I don’t use tripods or gimbals nearly as often as I used to. Since I switched to Olympus, the vast majority of my work is either hand-held or on a monopod. The Olympus image stabilization eliminates the need for a tripod, most of the time.
But there are three cases when I still use tripods and gimbals.
1. During extended flight photography sessions
2. When photographing from a blind
3. When I am tired
The gimbal allows rapid, balanced, smooth camera movements when tracking a moving object (such as a bird in flight) and if you are doing a lot of that in one session, your arms, back and shoulders get tired after a while – well at least MY arms, back and shoulders get tired. I am 65, so it’s possibly more of an issue for me than most of you. In any event, if for no other reason than habit, I often use a gimbal for birds in flight.
I also use a gimbal when I work from a blind simply because of the length of time I sit and wait. It would be very tiring to hand hold the camera for eight hours. So I leave the camera on a gimbal and work with a remote.
The third reason is simply that I tire more easily these days and the gimbal allows me the luxury of resting my arms.
As I’ve “matured” the weight of the gear I carry is also more of an issue. I am constantly searching for gear that is lighter, stronger and more effective.
I’ve found a new gimbal that I personally use for those reasons. The Promaster GH30C Professional Carbon Fiber Gimbal Head is one of the lightest I have ever tested. It’s also one of the smoothest.
The gimbal weighs in at just two lbs 1 3/4 oz (957 grams). It has a maximum load of 33 lbs. It will function all the way down to -13 F / -25 C!
The last stat is important to me because sometimes, I work in very cold climates. I have had other gimbals seize on me under those cold conditions.
One of the big tests of a gimbal is how smooth it turns. I can say, having owned or tested just about every gimbal on the market, this is one of the smoothest if not THE smoothest that money can buy. Those fluid, smooth, movements also come into play with a special feature I’ve found only on the Promaster.
I absolutely love the fact that this head can do double duty as a fluid head for video! It’s simply brilliant. The unit comes with what the manufacturer calls a “smooth-control handle.” This handle screws into the unit and allows it to maneuver nice and smooth for video. The control handle allows the easy tracking of subjects when shooting video and I cannot believe how much I use and depend on this feature.
Included inside the box you will find:
1 GH30C Gimbal Head
1 Smooth-control Handle
1 3398 Quick Release Plate
1 Soft fabric carry case with sholder strap
I remember when gimbals were big, bulky, heavy and very expensive. The reason I really like the Promaster is that it is none of the above. It’s one of the best I have tested and also, one of the most affordable. At $349.95, it’s hundreds of dollars less than some of the other units for sale.
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