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Old Apr 22, 2009, 11:33 PM   #1
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Hi All,

I've been asked for some pics of my tripod/gimbal setup, and finally had the presence of mind to bring a second body and appropriate lens (Tamron 28-75/2.8 ) out to the Nature Center today when the cloud cover finally broke. I decided to start a new thread instead of burying it in one of the other threads. . .

Scott

K20, FA*300/2.8, Stacked converters, Tasco Red Dot sight, Amvona AT-A104 tripod, Manfrotto 468MG Ballhead + Wimberley conversion clamp QR, Wimberley Sidekick.
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Old Apr 22, 2009, 11:35 PM   #2
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Here's the other side, showing the Camdapter grip strap.
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Old Apr 22, 2009, 11:36 PM   #3
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. . . and the ballhead Sidekick alone
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Old Apr 22, 2009, 11:38 PM   #4
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. . . and another view
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Old Apr 23, 2009, 12:17 AM   #5
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The Sidekick is the minimal version, recommended for the smaller of the huge fast tele lenses. It's made to be mounted on a ballhead with an Arca-Swiss type QR clamp. I chose it because it is a lot smaller and lighter than the Wimberley Head, and it's versatile in that I can leave the ballhead installed on the tripod all the time, and if I want to use the tripod with a smaller lens, I just have to remove the Sidekick, and I have the ballhead ready to go by itself.

I never quite understood this before. . . before I started using A-S QR equipped ballheads, all this meant was that I had to buy two pieces instead of one. . .. When I started using the tripod with the Tamron SP 300/2.8, I started to understand that the Manfrotto RC2 QR system wasn't as good with really heavy lenses, and the A-S system was much more secure. Once I had an A-S type ballhead, it all made sense. . .:roll:

Anyway, this is a great setup. The more I use it, the better it gets. At first I was disappointed that I couldn't pivot the camera back to point straight up, but then I realized that by unlocking the ballhead, I could tilt the Sidekick back, allowing me much better upward angles -- in this respect, the Sidekick is better than the full Wimberley head, as well as the RRS Cobra and the Jobu Black Widow, or any of the full gimbal heads.

The Amvona tripod is very good for my use. At about 5 lbs, it's not the lightest, but it goes very tall without extending the center column. Fully extended, I can angle the Sidekick back, point the camera straight up, and still look through the VF standing straight up (I'm only @5'6"). I did have to modify the center column -- the design isn't very good -- there's an aluminum plug that fits inside the column to attach the camera plate, and it was a sloppy fit. I had to take a center punch and dimple around the column tube until the plug was a tap in fit. I got this in an ebay auction for @ $120, so I didn't mind having to fix it.

The Manfrotto 468MG ballhead is a good one, light (@ 1 lb), very strong, but relatively compact. It came with an RC2 QR, but I replaced it with a Wimberley conversion clamp to make it A-S compatible. I also won this in an ebay auction, LN, for @ $150 probably since not many are familiar with it. It features a hydraulic ball locking mechanism (like the brakes on your car), and locks very solidly with little effort, had separate lock, friction, and panning knobs, and works great with the Sidekick.

None of the gimbal heads are the utmost in stability since they raise the camera above the most stable point on the tripod, but they are very stable, and allow effortless movement in the vertical plane, and the Sidekick uses the panning base of the ballhead to allow side-to-side motion.

Wimberley is a great company -- they have a 90 day free "test ride" -- they take a credit card #, but won't charge it for 90 days unless you tell them to. Then theres a 60 day return clause that you can use if you're not satisfied -- 5 months total to return for a refund. They are very knowledgeable, and even know Pentax stuff! Getting the right plates and such can be confusing, but they were very helpful, and I was confident that all the gear they sent me would work -- and it does. . .

BTW, I'm nothing to Wimberley, except a very satisfied customer. . .

Scott
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Old Apr 23, 2009, 12:25 AM   #6
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That's a very impressive set-up! Thanks for posting pictures, I always wondered how they worked. While I think it's unlikely I'll have a lens set-up like that (not that I wouldn't love one, just don't think I'll have the opportunity to own one like that), it's still fascinating to see how to make such a system work well.
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Old Apr 23, 2009, 12:30 AM   #7
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Thanks a lot! Very useful information.

Kjell
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Old Apr 23, 2009, 12:51 PM   #8
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:shock::shock::shock:!
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Old Apr 24, 2009, 8:58 AM   #9
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IMPRESSIVE! Indeed you are strong as the Emperor had foreseen!

Darth
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Old Apr 24, 2009, 10:47 AM   #10
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Hey Scott,
Thanks for posting these. I'm envious of your set up!:G
I am curious of the advantages of the Wimberley (operation wise) over a good pan tilt swivel head?
thanks,

GW:bye:
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