I was actually one of the first photographers in the UK to use the original Wimberley Head after seeing George Moberley from National Geographic using one. In fact I used it for years and years, only changing when I started to need a tripod head for shooting with multiple shorter lenses – in which case I switched to the Wimberley Sidekick. But now the original Wimberley has been re-designed and is much better for it, so I put it through its paces on a recent trip to Scotland.
At first glance the Wimberley doesn’t appear a godsend, trust me it is when you are using a long lens (400mm +). The simple gimbal style head allows for very quick and precise movement to follow even the fastest subjects and there is truly nothing like the Wimberley for flexibility. The new version has the same two locking knobs of old, one for the vertical motion and one for panning; both have been re-engineered to give a little more resistance than the old ones and the operation is better for it. The lens fixing plate is now part of the head rather than just an obvious add on and the whole thing weighs less than its predecessor.
I found the new Wimberley to be a great improvement on an already great product, which is unusual these days. It is great for anyone with a big 400, 500, 600mm lens (or larger!) and in fact it is the only serious player if you have one of these lenses. The downside of course is that it is impossible to attach anything shorter, even a 300mm 2.8 is a challenge as the locking collar sits too close to the camera to be mounted efficiently. It is also an expensive piece of kit too, but it should be remembered that a) it is cheaper than a decent fluid head b) the piece of glass that you are putting on it is much more expensive and c) you need something this specialist to do the job. Therefore I think that the new Wimberley is a great piece of kit and one that has become almost essential for anyone with a super telephoto lens.
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