Review: Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal

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If you like to shoot with telephoto lenses there will come a time where you want to work with a gimbal tripod head. There are a lot of options , some expensive, some even more expensive. Then there is the Manfrotto 393  . It is not brand new, it is not fancy. It is a Heavy Duty Gimbal, the answer to a few of my new needs. As seen in some of my reviews, I have been working with big telephoto lenses. I have also begun to like shooting with my camera low to the ground . I needed a tool to attack both these task and after much searching , this was it.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The Manfrotto 393 is inexpensive compared to other Gimbal heads
  • The mounting plate is easy to use. It just slides right in and easily locks into place.
  • The tilt axis (up/down) lines up with the midpoint of the lens’ weight.
  • Cons

  • The Manfrotto 393 is not he lightest tool in the world.
  • The Rubber adjustment ring comes off easily.
  • The Manfrotto 393 takes up a lot of room in a bag.

 Gear Used

I used a Canon 5dMkII with Tamron 150-600 f5-6.3 for telephoto work. I used my Nikon D700 , Nikon D90 and my Nikkor 105mm 2.8 macro with a Nikon 1 and 0 Close up filter. I used my 3Legged thing Brian as legs for this tripod head.

 Tech Specs

From B&H

  • Comes With RC3 Quick Release
  • Load Capacity 44.09 lb (20 kg)
  • Tripod Attachment 3/8″ thread
  • Weight 3.5 lbs (1.6kg)

 Ergonomics

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The Manfrotto 393 has a simple Tripod/Monopod Mount. It spins onto the screw. The top screw and bottom tighten to let the the gimbal pan around.

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The lens support is strong and is like a swing. It centers the weight of a big lens nicely–which is great for birding photographers.

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Rubber hand grips come in handy on a cold day. They make the Gimbal easier to hold as well. It makes it much easier to move from one spot to another .

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The RC3 release plate is fantastic. It is securely held by the Manfrotto 393 with locking screws. It has rubber grips to hold the foot of a bog lens or a camera.

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The tightening screws are very strong. Lenses can be held still and any angle.

 Build Quality

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This gimbal feels like it can hold a tank. Dye-cast construction–it’s a lost art. The Manfrotto 393 is made from aluminum and can hold a lot of weight. The rubber grips on the side make it easy to hold if you are using a tripod or a mono-pod. When working out in the field with the Manfrotto 393 it was easy to just lock the lens in place put it on my shoulder and go.

 Ease of Use

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The Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal is intuitive. You lock your lens on camera onto your RC3 Rapid Connect Plate 357PL and you lock it in place on the Gimbal. There are only three knobs to adjust when you want to manipulate your lens . This makes shooting quick and easy.

 Image Quality

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The Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal keeps big lenses steady. If you want to do a long exposure this is more than enough to keep your camera and lens as still as possible. When shooting in a situation where you need a lens still the Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal is an excellent tool.

 Conclusions

Honestly, shooting with big lenses can be a bit bonkers. You are going to need a Gimbal to make the experience more civilized. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Heavy Duty Gimbal Telephoto Lens Support is for you. You can use it for more than telephoto lenses as well. It is not the prettiest thing in the world but it won’t break the bank.

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Gevon Servo

Gevon Servo aka @GServo is an eclectic, NJ/NY Photographer. He’s a Nikon shooter, by choice nevertheless, will always test any piece of photography equipment. He believes that like ‘Photography’, ‘Coffee’,’Beer’ and ‘Comics Books’ and other things ‘Geek’ “You must try everything once to discover what you want to try again.