When Cliff Hausner of MACGroupUSA greets me in the hallowed halls of B&H Photo with his familiar "Al-you-gotta-see-this..." it's usually for good cause. This time it was to show me the new gimballed tripod heads from Induro, which are designed to make working with longer focal-length optics smoother and easier.
Unlike traditional pan and ballhead designs, Induro's gimbal heads cradle your lens in a way that greatly reduces the balancing act that's part & parcel of shooting with longer, heavier telephoto lenses.
Rather than fighting the laws of gravity and physics by placing the camera and lens precariously atop the tripod/head assembly, Induro's GH-series gimbaled heads cradle the lens/camera assembly in a way that renders your imaging "neutral" to the forces of gravity. Using top-heavy tripod rigs that aren't securely locked down, or otherwise bucking the laws of physics, can quickly lead to disaster.
Gimbaled heads also make shooting sports and wildlife far easier by enabling you to react quickly and fluidly when your subject decides to suddenly fly from it's perch or run with the ball. Regardless of whether your subject is moving rapidly across your field-of-view and/or ascending or desending, gimbaled heads allow you far more flexibiltiy in terms of reacting to the fastest of action.
Induro GH-Series heads are available in 3 sizes - the GHBA, GHB1, and GHB2. The basic unit - the GHBA - requires an Arca-Swiss style ballhead, and is suitable for lenses up to 300mm. The GHB1 does not require a ballhead, and is suitable for optics up to 400mm. The heftiest of the 3 heads - the GHB2 - also features an adjustable height platform and a calibrated scale to enable optimum positioning of optics 300mm and longer. Like the GHB1, the GHB2 does not require a ballhead.
Each of these heads pans 360-degrees and tilts +/- 90-degrees. Other features include a built-in bubble level for leveling your rig, and compatibility with Arca-style quick-release plates (a 50 x 48mm QR plate is included with each head).