Question about separate ball head versus L-bracket for WH-200
Hi. This is a bit long. Please bear with me.
I have a Wimberly head version II (WH-200) which I have because of my 600/f4. I also have the P-5 body plate and the M-8 perpendicular plate so I can mount my camera on the tripod. In the instructions for the M-8 is a paragraph stating the that is not the ideal way to go for the camera because you can't flip the camera to the vertical and can't adjust the horizon, and the camera won't balance. Wimberly recommends getting an L-bracket from another vendor and then mount the M-8 to the L-bracket to mount the camera to the head. Honestly I'm having trouble visualizing this setup but I assume it will be clear if I get the bracket. Luckily I can follow instructions.
There is also the option just to get another ball head to use to mount the camera.
Which of these suggestions is least complicated and makes the most sense? Are they equivalent solutions? Obviously there is a difference in cost, which will also affect my decision, depending on the answer to the first two questions.
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR
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#1. "RE: Question about separate ball head versus L-bracket for WH-200" | In response to Reply # 0ChrisPlatt Registered since 04th Jun 2011Tue 24-Jul-12 11:02 PM | edited Wed 25-Jul-12 11:24 AM by ChrisPlatt
I think the Wimberley is great for long lenses and a ball head is good for most everything else. I recommend you spring for a ballhead. You won't regret it and even a moderate quality one will be less frustrating than trying to make the Wimberley be all things.
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#2. "RE: Question about separate ball head versus L-bracket for WH-200" | In response to Reply # 0MEMcD Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Thu 02-Aug-12 04:36 PM
An L-Bracket has two Arca-Swiss plates, one on the bottom of the camera (landscape orientation) and one on the left side of the camera (portrait orientation).
The Wimberley M8 combined with an L-Bracket will allow you to mount the camera in your Wimberley II in either portrait orientation or landscape orientation, though due to the design of the Gimbal mount movement will be more cumbersome than if you were using an L-Bracket with a Ball Head.
In other words while Gimbal mounts are superb for use with long lenses that can be easily balanced in the mount, using a short lens that does not have a tripod foot makes it front heavy and more difficult to balance. The sweet spot provided by a quality ball head will allow much more control and stability. The down side is you must change the head or buy another set of legs.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#3. "RE: Question about separate ball head versus L-bracket for WH-200" | In response to Reply # 0pompeio Registered since 09th Jan 2008Fri 03-Aug-12 09:29 PM
I have the Wimberley WH-200 and a 500 f/4 with my camera having an L-bracket. I also purchased the M-8 plate thinking that I would use it when I want to use a smaller lens and not have to remove the WH-200 from the tripod. It was not the best solution so I found myself removing the WH-200 and replacing with a ballhead (Markins M20).
I may be getting a RRS leveling base and two of their plate adapters so I can mount one to the WH-200 and the other to the M20 thus making it easier to switch between the two. It is not, however, an inexpensive solution.
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#4. "RE: Question about separate ball head versus L-bracket for WH-200" | In response to Reply # 0nrothschild Registered since 25th Jul 2004Sat 04-Aug-12 12:18 PM
I have the M8 and a Wh-200 (also have probably all the Wimberly flash bracket parts because most of my 500/4 shooting is with flash). I've never used the M8 for that purpose. I could post a quick pic if you are interested in seeing it put together.
There are at least two problems with this solution:
1. The only way to level the horizon is to re-level the legs. If you have a leveler between the WH-200 and the tripod then this might not be as much of a problem but I have never gone in that direction.
2. The M8 is not long enough to balance the camera on the gimbal...
Any camera with collarless lens, mounted on the gimbal, will cause the nose to drop *HARD* if you un-lock the gimbal pivot. You can look at that from the perspective that unlocking the gimbal pivot is just something you don't do when using it in this mode, but this has always bothered me.
I am a creature of habit, and my habit is to run my gimbal loose with a well balanced long lens. I also put in long hours, often dawn to dusk, out on the trail and at best tend to do stupid things as the day wears on . I think you can see where I am going with this .
A better solution might be a Kirk or RRS long plate with integrated clamp, similar to the M8 but longer. That would allow you to balance the camera so that it won't drop as hard. You probably still need to keep the pivot locked but this would avoid the hard drop in the event of a brain-lock.
Another option is to get a ball head like my M20 or M10, add a small plate to the bottom, and accomplish more or less the same thing that Michael (pompeio) suggests. That could also go on top of the long plate I mentioned in order to try to balance it.
I own multiple tripods, one usually with the gimbal and one always with a ballhead. There are times, though, that I would like to have a ballhead mounted on the gimbal and for that I plan on getting a plate some day, similar to the round plate RRS makes that bolts to a ballhead bottom. I think that would work on my M20? It would be easier, of course, to carry a ballhead on the trail than two tripods. One tripod with my 500/4 is about my limit
A ballhead on top of a gimbal is never going to be an ideal solution because at best it can not be as stable as a ballhead alone on the tripod. All the above is in the context of how to deal with occasional short focal length shots when out and about with a long lens and gimbal. To do it right you either need two tripods or do a lot of head swapping, as I tend to do.
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