Induro GHB2 Gimbal Head

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By Dan Havlik


If you've never tried a gimbal head with a tripod when photographing wildlife, you really must give it a shot. The freedom of movement a gimbal offers can be pretty exhilarating stuff. Even the most fluid of ball heads can't compare.

I had just such a revelation recently while using Induro's new GHB2 Gimbal head with an Induro carbon fiber tripod to photograph red-tailed hawks along the Hudson River. As the hawks soared and swooped over the Hudson, I was able to track them easily with the Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 VR II lens I was also testing (see page 84) thanks to the free-flowing Induro gimbal mount.

Gimbal heads are, of course, nothing new. A Virginia-based company called Wimberly has been making them since the early Nineties and, truth be told, the Induro device I tried out bore a striking resemblance to those models. But no matter. When it ain't broke, don't fix it, I suppose.

What also hasn't changed much with these latest gimbals from Induro is the high price. The GHB2, which is the top of the line of three new gimbal heads from Induro, sells for $489 which is more than double what most high-end ball heads cost. Like I said, however, the difference between a ball head and a gimbal is like night and day.

The concept of a gimbal—which is a pivoted support system that allows an object to float "weightlessly" around a single axis—goes back to the 200s BC when Greek inventor Philo of Byzantium tried to created a no-drip ink pot. The 300mm f/2.8 VR II and Nikon D3s I attached to the head weighed quite a bit more than Philo's ink pot but the GHB2 had no trouble suspending it. According to Induro, the head should be able to easily balance a 500mm or 600mm lens as well.



Assembly of the GHB2—which came in a box in two pieces—was relatively simple and I was able quickly to put it together and mount it on the Induro tripod. Keep in mind though, when fully assembled this head is big and weighs a couple of pounds.

I couldn't quite squeeze it into my photo backpack which was already bulked up with D3s/300mm combo so instead just left it on the lightweight tripod and carried the whole apparatus under my arm. If I got attacked on my way to the park, I would at least have a pretty intimidating cudgel.

Build quality of the head was solid and it ships with an Arca-Swiss Quick Release plate which makes loading the lens/camera onto the mount a snap. Once I reached a spot along the Hudson to shoot, I set up everything in a few minutes.

The head is designed to position your gear at its center of gravity and allow it to float freely so you can steadily tilt it up, down, left and right without needing to be locked in place. The only (unfortunate) metaphor I could think of is as I pointed my honking 300mm at the birds and fired away, was that it reminded me of a gun turret on a battleship.



The GHB2 is adjusted via oversized lock knobs which are easy to operate even with the bulky winter gloves I had on. The height adjustable platform features a calibrated scale if you really want to get a precise angle of control. I didn't care so much about that since I was having such a fun time "floating" the 300mm and photographing the birds as they rode the thermals above the deep gorge of the Hudson.

Along with nature photography, the Induro GHB2's tracking abilities would be great for shooting sports. The only catch is the large tripod and gimbal assembly would probably get you bumped along a crowded sideline.

THE BOTTOM LINE


If you like shooting wildlife but feel constrained by traditional tripod heads, discover Induro's latest line of gimbals and liberate yourself. Though the top-of-the-line GHB2 head is big, bulky and a bit pricey, the freedom of movement it allows when attached to even the longest telephotos in your gearbox will help you track birds, athletes, and other fast-moving subjects with ease.

Induro GHB2 Gimbal Head

www.indurogear.com

Pros: A liberating alternative to traditional tripod heads; solid build that's easy to set up and adjust; ships with Arca-Swiss quick release plate.

Cons: Big and bulky; expensive.

Price: $489

 

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