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Old Apr 7, 2008, 12:56 PM   #1
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Hi All,

I've been shooting with a tripod a lot lately, and have been using my ballhead like a gimbal head. I find that this is an ideal inexpensive way to easily control a DSLR with a heavy lens. I realize that for the long term, there may be some wear problems, as I'm stressing the ballhead in a manner it's not designed for, but I'm not much concerned with this, unless it endangers by gear, which I don't think is happening.

Here's what I'm doing: I drop shaft of the ball into the "portrait" position, so the shaft is parallel to the ground. I rotate the tripod ring on the lens so it's on the side of the lens -- the mounted camera is in the "landscape" position. I leave the ball unlocked, with no tension, and leave the pan control of the head unlocked. This allows me to move the camera in two dimensions only, vertically and panning. I don't have to worry about tilting the camera off axis which is a real problem with a heavy lens, and the friction on the ball in this position holds the camera wherever I put it. I'm sure it's not as effortless to maneuver as a true gimbal, but the camera/lens also doesn't need to be balanced to work well as a true gimbal does. If one has a very long lens that's very front heavy, you might have to add some tension, but I think that would be largely offset by the extra mass of the cam/lens.

I'm probably not explaining this well, so I've attached an image of the setup. I got the idea from the Acratech GV2,

http://acratech.net/miva/merchant.mv...Code=Ballheads

and just use my Amvona ATH-A01 and A02 heads. I would not recommend that you try this with a very cheap or lightly rated ballhead, nor one that does not have a very solid QR mount. The Amvonas that I refer to have their version of an Arca Swiss compatible mount, so it's very solid.

Scott

Here's the pic
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Old Apr 7, 2008, 1:54 PM   #2
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I shoot with a tripod alot anymore too.

I've never thought of doing this. How loose is the tension on the ball? And do you leave the Pano base loose too?

I really would like to have a sidekick. Someday soon!

Dennis

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Old Apr 7, 2008, 2:22 PM   #3
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great idea, going to try it
thanks Ronny
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Old Apr 7, 2008, 2:55 PM   #4
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Driver3 wrote:
Quote:
I shoot with a tripod alot anymore too.

I've never thought of doing this. How loose is the tension on the ball? And do you leave the Pano base loose too?

I really would like to have a sidekick. Someday soon!
Hi Dennis,

With the SP 300/2.8 (and TCs -- @ 6lbs), I leave the ball unlocked completely, with no pre-tension, and the pano with just a touch of tension. The mass of the cam/lens allows for easy positioning, but the friction in the system maintains camera position very precisely without locking anything down.

I've been playing with the idea of getting a Sidekick (or one of the Jobu gimbals for a couple of years, but the cost and the size have put me off. This works well enough for me (and is so small and light) that a true gimbal has slipped considerably in my priorities of things that I "need" to get. If I were to find this is too hard on the ballheads I'm using, I'd probably consider the Acratech GV-2 before buying one of the high-end gimbals, mostly for the size and weight considerations.

Scott
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