Years ago after I purchased my first larger lens, a 300 f/2.8, I used it on a tripod with a ball head but it didn’t take me long to realize that this set up was less than ideal. If you shoot frequently with longer telephoto lenses, a gimbal head belongs in your kit. Shooting with a gimbal mount allows more freedom and mobility with the camera/lens than a ball head and it gives your arms a rest from hefting the load. On the other hand, for the price of all the gear you have purchased, you do at least get a free upper body workout. When using a ball head to support a large lens/camera combo, the weight sets on a pedestal on top of the ball head lending itself to having the ball loosen a bit and the lens flopping over. A gimbal allows you to move the gear right to left and up and down all while balanced so as to require minimal effort to maneuver the system as you track your subject. Gimbals can be either side mount or low swing arm/cradle type systems. The side mount gimbals tend to minimize materials and thus size and weight, while the low swing arm/cradle system tends to be larger and heavier with the advantage of being a bit easier to mount and balance. There are also full gimbal heads which will pan both vertically and horizontally and there are gimbal attachments that only tilt in the vertical dimension while relying on a ball head for horizontal panning.
This is a review of the Black Widow Jr.3 (BWG-JR3) Gimbal head by Jobu Design. A good, reliable and flexible tripod head is a must when using long telephoto lenses. While there are many different tripod heads and mounts out there, the “Gimbal” type head is preferred, because it provides excellent stability and balance with full flexibility to rotate the lens and camera with ease. Any other tripod head type, including ball-head requires constant loosening and tightening when tracking moving subjects and if not properly tightened, could potentially go off balance and damage the equipment. There is no such threat with a gimbal-type head once everything is properly balanced and the camera with a lens could rotate in all directions without the need to adjust anything.