I have now owned an older version of the Jobu Design heavy duty gimbal head for more than five years. Recently, I had the exciting opportunity to review the young brother of the Heavy Duty version: the Junior 3. First off, I have always thought that Jobu Design was first in class when it comes down to quality. For having seen and tried out many brands thanks to my tour participants, I still think that the Jobu Design Gimbal heads come on top of the competition. You may enjoy a 10% off discount on the entire Jobu Design website with the promo code “steven” 🙂
Gimbal heads are the best answer for the bird photographer shooting with heavy lenses. It provides fluidity of motion and a weightless feel while maneuvering your gear that is essential so to create bird in flight photographs.
Not only the quality is top notch, but my preference goes to the Jobu gimbals for another key reason: the design and placement of the knobs to lock the gimbal. Gimbal heads typically have two knobs: one for vertical motion and one for horizontal motion. One needs to lock both so to completely freeze the weightless motion of the head. Most other brands place both knobs on the left side of the head, which I find problematic… Why? The answer is simple, it takes twice as much time to unlock your gear to be back in the action. Since bird photography is a lot about responsiveness, this is less than ideal.
The Jobu Design heads have one knob on each side! So, one may untwist one with one hand and the other with your other hand at the same time!! This is how, I go from having my gear locked to back into the action in less than a second.
While I had initially opted for the older model of the Heavy Duty IV, I have long been eyeing the much smaller and lighter Junior 3 version. At only 1.5 lbs, it is a very sturdy piece of equipment, capable of enduring even the heaviest lenses. I tried it out with the Canon 1dX mark II and 600 mm IS II combo. The overall combination is very stable and reliable. The only small downfall that I could see was that the gear tended to loose its weightless ability when inclined at more than 45 degree angles. This is actually not surprising as the laws of physics require a minimum size to properly balance big and cumbersome equipment. Replacing the foot of the lens with the one Jobu Design recommends offsets a bit this phenomenon.
And as per the specs, the Jobu Junior 3 is stellar with 400mm lenses and shorter. It could be quite the lethal combo with a 400mm DO II, or for whom that is very weight conscious with equipment. I am expecting this gimbal to be just right with the new Canon 600mm DO when it comes out too.
If you do not mind a heavier load, the Jobu Heavy Duty IV is the way to go and for which my preference goes to when compared to all other sturdy gimbal heads out there!! For having tested quite a few models from my clients, the quality and weightlessness capabilities are killer.