As someone who wrote a book about panoramic photography, I often get questions about multi-row panos.
But the funny thing is, until now I never paid much attention to them, mainly because I didn’t have a gimbal head. I’ve always used my Really Right Stuff ball head, panning plate and nodal slide to make my parallax-free panos.
Thanks to B&H Photo, I was given the opportunity to get my hands on a gimbal and now I cannot wait to dig into multi-row panos and maybe even do an update to my eBook.
At $349.95, the Oben GH-30C is not a cheap gimbal head. But at the same time, it’s not the most expensive — see the Wimberley WH-200 as an example. For the most part, every gimbal head does the same thing. They all have one purpose; to keep your heavy camera and lens set up, evenly balanced for fast or precise changes to the horizontal or vertical planes.
Typically you see gimbal heads used for wildlife, airplane or sports photography in addition to creating panoramic photos.
At first glance, the Oben GH-30C is well built. The product is fairly light at 2.7 pounds, but definitely heavier than a typical ball head. The only area of concern I had was the plastic knobs to control each axis. The entire product is made of carbon fiber and aluminum alloys, but for whatever reason, they went with plastic for knobs. With that said, the knobs hold strong, so I’m not too concerned.
The gimbal head is compatible with most lenses you would think you’d use on it.
- 70-200mm f/2.8 and f/4
- 300mm f/4
- 400mm f/5.6
Of course, you could always use smaller lenses too, but why would you? It can hold equipment up to 44 pounds and maintain smooth movement even at its limits. You’ll get full 360-degree panning and can lock panning from tilting if you want. I love that Oben went with the Arca-Swiss mount, which means if your tripod foot already uses the Arca system then you might not have to use the plate the gimbal shipped with. But it’s there if you need it.
Lastly, if you plan on using multiple cameras and lenses with the gimbal, it does come with numbered scales which provide an easy way to mark the position of your setup so you can quickly rebalance the next time you go to use it.
All in all, I’m very pleased with the Oben GH-30C. It fits perfectly on each of my tripods and I feel safe enough to use it with my heaviest camera and lens combinations. As you see in the video above, it balanced perfectly with the Nikon D850, 70-200 f/4 and 2X extension.
I can’t wait to dig into multi-row panoramas more, and hopefully catch some air shows once their return. This will also be perfect for the next solar or lunar eclipse!