WOO HOO! Got my KS-4 gyro today!

Discussion in 'Other Cool Gear, Camera Bags, Camera Straps' started by Wilk, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. Wilk

    Wilk

    246
    Jul 28, 2005
    Sorry, just couldn't resist... I'm elated! Tried it on the cam a bit before topping off the battery, and I'll take it out tonight on its maiden voyage... can't wait!

    It will cause me to move around more slowly and gracelfully, but I'm totally prepared for that small trade off - still more convenient than a pod, for sure.
     
  2. fks

    fks

    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi steve-

    can you post a photo of the gyro by itself and attached to your camera? and what's your application that needs a gyro?

    thanks,

    ricky
     
  3. Wilk

    Wilk

    246
    Jul 28, 2005
    Hey ricky,

    The application is, to use it as a stablizer for night photography on the streets. I have a 70-200 vr (which is currently on the bench at melville, so I'll have it in a week or so), but that lens is proned to too much flare for my tastes. So, this is to work with my compliment of fast primes to get (hopefully) tack sharp images at night, which I can only do on rare lucky occasions with hand held night work. Many of my shots may look sharp at 18% of original size, but there are tiny shake attributes in most. This will give me the freedom of hand held with the ability to get those tack sharp images I crave. I did a few quick tests before I started topping off the battery, and got great sharp images at 1/3rd second pretty consistantly, expect to do a bit better with practice.

    I'll try to get images up in a day or two... I got a Kirk L bracket and a flash bracket rail (suggested by the Kirk guy for this specific application) to hold the gyro to the cam, that will make it a lot easier to use, and the gyro won't be bumping my chin all the time.
     
  4. cwilt

    cwilt

    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Sounds like any interesting device. I too would like to see shots of the rig. May I ask how much for the setup?
     
  5. Sounds like fun Wilk, go for it.
     
  6. Wilk

    Wilk

    246
    Jul 28, 2005
    Back from first outting and some pics of the rig

    First thoughts... it's pretty darned heavy! :biggrin: I expected that though. I'm quite happy with what I saw in the field (have not yanked anything from the card yet). It works amazing with shorter glass, you have to be more careful as you get longer, but the longest lens I'll use it with is the 135mm F/2 DC, which I'll have to be a bit more careful with. Worked better than expected with the 85mm F/1.4, and very well with the Sigma 30mm F/1.4 and was a dream on the 14mm F/2.8 - shutter speeds of a second were a piece of cake with that lens. Had good success with 1/2 sec. with the 30mm and the 85mm (the 85 was a bit more spotty at that speed). Remember though, I'm talking about very acceptably sharp images. I was only out for 2 hours, so these are just first impressions. Also, I'm a user, not a measurebater, so don't take anything I say as absolute gospel with respect to any kind of benchmark.

    I put it back on power when I got home, because I want to get an idea of what I can expect from a single battery... at least 3.5 hrs run time so far, and the inverter light is still green... I'm guessing the 6 hour runtime they claim is a safe bet for the KS-4.

    Tell ya what... from my first outting, if you're not seriously dedicated to hand held night work like I am, or have a need to do arial and/or boating work, you wouldn't get your money's worth imho.

    Here's 3 pics of the unit... they're not professional studio shots by any means, so pardon the quick set up and grabs.

    The gyro and battery
    [​IMG]

    The gyro with the bracket mounted
    [​IMG]

    And with the D2x mounted
    [​IMG]

    I'll try to get an example or two up in the next day or two from my first outting, but I'm awefully darned busy :eek:
     
  7. dbirdsong

    dbirdsong Guest

    I too would be interested just how much a setup like that would cost.
     
  8. Wilk

    Wilk

    246
    Jul 28, 2005
    The KS-4 kit sells for $1,810 at Penn Camera including 2nd day air to me - it's a special order, takes about 2 1/2 weeks. They list for $1,950 on ken-labs site, but I don't think the manufacturer sells them direct - you can however, rent them from ken-labs, and if you rent, that amount can be subtracted from the purchase price if you buy within a month. I would check with ken-labs to be sure before you pull the trigger on the rental though.

    It would be a good idea to get some kind of qr setup if you don't have it already. I got the L bracket for the D2x (costly) and the bracket you see above. I read in one of the review articles on the site that one guy uses a ball head to change from horiz to virt and says it worked fine. I like the L bracket idea better, but whatever you use you have to be VERY careful not to drop anything making changes and mounting, and as I found out, it's probably a good idea to torque the gyro down with something more than fingers, as I caught it walking out on me... you really gotta keep checking things till you get REALLY used to it, I'm sure. The two gyros spin at 22,000rpm, so obviously if it hits the ground while running, it will damage it pretty badly.

    From the results tonight, I obviously have to do more work with it... I was REALLY pushing the shutter speed, and got mixed results. But I have to rethink how I hold it, because I was holding the right hand grip on the D2x and cradling the gyro with my left hand. In retrospect, I'm thinking holding the lens as usual with the left hand may yield better results, but I only used it for two hours, so I've got a lot to learn.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2005
  9. fks

    fks

    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi steve-

    it's tinier than i thought. how long does the battery last? is there any vibration from the gyros? they're spinning fast enough that i don't think you should feel anything. and do you have any issues with mirror slap since you're shooting in the range of speeds that supposedly are vulnerable to that.

    my understanding of gyros is that they like to remain level, ie spinning horizontally or vertically. does it resist you when you try to angle the camera? does it function like an automatic levelling device?

    $1800?! ouch, that's a nice bit of cash, but then

    post some photos!

    ricky
     
  10. Wilk

    Wilk

    246
    Jul 28, 2005
    I never ran the batt down all the way tonight, I did let it spin quite a bit when I got home but not the full six hours it's supposed to last - I'm thinking when the batt is new, 6 hours is pretty much asured, but I'll know better in a few weeks I guess.

    There is an "odd" type of vibration from the unit, but it does not effect the vibration dampening ability obviously. Not sure about mirror slap... that's something to think about, but I'm guessing it may absorb that pretty well... dunno for sure. Let's face it, I'm not trying to get top o' the line gitzo/MLU f/8 results... just looking for the elimination of shake.

    It does allow you to angle down and up, no problem. It has an odd little "jump" to it when you move the cam either too quickly, or adverse to an angle it had settled into... hard to explain, but it's like the two gyro's try to jump to another position, then jump back - it's not a strong jerk by any means, but you definately feel it. I did not get the big clank you can aparently get when you move it just plain too fast... I tried very hard not to move the cam around too fast at all. It has an internal clutch system that prevents damage when you jerk it too fast, and the articles on the site seem to indicate you will know for sure when that happens, because you'll hear it and feel it. Done too much or too hard, it can damage the unit, which is why I was learning how to move smoothly with it.

    It pretty much goes with the flow no matter how you position it, but I believe the gyro needs to be "under" the lens and parallel to it to function properly, hence the L bracket.

    Here's three pics... first one is the first thing I did with it - only turning off in cam sharpening and adding standard USM in NC, and only cropping (2 of the pics) in PS - no other adjustments made...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That's going to have to satisfy you'all for a while pic wise :tongue:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2005
  11. dbirdsong

    dbirdsong Guest

    I am impressed with the results, I hope you are. :smile:
     
  12. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    "Convert any lens into a VR lens!" That should be their slogan. Very impressive, if a bit salty. Thanks for the description and smaples! Keep us updated on your learning curve, k?
     
  13. Wilk

    Wilk

    246
    Jul 28, 2005
    Hi Dave,

    Yes, believe me, for a first outting with something that is so totally different from any camera experience I've ever had (equipment wise), I'm very happy.

    Just know that this was definately hit or miss, and mostly misses, but I was really pushing the shutterspeeds down on purpose to see how close to the edge I could get. I'm going to spend a lot of time with it this weekend, and will probably not push the shutter speed issue quite so much, but I do want to be able to use slower shutter speeds for motion blur as well (people, cars, etc), so I'll be playing a lot.

    No doubt you'll be seeing a lot of results as the weeks and months roll by.
     
  14. Wilk

    Wilk

    246
    Jul 28, 2005
    LOL... um... I wish is was that easy. Yes, it's a great stabalizing platform, but it's also diffiult to work with and no where near as convenient as vr. Had Nikon pushed the envelop with vr a few years ago and put it into all their best primes, I wouldn't need this. After thinking it through for a long time though, this was a far better alternative than lugging a pod and setting it up and breaking it down many many times a night, and carrying it on my shoulder from point to point - in light of that being the only alternative I could see, this one isn't so bad.

    I'm curious what you mean by salty... as I tend to use that term in regards to food :biggrin: If it's in referrence to the work not being your cup o' tea, that's fine... I'm a goofball, and I know my work isn't for everyone. If it's in referrence to the results on a technical level, I would appreciate it if you would expand. Although, the samples (especially the crops) are not meant to be "wow's" in and of themselves, but coupled with the exif data... well... I doubt someone would be able to hand hold at those speeds and get those results :tongue:
     
  15. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    salty = expensive

    Sorry man, I thought that little "colloquialism" was well known & widely used. The pic samples are fine, really good actually, and yes, I do think you're work is offbeat, but that's why I like it so much! :biggrin:
     
  16. Wilk

    Wilk

    246
    Jul 28, 2005
    Ahhh... OK, you lernt me somthin' :tongue: That's fine that you dig my stuff, but it would be AOK if ya didn't :eek:
     
  17. Rob

    Rob

    873
    Jul 28, 2005
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    Bit of a time warp here. Lurch back to 1977!
    We used identical gyro stabilisation on our cameras and binos when flying in Northern Ireland. The gyro took out nearly all the aircraft vibes and prevented many jerks by the photographer, while trying to track moving targets. The properties of a gyro are rather involved, but basically it resisted movement and gave a 'stable' platform.
    There was also one undesirable effect, the gunner would often spend so long behind the camera, working against the gyro that he would develop motion sickness with the lack of visual reference points.
    Nothing to do with my shoddy aviation skills of course. :wink:
     
  18. Wilk

    Wilk

    246
    Jul 28, 2005
    LOL! There's a barf bag story (which turned out to be a camera bag - yikes!) on kenyon labs site too. I've yet to get green on a boat or plane, but then, I haven't flown much... my first flight was to 3000 ft and stepped out the door :eek:)
     
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