I was wanting a low cost but sturdy gimbal head to try my new Nikon 200-400mmG with. I've previously used the big Wimberly head with my Canon 600mm f/4, so I know how a gimbal head should work.
At $150 on Amazon, the Opteka was reasonably priced, and with a 30 lb rating, certainly heavy duty enough to hold my 9 lb combination of lens and camera.
I received it and sure enough, it was heavy duty, plenty big and strong for my purpose.
That's where my positive comments end.
This was a piece of junk. Nothing worked right. I did not expect a Wimberly head, but I did expect something useful. I could have pried out the silly plastic compass thingy which likely covers a adjustment screw, but the swing mechanism was binding at some points, so even loosening up the screw would not fix the mis-machining. They obviously did not intend for it to be adjusted, I'd have to damage the cover seals to pry them out and adjust it. Really amateur construction, all heads need adjustment eventually.
I posted a review on Amazon, so I'll quote from it here:
Here are some of the things I saw.
1. Very stiff for swinging a lens vertically, even with the tightening know loosened, it was stiff and I could not move the lens. No need to balance the lens, even my heavy Nikon 200-400mmG stuck in whatever position I left it.
2, Very Stiff horizontal panning, again, pretty much useless.
3. Machining of the swing arm and vertical slider was rough and so loose that it would catch when trying to raise or lower it, with or without lens.
Its really useless for tracking a bird in flight, and so jerky that its difficult to get it pointed at a stationary object.
Being a optimist, I ordered another low cost Aluminum Gimbal Head from Amazon. I'll post my comments when I use it.