Robert OToole Photography

Jul7

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Image Copyright 2011 Robert OToole / Robert OToole Photography.

Jobu Design Jr.3 Gimbal Head BWG-J3K

In a little over a week I will be leaving for a 26 day trip to Alaska to lead three sold out brown bear workshops. As I prepare for this trip I am looking forward to sharing my equipment choices here on my blog. The Jobu Design Jr.3 gimbal head is one of my newest  pieces of equipment and will be coming to Alaska with me for the first time. Over the three months of field testing this head has become my new favorite and has now replaced my 4th Generation Mongoose as my main gimbal head.

You should take a serious look at this head and if you are interested in buying one Jobu offered my blog readers and workshop participants a special 15% or $52 discount. See the bottom of this post for ordering details. Jobu Jr. 3 heads will also be available for test drives in all of my future workshops. Also if you are in the Tampa or Los Angeles area and would like to give the head a try let me know.

In August I will be posting a Jobu Design Jr.3 complete field report from Alaska but for now here are some highlights to get you interested.

Lightweight 1.4 lb (725 g)

This is lighter than the mongoose and less than half the weight of the Wimberley II head.

Superb lockout power

This head locks and stays locked even with a side mounted 500mm VR Nikkor lens.

Superb smooth and linear clamping

This head makes it easy to dial in just the right amount of pre-load for the smoothest planning and tilting you have ever seen.

Compact size

At 9 x 8″ (22.86 x 20.32cm) this is smaller than a Mongoose and about half the size of a Wimberly II.

Flexible horizontal or side mounting

The removable swing arm (HM-J2) makes converting to a lighter side mount style easy.

Giant rubberized knobs

Rubberized knobs make handling in cold and wet weather easy even with gloves.

Left or right hand set up

This is a great feature if you are like me and like to mount your gimbal head on the right side to keep your lens controls on the left side accessible.

Solid and rigid design

The one-piece hollow, cast, heat treated design keeps the head totally free from flex.

Arca-Swiss Compatible Quick Release Clamp

The clamp design makes lever clamp style  pre-load adjustments unnecessary.

Great customer service

Jobu Design makes customer service and support a first priority.

Excellent value

$349 for such a well engineered, high quality, high performance head is unheard of in the tripod head industry.

To purchase this head directly from Jobu with the 15% discount follow these simple instructions.

1. Follow this link, a new window should open if not open a new tab in your browser and past the address into the URL window.

http://www.jobu-design.com/catalog/item/2588354/7937720.htm

2. Look for the orange add to cart button on the right side. Press the button to add the item to your cart

3. Look for the promo code box right below the price . Click in the box and enter the my special promo code in all lower case, no capital letters:

robert

4. Press the orange update button under the subtotal box.

5. Press the orange checkout button or the continue shopping button right next to the update button.

Please let us know if you have any questions or problems ordering anything on the Jobu site.

Email Robert@RobertOToolePhotography.com or call 310.619.8017

All content (including text, design, photos, layout, and graphics) are copyright © 2011 Robert OToole. All rights reserved.

44 Comments

  • Comment by Tom — July 8, 2011 @ 12:05 am

    I see on the Jobu Website that pro bodies with a battery grip may not have as much vertical range of motion. I shoot a D3s with a Nikon 300/2.8 most of the time (with and without TCs). Any insight you can give me as to this rig and weight combination on the Jr.3?

  • Comment by admin — July 8, 2011 @ 12:30 am

    Hi Tom,

    Overall the 300/2.8 + D3S would work very well, almost perfectly on the Jbou Jr3.

    With some shorter lens and body combination’s there can be a balance issue, others it can be a tilt restriction, due to the compact design. If I had a 300/2.8 with me I would stick it on my tripod and send you a pic but all I have with me now is a 500/4 VR. If you would like I can snap an image tomorrow with the 500 on full tilt, just send me your email address.

    Let me know,

    Robert

  • Comment by Tom — July 8, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

    Thank you for the feedback Robert. I will send my email address to your email.

  • Comment by GG Herman — July 14, 2011 @ 11:54 am

    I am not currently using a gimbal tripod head and I am not sure how it works in vertical mode. Is there a photo showing how this works in vertical mode and whether it has to be taken off and re-mounted.

    I switch from horizontal to vertical in my photography so ease and speed of doing this is important.

    Thanks.

  • Comment by admin — July 15, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    Hi CG,

    Switching from horizontal to vertical on a gimbal head depends on the exact lens being used but since they are designed for telephoto use I would have to assume it equipped with a tripod collar. With this set up it is simply a quick twist of the tripod collar lock knob then you can rotate as needed. When I shoot with a long lens on a gimbal head I leave my tripod collar lock knob loose so I am free to rotate anytime.
    If you have never used a gimbal head with a telephoto I would really recommend you try one. It will allow much more freedom and speed working in the field.
    Thanks for the interest.

    Robert

  • Comment by Milt — July 15, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    Robert, on your recommendation, I have ordered the Jobu Jr 3 gimbal + a lens plate. I hope all will be well with my rig. I am using the Olympus E-30 with battery grip and the Sigma 50-500mm lens + either the 1.4 or 2.0 teleconverter.

  • Comment by admin — July 15, 2011 @ 10:49 am

    Hi Milt,

    That combination should work well with Jr3. Also make sure you try it in the side mount configuration to see what you prefer.

    Once you get it if you have any setup or use questions using it just drop me an email.

    Robert

  • Comment by Wilson — July 15, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    Dear Robert,

    I own a Canon 100-400 with 1.4 extender and have a 5D Mark II. It looks like the jr3 would work fine but what if I were to use a larger lens say an 800 mm?

    Thanks,

    Wilson

  • Comment by admin — July 15, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

    Hi Wilson,

    The Canon 800 is right around the recommended limit but I know a few photographers that photograph with it on a MKIV with zero issues or problems. I think the limit is on the conservative side, even with the 800 + MKIV combo there is no stress or flex with the head at all.

    Thanks for the interest.

    Robert

  • Comment by Tom — July 21, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

    Robert-

    Thank you for the Jobu JR3 recommendation. I just got mine today. Thank you for the discount code – a nice bonus! It is early, but so far all I can say is SMOOTH and LIGHT!!
    It works perfect with my Nikon D3s and 300/2.8 lens.

    I did get the replacement foot and that was a good suggestion. Thanks for the help and advice.

    Tom

  • Comment by Dan — August 6, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    Hi Robert,
    In a prior comment about vertical vs horozontal you suggest that since a gimble head is designed for long lesnes that usually have a lens mounted tripod coller, no problem.

    I’m thinking of this as a replacement for my current Gitzo ball head and would use this head as my only tripod head. In this situation, I would need it to work with my shorter lenses that don’t have collars as well as longer lenses that do.

    Can you address it’s use where a quick plate on the camera body itself is attached to the head. I’m interested in two things in this situation:

    1) What needs to be done to switch from horozontal to vertical?

    2) Do this head have some kind of slide mechanism that allows balance to be achieved when the camera itself is mounted on the head?

    Thanks — Dan

  • Comment by admin — August 19, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for writing.
    Since the Jobu Jr.3 is designed to be used with long lenses, you would need some type of adapter to use a short lens without tripod collar. Jobu offers such an adapter: http://www.jobu-design.com/catalog/item/2593851/5124831.htm
    To get a better idea on how the adapter works, look for the additional image link under the thumbnail on the left side of the Jobu adapter page.
    This would allow you mount a body with a short lens and allow you to tilt to vertical anytime.

    Converting the Jr. 3 from H to V mount only takes a couple of minutes but is not something you would do in the field since you need a hex wrench and the fasteners are small.

    Hope this answers your questions, let me know if you need any help anytime.

    Robert

  • Comment by Robert — August 29, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

    Robert:

    I’ve been using the Jr. 3 since the Bird & Photo fest in May. Although it is my first gimbal head, I’ve been very happy with it. When you suggest side mounted, do you need an accessory. what is the advantage?

  • Comment by John Turnbull — September 3, 2011 @ 11:08 am

    Robert, I have been searching for advice on buying one of these and would appreciate some assistance.

    I have a 400 F/5.6 I would like to mount along with my 5D Mk2. As the 400 F/5.6 has a tripod collar do I need to buy anything else such as a lens plate or does just buying the Jr 3 give me all I need. The articles I have read are just not clear, well not clear to me and I am thinking I am the problem and not the articles.

    Many thanks – John

  • Comment by admin — September 4, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

    Hi John, To use your 400 with the Jr.3 you will need an Arca Swiss Style plate. Best place to pick one of these up is on the Jobu site or try ebay. The Canon 400/5.6 is really under rated, its a great lens for birds in flight.

    Thanks.
    Robert

  • Comment by admin — September 4, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

    The advantage to side mounting is weight savings also for balance. When side mounted it automatically centers vertically. Its hard to give a better answer without an idea of the lens you are using.
    To side mount remove the “L” shaped bracket, called a swing arm, with the supplied allen wrench then remove and reinstall the clamp without the “L” bracket.

    Hope this helps.

    Robert

  • Comment by admin — October 23, 2011 @ 12:40 am

    Hello Robert,

    I prefer the side mount configuration first of all because it is lighter due to the fact that you can remove the swing arm. Also in side mount configuration the lens automatically centered vertically.
    Some people find it more difficult to mount, although I do not find this to be the case. Also using a flash bracket is more difficult in side mount, you will not be able to use the flash arm that is made for the head.
    To set up in side mount you just use the supplied hex key and remove the swing arm and install the QR clamp in the side mount configuration.
    Hope this answers all of your questions.

    Robert

  • Comment by Allan — October 23, 2011 @ 8:14 am

    Will the Jobu head work well with a D3s and 600 VR, used over with a tc? Presently, I use the heavy duty brand gimbal head but would not mind saving a bit of caryy around weight.

  • Comment by Susan Addicott — October 26, 2011 @ 3:14 am

    Hello Robert.

    I wonder if you would be so kind as to help with some information on the above mentioned gimbal head.

    I am very new to photography and use the Sony A350 with the 500mm Reflex Lens for nature photography. I am soon to purchase the Sony A77 to pair with the same lens.

    Will the jobu be suitable for this equipment on a tripod and is it easy to use. ( For a lone female with no experience of such things.)

    I would greatly appreciate your advice.

    Thank you.
    Susan.

  • Comment by admin — October 26, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

    Hello Robert.

    I wonder if you would be so kind as to help with some information on the above mentioned gimbal head.

    I am very new to photography and use the Sony A350 with the 500mm Reflex Lens for nature photography. I am soon to purchase the Sony A77 to pair with the same lens.

    Will the jobu be suitable for this equipment on a tripod and is it easy to use. ( For a lone female with no experience of such things.)

    I would greatly appreciate your advice.

    Thank you.
    Susan.

    Hi Susan,

    A Jobu gimble head would work very well you for nature photography with your camera lens combo. You will need to add a quick release plate to the lens tripod foot to mount on the Jobu. If you don’t have one of these you can buy one from Jobu at the same time you buy the head, or you can buy one locally.

    Thanks for taking time to write. Let me know how it works out.

    Robert

  • Comment by Susan Addicott — October 27, 2011 @ 2:52 am

    Thank you very much. I will purchase it and let you know. Could you please tell me if your APTATS CD’s work with a Mac and CS4 please.

    Thank You.
    Susan

  • Comment by Rudy — November 10, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    Will Jobu ship free with your discount?….thanks

  • Comment by admin — November 10, 2011 @ 11:54 am

    Hi Rudy

    Please email me Robert at RobertOToole.com, I might be able to help with an offer.

    Thanks,

    Robert

  • Comment by Fabio Bernardino — November 15, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    Hi. I’m considering upgrading my Jr2 with a sturdier model.
    Combo is Sigma 120-300/2.8 + TC 2X + Canon 7D + grip.

    Do you think the Jr3 can handle the weight ?
    Have you tried the other models ?
    What do you suggest ?

    Thank you.

  • Comment by admin — November 15, 2011 @ 11:42 am

    Hi. I’m considering upgrading my Jr2 with a sturdier model.
    Combo is Sigma 120-300/2.8 + TC 2X + Canon 7D + grip.

    Do you think the Jr3 can handle the weight ?
    Have you tried the other models ?
    What do you suggest ?

    Hello Fabio,

    The JR3 would work perfectly with your combo. My main my lens is 3.8 kg (500 VR) vs the 120-300 which is only 2.6 kg, and it works very well, I am very pleased with the performance and I think you will be also!

    Thanks for writing.

    Robert

  • Comment by Mike — November 16, 2011 @ 1:21 am

    Hi Robert. Just passing on my thoughts for your consideration. I’m using a Nikon D3s with a 200-400 VR and 1.4TC mounted on a Wimberley head. Very nice head, but a bit heavy, so was excited to hear about the new JR3. It appears to be of excellent quality, but sadly has one deal-breaking feature for me: you have to switch hands to adjust both horizontal and vertical axis rotation. If Jobu were to move the vertical axis knob to the other side as with the Wimberley, I happily give it a try.

  • Comment by admin — November 16, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    Hi Robert. Just passing on my thoughts for your consideration. I’m using a Nikon D3s with a 200-400 VR and 1.4TC mounted on a Wimberley head. Very nice head, but a bit heavy, so was excited to hear about the new JR3. It appears to be of excellent quality, but sadly has one deal-breaking feature for me: you have to switch hands to adjust both horizontal and vertical axis rotation. If Jobu were to move the vertical axis knob to the other side as with the Wimberley, I happily give it a try.

    Hi Mike,

    Having pan and tilt controls on opposite sides does not seem to be much of a problem in the field in fact I have never even given it any consideration until now. The reason is that the main advantage of a gimbal head design is that the head is always balanced. This allows a gimbal head to be set up with only a small amount of drag on the controls so it will always ready for action and not locked down all the time between images as you would have to do with a ball head or pan and tilt. So this means that the only time you really need to lock the head down is when you walk away from your tripod. This means I tend to shoot with the head unlocked about 95% of the time when I am shooting. About the only time when I lock one control or the other is when I am doing pan blurs, or tilt blurs. I will lock the tilt control and leave the pan control with only a small amount of drag. This allows me to pan with the subjects with a slow shutter speed, typically 1/50th to about 2 seconds.

    One important issue you should also think about is lock control linearity. The pan and tilt lock controls on a on the Jobu design heads tend to be much smoother and have a much more linear clamping control than the pan and tilt lock controls on a Wimberley II. A common problem with a Wimberley II is that the pan control lock is more of a on and off switch without a linear range of clamping force as the Wimberley I head or the current Jobu design heads. This might not be an issue for some but for me and the photography that I do, both stop action and long shutter blurs, its is very important.

    Hope this information helps.

    BTW if you are interested in a Jobu demo let me know I might be able to arrange something. Jobu designs supplies demo equipment for all of my image presentations, in the field workshops and photo tours. Let me know what area you are located and I might be able to arrange something.

    Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts.

    Regards,

    Robert

  • Comment by admin — December 12, 2011 @ 11:53 am

    Hi Alan, Not sure how I missed this comment until now. I have had feedback from people using 600s but I havent tried one myself on the Jr. 3. I think the best solution for you is to give a Jr.3 a try, I have demos at all my workshops and shows BTW. Where are you located? Sorry for the slow response.

    Robert

  • Comment by Justin — December 21, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

    I would love to check out the Black Widow Jr. 3 if you are available…I am in LA county…thinking of trying it with a Canon 500mm just to see if doable and can save some $$ and most importantly weight…have been torn between the mongoose etc right now. Thanks

  • Comment by admin — December 22, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    Hi justin, just sent an email reply, thanks for the interest. Robert

  • Comment by CS Yu — January 15, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

    I’m interested in the Jr. 3 and thinking of puting my Nikkor 500vr on it. If you have a photo of the combination please email me. And according to spec Jr. 3 only accepts weight up to 10 lbs, but D3 + 500VR + TC etc are almost 12 lbs so will it stress the head after prolonged use? Please advise.

  • Comment by admin — January 16, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

    CS,

    The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR + Pro body + TC-14E 1.4x combination would work very well on the Jobu Jr.3 without any stress or problems long term. Don’t worry at all, I have been using a similar set up, sometimes with a 1.7x, sometimes with D700 or D300s, since April 2011 without a single issue. My head is as strong and rigid as ever. The Jobu heads are over engineered and I find that the manufacturers specs are very conservative.

    Hope this helps.

    Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any additional questions.

    Thanks,

    Robert

  • Comment by CS Yu — January 16, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

    Thanks Robert. Already placed an order. BTW, I guess it can be attached directly on Gitzo “2″ series tripod(mine is GT2541) without any other attachment? I know that I need at least series “3″ leg though.

    And thanks for the 15% discount! (I only knew that when placing the order :-p)
    CS

  • Comment by admin — January 16, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

    Yes should mount right no problem. If you need any help using it let me know.

    Thanks for using the link.

    Robert

  • Comment by monty Wild — January 23, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    I am trying to put together a package to use with either a monopod ( and I will also get this from Jobu ) or my tripod ( Which is a Flashpoint – 1428 ) but purchasing several dedicated heads becomes rather expensive. I am using a Canon 40D with an L plate from RRS and a RRS BH – 40 LR ballhead . My largest lens, so far, is a 100 – 400 Canon lens. I also purchased a lens plate from RRS for this lens. My walk around lens is a Canon 28 – 135 and am looking hard at a Canon S series wide angle 10 -22 lens. Will this gimbel work with what I have or do I need something in addition? What do you think about using a gimbel on a monopod? I should also say that I am a beginner very late in life. I have on my bucket list an African safari dedicated to photographers and so am trying to purchase equipment and learn to use it properly before any major trips and without breaking the bank and with a view to multiple uses. Maybe I am just dreaming.

  • Comment by admin — January 23, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

    Hi Monty,

    I am trying to put together a package to use with either a monopod ( and I will also get this from Jobu ) or my tripod ( Which is a Flashpoint – 1428 ) but purchasing several dedicated heads becomes rather expensive. I am using a Canon 40D with an L plate from RRS and a RRS BH – 40 LR ballhead . My largest lens, so far, is a 100 – 400 Canon lens. I also purchased a lens plate from RRS for this lens. My walk around lens is a Canon 28 – 135 and am looking hard at a Canon S series wide angle 10 -22 lens. Will this gimbel work with what I have or do I need something in addition?

    The JR. 3 gimbal would work very well for your set up and the Canon 100-400. Really the JR. 3 is the perfect for travel since it is so lightweight and compact.

    You would be better off hand-holding the shorter lenses instead of using them on a gimbal head. You can use them on a gimbal head but you would need to buy an adapter.

    What do you think about using a gimbel on a monopod? I should also say that I am a beginner very late in life. I have on my bucket list an African safari dedicated to photographers and so am trying to purchase equipment and learn to use it properly before any major trips and without breaking the bank and with a view to multiple uses.

    Yes, I have used the Jr. 3 on a monopod and found it to work very well. The head is light enough not to add much additional weight but it makes the monopod easier to use with the tilt and pan controls.

    Thanks for writing. Let me know if you would like to purchase one.

  • Comment by brian — January 27, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    Hello Robert,
    I am curious what your affiliation with Jobu is. I am very interested in the products.

  • Comment by admin — January 27, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    Hi Brian,

    As a professional photographer I have been a Jr. 3 user since early 2011. Jobu has been very helpful by offering my workshop participants, show participants and blog readers a 15% discount (checkout code: robert). This year I will be field testing some new Jobu equipment and posting my findings and observations here.

    Let me know if I can help answer any questions.

    Thanks for taking time to comment.

  • Pingback by Quick Release Clamp Shootout - Robert OToole Photography — January 31, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

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  • Comment by Richard Wozniak — February 1, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    Hello Robert
    I have used a Wimberley MkI with a Really Right Stuff Quick Release for a number of years mostly in Africa. The Wimberley although excellent, is a bit of a lump, so the Jobu Head looks interesting. My only concern is that it does not seem to have any vertical adjustment of the lens platform which would seem to make it impossible to centre the lens body on the axis of rotation and so make the achievement of a truly ‘weightless’ neutral balance (without any drag dialled in on the knob) unachievable and thus losing one of the prime benefits the gimbal design. As you know, when correctly set up you can let go of a 600mm in any position completely unlocked and it will stay put. Can the Jobu do that. If it can, then I am interested.

    The RRS quick release is in a class of its own. Screw knobs are always slow and a sure fire way to lose shots especially when combined with side mounting (painful!). If the photography is fairly static eg set up and wait for the birds to turn up, then it’s OK but in the bush, wild animals do not hang about waiting for their pictures to be taken so you have to be able to mount/ demount your big lens like greased lightening. Very often if you don’t get your shot within 30 seconds of arriving on a sighting, it’s too late and the chance is lost. I have seen so many guys on safari fumbling and cursing trying to get big lenses mounted while the object of their desire disappears over the horizon.That’ where a good quick lever release matched to a plate from the same manufacturer comes into its own. No contest.

  • Comment by admin — February 1, 2012 @ 10:53 am

    …… the Jobu Head looks interesting. My only concern is that it does not seem to have any vertical adjustment of the lens platform which would seem to make it impossible to centre the lens body on the axis of rotation and so make the achievement of a truly ‘weightless’ neutral balance (without any drag dialled in on the knob) unachievable and thus losing one of the prime benefits the gimbal design. …..Can the Jobu do that. If it can, then I am interested.

    The Jobu Jr 3 will balance perfectly with a 500/4 with or without a convertor or extender in place with a low profile QR foot. Unfortunately I cannot say if the 600/4 is balance-able for sure or not and since the 6 is much taller you might have to set up the head in side mount configuration to achieve neutral balance. I wish I had a 600/4 here to try for you but I don’t have access to one right now. Give me some time perhaps and I can let you know later.

    Also you might want to look at the jobu head that is one size up from the Jr 3, the HD MkIII: http://www.jobu-design.com/catalog/item/2588354/6844286.htm. At 2 lbs 10 oz it is a lot lighter than the Wimb I but is not as compact or light as the JR 3. I actually have a MKIII here to test so I will let you know what I find and give me some time to see if I get a chance to test a 600 on the JR 3.

    Thanks for the interest.

    Robert

  • Comment by Jerry Windham — May 2, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    Hi, Robert. I’m very interested in the Jr. 3 and a top mount flash bracket. The thing I’m wondering about is if I will need any kind of special plate to mount a Canon flash to the top of the bracket. Can’t seem to find that anywhere. I think I only need one plate for mounting the lens and flash bracket to the head but not sure about the flash. Thanks for any help.

    Jerry

  • Comment by admin — May 2, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    I’m very interested in the Jr. 3 and a top mount flash bracket. The thing I’m wondering about is if I will need any kind of special plate to mount a Canon flash to the top of the bracket. Can’t seem to find that anywhere. I think I only need one plate for mounting the lens and flash bracket to the head but not sure about the flash. Thanks for any help.

    Hi Jerry,

    You are correct the bracket just has a proper notch and captive knob with threads to mount the off shoe camera cord. This mount is the normal size to fit the flash shoe or more often an off shoe camera cord so you can trigger and your camera can communicate with the flash.

    I can send me an email I can reply with a close up photo.

    Robert

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