My last post was a review of the Gitzo GT5543L, systematic tripod. If you have read that post you would be having a fair idea of systematic tripods and the fact that they need a separate attachment, a head, central column, etc. Since that tripod suited the needs of a wildlife photographer, I thought that it would be illogical if I don’t write a post about the best gimbal head that is a choice of many wildlife photographers.
Wildlife Photography requires frequent use of heavy telephoto lenses, for them the Gimbal head is the best option in the market. The ball and pan/tilt heads are too cumbersome to operate. The Benro GH2 gimbal head is one of the best in the market and is a must have for any wildlife photographer.
Product : Benro GH2
Weight : 3.17 lb (1.44 kg)
Payload : 50.7 lb (23 kg)
Warranty : 3 years, extended 5 years
My rating : 8.5/10
These figures are for the Aluminum version and not the Carbon Fiber one.
Gimbal Heads – An Introduction
Gimbal Heads are special heads made for those heavy long lenses which are too unmanageable. These heads allow free flow movement of cameras without much effort. Basically, it is all about balance, the lens combination is too heavy to be held in one place so it is balanced perfectly by a gimbal head. All you need to do is spin the camera when the moment occurs and bam! You have that shot.
Naturally, there is a lot of variety in the market and one needs to be able to choose the one that suits there needs. A good gimbal head need not be extraordinarily expensive. It should be smooth enough and built sturdily to serve the purpose. Some of these will have fluid controls, friction controls, etc.
It is a very popular choice among all action photography professionals. Sports photographers, bird watchers, and wildlife photographers all admire how easy the gimbal head is to use and is the cause of many beautiful pictures. I’ll be writing a separate article on gimbal heads and it is types.
This image is of Benro GH3 gimbal head. As you can see, there is just the body and a cradle. It’s that simple. The screws can be adjusted for friction.
Benro GH2 Gimbal Head, Overview
Benro started making these out back in 2012 or so. It is an old piece of equipment but the fact that it is still listed on there site for sale forces one to consider buying it. Competing with the new and so-called better heads for so many years and still staying on top of the list is definitely a job well done by Benro.
The Benro GH2 comes in two variants – Aluminum and Carbon fiber made. The GH2C (Carbon Fiber) differs from it’s brother only in terms of max. load and weight, both being 55.1 lb (25 kg) and 2.87 lb (1.3 kg). The difference in these numbers is slight and I would not recommend shelling an extra $100 for them. But here is a link where you can find the GH2C.
The model is Arca Swiss QR type compatible and ships with the PL100 plate which is great for medium-sized telephoto lenses but if you are planning to mount the big guns you might feel a lot safer with another plate like the Really Right Stuff L85. I have read some people doing it, you can see if it checks out for you.
What Makes it Different
This gimbal head has been in production and demand for the past several years. There has to be some reason for it. Let’s decode this mystery.
The most important factor which still makes it the top choice of many photographers is it is simplicity. The simpler the model more is the popularity. The construction is as easy as it can get. It consists of just two adjustment knobs – Torsion and Pan. Along with that, the head is compatible with almost all set of legs, except of course the ones with the lesser weight capacity. The price is fairly reasonable considering it is competitors and it is a great example of buying value for the price you pay. Not only wildlife photographers, but these heads are also a must have for anyone who has a telephoto lens. Those big bazookas are incredibly tough to handle without these lens support systems.
The Benro GH2 is a cradle mount type gimbal head. What this means is, the mounting is done at the bottom of the lens and not at the side. Cradle mounts offer better stability and support as compared to side mounts. Although this is not an endemic quality but it helps in the field.
Pros and Cons
Although the reviews are fairly good, every product has it is own pros and cons and this is no exception. Before making up your mind, let’s go through the pros and cons.
- Lightweight (3.17lb/1.44kg)
- Up to 5 years of Extended Warranty
- Not Very Costly
- Good Weight Load Capacity (50.7lb/23kg)
- Smooth Operation
- Arca Type Swiss Plate Compatibility
- Hegiht Adjustment Sidebar for precision
- Old – They have been in production for quite a long time now so possibly Benro might stop there support soon.
- No bubble level
- Need heavy legs to support.
So these are some things that you must know before making a purchase. You can also check out the Benro GH5 in case you want something newer and with higher load capacity. But the GH5 has a very serious design flaw, the mounting screw is far too recessed into the head. A lot of people have complained about these screws and how they are not able to mount them securely but if your tripod has a variable screw length on your QR plate then you shouldn’t have a problem. Check out the Benro GH5 here.
Well people, as I have mentioned earlier, a gimbal head is a must have for people having big lenses or people who are planning to do so. I would highly suggest a sturdy tripod to go with this lens. If you want, you can check out the Gitzo 2545T or the Gitzo GT5543. These are excellent choices and offer nothing else but class.
I hope you found the Benro GH2 Gimbal Head review helpful and if you are looking to buy, here is the link (Click here). If you have any questions or doubts about this product please leave them below in the comments section and I’ll be more than happy to help you out.
Tripods For All