1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Wimberly II or Sidekick?

Discussion in 'Other Cool Gear, Camera Bags, Camera Straps' started by Gary Irwin, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. It appears that the only advantage of the Sidekick is its smaller size and price. I would think that the full Wimberly II would be much superior for stablity since it doesn't require a ball head (with inherent limitations) and the lens mounts horizontally rather than vertically as with the Sidekick.

    Am I missing anything? Are you folks successfully using the Sidekick with big (500mm+) lenses?

    For some background I have a Gitzo 3530LSV on order, but also own two Manfrottos including the 047B and mighty 3258B. I have a Markins M20 ball head if that helps.

    Right now my biggest lens is the Sigma 120-300 F2.8, but am planning on acquiring a dedicated 500mm some day.

  2. Hi Gary...

    We have a 500mm lens we used with the Manfrotto 468 head. Their strongest without being fluid head. We purchased the sidekick and really liked it on this head ( I now use my 300mm lens on this combination),
    but thought we still had a bit of movement we might be able to control
    with the full Wimberley II. We really like the full Wimberley: easier to mount,
    more stability, easier to focus or pan, movement following birds or other animals.

    The Wimberley people are wonderful to work with. Will let you try one of these for 60 days, and return if you don't like it.
    Very nice folks in helping you get set up...
  3. I've owned both and much prefer the Wimberley II. I'm using a D2X, Sigma 120-300 with 2.0 TC and when you get the center of mass of the kit aligned with the center of axes on the Wimberley it is rock steady. That's not to deprecate the Sidekick. If that's all you can afford, by all means get it.

  4. Sidekick gets lots of positive response but I just can't bring myself to trust one. If the cost of the Wimberley gimbel is an issue, be patient and shop for a used one. I was ready to get a new one when one popped up here on the Cafe at an attractive price.
  5. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    Add my experience to that described by Chayelle, Rich, and Mike. I bought the Sidekick and used with an RRS BH-55LR. It worked well. When I upgraded to the new 6X Gitzo legs, and sold the 1325 legs, I sold the Sidekick and bought the full Wimberley II. I was pleasantly surprised how much more stable that head is. Panning is effortless and super smooth, and it is so much more secure.

    Chayelle, Rich, and Mike summed it up better than I. Accurate reviews!
  6. Thanks for the great responses! It would appear that if money is no object (yeah, right!) the full Wimberley is the way to go.

    John/All; I recall reading where someone mentioned the (older) Wimberley was too heavy for his Gitzo tripod (don't recall the model) and for that reason preferred the lighter Sidekick. I've also read (RRS?) where it was recommended to keep the weight of the head less than 1/2 the weight of the tripod to improve stablity. Now, noting that the new Wimberley II is a full pound lighter than the old model (now 4.15 pounds I believe - which basically matches the weight of your Gitzo) have you experienced any stablity problems?

  7. We never had the version I, so I can't answer that.
    We use bogen legs, the 3021pro. But would really like to
    get something more stable. But the new Gitzo, whew!

    really like your avatar.
    You must have worked hard to get the Nuthatch to feed
    from your hand! Nice!
  8. I use the old Wimberley on a 1327 and have no issues. My 400mm is rather light so my biggest heaviest rig would currently be my 300/2.8 with a TC-301 and a D1X or D2H body. If fact, the normal practice of a little pressure on big lenes to minimize shake and mirror flop isn't always necessary.
  9. UPDATE: Well I decided to go for broke (quite literally it seems) and ordered the full Wimberley head today. A short session with the 120-300 on my Markins M20 ball head last night proved to me that a ball head, even a good one, is not ideal for panning quickly.

    Anyway, thanks everyone for the comments, they were very helpful.

    Cheryle: Thanks for the note regarding my avatar. I shot the Nuthatch at Mew Lake campground in Algonquin Provincial Park with a Canon SD300! The birds are quite tame, much more so than in our own back yard where we have a half-dozen feeders! At that time we were at Algonquin in the Fall when the birds were loading calories for the winter. It got to the point where we'd be out sitting relaxing in a chair and they'd land on our hats looking for handouts! Quite funny really. No blind needed!

  10. rsprouse


    Jan 25, 2006
    Encinitas CA
    I have a sidekick, and the biggest lens I have is the 200-400 VR. I could easily afford a full Wimberley gimbal mount, but what bothers me is that when I am out with a full rig, I want to be able to mount the camera with smaller lenses on the tripod/ballhead. With the full gimbal setup, you would have to carry the ballhead and swap it with the gimbal when desired - not a convenient situation. With the Sidekick, I just stick it on and go.

    That is all that has held me back from getting the full Wimberley. In my limited experience I have not had any problem with the Sidekick, but maybe that's just because I haven't used the full Wimberley.

    -- Russ
  11. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    Great choice!! I would have saved $$ had I made this decision originally when I bought the Sidekick. Enjoy!

  12. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2007
  13. StephanieHelen


    Jun 9, 2006
    There's a unit/plate that can be attached to the full wimberley to allow use with smaller lenses/body plates.
  14. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    I Used a Sidekick for Years

    I always thought the full head looked as though it would be restrictive to me shooting.

    Now...I'd never go back. This is much more stable and my lens never slides out either :) 
  15. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Russ>>>read This

    I felt the same as you until I got the little adapter plate which allows you to mount the camera in the Wimberly rather than a lens for shooting wide angles, etc.

    It is a godsend and I now no longer need to carry a ball head as well :) 
  16. rsprouse


    Jan 25, 2006
    Encinitas CA
    Thanks, Jim. I think I already have a plate that will do the job. I bought the RRS Pano Elements Package and it includes the MPR-CL II right angle plate.

    I am becoming convinced I should try the full Wimberley. Before I pull the trigger,are there any alternatives that folks like better? Lighter weight, perhaps?

    -- Russ
  17. UPDATE: Just dropping a note to say that I picked up my Wimberley II from the post office today and stuck it on my Manfrotto 3258 tripod and mounted my Sigma 120-300 + D200. SWEET set up! :biggrin: Far superior to my Markins ball head for this large a lens.

    Thanks again to all who recommended the Wimberley - its a fabulous mount.

    Now if I can just get my Sigma performing like I think it should I'll be a happy man.... :mad: 

  18. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    I would definitely choose the Wimberley II over the original Wimberley (and all others) for reduced weight and improved knob. This is one sweet gimbal - you can't do any better. :870:
    You have the right plate already to mount your camera body directly. Your plate is the very one that Jim, Stephanie, and I recommended in earlier posts. You will also be able to sell your Sidekick very easily in the Cafe, if you choose.

    Congratulations, Gary!! Nice setup. :681:
  19. Donzo98


    Nov 10, 2005
    Merrick, NY
    Can you post a link to the plate that allows mounting the camera to the Wimberley??
  20. It is intended for mounting long lenses using the tripod mount on the lens. Plates are made by Wimberley, RRS, Kirk, A-S, and others. I like Wimberley plates and clamps.


    If you mean putting the camera body on the Wimberley, that would be problematic. It isn't really set up for that. You could possibly use a long plate like a Wimberley P-50 and mount it perpendicular to the body and get enough relief from the head to make it workable.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.