Flexshooter Pro Head

If you would like to post, you'll need to register. Note that if you have a BCG store account, you'll need a new, separate account here (we keep the two sites separate for security purposes).

Abinoone

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I recently learned about the Flexshooter Pro tripod head, which supposedly provides similar functions as both gimbal and ball heads, in a very small package. I watched an online demonstration of someone using the Flexshooter Pro with a Nikon D850 and 600mm f4 lens, and it seemed to work smoothly and provide excellent support. The main advantage, of course, is its relatively small size, eliminating the need to carry gimbal and ball heads in one's kit.

I'm planning a trip to Yellowstone later this year and would like to keep my load as small as possible, and the Flexshooter Pro would be a nice way to lighten my load. Has anyone used this device and has it worked for you?

Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!

34740D41-A095-401C-A4CE-67AEB41A02D0.jpeg
 
Last edited:

KimM

Active member
Supporting Member
I just returned from Tetons/Yellowstone with my Flex Shooter Pro - no quick release plate. Really like it! It handles a heavy prime with body just fine. No issues with using it for landscape either. Because I drove, I did take my gimbal head (just in case the bear activity is so good and I feel I am missing shots with the Flex) but did not take a ball head. On purpose. Half way through I switched out to the gimbal - old habits and comfort. Because there were no quick release plates I resigned myself to hand holding my landscapes. The friend I was shooting with is fast. Finally, I admitted there were no missed shots with the Flex, no downside to it so put it back on the tripod. I am considering selling my gimbal.
 

DRwyoming

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Has anyone used this device and has it worked for you?
Yeah, I swapped from my Wimberley WH-200 to a FlexShooter Pro a couple of months ago and like Kim above am considering selling the Wimberley. The Flexshooter Pro does a great job in a more compact package.

The Flexshooter is quite different than a standard ballhead as the inner ball only allows movement in the pan and tilt directions and cannot flop side to side the way a loosened ballhead can. If you want to tilt the camera side to side (e.g. to level or intentionally slope a horizon) you have to either use the rotating collar on the lens or loosen the outer leveling ball on the Flexshooter. That makes it great when using it as a gimbal head for longer lenses but does make things a bit more awkward when using the Flexshooter to replace a ballhead for scenics and short lens work though it does work for that application, just a bit differently than a normal ballhead.

I'm using my Flexshooter Pro for lens and camera combos up to my 600mm f/4 with TC and D5 it's more than solid enough for big setups like that and still gives single finger pan and tilt and the ability to let go of everything at any tilt angle and have it stay put with no risk of ballhead flop.
 
D

Deleted member 115

Guest
Yeah, I swapped from my Wimberley WH-200 to a FlexShooter Pro a couple of months ago and like Kim above am considering selling the Wimberley. The Flexshooter Pro does a great job in a more compact package.

The Flexshooter is quite different than a standard ballhead as the inner ball only allows movement in the pan and tilt directions and cannot flop side to side the way a loosened ballhead can. If you want to tilt the camera side to side (e.g. to level or intentionally slope a horizon) you have to either use the rotating collar on the lens or loosen the outer leveling ball on the Flexshooter. That makes it great when using it as a gimbal head for longer lenses but does make things a bit more awkward when using the Flexshooter to replace a ballhead for scenics and short lens work though it does work for that application, just a bit differently than a normal ballhead.

I'm using my Flexshooter Pro for lens and camera combos up to my 600mm f/4 with TC and D5 it's more than solid enough for big setups like that and still gives single finger pan and tilt and the ability to let go of everything at any tilt angle and have it stay put with no risk of ballhead flop.
How does it manage to stay put at any angle? since the weight is all above the mechanism. Is it tension on the ballhead? Does that cause drag? If so how do you manage that, loosen the ballhead?
 

Abinoone

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Thread starter
I just returned from Tetons/Yellowstone with my Flex Shooter Pro - no quick release plate. Really like it! It handles a heavy prime with body just fine. No issues with using it for landscape either. Because I drove, I did take my gimbal head (just in case the bear activity is so good and I feel I am missing shots with the Flex) but did not take a ball head. On purpose. Half way through I switched out to the gimbal - old habits and comfort. Because there were no quick release plates I resigned myself to hand holding my landscapes. The friend I was shooting with is fast. Finally, I admitted there were no missed shots with the Flex, no downside to it so put it back on the tripod. I am considering selling my gimbal.
Wow, that's a strong recommendation! I love using my gimbal for wildlife but, of course, switch to my ball head for landscapes. Both are fairly heavy, especially the gimbal, which is why I'm considering getting the Flexshooter to take to Yellowstone (I'm flying). However, I'd hate to get there with the Flexshooter only, then find that I wish I had my gimbal 😩 BTW, why didn't you use the Flexshooter for your landscapes? Thanks!
 

KimM

Active member
Supporting Member
Wow, that's a strong recommendation! I love using my gimbal for wildlife but, of course, switch to my ball head for landscapes. Both are fairly heavy, especially the gimbal, which is why I'm considering getting the Flexshooter to take to Yellowstone (I'm flying). However, I'd hate to get there with the Flexshooter only, then find that I wish I had my gimbal 😩 BTW, why didn't you use the Flexshooter for your landscapes? Thanks!
It was a real pain to switch back and forth between the Flex and gimbal with no quick release plates...time was of the essence in many instances. I left the plates at home on purpose forcing me to use the Flex shooter. I just know how I am wired so this worked to force me out of a habit and to try something long enough to really understand it and like it.
 

DRwyoming

Well-known member
Supporting Member
How does it manage to stay put at any angle? since the weight is all above the mechanism. Is it tension on the ballhead? Does that cause drag? If so how do you manage that, loosen the ballhead?
Fore-aft balance is easy by sliding the Arca Swiss plate as needed. And balance when panning isn't an issue. The issue with ballhead balance is you can't balance the load laterally with the load above the support and the ballhead can flop to one side or the other as soon as the lens mass ends up off center. It's that extra degree of freedom of lateral tilt in a ballhead that leads to problems and ballhead flop. In aviation terms that's the Roll axis that ballheads can move in but gimbal heads and the Flexshooter products cannot.

There is a friction adjustment as part of the lock mechanism and there is a touch more friction when fully unlocked than there is with a fully unlocked Wimberley WH-200 but the Flexshooter still provides very smooth, low friction panning and tilting. The real key as to why a ballhead needs substantially more friction when supporting big loads like long lenses is its extra degree of freedom in the lateral tilt (roll) axis. Take away the ability for the ball to flop sideways and you don't need much friction at all as long as you've achieved fore-aft balance. I suspect things would be trickier if I had the stock, tall tripod foot on my 600mm f/4 as that would place the mass even farther above the axis of rotation but the Flexshooter itself is a very low profile ballhead and combined with a low profile lens foot I can run the friction adjustment very loose and not have fore-aft balance problems and can let go at any time and have things stay in place.

In comparing my Flexshooter Pro to my Wimberley WH-200 the primary differences are:
- The Flexshooter has a tad more friction when totally unlocked than the totally unlocked WH-200 but not enough to cause grabby panning or really enough to be any problem when tracking fast action, it still supports single finger pan and tilt action.

- The Flexshooter cannot tilt up or down as far as the WH-200 when the Flexshooter's outer ball is properly leveled. I haven't found this to be an issue as I rarely shoot up at very steep angles or down right at my feet. If I do need to shoot up to very steep angles I have to loosen the outer leveling ball on the Flexshooter and then can tilt up or down steeply but will no longer have a leveled horizon for pure panning.

- I have my WH-200 equipped with a RRS quick release clamp which makes it a bit slower to load and unload the lens from my Flexshooter which has a screw type Arca Swiss clamp.
 
D

Deleted member 115

Guest
Fore-aft balance is easy by sliding the Arca Swiss plate as needed. And balance when panning isn't an issue. The issue with ballhead balance is you can't balance the load laterally with the load above the support and the ballhead can flop to one side or the other as soon as the lens mass ends up off center. It's that extra degree of freedom of lateral tilt in a ballhead that leads to problems and ballhead flop. In aviation terms that's the Roll axis that ballheads can move in but gimbal heads and the Flexshooter products cannot.

There is a friction adjustment as part of the lock mechanism and there is a touch more friction when fully unlocked than there is with a fully unlocked Wimberley WH-200 but the Flexshooter still provides very smooth, low friction panning and tilting. The real key as to why a ballhead needs substantially more friction when supporting big loads like long lenses is its extra degree of freedom in the lateral tilt (roll) axis. Take away the ability for the ball to flop sideways and you don't need much friction at all as long as you've achieved fore-aft balance. I suspect things would be trickier if I had the stock, tall tripod foot on my 600mm f/4 as that would place the mass even farther above the axis of rotation but the Flexshooter itself is a very low profile ballhead and combined with a low profile lens foot I can run the friction adjustment very loose and not have fore-aft balance problems and can let go at any time and have things stay in place.

In comparing my Flexshooter Pro to my Wimberley WH-200 the primary differences are:
- The Flexshooter has a tad more friction when totally unlocked than the totally unlocked WH-200 but not enough to cause grabby panning or really enough to be any problem when tracking fast action, it still supports single finger pan and tilt action.

- The Flexshooter cannot tilt up or down as far as the WH-200 when the Flexshooter's outer ball is properly leveled. I haven't found this to be an issue as I rarely shoot up at very steep angles or down right at my feet. If I do need to shoot up to very steep angles I have to loosen the outer leveling ball on the Flexshooter and then can tilt up or down steeply but will no longer have a leveled horizon for pure panning.

- I have my WH-200 equipped with a RRS quick release clamp which makes it a bit slower to load and unload the lens from my Flexshooter which has a screw type Arca Swiss clamp.
Thanks I understand the basic idea but a balanced gimbal obviously returns to basically center depending on the amount of tension causing friction.
Sounds like the flexshooter finds a good balance between resistance and mobility. Sounds pretty pretty good. Now I wonder is it is stable enough to replace my BH-55?
 

DRwyoming

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Sounds pretty pretty good. Now I wonder is it is stable enough to replace my BH-55?
That's a tough call. I'm sure it's stable enough but operationally it's enough different from a good ballhead like the BH-55 that I'm planning on keeping my BH-55.

It's small things but that missing axis of rotation with the Flexshooter is pretty handy when shooting scenics as are things like the panning control on the BH-55 which is very useful when shooting panoramas. Sure one of the Flexshooter's movements is pure panning but not as a separate control and not with indexed angular markings which can be handy for things like panos.

I'm seriously thinking of selling my WH-200 but for now I'm not parting with my BH-55 as I do prefer it for direct camera mounting work.
 
D

Deleted member 115

Guest
That's a tough call. I'm sure it's stable enough but operationally it's enough different from a good ballhead like the BH-55 that I'm planning on keeping my BH-55.

It's small things but that missing axis of rotation with the Flexshooter is pretty handy when shooting scenics as are things like the panning control on the BH-55 which is very useful when shooting panoramas. Sure one of the Flexshooter's movements is pure panning but not as a separate control and not with indexed angular markings which can be handy for things like panos.

I'm seriously thinking of selling my WH-200 but for now I'm not parting with my BH-55 as I do prefer it for direct camera mounting work.
Thanks DR
I’m thinking about ordering one now 👍
 
D

Deleted member 115

Guest
That's a tough call. I'm sure it's stable enough but operationally it's enough different from a good ballhead like the BH-55 that I'm planning on keeping my BH-55.

It's small things but that missing axis of rotation with the Flexshooter is pretty handy when shooting scenics as are things like the panning control on the BH-55 which is very useful when shooting panoramas. Sure one of the Flexshooter's movements is pure panning but not as a separate control and not with indexed angular markings which can be handy for things like panos.

I'm seriously thinking of selling my WH-200 but for now I'm not parting with my BH-55 as I do prefer it for direct camera mounting work.
One more question if you have a minute. Which do you think would be less effected by a small blind opening between gimbal and flexshooter? Or is it the same?
I’m probably over thinking it now lol
 

DRwyoming

Well-known member
Supporting Member
One more question if you have a minute. Which do you think would be less effected by a small blind opening between gimbal and flexshooter? Or is it the same?
I’m probably over thinking it now lol
I suspect it would be the same for the same amount of position change of the front of the lens. I suppose if you had a lot of lens extended through the blind opening such that the gimbal was right up against the blind window opening then maybe the Flexshooter would give you a bit more maneuvering room but if only a foot or less of lens was extending through the window I think it would be about the same.
 
D

Deleted member 115

Guest
FWIW, I ordered through Adorama but Amazon, B&H or others with good return polices also carry it. I wanted field time before committing to it but have been very happy so there was no need to return it.
Sounds good thanks again
 

Abinoone

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Thread starter
It was a real pain to switch back and forth between the Flex and gimbal with no quick release plates...time was of the essence in many instances. I left the plates at home on purpose forcing me to use the Flex shooter. I just know how I am wired so this worked to force me out of a habit and to try something long enough to really understand it and like it.
If you were headed to Yellowstone for the first time (like me), would you take your gimbal and ball heads or ditch them both for the Flexshooter Pro? I don't want to risk missing shots but I'm flying in so don't want to schlepp a lot of extra weight. Thanks!
 

KimM

Active member
Supporting Member
If you were headed to Yellowstone for the first time (like me), would you take your gimbal and ball heads or ditch them both for the Flexshooter Pro? I don't want to risk missing shots but I'm flying in so don't want to schlepp a lot of extra weight. Thanks!
Frankly...I would leave them at home but I am somewhat of a risk taker. I did just that when I went to FL in March. I had had the Flex Shooter for a week at that point and this was primarily a bird trip. I flew and didn't want the weight. I never regretted that decision but really appreciated the ability to switch cameras in an instant at the beach when the sunrise was past peak but the birds were everywhere.....
 

DougC

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I made the switch to the Flex Shooter Pro 3 months ago after 20 years with my old faithful Wimberley WH100. I have no regrets and agree with what most people here have said. With my old, 9 pound + 500 f4, it performs flawlessly. On the down side, I recently got a 500 PF and have been using it with both my D500 and D800. Even with the adjustment knob backed off all the way, movement is a bit restricted when tilting the camera/lens all the way up or down. This is not a deal breaker as I have sufficient movement for “normal” use. If I were to shoot high up in the trees or sky a lot, it takes a bit more effort than the Wimberley does. Otherwise, I’m deliriously happy with it.
 

Abinoone

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Thread starter
FWIW, I ordered through Adorama but Amazon, B&H or others with good return polices also carry it. I wanted field time before committing to it but have been very happy so there was no need to return it.
I always buy through B&H. Their service is amazing, plus I save $$ in sales taxes by using their Payboo card (in NY, that amounts to a lot!).
 

DRwyoming

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I made the switch to the Flex Shooter Pro 3 months ago after 20 years with my old faithful Wimberley WH100. I have no regrets and agree with what most people here have said. With my old, 9 pound + 500 f4, it performs flawlessly. On the down side, I recently got a 500 PF and have been using it with both my D500 and D800. Even with the adjustment knob backed off all the way, movement is a bit restricted when tilting the camera/lens all the way up or down. This is not a deal breaker as I have sufficient movement for “normal” use. If I were to shoot high up in the trees or sky a lot, it takes a bit more effort than the Wimberley does. Otherwise, I’m deliriously happy with it.
Doug, you bring up a good point. I really like my Flexshooter Pro when using my 600mm f/4 but find it a bit stiff when using the 500mm PF or 70-200mm f/2.8. Realistically I almost always hand hold the 500mm PF but would tend to use the BH-55 ballhead with the 70-200mm f/2.8 or when directly mounting a camera to the tripod head.

I've heard the Flexshooter Mini has better friction settings for lighter lenses but I haven't tried that product so don't have any first hand experience with it.

I suppose that should be added to the list of things that are different between the Flexshooter Pro and a full gimbal head, the full gimbal is easier to adjust across a wider range of heavy and light lenses though I'd say that when using the 70-200mm f/2.8 the WH-200 full gimbal head isn't ideal either as when balanced the shooting controls and my right hand are awfully close to the gimbal arm.

Definitely something to consider for folks shooting lighter gear and thinking about a Flexshooter product. I'd say if you don't own something big like a 500mm f/4 or 600mm f/4 the Flexshooter Mini might be the better choice.
 

DougC

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Doug, you bring up a good point. I really like my Flexshooter Pro when using my 600mm f/4 but find it a bit stiff when using the 500mm PF or 70-200mm f/2.8. Realistically I almost always hand hold the 500mm PF but would tend to use the BH-55 ballhead with the 70-200mm f/2.8 or when directly mounting a camera to the tripod head.

I've heard the Flexshooter Mini has better friction settings for lighter lenses but I haven't tried that product so don't have any first hand experience with it.

I suppose that should be added to the list of things that are different between the Flexshooter Pro and a full gimbal head, the full gimbal is easier to adjust across a wider range of heavy and light lenses though I'd say that when using the 70-200mm f/2.8 the WH-200 full gimbal head isn't ideal either as when balanced the shooting controls and my right hand are awfully close to the gimbal arm.

Definitely something to consider for folks shooting lighter gear and thinking about a Flexshooter product. I'd say if you don't own something big like a 500mm f/4 or 600mm f/4 the Flexshooter Mini might be the better choice.
I‘m working with it right now and find that in a sitting position with the tension knob fully loosened, the movement is very smooth and normal until I get to about 95% of the up/down position so I am happy at this point.
 

SandyW

Active member
Supporting Member
Doug, you bring up a good point. I really like my Flexshooter Pro when using my 600mm f/4 but find it a bit stiff when using the 500mm PF or 70-200mm f/2.8. Realistically I almost always hand hold the 500mm PF but would tend to use the BH-55 ballhead with the 70-200mm f/2.8 or when directly mounting a camera to the tripod head.

I've heard the Flexshooter Mini has better friction settings for lighter lenses but I haven't tried that product so don't have any first hand experience with it.
Very helpful information. The flexshooter mini specs out at a max load of 21 lbs. That is plenty for my needs. It is only a savings of $20, but it also only weights .97 lbs. I think I am going to give it a try.
 

NWGuy

Member
Consider a fluid head, e.g. Manfrotto 500AH ($170). Can easily balance long lenses to avoid an expensive flop, moves only in pan and tilt so keeps level (no tilted horizons, better for landscape and panaramas); acts like a Gimbal and I find I can swing my 150-600mm smoother and without restriction to keep up with BIF, smaller than a Gimbal.
 

SandyW

Active member
Supporting Member
Consider a fluid head, e.g. Manfrotto 500AH ($170). Can easily balance long lenses to avoid an expensive flop, moves only in pan and tilt so keeps level (no tilted horizons, better for landscape and panaramas); acts like a Gimbal and I find I can swing my 150-600mm smoother and without restriction to keep up with BIF, smaller than a Gimbal.
And weighs 2 lbs. :)
Actually I did try it. I did not feel it was worth the weight and extra bulk compared to my ball head. I know people who do love the Manfrotto and the price point is certainly nice, but it was not for me.
 

Roy

Active member
I recently learned about the Flexshooter Pro tripod head, which supposedly provides similar functions as both gimbal and ball heads, in a very small package. I watched an online demonstration of someone using the Flexshooter Pro with a Nikon D850 and 600mm f4 lens, and it seemed to work smoothly and provide excellent support. The main advantage, of course, is its relatively small size, eliminating the need to carry gimbal and ball heads in one's kit.

I'm planning a trip to Yellowstone later this year and would like to keep my load as small as possible, and the Flexshooter Pro would be a nice way to lighten my load. Has anyone used this device and has it worked for you?

Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!

View attachment 20133
I woulnt trust my 600mm Nikkor on a ball head. Then again I'm not a ball head fan.
A small pan head would probably be better (unless you have some long glass)...
 

DougC

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I woulnt trust my 600mm Nikkor on a ball head. Then again I'm not a ball head fan.
A small pan head would probably be better (unless you have some long glass)...
It’s not a traditional ball head design, you might want to research it a bit to better understand how it works.
 
Top