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Sidekick - any tips I should know?

Discussion in 'Other Cool Gear, Camera Bags, Camera Straps' started by StL_Don, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. I've put my long-lens lust on hold for a while (that could change any moment if something irresistable pops up on eBay).

    Instead I've decided to work on doing the best I can with what I have which right now is a 300/2.8vr and TC 1.4 & 1.7. To this end I've got a Wimberly Sidekick on the way to mount upon the Markins head I recently purchased.

    So, this thing seems pretty simple... Hang the SK onto the ballhead, slide the foot around to obtain balance, lock down the clamps and have at it.

    My question - are there any gotchas? Any tips? I'll be breaking this setup in next week in west Florida. Ding Darling and maybe some other spots depending on the free time I can muster.

  2. Hey Don,

    Just slide the sidekick into the ball head clamp and tighten it down onto the ballhead, slide the foot around to obtain balance, lock down the clamps and have at it.

    Make sure it is balanced and otherwise make sure all the clamps are tight as well ....

    If you ordered it from Wimberley direct you can get a 60 day trial and they don't charge you for it. Also you need one of their plates for the lens....
  3. It would be good to test it locally before your trip. Subject matter is not important, just a dry run to get comfortable with your new setup. It's not the problems we know about, it's the unknown problems that often get us.
  4. I did order direct. They were great. It was late in the day and she rushed to get it out the door before the UPS pickup.

    She said my Kirk foot would work fine - did she goof?

  5. no, the kirk plate or any other arca swiss style plate works fine
  6. what is the link to wimberly direct?
  7. Dave, go here for Wimberly. I love the URL, www.tripodhead.com, catchy :wink:

    As to the SideKick, I used one for a bit over a year, and it was great. One thing to watch for is if the lens centers over the center of your tripod. In my case, the foot on my Sigma 500, as well as the standard Nikon 500, pushes the lens off to the side, so it is not as stable as could be. If this occurs the Wimberly folks make a spacer as well. My guess is that you won't need it, but you may want to check with the Wimberly folks, if you didn't when you ordered, and ask about your specific lens.

    I would also suggest that you decide if you like the SideKick on the right or the left. Play a bit at home to see which suits you best, the SideKick really won't care. Lastly, get used to setting up the balance point. When you had the rig balanced, you should be able to leave the Pan loose as well as the Vertical on the SideKick and have the camera/lens not move. You should then be able to move in any direction with a "1 finger push". OK, really lastly this time, be careful if you want to carry the rig over your shoulder with everything mounted. Be absolutely sure that you have really locked down all of the knobs. The only issue I ever had with mine was that the camera would occasionaly move, even when I though I had everything locked down. And it goes without saying, you DO NOT want to sling it over your shoulder loose.

    Congrats, you will quite enjoy it.
  8. cknight


    May 2, 2005
    Madison, AL
    I use the sidekick with the markins M10. Its pretty straightforward, as others have been said. Just get it balanced and make sure everything is tightened down. Falling cameras very bad.
  9. Just keep in mind that anytime you add anything to the rig (like an SB800 or a 1.4 TC, you need to rebalance the entire setup. The first time I used the sidekick, in my haste, I added my teleconverter and loosened the big knob.

    The resulting thunk scared the hell out of the bird I was trying to shoot. Dumb mistake - don't repeat it. :smile:
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