for example.
If you are asking what keeps the ballhead's ball from flopping, the answer is to buy a Markins M20. I can turn my sidekick horizontal and almost lift myself up before it starts to slip. That is far more weight than the 600 will put on it, and well off the center of gravity of the head. I would not put a 600/4 on a Sidekick with any other head that i have ever had a chance to handle.
There is one solution to your problem with the full Wimberly...
Put a ballhead on it
My gallery link even has a vibration test of that configuration. Ignore the 4th image in that gallery- only do that if you have too much time and too many spare parts on hand
I don't know that I would want to make a regular habit of shooting a body on a ballhead on a Wimberly, but for me it's just an occasional thing and I carry a smaller set of legs with me in the truck. You would want to bolt a long plate, like a Wimberly P40, to the ballhead. The long plate lets you balance a body mounted lens, avoiding or at least minimizing the chance of a flop. Without the plate, a body mounted lens is going forward fast if you release the gimbal pivot.
I don't think I've ever seen a 600/4 on a Sidekick in the field. Most shooters are just resigned to two sets of legs. It's a tough choice; been there, done that. I really like the full Wimberly, though, and would like it even more with a 600.
#2. "RE: Wimberley and 600 mm lens" | In response to Reply # 0nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Sat 22-Mar-08 11:17 PM
I saw your post in the other thread and see you have a BH-55.
I recently tested a BH-55 with my 500/4P, on a Gitzo GT5530S, which is a seriously nice set of legs. One of the tests I performed was to lock down the ball as tight as I reasonably could do, and see how easy it was to budge it. I could easily move the head, even while locked down. I would not do that with either my M10 or M20 because I would be concerned about damaging the lens mount. Although payload ratings have been argued to death here, my experience with this was that the 90-100LB rating of the M10 and M20 are very relevant and comparable to the BH-55's 55LB rating. Meaning that I believe the Markins heads will hold about double the weight and the respective payload ratings are valid, and may even understate the difference. The Markins heads are also much smoother, which might matter at 600mm and up.
With all that said, Wimberly put the BH-55 on their approved list:
I did not mount my Sidekick on the BH-55 and test that configuration. Therefore I can't have an opinion one way or the other, other than I am much happier with my heads in that regard (actually in all regards important to me). Since you already own the head, I guess you should give it a try, should you pursue the Sidekick, with the idea that if it doesn't work there is an alternative that will hold.
#3. "RE: Wimberley and 600 mm lens" | In response to Reply # 0Snakebit Registered since 17th Feb 2008Sun 23-Mar-08 11:35 PM
>I have the new 600 mm f/4 Nikkor lens and I love it. However,
>I am very concerned about ballhead flop. It already has
>happened to me twice and it was very scary. So, it looks like
>I am going to have to get a different head to hold the lens. I
>was looking at the Wimberley head, but it has to be attached
>separately to the tripod (i.e. cannot be attached to the
>ballhead), so that means buying and carrying a separate
>tripod, which just isn’t practical for me. So, I have a few
>1. Does anyone have any suggestions for a head that will hold
>the large lens and still attach to a ballhead?
>2. Will the Wimberley Sidekick hold the 600 mm lens?
>3. If I get a head that will attach to the ballhead, how does
>it prevent ballhead flop of the whole unit?
>Thanks for advice anyone can give.
This might be an option for ya,
#4. "RE: Wimberley and 600 mm lens" | In response to Reply # 3mczink Registered since 06th Jul 2007Sun 23-Mar-08 11:45 PM
Hey Neil and Steve;
Thanks a TON for your input. Neil I especially appreciate all the time you took to let me know of my options all 'round.
I have a lot to think about and may be back with some questions once I have digested...
And this forum rocks!
#5. "RE: Wimberley and 600 mm lens" | In response to Reply # 0
Perhaps I am a little confused. It is only the work of a few moments to unscrew the Wimberley and pop the Markins back on. This would give you the flexibility of use without the unwanted flexibility in your tripod.
Do not ever share this with anyone but I once mounted my 800mm f/5.6 Nikkor on a Markins M10 on my little Gitzo 1227. It held it fine! Remember, Wimberleys great strength is in the way they allow freedom of movement not in having the most rigid mount for a long lens.
#6. "RE: Wimberley and 600 mm lens" | In response to Reply # 5
#7. "RE: Wimberley and 600 mm lens" | In response to Reply # 6mczink Registered since 06th Jul 2007Wed 26-Mar-08 11:01 PM
Well, I guess feel a little silly. I have had my ball head on the tripod so long I guess I forgot that it was easy to get on. I think I screwed mine pretty tightly on, though. And if it wasn't screwed on tight, wouldn't it tend to spin around or get loose and start to spin? I guess that is what I worry about - getting it on tight enough that it doesn't get loose while you are using it, yet having it loose enough to readily get it off. My hands aren't very strong...
#8. "RE: Wimberley and 600 mm lens" | In response to Reply # 7ianspector Registered since 03rd Jul 2006Thu 27-Mar-08 06:05 AM | edited Thu 27-Mar-08 06:06 AM by ianspector
The screw on the Gitzo is pretty fine so as long at it is reasonably hand tight there will be no movement at all. The only time it will unscrew is when you have the pan-screw fully locked tight and you forget and try to pan a long lens. Of course this may be a good way for you to unscrew yours!
My Wimberley is similarly tightened by hand with no problems.