How Do I Choose the Right Gimbal Head?

Essentially, you’d want your gimbal head to be sturdy and durable, even with heavy usage. You should also consider its ease of use and suitability with the rest of your gear. Will a side mount or cradle mount work better with your equipment? We recommend going for those with an Arca-Swiss quick release system. Also, take into consideration how heavy your gear is and how much weight the gimbal head can hold.

Still struggling to figure out which gimbal head is right for you? Check out our gimbal head comparison blog post for more in-depth information

Why Choose Arca-Swiss Quick Release?

If you don’t want to waste time unscrewing your camera from the tripod and then screwing it on again when switching lenses, go for a quick-release gimbal head, particularly an Arca-Swiss type. The Arca-Swiss tripod head is composed of two main parts: the plate that you attach to the camera or lens and then the mounting base or clamp, where the plate is secured.

The biggest advantage of getting an Arca-Swiss quick release gimbal head is that it removes complicated setups. Just slide the plate without dismounting the gear. You can experience the convenience of this assembly in models like the Movo GH800, which has lobed knobs and numbered scales along the base and arm that let you redo your setup for various lens and camera combinations.

Arca-Swiss Quick Release Plate

Why Choose Side Mount or Cradle Mount?

Most gimbal heads available on the market come in one of two styles: the cradle mount and side mount. Cradle mount gimbals have an L-shape swinging arm connected from the vertical pivot point that cradles the lens from underneath. With a cradle mount gimbal, you have the ability to alter the camera angle as you adjust where the camera is along the sliding arm.

Side mounts directly clamp the camera onto the vertical pivot point. The side mount gimbal head does not have as much mobility as the cradle mount because it centers the lens around the axis of rotation at the vertical pivot point. However, side mounts tend to be less bulky, which means they may be easier to transport from place to place.

Both styles offer stability, so choosing one over the other is all a matter of personal preference. Whichever design you get, always make sure to clamp your gear securely to prevent accidental release.

Side mount vs cradle mount gimbal head