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  #1  
Old 19th September 2017
slightlyblurry slightlyblurry is offline
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Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

A question for Olympus wildlife shooters:

All of my friends using DSLR cameras with long lenses (typically Canon 100 - 400 mm or 400 mm), seem to recommend using a gimbal head on a tripod for wildlife.

I currently use EM1 mk 2 with 40-150 mm PRO + 1.4 TC but hoping for Olympus to bring out a 100 - 400 in the near future. I like the flexibility of zooms so the 300 / f4 PRO would be a non starter for me.

I quite like the freedom of hand holding this kit, particularly when tracking animals, but I can see the advantages of a tripod / gimbal when photographing a fairly static animals or birds.

I was wondering how you guys approach your wildlife photography ?

Any advice appreciated - many thanks

Mike.
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Old 20th September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

Generally hand held, but I have stuck an Arca compatible ball head on the top of my monopod for quiet still work...

I haven't used my tripod at all for wildlife yet!

(using the inflexible 300+MC14!)
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  #3  
Old 20th September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

I did have a gimbal head when I used the 300mm 2.8 on an E5, but using the EM-1 Mk2 I just hand hold.(Getting a 300mm Pro tomorrow , excited)
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Old 20th September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

Walti and Dave

Thanks for your replies.

It would seem that hand holding or monopod would be the way to go which was the conclusion that I was reaching.

My only reservation is when you have to 'stake out' your subject. Obviously getting into a comfortable position will be important and to keep your camera immediately to hand.

I'm heading off to Brownsea Island to photograph red
squirrels this weekend, so I'll have a go handheld and perhaps with my monopod.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Mike
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Old 20th September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

Red squirrels - definitely hand held!

Was trying to photograph them while in the Scilly Isles!
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Old 20th September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

I'll give it a go even with my shaky hands !
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Old 20th September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

Handheld 1ii/300 +/- 1.4tc every time.

I get all sorts of neck/back/tennis elbow/carpal tunnel problems if I'm not careful (useless old git that I am), but I've used this combination for hours per day without problems, and the dual IS is uncanny.

Even a monopod gets in the way of ideal maneuverability for some applications, like use in an open game drive vehicle, and I'm really looking forward to using it next year when we go to South Africa and Botswana.

If you do want a relatively economical and light 'gimbal-ish' set up, I can recommend the superb Acratech GPSS ballhead. Bob Rigby has periodic sales and special offers, which are well worth waiting for, because this has rocketed in price since the pound crash-dived.

https://www.bobrigby.com/acratech/it...ard_clamp_1185
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Old 20th September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

For any except really big and heavy lenses I find a shoulder pod, designed for video cameras, very useful indeed. I use it for rugby and it's fine with the 300mm f/4, and I've used it lots with the 50-200 4/3 lens and 1.4x converter which is probably heavier.

I use the Kaiser one, from Fotospeed:

https://www.fotospeed.com/Easy-Shoul.../K96008/K96008

Rather pricey for a small accessory but it does the job a treat.

John
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Old 21st September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

Mark

Some interesting thoughts. I took a look at the Acratech head and it is really expensive - around 400 with discount. If I go the gimbal route I'll probably go for a Lensmaster RH1 for around 150.

The majority of responses also seem to promote hand holding. I think I'll try both monopod and hand held and see what works best.

Thanks for the comments.

Mike

Ps - the Sony batteries have been a life saver !
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Old 21st September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

Yes, sounds good.

I think my GPSS was just under 300 before recent 'unintended changes', and by the time you'd factored in the costs of a half-decent ballhead and a half-decent gimbal it became good value.

As a ballhead it is simply wonderful (fully decent), and totally impervious to salt water, sand and temperature changes.
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Old 22nd September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

I'm another supporter of hand held with the 300/4 and the 100-400. Ideally I use the car door or the shelf in a hide for added steadiness. You lose a lot of the advantage of Oly kit if you have to lug a monopod or tripod around.
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Old 22nd September 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

Quote:
Originally Posted by slightlyblurry View Post
A question for Olympus wildlife shooters:

All of my friends using DSLR cameras with long lenses (typically Canon 100 - 400 mm or 400 mm), seem to recommend using a gimbal head on a tripod for wildlife.

I currently use EM1 mk 2 with 40-150 mm PRO + 1.4 TC but hoping for Olympus to bring out a 100 - 400 in the near future. I like the flexibility of zooms so the 300 / f4 PRO would be a non starter for me.

I quite like the freedom of hand holding this kit, particularly when tracking animals, but I can see the advantages of a tripod / gimbal when photographing a fairly static animals or birds.

I was wondering how you guys approach your wildlife photography ?

Any advice appreciated - many thanks

Mike.

I'd recommend either a Manfrotto BeFree or a Vanguard Veo tripod used in conjuction with a Jobu Jr. 3 Deluxe gimbal head.


This combination is more than strong enough to support an E-M1 II fitted with a 300mm Pro and MC-14, is light enough to be carried in one hand and is invaluable if waiting for wildlife to appear.


Whilst not an inexpensive option, the Jobu gimbal is half the price and at least half the weight of a Wimberley.


Dave
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Old 3rd October 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapper View Post
I did have a gimbal head when I used the 300mm 2.8 on an E5, but using the EM-1 Mk2 I just hand hold.(Getting a 300mm Pro tomorrow , excited)
Would be interested to hear how the 300 Pro compares to the legendary Big Tuna. But maybe that's a separate topic
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Old 3rd October 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

Quote:
Originally Posted by slightlyblurry View Post
... but hoping for Olympus to bring out a 100 - 400 in the near future. I like the flexibility of zooms so the 300 / f4 PRO would be a non starter for me.

...
Panasonic do a good 100-400 f/4 - f/6.3 of course, for those with deep pockets
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Old 3rd October 2017
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Re: Gimbal Head for Wildlife Photography

I'm thinking of getting this one:
http://www.lensmaster.co.uk/rh2.htm

Steve
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