The LensMaster Gimbal
Following in the footsteps of the first Lensmaster Gimbal Head which is a specialized tripod head for telephoto lenses, its gimbal-type design allows you to easily manipulate very large lenses, we now present the Lensmaster sidekick; Lensmaster RH-1.
It was never our intention to make a side mount Gimbal but have been asked by a few people if such an item was being planned/developed. As it happens it was in the planning stage as a lightweight alternative to a full Gimbal.
Another point of interest was the Arca Swiss Style lens plate clamp. We decided to take a look into this and soon found a few things that needed to be changed, although it looks like half our full gimbal the RH-1 is quite different
To keep the weight down the main body is now made of Aluminium (rather than bright steel) it is then treated and powder coated with a scratch resistant black satin finish.
The two control knobs do not fully lock but allow you to set the friction enough to stop the lens flopping about giving you full control over the horizontal and vertical movement - of note is the fact that even with no friction applied the lens once balanced will stay in any position you leave it in.
A key feature of the RH-1 is just how smooth and fluid-like it is making any lens attached feel just a fraction of it's true weight. It takes approx 3oz. of pressure to move a 500 f4is L plus a 1dmk3. This has been accomplished by increasing the size of the maintenance-free bush bearing and precision ground rotating shaft.
In the field:
While other manufacturers try to seal their products from dust and sand, adding to the cost and making it almost impossible for the user to service; the RH-1 takes a different approach making it very user friendly in the event of dust or sand build up over a period of time. It takes just 10 minutes for the user to dismantle, wash in warm soapy water, dry, add a little grease and reassemble so it works like new again - and no tools are required.
The RH-1 is fitted with an Arca Swiss type clamp and is supplied with 2 free Lens plates 50mm and 140mm. Other size lens plates are readily available from most good photographic stores, there isn't a one plate fits all owing to the large combinations of lens, camera, converter, and battery grips available. In general a larger lens plate allows more front/back movement aiding the balance setting.
As with any camera fitting it is essential to be sure your camera / lens is fully secured before taking your hands away - this applies to any camera mount.
Note: smaller lenses such as a 70/200 with a pro body or battery grip fitted can restrict vertical movment.