Fluid Head or Gimbal for bird photography

Discussion in 'Bags, Tripods, and Accessories' started by ChrisS59, Jul 4, 2024.

  1. ChrisS59

    ChrisS59 New Member

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    Location:
    Eaton Western Australia
    Equipment:
    Canon 90D
    Battery Grip
    Canon EFS 55-250mm f4-5.6
    Canon EFS 10-18mm f4.5-5.6
    Canon EFS 18-55mm f3.5-5.6
    Tamron 18-400mm f3.5-6.3
    Tamron 150-600mm f5-6.3
    Prakticar 50mm f1.8 with reversing ring for macro
    Benpro Monood
    Slik 88 Tripod (hails from the 1980's and weighs a ton!
    Hi,
    I purchased a ball/socket head for my monopod to replace the 3 way pan/tilt it came with thinking that I would be able to track a bird in flight better with it. Quickly found out that it's a bad idea and makes my long zoom (Tamron 150-600mm) impossible to keep balanced.

    I am now thinking of buying a fluid head for this purpose.
    I have read that gimbals are great for keeping a steady plane when taking pano shots but not seen much about wildlife use.

    Any advice much appreciated
    Chris
     

  2. Caladina

    Caladina Well-Known Member

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    Canon 18-45mm m, Canon 18-150mm m, Canon 55-200mm m, Canon 22mm m, Canon 28mm m macro,
    Sigma 100-400c ef, Sigma 18-35mm art ef,
    7artisans 7.5mm m, Laowa 100mm macro ef, laowa 9mm zeroD m, Vintage M42 Lenses:
    Ashi Super - Takumar 1.8 / 55mm,
    i use the benro gh5c, a carbon fiber gimble for wildlife with the 150-600mm,

     
  3. johnsey

    johnsey Site Moderator Staff Member Site Supporter

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    5dMk4, 5dsR, 5dMk2, 20D, 70-200 2.8L IS, 100mm 2.8 Macro USM, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 17-40mm 4.0L, TS-E 24mm 3.5L II, Rokinon 14mm 2.8; Pixma Pro-100
    Gimbal would be the best option, there are many reviews on youtube about gimbals for wildlife, it is a go to setup if that is your main use.
     
  4. ChrisS59

    ChrisS59 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2024
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Eaton Western Australia
    Equipment:
    Canon 90D
    Battery Grip
    Canon EFS 55-250mm f4-5.6
    Canon EFS 10-18mm f4.5-5.6
    Canon EFS 18-55mm f3.5-5.6
    Tamron 18-400mm f3.5-6.3
    Tamron 150-600mm f5-6.3
    Prakticar 50mm f1.8 with reversing ring for macro
    Benpro Monood
    Slik 88 Tripod (hails from the 1980's and weighs a ton!
    Thanks for the advice guys. I'll shop around and see what's available in my budget. I've a feeling though after a quick look on Amazon that a decent gimbals will be too expensive for me
    ;)
     
  5. johnsey

    johnsey Site Moderator Staff Member Site Supporter

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    5dMk4, 5dsR, 5dMk2, 20D, 70-200 2.8L IS, 100mm 2.8 Macro USM, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 17-40mm 4.0L, TS-E 24mm 3.5L II, Rokinon 14mm 2.8; Pixma Pro-100
    Yeah sounds about right lol
     
  6. Caladina

    Caladina Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Equipment:
    Canon M50
    Canon 18-45mm m, Canon 18-150mm m, Canon 55-200mm m, Canon 22mm m, Canon 28mm m macro,
    Sigma 100-400c ef, Sigma 18-35mm art ef,
    7artisans 7.5mm m, Laowa 100mm macro ef, laowa 9mm zeroD m, Vintage M42 Lenses:
    Ashi Super - Takumar 1.8 / 55mm,
    whats your price range?
    also are you specifically looking for use with a monopod?
     
  7. ChrisS59

    ChrisS59 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2024
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Eaton Western Australia
    Equipment:
    Canon 90D
    Battery Grip
    Canon EFS 55-250mm f4-5.6
    Canon EFS 10-18mm f4.5-5.6
    Canon EFS 18-55mm f3.5-5.6
    Tamron 18-400mm f3.5-6.3
    Tamron 150-600mm f5-6.3
    Prakticar 50mm f1.8 with reversing ring for macro
    Benpro Monood
    Slik 88 Tripod (hails from the 1980's and weighs a ton!
    Price wise, up to AUD200. Not much I know. I'd like to use it on the monopod as I have back issues that prevent me carrying much weight around
     
  8. Caladina

    Caladina Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2020
    Messages:
    1,811
    Equipment:
    Canon M50
    Canon 18-45mm m, Canon 18-150mm m, Canon 55-200mm m, Canon 22mm m, Canon 28mm m macro,
    Sigma 100-400c ef, Sigma 18-35mm art ef,
    7artisans 7.5mm m, Laowa 100mm macro ef, laowa 9mm zeroD m, Vintage M42 Lenses:
    Ashi Super - Takumar 1.8 / 55mm,
    i don't like monopods myself, i use carbon fibre tripods, benro ones are good sturdy and cheap, being carbon fiber light too,
     
    ChrisS59 likes this.
  9. johnsey

    johnsey Site Moderator Staff Member Site Supporter

    Joined:
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    Equipment:
    5dMk4, 5dsR, 5dMk2, 20D, 70-200 2.8L IS, 100mm 2.8 Macro USM, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 17-40mm 4.0L, TS-E 24mm 3.5L II, Rokinon 14mm 2.8; Pixma Pro-100
    Yeah your pretty darn limited at that price,

    You may have to make due with what you got and save more, ball heads and pan setups are better at ground level or shooting downward, a nice carbon fiber and a gimbal will suit ya better if your shooting upward at birds. No perfect answer here, you have to think about how you want to stabilize the gear and a long lens and body are heavy and you will at bare minimum need to mount on a lens collar. I imagine hand held shooting into the sky will give you the control you may need for tracking birds in flight over your current gear.
     
  10. ChrisS59

    ChrisS59 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2024
    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Eaton Western Australia
    Equipment:
    Canon 90D
    Battery Grip
    Canon EFS 55-250mm f4-5.6
    Canon EFS 10-18mm f4.5-5.6
    Canon EFS 18-55mm f3.5-5.6
    Tamron 18-400mm f3.5-6.3
    Tamron 150-600mm f5-6.3
    Prakticar 50mm f1.8 with reversing ring for macro
    Benpro Monood
    Slik 88 Tripod (hails from the 1980's and weighs a ton!
    Thanks for the advice.
    I'm ok with my smaller zoom handheld with IS on, it's 150-600 that I struggle with. I bought the ball/socket head for the monopod to help with tracking birds in flight. Obviously a mistake as there's no stability with it loosened and no smooth manoeuvrability with it tightened on the monopod. The 150-600 does have a tripod collar on it.
    So as you can see, there's the dilemma.
     
  11. johnsey

    johnsey Site Moderator Staff Member Site Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Fargo, ND
    Equipment:
    5dMk4, 5dsR, 5dMk2, 20D, 70-200 2.8L IS, 100mm 2.8 Macro USM, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 17-40mm 4.0L, TS-E 24mm 3.5L II, Rokinon 14mm 2.8; Pixma Pro-100
    Well, i would think te ball head would be easier to control the movement not quite tightened and not loose. I do not see how you can hold a mono-pod and control the lens movement.

    I think you need a multi year plan to get a good tripod and gimbal.

    If it was me, i would focus on saving for a nice carbon fiber tripod which is taller than you so you can focus on using the heads you have to swing the lens and pan through the air with the birds. You should be able to make due with the heads you have if you have a good tripod as an anchor.
    The upside of a solid carbon fiber, is you will have a stable platform and it wont weigh much of anything to carry with you. You can get something pretty nice between 200 and 300 USD, I have had an Induro for 20 years which works great, I believe they are sold as Benro now, other similar quality and price brands like Sirui are popular as well.

    I assume half the stability issue is the fact your balancing a single leg of a mono-pod.
    I think you'll come to like the ball head more on tripod, somewhere in the middle between snug/loose where it wont completely flop over, but you can swing the lens smoothly in the sky with the bird.
     

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