Is This The Best Monopod Head Ever?

As you know, I’m a bit of a tripod / monopod junkie. So, I’m excited to share my review of the new Wimberley MonoGimbal head.

This new lightweight head allows you to balance your rig just like a regular gimbal head – point up or down and everything stays in place, no need to tighten the locking knob. However, this compact unit is only a fraction of the size of a normal gimbal head.

Is it right for you? Check out the video for what it is, how it works, setup, field use, and recommendations.

Also, if you want to see it yourself, check it out at the link below:

https://www.tripodhead.com/products/monopodhead-main.cfm

For those in the United Kingdom: https://www.bobrigby.com/wimberley/item/wimberley_monogimbal_head_mh_100

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Mike Arter
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Mike Arter

Late to the party here, thanks for the tip on this Steve. Just received mine today to use with a Nikon 200-500 on a D500. The Nikon foot/collar on the lenses makes it really tight to access the Pv button which I use to switch to single point focus. Bigger issue is the fact that it puts a lot of leverage on the collar, to the point where I have to lift the camera to get out of the “notch” with the arrow marking where to remove the collar. Anyone else experiencing this? What lens collar/foot replacement do you recommend?… Read more »

Francine Dollinger
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Francine Dollinger

I had the sidekick and it was a no brainer when this came out. I tried it last week With my 500pf and tamron 150-600 I cant figure out how to get the tripod collar to rotate so that the monopod is on the right but the button to release the collar is on top. Is that possible to do. I have it attached straight to the monopod.

nelson rocha
Guest
nelson rocha

Hello Steve – which size RRS lever release clamp did you go with for your Gitzo 4552? I see a 60mm and 80mm version of the Really Right Stuff B2-LLR-II Lever-Release Clamp. Thank you!

Cary
Guest

I have the same question which one do you 60 mm 80 mm.

CHRISTIAN SOMMEILLIER
Guest
CHRISTIAN SOMMEILLIER

Hi Steve, I saw your last information about the new Heynar foot specifically designed for the 500 PF; as I will in the next days order the monogimbal for my 500 PF, is it better to order the Wimberley AP-500 replacement foot or the new foot you suggest (My camera is a D500)?
Thank’s a lot.

Christian

Mike Goldstein
Guest

Hi Steve, the monogimbal is indeed wonderful but as you mentioned the smoothness of the lens rotation collar is a big factor. My previous-generation Nikon 400mm f/2.8 AF-S VR ED is really stiff; it doesn’t want to rotate on the monogimbal unless I lift up on the lens while turning it. The same lens, however, rotates fine if the foot is supported from the bottom, as it is when on a full gimbal head. I would love to get this lens working better on the monogimbal; do you have any ideas for improving the rotation? Is this something that Nikon… Read more »

Bill Baburchak
Guest

Mike,
I am having the same issue with the same 400 lens. But my lens is only a year old so the collar should not be worn out! It was so uncomfortable that I had to return the head 🙁

Vic Berthelsdorf
Guest
Vic Berthelsdorf

Thanks for this Steve. The timing couldn’t have been better. The 600 f/4 FL that arrived here Dec. 26 was quickly fitted with a replacement arca compatible foot & the Wimberley fitted to a Gitzo mono-pod. I’ve had no trouble hand holding the 500FL, but opted for more stability with it’s heavier big brother. I did have to send the mono-pod back, & exchange it for the long version. GM4552L. The extra length is necessary for anything overhead and made a lot of difference. With a 1.4x attached I was able to get sharp photos of a Merlin & a… Read more »

Bill Janes
Guest
Bill Janes

Steve,
Thanks for the excellent review and tips on using the monogimbal. I am tempted to buy it, but am hesitating since I already have Wimberly Side-Kick which can also be used with a monopod although it is designed for tripod use. Of course it is bulkier than the new item, but it does eliminate the offset that occurs with the monogimbal. Would appreciate your comments is you have made a comparison.

BTW, I did attend your recent presentation at CAPS and found it outstanding and would recommend that those who were unable to attend watch the presentation on your utube channel.

Bill

Barry
Guest

The MonoGimbal actually utilized the same components as the sidekick but with a different body.
The strength and stability are therefore not limited by the strength of the ballhead and it will easily handle anything your monopod can support.

In actual use the weight is centered over the foot of the monopod.
The offset provides several advantages and no disadvantages over a traditional design when used on a monopod.

Bas Cuthbert
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Bas Cuthbert

Thanks Steve, buying on your recommendation, my monogimbal arrived in New Zealand from Amazon this week. So much better than using my regular gimbal head on my Manfrotto monopod. However my D850 is now about 6 inches lower even with the monopod fully extended. At 6’2″ it means I’m stooped over looking through the viewfinder. Hope my back lasts 🙂

Gregory
Guest

Thanks a mil Steve. I am catching up and this most XCLNT info and vid is Eggsactly what I have been waiting for in mono pod tech and info.I especially appreciate the “sling” mode section as I love hiking and traipsing about. Now I can do that AND not have to go insane over handheld stabilizing:)

Swaroop
Guest
Swaroop

I have been using a proper Gimbal head(inspired from your proper gimbal head video last year) with my Manfrotto monopod for quite some time now. It was a real pain to lug around the heavy rig (compared to my tilt head), I occasionally take it out. Now I have ordered one here in the UK, expecting to give me some nice shots with the setup.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

So I decided to pick up one of these (just got today). Haven’t tried out in the field yet. I did find, like you, that both of the 500/600 f4 lenses (I have access to both) both feel a bit tight on the tripod collar. Since I haven’t truly tried out in the field I can’t say for certain, but I can’t imagine it will be a real problem while shooting.

Lee Lindquist
Guest
Lee Lindquist

#1 – will this work with the Nikon 80-400? Can one use this on a tripod? I recognize one would loose the “panning” capability, unless I use it with my video head (which doesn’t pan as smoothly). Thanks!

Barry
Guest

80-400 yes
Tripod no

Tom Reynolds
Guest

Ginnie and I took out this new setup for a test drive. I fastened the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary foot with double screws (drilled and tapped the foot) and locktite on to a slide plate. The Wimberly Mono Gimbal head was paired with a Benro series monopod (MAD49A). Our cameras are Nikon D-7200. We shot both standing and sitting in lightweight foldable chairs (Lightspeed Tripod). Compared to my Benro Gimbal Head on a tripod, I was able to correct and find birds in flight much quicker both standing and sitting. As seen in the video, I had the tripod tilted back… Read more »

Rex Matthews
Guest
Rex Matthews

Based on your video review and recommendation, I ordered the Wimberley MonoGimbal head, and chose a Sirui P-224SR monopod on which to mount it. Both arrived yesterday, and I used them together for the first time today. Wow! The combination of this monopod and gimbal head handles my Nikon D750 and Tamron SP 150-600 G2 beautifully. The tripod leg stand of the monopod will support the weight of the rig if the legs are properly positioned. Thank you for making my bird and wildlife photography both easier and more enjoyable!

Tom Reynolds
Guest

I have the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary which has a single piece ring-foot so the Wimberly replacement foots won’t work. My solution is to have the foot tapped so I can place and additional screw to hold the Arca plate to the foot.

Barry
Guest

Putting a second hole is one option.

These Desmond plates have a ridge on the back that reduces the chances of the lens foot slipping out.
They come in various lengths and are inexpensive

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1062507-REG/desmond_dpl_169_7_3_4_long_lens.html

They will work with a single screw and prevent twisting out, but it is necessary to tighten then occasionally

They are not as secure as having 2 screws but they are a lot better than a flat plate with a single screw

Tom Reynolds
Guest

I looked at the Desmond plates. They appear superior to what I have BUT what I really want is a one piece ring-foot and No Joy finding one. I simply have to make one using one or maybe two additional screws and locktite everything into place.

Barry
Guest

When mounting this lens the MonoGimbal should go on the right (grip side) of the camera.
This type of ring releases when rotated to the top and will release when used on the left (non grip side) in the portrait rotation.
When transporting the camera lock the lens ring, when using the camera loosen the lens ring
Your rig will work great on the MonoGimbal but this tip you save you some minor aggravation.

Tom Reynolds
Guest

Thanks Barry. I will do this. Ginnie and I are good underwater photographers (www.tomandginnie.com) but birds are a new subject for us (which is why I am here).

Tom

Lester Sussman
Guest
Lester Sussman

I really enjoy your videos and the way you present the information. Thanks.
I have several of your e-books and read them from time to time. How about hard copies. I find print easier to read and I seem to remember the information better.
On another note: I’m past (way past) social security and don’t have the strength to carry the heavy lenses long distances. How about a video for us old folks with some alternatives to the big lenses.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Thank you Steve for another informative video. I hope you will keep us posted when this Monogimbal head finally adopts a quick release lever to attach a big lens, like a 600mm f/4. It is too much of a juggling act to count on a screw knob. Thank you.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I don’t believe Wimberley make a lever clamp. The monogimbal does appear to use the C10 head and is presumably attached to the monogimbal spindle with a standard 3/8” thread.
Perhaps you could ask Wimberley if the attachment is indeed 3/8” and if they’d supply without a clamp. You could them fit your preferred clamp using Loctite to ensure it doesn’t loosen.

Morgan.p
Guest
Morgan.p

How can I ever save enough money to go to your class in Costa Rica if I need to keep buying all this cool gear you review? Thanks Steve

Dale Elliott
Guest
Dale Elliott

Thanks a lot very helpful information!!

ann Lendon
Guest
ann Lendon

Thanks Steve

Tony Yocom
Guest
Tony Yocom

Great video. By the way, which RRS Lever Release Clamp are you using with that rig, and which Series 4 Gitzo Monopod are you using?

William H. Schmidtgall
Guest
William H. Schmidtgall

This looks great. Why couldn’t I also attach to a tripod via the acra swiss connection? If it’s great for a monopod, why not use it for tripod?

Steve
Guest
Steve

If you’re desperate to do it, you could add a rotating panning clamp between the Wimberley and the tripod. Something like RRS PC-PRO Round Panning Clamp or the lever equivalent. Given the cantilevered load, I’d use one from a reputable manufacturer rather than a Chinese knock off. Way smoother and much stronger.

Barry
Guest

The MonoGimbal is not intended for monopod use and may not perform well on tripod even with a pan head.

Barry
Guest

Correction…Is intended for monopod

Steve
Guest
Steve

Agree entirely. I wouldn’t do it. Just pointing out an option if he’s hung up on trying it.

Christian Sommeillier
Guest
Christian Sommeillier

Hi Steeve, thank’s again for this instructive video; my question: using a 500 PF, with its original foot, is it preferable to buy the Heynar foot you recommend in your Nikon 500 PF full review or the Wimberley AP-500 replacement foot suggested with the monogimbal head?

Barry
Guest

I have the Wimberly foot.
It replaces the quick release feature with a foot that stays on and is more secure, but not easily removable.
The back end extends further and is easier to balance with a heavy camera (D850) plus grip plus teleconverter.
The original foot does not extend far enough to balance this combination.

A single pin needs to be inserted , it is not difficult but follow the instructions carefully.

Jones Tom
Guest
Jones Tom

I use the replacement lens foot from Kirk Enterprises for 500PF, 200-5-00, 70-200 and my old 80-400. Dovetail is built in. Very happy with the build/operation of Kirk.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I have the RRS foot and it works great on the 500 PF. It is essentially the same as the 70-200 f2.8 foot they make.

Pamela Cohen
Guest

Ok Steve,
This whole rig with Wimberley’s new head looks fantastic. I have one of their products and it is great. I like the concept of its design, however, I am concerned that carrying a heavy lens and camera body across your back while hiking distances as shown in your video, might break down the tightness and hold of the gimbal head mount. This is my concern more than the stress on the monopod. Can you please check with the designers from Wimberley and see if they approve of such usage.

Thanks, Pamela /Prima Photography

Barry
Guest

I always suggest using a lens strap (no matter what equipment you are using.
I have sometimes carried as shown in video and it works good.
I also often point the lens straight down, lock it, and carry in front of me (in a waist level pouch.
If you have a chest strap you can even strap it and carry hands free.

John Tighe
Guest
John Tighe

How would you balance the Nikon 200-500 since Balance point changes as you zoom.?

Tord
Guest
Tord

I love those overdesigned Manfrotto monopods (I have two!)

Andrew U. Lee
Guest

Caramba, excellent review and I am ordering immediately! Game changer indeed, especially the carry aspect, slinging it over the shoulder is KILLER!

Steve
Guest
Steve

Hi Steve, Another great video as usual. I began using an Acratech ball head with side mount gimbal feature on smaller lenses (80 – 400) and found it worked pretty well. The camera offset wasn’t an issue, my concern was more around stresses in the mounting. If this had been available, I would have bought it. I’d been using an Induro GHBA Gimbal Head (like Wimberley sidekick) on tripod and tried using it on monopod as well. I found it smoother to use and felt more secure with heavier rigs. It also had the benefit of moving lens mass closer… Read more »

Lauren Myers
Guest
Lauren Myers

I am so excited to hear about the Wimberly Monogimbal Head in your video. I am not the most mechanical person so I have a question. I have the same RRS monopod head on my Gitzo monopod that you have. If I remove that head, buy the Monogimbal head, I would like to put it on the monopod using a RRS Lever-release clamp which I would then attach the arca-swiss dovetails that is part of the Monogimbal head to the RRS clamp. Wimberly also sells quick release clamps but I prefer the RRS ones. If this makes sense to you,… Read more »

Barry
Guest

If you want you can simply remove the head you are now using and screw the MonoGimbal directly onto the monopod.

You do not need anything else.

If you want it to be even lighter you can remove the camera plate on your monopod (most simply unscrew) and mount the MonoGimbal directly on the 3/8” mounting stud.

Some monopod studs will be too long with the plate removed, if your stud is too long you can get a different mounting stud or put the plate back on.

Dan Klimek
Guest
Dan Klimek

Thanks, looks great. I have been thinking about using a monopod but a gimbal head does add a lot of extra weight. This does look like a good alternative. I would however want to try out the ball head idea suggested by Harold FEIERTAG in the comments. I have an old Manfrotto ball head on which I can attach an arca-swiss clamp from another head. I also noticed in you video that when you were porting your camera and monopod using a conventional gimbal that all the weight of the camera/gimbal was putting a bending stress on the top most… Read more »

Barry
Guest

You are correct, the offset nature of this gimbal does put some additional stress on the monopod, and a flimsy poorly built monopod may break.
Wimberly recommends a monopod capacity of 3x the weight of your rig.
I have broken 3 cheap flimsy monopods, but I have been using sturdy monopods for a long time and never had a problem with a good monopod.

Surprisingly have also found that aluminum monopods are a bit more resistant to breakage than comparable carbon monopods.

But it is important to use a good monopod and if you do you will have absolutely no problems.

Bruce
Guest
Bruce

I prefer using the Manfrotto 234 monopod tilt head with an Arca-Swiss clamp attached to the top whenever possible. It puts the camera and lens directly over the monopod shaft instead of to one side as with the Wimberly device and I can have the lens foot at the bottom of the lens which makes it easier to get to the camera controls which are otherwise blocked with a side mount (as with the Sidekick)/.

Tord S. Eriksson
Guest
Tord S. Eriksson

I used that, to begin with, but prefer the Sirui Dan used before!

Tord
Guest
Tord

Ooops! Barry! No Dan! Sorry, Barry!

Tord
Guest
Tord

I am evidently out joint today, Steve!

The wife is ill, which might affect my concentration!

Barry
Guest

Hi Steve Great review. I have been using monopod gimbals similar to this for about 15 years (I have been custom modifying existing products) This one is far sturdier, lighter, and easier to use than the ones I have built. I agree with what you say, and compliment you on discovering many of the versatile uses of this in such a short time. As you have shown the offset nature of this product allows for much more versatility than a conventional gimbal. I would just like to add that using a waist level pouch or double strap web flag carrier… Read more »

Karen Kaner
Guest
Karen Kaner

great piece a kit for monopod use !! fantastic review as always Steve! thanks for sharing this info

Mac
Guest
Mac

Thanks for the video, Steve. Looks like an interesting option for big lens use on a monopod. Totally unrelated question: I have several of your e-books and know you have updated them from time-to-time. Is there some sort of version number in your e-books so I can tell if I have the latest version? Thanks.

Tim Harding
Guest
Tim Harding

Jobu Jr. gimbal.

Joe T
Guest
Joe T

I have been using the same unit for sport photography on a 500 mm f/4 lens. Still prefer bottom-mounted for greater security. Durability is another big plus.

Bob Flanagan
Guest
Bob Flanagan

Steve, will this head work on a setup where the camera is attached to the head because there is no mount on the lens?

Harold FEIERTAG
Guest
Harold FEIERTAG

Hi Steve, I can do the same with my GP Ball-Head by Acratech using gimbal and pan feature.

Barry
Guest

You can use a ball head as a gimbal, and it will work (sort of) but the MonoGimbal is designed from the ground up to be use only with monopods and lens ring equipped lenses.

It will therefore perform far better.

A zoom lens will do what many different prime lenses will do, and more, but most people will agree that the best prime lens will outperform any zoom lens.

Tom Jones
Guest
Tom Jones

Darn you Steve Perry! Just when I think I’ve got all the equipment I need/want, you produce another terrific video. I always learn from your work products. Among others this time, the tip about putting a piece of tape on the lens foot to mark the balance point. Trust all is good with you.

Gary Haigh
Guest

Looks pretty good but I think I will stick with my Gimbal on the monopod.

Charles Cummins
Guest
Charles Cummins

Nice Video, as usual. However, I’ve used monopods directly to the lens foot for years, sticking with it.

Adi
Guest

Thanks for the review, I’ve been wanting to get a monopod head for a while now. I hope you get a couple of bucks from your link.

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

Hi Steve, I’m new to using a monopod. I know you turn off vibration control when you use a tripod, but do you use it when you use a monopod? Thanks!

John Gerber
Guest
John Gerber

This could be a game changer for me because walking in the woods with a 600 mm on a sturdy tripod is just not fun. I’ve immediately ordered one and so glad you made this video.

Rob Tol
Guest
Rob Tol

280 bucks to get it in Holland ha ha no way hozee

Barry
Guest

My understanding is that the overseas shipping is rather expensive, and that the product has not yet shipped to many retailers.

I expect the price will be lower once it reaches local retailers.

John Havord
Guest
John Havord

Rob, this UK site, offers free deliver to Europe on this item –
https://www.bobrigby.com/wimberley/item/wimberley_monogimbal_head_mh_100

Hope this helps.

John Havord
Guest
John Havord

Been on the site, to order, but there is actually a £5 delivery charge. Seems quite reasonable for this type of product.