The Feisol UA-180 Carbon fiber U-mount gimbalstyle head is as the title suggest a brand new carbon fiber head for telephoto to super telephoto lenses. The head is rated at a staggering 15kg´s.
As of today Feisol have been making their famous carbon fiber tripods and ball-heads and decided to get into the small and tough market of gimbal heads after demands from their costumers.
The head itself is quite a thing to look at. Very impressive and very exotic looking the Feisol fiber feels top notch quality with dual adjustments for everything included panning, tilting, height of the quick-release base and the huge quick-release. All which supplies the user with highly tweak able settings for whatever equipment you may use. Feisol used high quality ball barrings for both horizontal and vertical level with dual barrings in the to “towers”. The panning base is easily locked using on of the two locking knobs or both. The same goes for the vertical adjustment knobs although the best setting seems to be the one where logically both sides have been adjusted accordingly.
All loosened the base and therefore the panning it ultra smooth easily in the same region as the Jobu Design BWG-PROthat I currently use. The base is marked with degrees. The locking knobs are made of hard plastic and although small dothe job without you would ever worry they would come loose. It would have been nice if the knobs were rubberized but its a minor thing.
The dual knobs are perfect for left or right hand users and it requires only a small turn in order to lock it down.
The vertical locks uses the same principles and requires tension in order for the swing to work probably with heavier lenses. Behinds the great knobs lies ball-bearings of a superb quality – One in each side and are easily tweaked to just the tension the user would want. Its amazing to see the craftsmanship in this area especially with the woven carbon fiber. Both knobs have a good size and the ball-bearing will manage whatever lens you might find. They are certainly heavy duty.
Moving on the quick release plate that it placed on a vertical adjustable horizontal plate that allows adjustments within the precise millimeter to ensure your lens will fit correctly, not only due to clearance between the base and lensfootbut also to achieve better swing and smoother tilting. Again made with tight clearances and great craftsmanship.
The quick release plate features, as all of the others on this gimbal, a dual knob solution to ensure a super tight grip. The quick release is as long as you´ll probably ever need and suited for the included 7″ (17.8cm) lensplate or the lens rails the Feisol has as an accessories – Great! These lens rails helps with stability especially in low light situations and is basically a huge lens plate that combines the bottom of you SLR body with the lens foot. Perfect in low light situations where the extra stability is needed although you will not be able to rotate the lens within its collar. These come in various sizes.
The quick release features a safety stop in order to stop the lens from gliding away and down in case you did´nt tightened the knob correctly. It is a requirement that you´ll use a Feisol lensplate. – The 7″ plate I have from Jobu Design does not utilize this safety stop feature on the Feisol UA-180 but fits the quick release plate non the less.
Needless to write but this quick release ensures more grip than you will find on other similar sized gimbal.
The knobs are milled out in aluminium with a small yet stylish carbon fiber cap. – Again this head is almost a sculpture in itself.
In the video below you see the head mounted on a Gitzo tripod and a Canon 40D plus a Sigma 500mm F4.5 EX lens
I recommend using the HQ button for better video quality.
In everyday use the head is overall both very smooth and very quick to use. Much much better than the less expansive Manfrotto 393 head and quite close to the Jobu Design BWG-HD. Given the different design on both heads I might conclude that locked down the Feisol UA-180 is more a stable head and unlocked the panning can be made even smoother . – Although it is easily adjusted to my needs. I like the BWG-HD better when it comes to tilting but its a close call.
The Feisol UA-180 is no doubt a more exclusive and sexy head to look at and without doubt one of the best Gimbal / big lens heads to date – Big kudos to Feisol for their first attempt in making a proper big lens solution. They certainly did.