The Jobu Design BWG-Pro is a all-new designed gimbal head. Canadian Jobu Design thought of and listened to a number of ideas and requests to come up with the BWG-Pro aimed and targeted directly at professional nature and sport photographers.
The unit holds a lot of similarities to their older top op the line BWG-HD (Read my review of the BWG-HD) and aims to improve usability and even more importantly stability.
One way to improve stability is the increase the strength and size of the material you´re using – Unfortunately with a weight penalty. At least that’s what comes to mind at first glance seeing this using beside the BWG-HD – “What a beast this BWG-Pro is” was certainly my reaction.
My initial presumption was quickly shattered when I first picked it up from the box it came in. Being sure this BWG-Pro beast would be at least two times as heavy as the BWG-HD I prepared for a hefty lift. Totally unnecessary because the unit weighs nothing more than a few gram over the BWG-HD. The construction is totally maintenance free and enclosed to minimise sand and likewise obstructing items.
A pleasant improvement over the previous top-of-the-line model is the widened and improved base that fits tripod bases from around Gitzo 3 series and larger. A smaller tripod base might not fill out the whole gimbal base. Again it the larger size and looks adds to the even more sturdy feeling.
The knobs locking the base and swing arm are now rubberised for better comfort.
Moving upwards on the huge green arm of the gimbal reveals a new vertical lock that built inwards instead of outwards like the BWG-HD. Unlike the BWG-HD its not spring loaded which means you´ll have to align the lens in order to lock it. I like the previous spring loaded version better but I can see the idea of using the lock built in the gimbal. A good thing is that its very usable for any situation where you need to walk with your camera and lens attached without it flaking around.
The swing arm itself it also new built out of fewer peaces and feature a more heavy duty construction again makes you wonder how many kilos this unit actually support. Like the previous version its also adjustable in height so you´ll be able to fit whatever lens setup you might own.
The quick release plate is identical to the BWG-HD and utilises the arca-swiss style configuration with lens plate stops. The locking knob is replaced by a better plastic version rather than the slippery steel version the BWG-HD uses.
Coming from the Jobu BWG-HD the main improvements in use is an even more smooth tilting perhaps due to the new ball-bearing construction. It´s easily the smoothest tilting I have ever tried. It´s actually so smooth it essentially aligns the lens and camera automatically if not slightly locked. And bit slightly it means on a hint of turning of the knobs before the lens stays in whatever position you left it in, excellent for birds in flight or perhaps tracking a formula one car. – Very impressive!
The horizontal panning is as smooth as before perhaps slightly better but not a huge improvement – But in all fairness it was pretty much like butter before. Using the knobs it takes very little to lock the rig completely down.
A thing perhaps easily recognizable as the improved vertical tilting is the overall stability and tendency to prevent camera shake. If you are noticing any shake blame anything else than the gimbal – Its really that good even using a configuration close to 8kg´s as I´m using with the Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 EX HSM lens and 1D Mark II housing.
I recommend using the HQ button for better video quality.
It would be hard to not recommend Jobu BWG-PRO for whatever lens and setup you might come up with. It will handle them all with ease due to the heavy duty construction and very smooth operations. It´s clearly a better Gimbal head than the previous installment the Jobu BWG-HD Black Widow but also more expensive. I found that to be a fair share for what more you´ll essentially have.
So if you have a 600mm F4 or perhaps even the rare Sigma 200-500mm F2.8 there´s no replacement for the Jobu BWG-PRO
Arguable the best Gimbal head on the market today in it is certainly interesting to see if anyone could top Jobu Designs current top-of-the-line model. Perhaps a carbon-fiber version?