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eeyore Knight Grand Cross of the Wild Empire
Registered: February 2006 Location: i'm right here Posts: 11139
Review Date: Wed 23, July, 2008
Would you recommend it? Yes |
Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 0
Reveiw originally by Denis G
Manfrotto have an excellent affordable gimbal type head with the 393 although I am curious why it is little advertised and particularly why it is referred to as “Specifically developed for use with very long lenses on Mono pods.” to quote Manfrotto. They do add that it “can also be used on tripods”. They may be missing the boat here a little bit as it is perfect for tripods. It can be used in two ways (see top pic), in hanging mode and cradle mode and has 3 height adjustment choices. The dovetail sliding camera mount plate can use 1 or 2 1/4” fittings or 1 3/8” fitting. There are even storage points on the side of the plate for the fittings not being used, just in case!.
Typically Manfrotto the overall build and finish is good and at least on mine is hard to fault. It is manufactured from fabricated aluminium rather than cast but at this price point it would be virtually impossible to do otherwise. The tension adjusting wheels are plastic but their shape makes them easy to handle in any weather. The rubber seal on the centre swivel or panning point is a good fit but can be lost in heavy use. This should, I feel, be of better design with a perforation in the side for access to the locking grub screw. This is used to adjust the panning resistance which is initially factory set. Other users as well as myself have never actually had to adjust this. The 393 is certainly engineered to do a job rather than be an exhibition piece and overall the build quality is very reassuring.
After screwing the assembly to the tripod mounting plate you choose the lens mount to suit your lens on the sliding plate and fix the surplus bolt(s) into the threaded holes on the base plate supplied for this reason. Once the sliding plate is mounted to the base plate it cannot slide out unless the release button is pressed. Find the suitable balance point and lock the equipment in position with the locking lever and it’s ready for use.
The 393 has many options in the way it is used and can take some getting used to. Biggest decision is whether to use it cradle style or hanger. It is mainly a matter of personal choice but eighteen months on I prefer the cradle option but use hangar on occasions when the additional height is a much easier than extending the three tripod legs. It can be used as a smooth moving gimbal head, for which it was designed but it can also be locked solid if you are concentrating on a single point of static focus. As a gimbal it is smooth and fluid in operation.
Because of the vast range of camera/lens/scope options and angles of operation and balance, the cradle has three possible mounting points to offer a choice to suit the equipment. Never had a reason to try them as the factory supplied set-up as shown has always worked fine.
This is one item I am confident to say is one of the best ‘value for money’ items I have purchased. It’s not a Wimberley by any means but it is also around 20% of the price of the Wimberley Mk11. And that’s not counting the additional plate the Wimberley requires if you don’t already posses an Arca (style) one.
I use mine frequently with the Minolta 7D/Alpha 100 together with a Tamron 200-500 and sometimes a 1.4x or 2x telecon. I have also had the opportunity to try it with a Nikon 200 and Sigmonster lens (Sigma 300-800mm) and I can honestly say the 393 has never disappointed. If you are considering a gimbal style head, check out the Manfrotto 393.
At the time of writing It can be found for somewhere between £90-110.
------------------------------ Some people are like slinkies, good for nowt, but they make you smile when pushed down stairs