The Jobu Design Black Widow Heaby Duty gimbal head or BWG-HD is a no-nonsense high-end gimbal head for those who want unsurpassed quality with maximum flexibility.
This heavy duty version of the Black Widow is aimed at high-end telephoto and super telephotos lenses such as the 500mm F4, 600mm F4, 800mm F5.6 and even the heaviest 300-800mm F5.6 sigma zoom. If you have a smaller lens such as the 300mm F2.8 I recommend the non-HD Black Widow.
A gimbal head is an ingenious design which rightfully adjusted is completely friction free. Compared to a pan/tilt or a ball head its not alone a more stable platform but also much quicker since there´s ever no need to adjust friction. That means its great to statics subject with the option to lock the head down to a complete halt (although its not really needed) and superb for things in action such as fast moving birds and similar. The quality shines through even the sturdiest and heaviest lens such as the 300-800mm F5.6 5.8 Kg (without lens coat) sigma beast dubbed rightfully by Romy Ocon as the Sigmonster. Add a 1kg+ camera and its a hefty 7kg´s+ (15.5pounds) setup the Black Widow HD handles with ease.
The quick-release mount is Arca-Swiss style compatible which is a plus because you can get lensplates in almost all sizes. Jobu Design makes three different sizes from a small 3.5″ plate up to a 7″ plate. I use the latter.
A small but another great feature about the Black Widow is the horizontal lock that when enabled keeps the lens in horizontal position without tightening the friction handles. Great when switching camera body or adding teleconverters since it´s very quick and a safe method.
The Black Widow in action
This setup seen in the video was the Sigma 300-800 F5.6 lens and a Canon 40D with a batterygrip. The Black Widow was mounted on top of a Gitzo tripod. The sleeving on the Black Widow comes as an accessory.
As shown in the video the handling is superb and butter smooth. A very important thing such as the ability to stay in the same position and still have the quickness if your target should suddenly move is a huge plus and a true test of what a proper gimbal head can do. The friction handles was not tightened at all.
Overall the Jobu Design Black Widow Heavy Duty gimbal head is a superb product. The smooth panning is perfect for birds in flight or other action photograhy and the quick horizontal lock is a brilliant plus. The Black Widow holds pretty much any lens and the built quality is second to none. If you have a 300mm F2.8 or similar size it might be too much but for anything bigger its highly recommendable.