The Wimberley CK-100 Sidemount Conversion Kit arrives in a small package with an Allen Hex tool, two hex srews that include some thread lock pre-applied, the quick release sidemount and of course instructions.
Installation: Using the hex tool you remove two screws and pull off the CK-200, this process takes all of 5 minutes. Once the two screws are removed the CK-200 simply pulls off - easy.
- You then attach the CK-100 onto the gimble head and replace two hex screws and snug then down
- You now have a sidemount gimble.
Benefits: The two big benefits is weight reduction of about 12 ounces, and the placement of the lens & camera will be higher - allowing for a move steep upward swing of the camera & lens. I have a Gitzo Series 3 tripod which is about perfect for my height, but with the sidekick I do not need to extend the smaller legs as much - making the tripod more stable. As mentioned, the traditional gimbal may not allow for a camera and lens to swing up high enough without adjusting the side release while the Sidemount places the lens & camera directly on the upper most attachment point - giving about 10 degrees more upward rotation.
Better for: Lens up to 300mm size, such as the Canon 300mm, Sigma 120-300mm and smaller. Best for: 70-200 sized lens.
- I can not recommend the CK-100 sidemount for Supertelephotos such as 500mm or greater. Why? I found through use, vibrations are more noticeable with the longer heavier lens mounted on the Sidemount. The lens has a tendency to resonate the slightest vibrations in a side to side motion, resulting in less than optimal image capture. Vibrations may vary depending on the lens foot you are using. I was using the RRS which I believe contributed to the issue.
- Secondly, mounting heavier lens to the sidemount is tiresome and difficult as you need to balance the lens in one had while securing the release knob with the other. In my opinion this places a lot of risk for a dropped lens. The best way I found for larger lens is to rotate the sidemount upward slightly, secure it and then mount the lens.
Overall: For the use case - it works. However, Wimberly could release a much better easily configurable gimbal the allows both setups to co-exist through better engineering. Wimberly did release a sidekick, but the entire gimbal should be re-engineered as a modular rail based solution. Rather than needing tools to remove and attach for different lens sizes, and for me that is just too much trouble. I have re-attached the original setup and will stick with that for better more stable imaging platform.