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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 01 Feb 2009 (Sunday) 11:58
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Canon 500mm and Tripod

Senior Member
345 posts
Joined Jan 2009
Location: Parker, CO
Feb 03, 2009 21:20 |  #16

amfoto1 wrote in post #7237865 (external link)

I use an older Gitzo 1325 with a Kirk BH-1 ballhead and a Wimberley Sidekick (gimbal) with my 500/4.

Same setup here except that I have a Arca-Swiss ballhead. This one combo provides yeoman duty for long lens as well as general photography.

40D, 1Ds MkII, EOS 1N, EF24-70mm F2.8L, EF70-200mm f4L, EF500mm f4L, 580EXII, EF 1.4x II

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Senior Member
694 posts
Gallery: 35 photos
Likes: 536
Joined Jan 2008
Location: east Tennessee
Feb 03, 2009 21:56 |  #17

I'm going to chime in on this one ......
I agree with Canon Bob on the Gitzo 3540XLS with the Wimberley II gimbal head for use with the 500MM f4 lens.

I personally use a Gitzo 5540LS carbon tripod, but I was able to find a used one for a great price. I also changed the 500's lens foot to the Really Right Stuff foot, so I do not need the wimberley arca plate.
http://reallyrightstuf​ …esc.asp?ic=LCF-50&eq=&Tp= (external link)

Once you use the Gitzo tripod with the Wimberley gimbal you will be hooked. It is such a pleasure to use!

As BradM mentioned, a light (carbon fiber) sturdy tripod will let you throw the camera, lens, tripos, etc over your shoulder and walk a good distance with confidence that it will not end up on the ground behind you.

Somehow I just can't trust $11,000+ plus worth of equipment (1D MarkIII and the 500mm f4L IS) to a inexpensive tripod.... but that's just me.

East Tennessee, USA

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41 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Jan 2009
Feb 03, 2009 23:45 |  #18

Thanks for the detailed posts. And for the pic showing that homemade flash bracket. Now I know I need to go with the 393 set-up with my 500 4. It'll be a pain unscrewing my 468mgrc2, and my old beast of a pod(bogen 3046), will more than suffice for now. Won't need to lift weights lugging that contraption around!

Senior Member
999 posts
Likes: 4
Joined Mar 2008
Location: Boston, MA
Feb 03, 2009 23:52 |  #19

I will throw in my 2 Cents as well... I would suggest a Wimberly Sidekick or something similar to it. Seriously and good ballhead will certainly hold the weight of your setup without any issues whatsoever. That said the reason you go with a Sidekick or a full Gimbal head is to make your life easier and using your setup a lot more pleasurable. Once you get the balance point the body lens combo becomes weightless. It is AWESOME.

I also chose the Sidekick as it is lighter, it attaches to your existing Ballhead so you don't have to change heads if you want to use only the ballhead for something else like a smaller lens.

I would have to agree 100% with the article posted about tripods and an argument for spending the money once and be done with it. I'm one that has spent and spent and spent over the years. I personally have settled on a Gitzo GT3530 for that specific reason. I would strongly recommend Gitzo mostly because of what they offer. Sure they are very expensive but they are considered the best and their 6X Carbon Fibers are so relatively light for the amount of weight that they hold.

Here was my setup before I was forced to get rid of my 500L for unexpected financial issues. In this photo the Sidekick is loose, the setup is completely balanced. You move it and let it go and it stays exactly where you left it. It is hard to get that level of balance with a Ballhead (for me anyway).

This was my Canon 500mm f/4L IS with a Kirk Replacement Foot (highly recommended), Wimberly Sidekick, Kirk BH-1 Ballhead and Lens Coat to protect the beast. All of this on top of my Gitzo GT3530 Tripod.


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Senior Member
942 posts
Joined Nov 2005
Location: Dana Point
Feb 04, 2009 00:06 |  #20

I have the 3021 legs and a 3421 gimbal head and it's worked great for my 500. Highly recommend the 3421 gimbal head.

Cream of the Crop
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Gallery: 2 photos
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Joined Sep 2005
Location: Oshawa, Ontario
Feb 04, 2009 00:25 |  #21

I use a Gitzo tripod & Whimberley Version one gimbal head and couldn't be happier although the new Jobu heavy duty professional gimbal head looks very good.


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114 posts
Joined Apr 2007
Feb 04, 2009 00:50 |  #22

I got the Bogen 3421 gimbal head first and then upgraded to a full Wimberley (WH101). The 3421 will certainly support the 500, but I found it more difficult to set to a constant drag for panning. Also I had to really crank it down to get it tight enough to not wobble around vertically when I'd push the shutter release. Not a problem with remote release, but that isn't always practical. The Wimberley was smoother and much easier to set and lock firmly. It also cost 3 times as much. Try both and decide if the difference is worth it to you - it was for me.

BTW. I've used both expensive and cheap tripods to support the 500. Certainly the big Gitzo CFs are nice, easier to carry, well designed and very rigid for their weight (I use a 1325 when I can), but you don't need to get fancy. Any set of legs that's rated for 20+ pounds will likely do the job well enough. The lens + body + head will probably weigh 12-15 lbs. and it's best to have a load rating significantly higher than this if you want to avoid wobble.

1,142 posts
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Joined Jan 2005
Location: Texas
Feb 04, 2009 08:27 |  #23

Thank you for all the comments. I am going to stick with my 3021 for now with the Wimberly WH-200 since I won't be hiking to far.

www.shutterprophotogra​ (external link)

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Canon 500mm and Tripod
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