Fixing a Painful Mongoose M3.6 Problem

I’m using the Mongoose gimbal head since late February. It is a great head with one recently discovered issue. Which turned out to be a painful one – literally.

Whenever I use my long lens setup on a tripod I try to improve its stability and maneuverability by gripping the lens the way shown on the following image. With the Mongoose I have a solid platform to lean my left forearm against (this is why I place the arm of the head on the left, even if it obstructs controls on the lens).

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Gripping the lens to improve stability

This worked fairly well during the colder months when I was wearing a fleece and a jacket. The problem surfaced on the very first hot spring day when I left warmer clothing at home and my skin was in direct contact with the Mongoose: the horizontal movement locking knob on the head’s base was constantly sticking in my arm, causing a pain directly proportional to the force I used to stabilize the lens with.

The offending screw from another angle

The offending screw from another angle

I was out on Lake Tisza when this first happened, together with my guide, who is also an avid photographer – and retired mechanical engineer. When I told him about the issue, he pulled out a piece of blue foam you see on these pictures from his bag to cover the screw…

This quick fix saved the day (not to mention my forearm), and when I left I even got a bigger piece of the same foam from him to affix it to the head.

Foam and zip-ties to the rescue

Foam and zip-ties to the rescue

Although we discussed a couple of proper solutions, I had no time to implement any of those before going out next time, so just zip-tied the foam to the holes on the arm of the head.

All in all, this solution works pretty well, but I’m a bit disappointed to run into an oversight like this on a $600 head.

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