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Jobu Gimbal Mounts

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Since I was yammering along on multiple topics about my new lens, I thought I would say a bit more about Gimbal mounts.  My first gimbal was a JOBU Design BWG.  They now refer to this as the number 1, I believe (or just the Jr with NO number behind it.)  I bought it from a guy who was headed to the Caribbean from Anchorage for a Christmas break vacation.  He indicated that his spouse had "suggested" that he needed to get rid of some of his expensive camera gear. I bought it from him for $450 USD.  Some years ago on Nikon Gear I showed my converted K&E surveyor's tripod (made of ash, and almost an antique)  to a tripod for my gimbal.  I used this a lot when taking photos of terns and other birds with my Nikkor 500mm F4.0 "P" lens.  It worked great. 


This convinced me to get something a bit more portable, so when Jobu first came out with the BWG Jr, for $250, I jumped on it.  Interestingly enough, this was only available for a few short months, then was suddenly discontinued.  Jobu said this Jr. version was good for lenses up to 400mm (or some such number),  if only used occasionally for these larger sized lenses.  Somewhere along the line I asked Jobu to explain to me what it meant when it said OK for "occasional" use?  Was I going to damage something?  Wear out some needle bearings?  Fatigue the metal? Damge a lens?  So they answered "No" to all of these, then asserted that the new Jr.2 was stronger, and could handle these larger lenses for MORE than occasional use.  They strengthened the gimbal arm, and made a few more changes (not visible to me;) principal among them being an increase to the base price from $250 to  $350. I was amazed at the improvement ( and the price change. Of course, I am sarcastic here.)  They now have a version 3 which costs even more than the one or two costs.  It must be even more improved. 


I now use this Jobu BWG Jr on a fairly regular basis on a Manfrotto CF tripod (I have a very lightweight one, and a not so lightweight one.) I have not used my 500mm F4 "P" on this small one,


So far I have not worn it out yet!  I was going to suggest to other forum members that if you are looking for a high quality gimbal that should handle all MFT equipment, look for the Jobu Jr and see if you can pick it up cheaply.  HOWEVER....


I just went to eBay and did a search for the Jobu Jr., and only found ONE of the original versions without the swing arm (mine came with this accessory for free, FROM Jobu, for $250.) The vendor wanted $299 for this same used version without the swing arm.  it.  I looked at sold listings, and only found a couple of Jr 3 gimbals and NO original or 2 versions in the last few months of sold history. SO..... maybe they did not make many of the originals, so they are not for sale.  But it would appear that very few of the Jobu Jr's are sold, used, regardless of which iteration. I think people who buy them, keep them.


Two years ago I also purchased an off-brand Gimbal for $100 that I tried, and really liked.  But it is heavier than needed for MFT equipment.  I finally gave this as a present to a relative who is getting into photography. He loves it.  It is no longer available on Amazon, , so no need to include it as a cheap option.  I should mention that the year before that I tried another cheap option, and it was TERRIBLE.   I was sent back the next day.


I really think companies like JOBU have a very real quandry:  They make superb products at high prices, so why should a customer come back for more?  They really should NOT wear out in a lifetime. They have to come up with "improvements," variations, new designs.  I cannot imagine ever buying another one, unless I spring for another cheapo one that I do not mind knocking around in a small camper, or in a boat.  I really "baby" both the BWG, and the BWG Jr. 


I will address two more JOBU products in another post.


A couple of results from using my gimbal with a 500mm F4.0 P lens (a MANUAL FOCUS  lens.)  I always use a cable release or an electric remote so I do not have to touch the trigger and cause some camera shake. I do this even when I have to do manual focusing with the 500mm P lens.  My forearm is supported by the gimbal with one finger resting on the focusing ring.





Arctic Tern




Arctic Tern Chick downing a large stickleback 01


This is not a great photo (too much crud in the way,)  but you can see how sharp the downy feathers are on the chick and the sharp spiones on the fish, which is only about 3cm in length



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Posted (edited)

I'm an infrequent user of a big telephoto lens, a Sigma 150-600 Sport in my case, and so an expensive gambal head was economically unviable. I bought a Neewer head from Amazon for about £75 and so far it has served me well. A gimbal heads certainly improves the overall handling of a heavy lens and I would recommend one.

Thanks for your article.

Edited by Clactonian

Still trying.

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