Image Credit: chameleonseye via iStock
In the market for a new gimbal tripod head?
There's some excellent options out there, but many more that are lacking in functionality, durability, price, or all of the above.
The gimbals featured below, however, represent the best of these worlds, with affordable options that are feature-rich and will provide you with durable performance for the long-term.
Without further ado, let's have a look at this year's best gimbal tripod heads!
Movo GH800 ($199.95)
If you need a do-it-all gimbal that can hold a lot of weight without weighing you down, look no further than the Movo GH800.
This rig can hold over 30 pounds of gear, which is ideal for everything from wildlife photography with a long lens to getting gorgeously smooth tracking shots while shooting video.
The gravity-balanced gimbal head makes the heaviest of camera and lens kits seem virtually weightless, and with the 120mm long Arca-Swiss-compatible quick-release plate, you get all the support you need for most telephoto lenses.
The Movo GH800 also features separate locks to control the 360-degree panning based and swinging arm, which allows a full range of motion for tracking subjects like athletes, birds, and wildlife.
Another handy feature of this gimbal is its large, lobed knobs, which make for easy operation, even if you’re wearing gloves or working in the dark.
There’s numbered scales along the panning base as well as the vertical arm, that way you can quickly and easily repeat your setup regardless of your camera and lens combinations.
Speaking of easy, the Movo GH800 also has a highly adjustable lens platform with 4-inches of play up and down to accommodate a wide variety of camera setups.
Perhaps best of all, this gimbal is under $200.00, so you get tons of features, excellent build quality, and a price that won’t break the bank!
Wimberley WH200 ($594.90)
Next on our list of the top gimbal tripod heads is the Wimberley WH200.
This rig has an elevated tilt mechanism and adjustable platform that makes the camera's center of gravity perfectly aligned with its tilt axis. This renders a virtually weightless camera experience for smooth panning and tilting.
What's more, that smooth action means that you can control a full frame DSLR and a 600mm lens with just one finger!
But don't think that because it can hold tons of gear that it's a big, heavy gimbal...
Instead, this Version II is more compact and lightweight than its predecessor, and features a redesigned panning base with soft-touch knobs that make operation even easier.
There's an integrated Arca-type quick-release base that's compatible with plates from Acratech, Really Right Stuff, Wimberley, and other top manufacturers.
You'll also appreciate the fact that the pan locking knob is on the side of the head, which means you can operate both knobs with the same hand.
The powder coated/anodized finish gives this gimbal a great look and long-term durability as well.
Benro GH5C ($399.00)
You won't have any difficulty handling your telephoto lens with this carbon fiber gimbal.
The Benro GH5C allows for ultra-smooth operation with even the largest of telephoto lenses thanks to its 9.7-inch gimbal head that can support up to a whopping 66 pounds.
Even with an ultra-long telephoto lens and big DSLR, you can fast-track moving subjects like wildlife and athletes on the playing field with the greatest of ease.
The PL100LW plate is made of aluminum and is Arca-type compatible and height-adjustable as well.
The arm can swing a great degree up and down while the tension control knob allows you to fine-tune the drag associated with moving the gimbal's arm.
The gimbal head rotates 360-degrees with ease and can lock into place with an independent pan lock. With vertical and panoramic scales on the head, you can easily duplicate your setup each and every time too!
ProMediaGear GKJr. Katana Junior ($549.95)
This lightweight aluminum gimbal head is ideal for nature photographers, sports photographers, and adventure photographers that need a feature-packed gimbal without having to carry a big, bulky head.
The frame of this gimbal has been precision CNC machined so that every single ounce of unneeded weight has been shed.
The super-strong frame is hollow inside, too, making it just 2.4-pounds in total weight. Yet, this little guy can support up to 50 pounds of gear!
The variable-height Arca-type compatible support arm is compatible with a wide range of gear, from small action cameras up to a 600mm super telephoto lens.
It offers fluid movement on a 360-degree panning axis and on the floating tilt as well. Both axes can be locked separately using big, beefy, easy-to-use aluminum control knobs.
Since it's designed for adventurists, the head offers maintenance-free operation with a hard anodized aluminum coating and sealed ball bearings in the head's joints.
That means this thing is highly resistant to corrosion or malfunction because of debris, moisture, dirt, and other elements.
Gitzo GHFG1 Fluid Gimbal Head ($499.98)
While Gitzo might be best known for their tripods, their GHFG1 Gimbal Head is an excellent option for photographers and videographers.
With ultra-smooth motion and precise movements, you can capture photos and videos that fulfill your creative vision and adhere to the high standards of quality you expect of your work.
From wildlife photography to birdwatching, street videos to recording sporting events, this gimbal head offers superb balance, even when loaded up with gear.
The head supports nearly 18 pounds of gear and weighs just three pounds by itself.
It has a tilt range of +/- 180-degrees as well as full 360-degree panning range. Both axes have independent locking mechanisms for precise control.
The fluid cartridge technology used in this head is borrowed from the cinema industry, so any movements are rendered smooth and stable.
What's more, tracking subjects at high speed is made easier thanks to Gitzo's Whip-Pan, which gives you precise control via automatic friction without shock or vibration.
Honorable Mention - Acratech GP Ball Head
Ok, ok, I know that the Acratech GP Ball Head isn't a gimbal head. So why include it on this list??
I've used the original GP Ball Head for nearly a decade now, and it is hands-down the best ball head I've ever used.
In fact, I just got a new limited-edition red GP Ball Head (shown above and below; contact Acratech to order your own!) because I loved my old one so much.
This thing is simply built like a tank. It works just as it should and offers you smooth, precise adjustments, even when it's supporting a heavy load.
In years past, I've used my GP Ball Head with the Nikon D810 and a 300mm f/2.8 lens. As you can see in the photos above, my new gear isn't exactly light, either.
Yet, my trusty Acratech Ball Head works like a charm! Truthfully, it is a straight-up rock star accessory.
Plus, all of Acratech's products are made right here in California by a family-run team of dedicated craftspeople. It's no wonder that Acratech gets so many accolades for their products!