How to Use a Gimbal Tripod Head? [Actionable Tips]

The gimbal is a tripod head that allows your camera and lens to move fluidly, and it is commonly used in wildlife photography. You can easily follow wildlife as it moves because there is a control knob that lets you move side to side, one that lets you move up and down, and a third knob that lets you control the tension of your motion. You should keep these knobs loose enough that you can track the wildlife as it moves through its environment.

Use a Gimbal Tripod Head for Large Lenses

When you use a super telephoto lens, it will be heavy and bulky. They are usually more than 300mm and they can weigh more than ten pounds. It is difficult to manage this type of lens without a tripod, and you can’t use just any tripod. A standard ball head would work in situations where you are shooting a stationary subject, but if you are tracking wildlife, especially birds flying through the sky, you need motion.

Use a Gimbal Tripod Head for Large Lenses

The gimbal head allows you to mount your large telephoto lens so that you don’t notice the weight. It allows you to move the lens to follow whatever subject you are tracking, and you can just use your fingers. It takes the weight of the camera and distributes it more evenly so that you aren’t distracted when you are trying to get the perfect shot.

How to Mount the Gimbal Tripod Head

The first step to mounting your gimbal tripod head is to make sure that you understand how it fits on your lens. It will have a heavy mounting that pairs with your tripod and a swinging arm that comes with a mounting platform and goes on your telephoto lens. You will also need a mounting plate for your lens.

How to Mount the Gimbal Tripod Head

The lens is a lot heavier than the camera, so you should mount the plate to the foot of the lens. If you can mount it to both mounting sockets on the lens, that will work best. Then you should mount the gimbal to your tripod. Do this before you try to attach your lens because it will be safer to mount your camera to the lens rather than mounting your lens to the camera.

Tighten all of the knobs on your gimbal before you mount the lens. Then, mount the lens. You should loosen the knob that holds it to get it mounted the way you want it. Then, tighten the mounting knob and loosen the other knobs so that you can control the motion of the head.

Make sure that your camera and your lens are level once you loosen the control knobs. If they aren’t, you can adjust the position by loosening the third knob and moving the lens backward or forward until it is in place. When you have it installed correctly, the lens will be level sitting on the tripod.

Once you have the camera and the lens installed so that they are level, you will use your fingers to rotate the camera around its center of gravity. You will be able to move it with your finger and it will stay anywhere you place it. If you are tracking a bird flying across the sky, you can move the lens with your finger while you snap shots along the way. It is easy to use as long as you set it up correctly.

When Should I Use a Gimbal Tripod Head?

If you are using a large super telephoto lens with your camera, and you aren’t shooting a stationary subject, you will want to use a gimbal tripod lens. One example is wildlife photography. Wildlife is unpredictable and photographers need to track the animals or birds as they move around. They are usually shooting subjects at a distance.

Gimbal Tripod Head

Another time that people use this setup is when they are shooting a sporting event. It is much easier to follow the athletes or objects such as balls. This setup is great anytime you are shooting photos at a distance and need the flexibility to move the camera. It holds it steady so that you can follow your subjects with your fingertips.

Advantages and Limitations of Using a Gimbal Tripod Head

The biggest advantage to using a gimbal tripod head is that it takes a heavy, bulky lens and makes it feel weightless. It allows you to track moving subjects from a distance very easily. However, it is also very heavy and large. It doesn’t work well if you’re shooting up close, and it doesn’t do as well for taking photos of landscapes. Your lens must have a rotating tripod collar or you will have trouble orienting your camera.

A ballhead, or standard head, has some advantages as well. It is versatile and easy to compose a scene no matter what type of lens you are using. However, it doesn’t work as well when you are taking photographs of moving subjects and you have to use more strength to control the lens. In addition, it can be difficult to switch from landscape to portrait orientation when you use this type of tripod because it can wobble.

Is a Gimbal Head the Same as a Gimbal Stabilizer?

No, a gimbal head is not the same thing as a gimbal stabilizer. A gimbal head is used for still photography, and it is used most commonly when photographers are taking action shots from a distance. A gimbal stabilizer is used for video, and it is most commonly used for video. Normally, a videographer uses it when they want to move around.

In both cases, the cradle, which is the gimbal part of the setup, is essentially the same, but the gimbal stabilizer uses electric motors and is used for video, while the gimbal tripod head is used for still photography.

Final Words

If you have a large super telephoto lens and shoot action photography, a gimbal tripod head will help you capture the shots you are looking for. It is important to set it up correctly so that the camera and lens are level and move easily with the touch of a finger.

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