What is a gimbal head?
Well if you've gotten this far, you are doing well. You've narrowed down the 'correct' term for one of these devices. Frequently referred to as a swing-head, tripod-head, long-lens-head, trapeze-head... or in French as a rotule, or tete-cardan... let's just settle and call it a gimbal.
A gimbal head balances your camera and lens at their natural centre of gravity. A ballhead will balance the lens only when the centre of gravity is directly vertical over the ball, as soon as it moves forward or backward it will want to fall. Ballhead designers implement friction and all sorts of fancy elliptical gizmos to fight gravity. This is like using a screwdriver to hammer a nail. Wrong tool, wrong job.
A gimbal head balances your lens naturally. You can probably picture the way a large telescope is mounted on a tilting axis. There is a reason for this tilting design- it works. Our gimbal heads use the same principle to make your lenses and cameras weightless. When properly setup, your lens will never 'flop' or 'tip'. It will stay wherever you point it. You can move a 600mm F4 lens with one finger, and you can lock it down securely for long exposures as well.
Jobu Design currently makes 2 sizes of gimbals: Jobu Heavy-Duty DMG-HD4, and Jobu Jr.3 series.
What happened to the sidemount gimbals like the LW3?
Although gimbals can be setup with the quick-release on the side (ie, a side-mount gimbal), we don't generally recommend it. We've made great technological advances in making our gimbals lighter every year: the weight-advantages of going side-mount without a swing-arm compared to the increased safety of a top-mount clamp cannot be justified for most customers.
Our gimbals fall into this range depending on your lenses:
Jobu Jr.3 Series (Standard or DLX): 70-200 F2.8, 300 F4, 500m F4 (with special considerations)
Max weight: 12lbs
Jobu Heavy Duty HD4 Series: 300 F2.8, 500 F4, 600 F4, 200-400 Pro zooms
Max weight: 30lbs
Jobu Pro2 (now discontinued): 300 F2.8, 500 F4, 600 F4, 800 F5.6, 300-800
Max weight: 50lbs
Maximum gimbals weight limits are for occasional use. Our gimbals are extremely strong, but continually overloading the gimbal will generally cause poor braking performance, extra vibration or unnecessary wear on internal components and will void our manufacturers warranty. The best performance and 'sweet-spot' for continual daily use is our recommended weight column.
Please note, that currently ONLY the Heavy-Duty Mark IV comes with a starter lens plate. All other gimbals do not. Please check our lensplate page for specific sizes for your lens.