Field Test - Redged Swing Head Pro RWC3
You know how it is when you are working out of a vehicle on safari ... there is just no such thing as the perfect camera support, vital when you are using large and heavy lenses. Wimberley provided a solution some years ago ... but it comes at a sickening cost to your bank balance and is extremely difficult to source here in Africa. I see many photographers working with a bean bag, which is fine for shorter length telephotos, but for the "big guns" they just do not provide sufficient stability. However, I think we have found a solution ......
In recent weeks I've been field testing the Redged Swing Head Pro RWC3 ...... so lets start with the hard facts. It weighs in at 1.4kgs (Wimberley and Redged are almost identical in weight Wimberley: 1,46kg – Redged: 1,43kg) which gives an indication of the quality build. Rock solid, great finish with an absence of any "shiny" steel which is a "no no" for wildlife photography. More importantly, this solid build gives it the capability to comfortably hold a max load of 10kgs which should see you comfortably hold every lens combination in your bag. I was using primarily a Nikon D3s / D4 body with a 600m F4 monster which sat nicely and moved as smooth as silk on the head mount. If you haven't used a head such as this before , how it works is that the camera and lens combination is attached at the tripod collar to the plate mount. You can then slide them forward to essentially achieve a perfect balance, then lock into place. The head will then "swivel" both horizontally and vertically ... literally at the touch of a finger. The benefits if you are tracking a moving subject are obvious. You can pan with literally just one finger!! For my bird photography this coming summer, this beauty is going to get a lot of outings at the bird hide where it will sit nicely on tripod. Can't wait!!
But for now, it provides a highly stable platform from which to work from my Landrover with a very large focal length lens. I use it in combination with an Apex Bean Bag which sits nicely across the door frame and I have more than sufficient horizontal and lateral space in which to work. When you've finished shooting, the lens plate is released, slides out, you lift off the camera and you are good to go .. simple!!
If you are serious about obtaining the sharpest wildlife images from a vehicle / hide using large telephoto lenses ... you can't be without the RWC3. The good news here in South Africa is that the guys at Clik Elite are the sole importers and they are at last providing South African photographers with a product that our colleagues in Europe and The USA have been enjoying for sometime at a terrific price!! Give Simon McDonnell at Clik Elite a call and he will for sure sort you out ..... this is probably one of the best buys you will make this year if you, like me, are regularly heading out into the bush. In pure cash terms, this product is 50% of the cost of a Wimberley and the two models side by side are identical save for the knob functions which are rubber coated on the Wimberley and I would say a bit easier to use. But that is just a minor issue in my view ..... just check out the sharpness of the images below, shot with the above camera configuration from a stationary Landrover, and ask yourself not whether you should treat yourself to one .... but when!!
Well done Redged ... and thanks Clik Elite SA .... terrific product!!