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Q: Wimberley Sidekick & 500mm AFS I

Discussion in 'Birds' started by 3stones, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. Has anyone used this combo? Will Nikkor 500mm AFS I overkill the Sidekick? I am asking these questions because their web says the Wimberley Sidekick is designed for lenses similar in size to a 300mm f/2.8.

  2. I curently use this combo with my 500mm afs-I and it works great. Lot less weight than my 400mm f2.8 but still handled that very well. Just need a strong ball head and a tripod that can handle all the weight. I wouldnt hesitate. I was prepared to buy full version, and the lady talked me through and strongly made this recommendation.

    Word to the wise though, order the replacement foot from wimberly at the same time for the 500mm........... its a must as far as Im concerned.

  3. I am also using this combo, but have yet to order the replacement foot. Since the ball head is cranked over to the vertical position it does not exert too much torque on the ball head.

    Keith - do you like the replacement foot because it reduces vibration? Can you still reach the focus limiter control on the lens?
  4. I'm so glad to have two of you to answer my questions. Thanks a lot.

    I'm planning to use the combo on the Acratech Ultimate ballhead and Gitzo 1228 tripods. After getting this lens, I'm already broke and hopefully I don't need to upgrade these. Otherwise I'll use my monopod for a while.

    Keith, is this the foot you mentioned above?

  5. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    I Use This Also

    It's rare that I shoot any other way.
  6. Hi 3stones, yes that is the plate, best $79 you will spend! the gitzo 1228 what is that rated for? you may want to go with the 3 series, even using my 1340 which is rated for 22 pounds, I wish I went a little heavier. You will see what I mean when you try to use a cable release and just from the mirror slap how much movement one gets, opened my eyes. So imagine when you have to touch all your equipment to make shots, LOL

  7. Hi Rory, besides the fact that using the wimberly it gives you a better centre of gravity I think it has helped reduce vibration and better secure fit with the RRS plate. The 2 stops it help as well as it cant slip out. But my belief is that it does help reduce vibration because of the lower centre of gravity, no give in it at all. Yes you can still access your focus limiter control. But the days of carrying your lens around with the lens foot are all gone. LOL............Worth the $79 investment hands down. Vibration is a killer on long lenses and am having some good success with this combo. Are you currently using the short regular nikon foot?

  8. Jim, thanks for the comments. :smile:
  9. Keith, thanks for the confirmation. But it's too late. (just kidding) I already ordered both this afternoon. My Gitzo 1228 is sopposed to handle 17.6 pounds (8kg) and it's very light.

    Now I need to find some subjects to shoot with the lens.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2005
  10. Yes. Too bad you are not closer - we could do some testing...
  11. Do you want to try the foot?? Let me know and I can remove it, mail it and let you try it.........although it would be nice to get together :rolleyes: 

  12. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Hey 3, I'd be very leery of using the Acratech Ultimate with the Sidekick to hold the 500mm. I have the Acratech / Sidekick combo, and I got a LOT of creep in the ballhead with just the 300 2.8, and I had the Sidekick pop out of the Acratech clamp and almost hit the ground (so did Ron R). Fortunately, we both caught the cam / lens before they crashed.

    That is not to say that the Acratech is a bad ballhead at all. I really like mine for more light weight loads. It's just not designed for the load that you are looking at. I'd look strongly at the Markins M20 (or at least the M10), or for the best possible set-up, the RRS BH-55 (Ron R is using a BH-55 / Sidekick with his 500mm).

    About 6 months ago, I was in the same boat as you, and opted for the big Wimberley, and I love it. I feel so much more secure. Another option is the Bogen swivel head. Greg Giesing and some other Cafe members have this set-up and love it. There is a recent post discussing it in General I think. The beauty of this unit is that it is very solid, and can be had for about $180. It doesn't use a ballhead at all.

    I agree with the previous poster that the 1300 series Gitzo would be much better for your set-up also. I have the 1325 and love it. I think it is rated at 26 lbs.
  13. If you are serious about Brackendale, then lets get together when you come down to the coast. If you want to come over to the Island, you are welcome to stay at our house.
  14. for what it is worth, I would NOT put this combo on my 1228, my 1348 would get this assignment. Please be prepared for an off balance fall if you do. not being critical here just trying to prepare you for an inevitable situation.
  15. Dont tease me, but I think I will take you up if you want to shoot Brackendale, would luv the company and the opportunity to shoot with you! Not sure how much of a jaunt it is for you, but might be easier staying right there?? Although I do want to note that the offer is very generous and truly appreciated Rory.

    Wonder if any others interested???? Im thinking December / January when the population of bald eagles are there?? you know best but Im getting excited ;-)

    Im thinking for cost of fares, might be cheaper to fly............

  16. Frank & Dave: Thanks a lot for your valuable inputs.

    I like RRR's BH-55 Pro too. The tripods I favor is Gitzo G1348 because it's shorter when folded and taller when extended. Of course the biggest problem is budget. This year I spent way too much money on the hobby.

    On the other hand, the spec of Acratech ballhead shows it's able to support 25lb, and 1228 is good for 17.6lb (8 kg). Therefore, 500mm + D2H + all the gadgets should be within the spec. But I know this is just theoretic! For the 1228 I remember someone said it's much tougher if the last section was not extended.

    I got my lens today. I could not help myself to get a few snapshots. Tomorrow I'll receive my Sidekick and the short foot. If the weather is good, I'll go out to get more tests.

    I'm also waiting for Rory's lens cap. Has anyone painted it to black yet?

    Here are a couple of snapshots from today. I just love the reach.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    View attachment 16017
  17. Lei - I ran out of caps - you were the last one to ask, and I htought I had one mere than I actually did have. However, I am heading back to the store where I found the others to see if they have any left. If they do I will mail you one this weekend.
  18. I hope it's too much trouble for you. Thanks.

    It would be nice to have a cap for the lens. I don't like the hood.
  19. Does anyone use any filter for this monster lens? I'm thinking to get a CPL for it. Is the filter size supposed to be 39mm rear drop-in?
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