Manfrotto 393 / Bogen 3421 Advise

Joined
Mar 12, 2007
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151
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Malaysia
I'm planning to get the above gimbal setup as a cheaper alternative to the full or Sidekick Wimberley for birding purposes but I have some questions and hope the to get some answers from the collective wisdom of this forum;

1. Has anybody seen or used this gimbal mount with a flash bracket?

2. After you've balanced the camera + lens setup, is there a locking mount to lock the lens + camera setup from moving / swinging?

3. Is it possible to mount an arca swiss QR clamp ont he gimbal mount?

4. I plan to mount my AF-S 300mm f/4 + D2Hs with the use of some TCs on this gimbal mount and but I've read about problems balancing this setup on a gimbal mounts like the sidekick and full Wimberley because of the camera weight. Will a longer arca swiss QR clamp (assuming question no. 3 is a yes) help for allowing better fore and aft movement for perfect 50/50 balance? I'm thinking of either getting either a Wimberley C10 or the longer C30 clamp.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Jan 26, 2005
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Marysville, WA
I'm planning to get the above gimbal setup as a cheaper alternative to the full or Sidekick Wimberley for birding purposes but I have some questions and hope the to get some answers from the collective wisdom of this forum;

1. Has anybody seen or used this gimbal mount with a flash bracket?
I have seen these used, and had a chance to "play" with one for a bit and I found that the panning action was not as smooth as either the Wimberly or, my personal choice, the offerings from Jobu. But as you note, it is much less expensive. Given that it has a bracket on both sides, if you use a tripod foot mounted flash bracket you would have to consider placement either fore or aft of the uprights. The alternative would be to "hang" the camera by flipping the horizontal mount to the top and mount the flash above tha bracket.

2. After you've balanced the camera + lens setup, is there a locking mount to lock the lens + camera setup from moving / swinging?
[/QUOTE}

As I recall there is, and this is also used when you want to move the whole setup. Consists of tightening the knobs that control the pan and the tilt tension.

3. Is it possible to mount an arca swiss QR clamp ont he gimbal mount?
As I recall, they all use a standard Tripod Screw, so mounting an Arca-Swiss base should not be an issue.

4. I plan to mount my AF-S 300mm f/4 + D2Hs with the use of some TCs on this gimbal mount and but I've read about problems balancing this setup on a gimbal mounts like the sidekick and full Wimberley because of the camera weight. Will a longer arca swiss QR clamp (assuming question no. 3 is a yes) help for allowing better fore and aft movement for perfect 50/50 balance? I'm thinking of either getting either a Wimberley C10 or the longer C30 clamp.

Thanks in advance.
Yup, a longer plate would probably in order, I'd get the longest one you can. And don't be afraid when you find that you are right at the forward end to get the balance right, they do stay rock-solid. I have this happen with the 200-400 on a Jobu Jr. Compact.

Hope this helps.
 
D

DW Brewer

Guest
I use two of these gimbals and am quite happy with their performance. As noted, they are considerably cheaper than the Wimberly, and that money saved can be used elsewhere (and was). I use these with a Sigma 500mm and a Sigma 120-300+2XTC. They come with a sliding plate mechanism that I was no need to alter for my needs; maybe not as sexy as RRS or Arca, but it was included int he price and it does the job.
 
Joined
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Messages
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I have seen these used, and had a chance to "play" with one for a bit and I found that the panning action was not as smooth as either the Wimberly or, my personal choice, the offerings from Jobu. But as you note, it is much less expensive.
Well, I'm looking more for stability. I can live with the not soo smooth panning action.

Given that it has a bracket on both sides, if you use a tripod foot mounted flash bracket you would have to consider placement either fore or aft of the uprights. The alternative would be to "hang" the camera by flipping the horizontal mount to the top and mount the flash above tha bracket.
Ok, so you think something like a Wimberley F-1 telephoto flash bracket would work?

Mounting the flash bracket on the lens collar foot (I have the Kirk NC-300 replacement collar on the AF-S 300mm f/4) when the camera is hanging from the mount may result in the camera flash being a little too high.

Does mounting the flash bracket on the lens collar foot when the camera is mounted down (not hanging) normally result in the flash bracket interfering with the 3421/393 bracket?

Yup, a longer plate would probably in order, I'd get the longest one you can. And don't be afraid when you find that you are right at the forward end to get the balance right, they do stay rock-solid. I have this happen with the 200-400 on a Jobu Jr. Compact.
I was afraid of this because from the link below it mentions that you need to leave at least 1/2" past the centerline of the quick release clamp to ensure that it is safely clamped and must also have 3/4" of plate exposed beyond the end of the clamp for the flash bracket to grab.

http://www.tripodhead.com/products/flash-bracket-compatibility.cfm

I did a rough calculation of my Kirk NC-300 and the foot is 3" long. The shorter Wimberley C-10 clamp is 2.5" long. If I leave 3/4" of the NC-300 exposed for the flash bracket mount, I have about 1" of the NC-300 past the centerline of the quick release clamp which is good.

If I get the longer Wimberley C-30 clamp which is 4.1" long and if I leave 3/4" of the NC-300 exposed for the flash bracket on one end, the other end of the NC-300 will not pass 1/2" the centreline of the C-30 quick release clamp. It'll only pass the centreline by 0.2" by my calculations. You're saying this should be ok?

And yes, your replies have been of great help so far, Bill. Thanks a bunch. :smile:
 
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I use two of these gimbals and am quite happy with their performance. As noted, they are considerably cheaper than the Wimberly, and that money saved can be used elsewhere (and was). I use these with a Sigma 500mm and a Sigma 120-300+2XTC. They come with a sliding plate mechanism that I was no need to alter for my needs; maybe not as sexy as RRS or Arca, but it was included int he price and it does the job.
Thanks for the feedback. What body are you using? The problem is I am currently using a D2Hs with an AF-S 300mm f/4 with some TCs and I've read it can be a problem with balancing the setup on the 3421/393 gimbal head.

Anyway, I'm "forced" to go with the Arca Swiss solution on my AF-S 300mm f/4 because of the Kirk NC-300 replacement collar and hence my question no. 3 to add an Arca Swiss clamp. No choice there. :frown:
 
D

DW Brewer

Guest
I'm using the Bogen/Manfrotto gimbals with the following bodies (D70, D2X, D2Hs) and the following lenses (Sigma 500mm f4.5, Sigma 120-300 f2.8, and Sigma 100-300 f4; with and without 1.4 and 2X TC's). No complaints from me.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
151
Location
Malaysia
I'm using the Bogen/Manfrotto gimbals with the following bodies (D70, D2X, D2Hs) and the following lenses (Sigma 500mm f4.5, Sigma 120-300 f2.8, and Sigma 100-300 f4; with and without 1.4 and 2X TC's). No complaints from me.
For the light lens + heavy body combo (i.e. D2Hs or D2X + Sigma 100-300 + TC), how is the fore and aft balancing adjustment?
 
D

DW Brewer

Guest
I have experienced no problems balancing any of the body+lens combinations I listed above; plenty of movement to accomplish same. It is worth noting tha the gimbal comes with the requisite mounting plate; yet another savings over the Wimberly+RRS plates.
I should note that I have no problems with the Wimberly; it is a superb design and piece of equipment. It's just that, for me, it was way out of my budget, so I went the way of the Bogen/Manfrotto and haven't regretted that decision one bit.
 
Joined
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Messages
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I have experienced no problems balancing any of the body+lens combinations I listed above; plenty of movement to accomplish same. It is worth noting tha the gimbal comes with the requisite mounting plate; yet another savings over the Wimberly+RRS plates.
I should note that I have no problems with the Wimberly; it is a superb design and piece of equipment. It's just that, for me, it was way out of my budget, so I went the way of the Bogen/Manfrotto and haven't regretted that decision one bit.
Great to note that. :smile: The reason I'm planning to mount an arca swiss clap is because I replaced my AF-S 300mm f/4 collar with the Kirk one.
 
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Pennines UK
I use the 393 with my sig 500 and D200 and find the combination very stable. Its 100 times better than the ball rig i used before for long lenses.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
151
Location
Malaysia
I use the 393 with my sig 500 and D200 and find the combination very stable. Its 100 times better than the ball rig i used before for long lenses.
That's precisely why I want one for my setup even though it may be overkill. I'm beginning to appreciate that the key to sharp images is in the tripod / head setup.
 

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