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Author Topic: Opteka Gimbal Head Review  (Read 14015 times)

Drizzt321

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2013, 10:59:42 PM »
Ohhh...that looks really promising. Thanks for the find! Time to put it on my wishlist :)
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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2013, 10:59:42 PM »

Drizzt321

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5D mark 2, 5D mark 3, EF 17-40mm f/4L,  EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 135mm f/2L, EF 85mm f/1.8
Film Cameras: Mamiya RB67, RB-50, RB-180-C, RB-90-C, RB-50, Perkeo I folder, Mamiya Six Folder (Pre-WWII model)
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scottkinfw

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2013, 11:10:52 PM »
If you need an instruction video, Wimberley (http://www.tripodheadinfo.com/wimberley-head-ii/video-balancing-the-wimberley-head/)  has one on their site that is about 3 minutes long and is very good. 

At first I was reluctant to buy a gimbal head as it looked a bit complex.  However, after a few minutes, I loved that the camera/lens did not drift and moved effortlessly.  I sound like an advertisement, but the Wimberely manufacturing is excellent, and everything is smooth.  For Short lenses, the perpendicular plate is useful, but you can't rotate the camera to vertical.  Neuro likes another high end brand because it breaks down flat for travel, but he can expound on that.  I also got lens coat protection for the head, as I take it in the field and don't want it scratched up.

Scott

I just opened the box, this head is everything that the Opteka was not, nice finish, tightly machined parts that fit and operate smoothly.  Its Aluminum and light, but obviously very strong.  It was packed in foam (Not Styrofoam), so it could withstand a lot of mishandling in shipping, while the Opteka was in a bubble bag in its box and could bounce around in shipping.
 
I did not need to mount it to see the huge difference in build quality, but I'll be testing it.
 
The only weird thing is that the Arca Swiss clamp did not open wide enough to install the AS plate they supplied with it.  This was noted on a review I read, apparently, its a simple set screw adjustment to allow it to open further.  It is missing snap-in  covers for the adjustment screws, I'm wondering if they were left off for a reason.  It would look nicer if it had them, I'll try asking the dealer why it doesn't have them.
 
The head has a nice instruction sheet written in clear English telling how to setup your lens and balance it.  It also covers adjustment of the head components for tightness and to remove any play. (The Opteka had none)  The instructions makes reference to a Wimberly pate and head, so someone missed cleaning up the terminology, since it is obviously not remotely related to Wimberly.
 
 
Now, for the best part, it cost $99.95 and is shipped by Amazon Prime in the USA while the Opteka was $150.
 
http://www.amazon.com/CoralPix-CPGH-Aluminum-Arca-Swiss-Release/dp/B00D3UBO0E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1382147057&sr=8-2&keywords=gimbal+head
 
I'll do a more complete review with images once I have used it a bit, and confirm my initial observations about the quality.
Cameras: 1DXII,5D III, 5D II.  Lenses    24-70 2.8L II IS, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8.   Flashes: 600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT, 580 EX II.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2013, 11:20:30 PM »
If you need an instruction video, Wimberley (http://www.tripodheadinfo.com/wimberley-head-ii/video-balancing-the-wimberley-head/)  has one on their site that is about 3 minutes long and is very good. 

At first I was reluctant to buy a gimbal head as it looked a bit complex.  However, after a few minutes, I loved that the camera/lens did not drift and moved effortlessly.  I sound like an advertisement, but the Wimberely manufacturing is excellent, and everything is smooth.  For Short lenses, the perpendicular plate is useful, but you can't rotate the camera to vertical.  Neuro likes another high end brand because it breaks down flat for travel, but he can expound on that.  I also got lens coat protection for the head, as I take it in the field and don't want it scratched up.

Scott



I had the big Wimberly that I used for my 600mm f/4 L.  The setup was too much for me.  I bought a Nikon 200-400 f/4G and wanted to check it out before reselling it, so I did not have any intention of spending a lot of $$$.
 
Its not rocket science to set up a Wimberly type head, but its nice to have a instruction sheet outlining how to disassemble and to adjust the set screws on the swing arm and pivot.  Its just a nice touch for a low cost item like this.
 
I'll be seeing how it works in practice tomorrow.  I do not expect high end performance, but it needs to be usable.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2013, 01:29:04 PM »
One word about the AS clamp.  I used a Allen wrench to back the screw out enough to where a clamp with stop screws can be put in it, but this also made the screw loose, so I tried backing it on out with my fingers, and out it came.  There is no captive retention mechanism.  Instead, the tip of the screw had some thread locker on it, and it prevented the screw from opening easily.  There was about 1/4 inch of it on the screw, so it would have been 1/8 in of thread locker.  I'm wondering if it will heal, or if I'll need to put some more on the screw.  I'd like to find a bit longer screw, but that will come later. If the screw is too long, it won't close enough to clamp.
 
That's the weakest part that I've found, there is no danger of the clamp screw falling out that I can see, but I wish it were captive.  A captive screw would mean machining a opening so that a c or e clip could be installed, and that not only costs a little more, but would make for a weaker part.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2013, 12:27:59 AM »
More of them are on their way from the factory, Alex from CoralPix contacted me today. 
 
It seems like a deal for the price, if you have $5,000 invested in a big white, go for a real Gimbal Head, they are worth it.  But, If you are looking for something for occasional use and are on a tight budget, you will be pleased.
I paid $2500 for my Nikon 200-400mm lens and did not want to add $800 or more for a top of the line head.  It turns out to work well, in fact, the poor tripod ring on the Nikon lens is the limiting factor, it has far too much friction to allow me to rotate the lens when tracking.  I'll check to see if there is something wrong, but it is basically a new and unused lens.

privatebydesign

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2013, 12:36:11 AM »
I read your review on Amazon, mine won't be here until the 31st so I have a wait. Am interested if I can machine some bearings into it where the bushes are, just as a fun project.

I shoot dog trials and after four or five hours of holding the 300 f2.8 my keeper rate is dropping so I figured for $100 I'd give it a go.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2013, 12:36:11 AM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2013, 12:44:13 AM »
I read your review on Amazon, mine won't be here until the 31st so I have a wait. Am interested if I can machine some bearings into it where the bushes are, just as a fun project.

I shoot dog trials and after four or five hours of holding the 300 f2.8 my keeper rate is dropping so I figured for $100 I'd give it a go.
The one is cone shaped, and I think its what sets the drag by rubbing on the aluminum casting.  It has a slot cut out of it, so it compresses with applied force from the tightening knob.
My recommendation is to avoid trying to control friction and just keep the swing arm loose.  If you loosen it too much, it will have quite a bit of play, but that did not seem to cause a issue.  A more expensive one would have ball bearings and a separate friction brake that did not rely on tightening the whole assembly down.  But, for the price.
 
I have a friend who delayed and you beat him out on the last one by a minute :)   He can get one when they come into stock.

surapon

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2013, 02:53:23 PM »
If you need an instruction video, Wimberley (http://www.tripodheadinfo.com/wimberley-head-ii/video-balancing-the-wimberley-head/)  has one on their site that is about 3 minutes long and is very good. 

At first I was reluctant to buy a gimbal head as it looked a bit complex.  However, after a few minutes, I loved that the camera/lens did not drift and moved effortlessly.  I sound like an advertisement, but the Wimberely manufacturing is excellent, and everything is smooth.  For Short lenses, the perpendicular plate is useful, but you can't rotate the camera to vertical.  Neuro likes another high end brand because it breaks down flat for travel, but he can expound on that.  I also got lens coat protection for the head, as I take it in the field and don't want it scratched up.

Scott

I just opened the box, this head is everything that the Opteka was not, nice finish, tightly machined parts that fit and operate smoothly.  Its Aluminum and light, but obviously very strong.  It was packed in foam (Not Styrofoam), so it could withstand a lot of mishandling in shipping, while the Opteka was in a bubble bag in its box and could bounce around in shipping.
 
I did not need to mount it to see the huge difference in build quality, but I'll be testing it.
 
The only weird thing is that the Arca Swiss clamp did not open wide enough to install the AS plate they supplied with it.  This was noted on a review I read, apparently, its a simple set screw adjustment to allow it to open further.  It is missing snap-in  covers for the adjustment screws, I'm wondering if they were left off for a reason.  It would look nicer if it had them, I'll try asking the dealer why it doesn't have them.
 
The head has a nice instruction sheet written in clear English telling how to setup your lens and balance it.  It also covers adjustment of the head components for tightness and to remove any play. (The Opteka had none)  The instructions makes reference to a Wimberly pate and head, so someone missed cleaning up the terminology, since it is obviously not remotely related to Wimberly.
 
 
Now, for the best part, it cost $99.95 and is shipped by Amazon Prime in the USA while the Opteka was $150.
 
http://www.amazon.com/CoralPix-CPGH-Aluminum-Arca-Swiss-Release/dp/B00D3UBO0E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1382147057&sr=8-2&keywords=gimbal+head
 
I'll do a more complete review with images once I have used it a bit, and confirm my initial observations about the quality.

Thousand thanks for this great  Video of Wimberely. Dear scottkinfw
 Yes, I have 3 years already, But I do not know the right way to  perfectely adjust the gimbal head.
Now I know.

4 Photos below are the gimbal head that I modify to fit my needs for 3 Flashes and  Phottix Odin, The Wireless  Flashes Control  .
Thanks again.
Surapon

http://www.tripodheadinfo.com/wimberley-head-ii/video-balancing-the-wimberley-head/
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 03:13:55 PM by surapon »

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Re: Opteka Gimbal Head Review
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2013, 02:53:23 PM »