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I love the EX3, it’s easier to use than the EX1 but it really is hard to do prolonged handheld with it even with it’s wedge design. Easier than the EX1 but still so front heavy it’s a real struggle.

I have tried many shoulder mounts for the EX1 and EX3 and although found some usable solutions, both cheap and expensive have never found the perfect one. This new one by Protech is pretty close!

IMG_0183I have it on loan for the moment and have to give it back but am going to have t0 get one because it totally changes the whole feel of the camera, turning it from a bit of an awkward pain in the a** to almost a proper shoulder mounted camera.

Now this solution is not for everyone. First off it isn’t cheap. Not sure why it is so expensive to be honest but that is a common complaint with most pro TV gear! Not like the famed “el cheapo” that costs about $70, does a good job with the ex1 but is far from perfect.  Also to use it you need to invest in “proper”  pro batteries like IDX V mount batteries that I am using on the picture above. These are not cheap and the charger is expensive, but the battery will charge your EX camera all day.

IMG_0182It also has a built in wedge tripod plate for the Sony VCT plates which I have been advocating using on these cameras for ever. I know Steve Weiss doesn’t like them but I still by my guns and say it give utter rigidity on the tripod which is severely lacking if you just use the tripods built in quick release plate. Using a plate like this is proper pro and makes a huge difference.

IMG_0172Also a problem with the EX3 is like the EX1 you have this crappy little fixing plate which is very fragile.  I use an extra piece of equipment that is also expensive but there are much cheaper version out there now. It spreads the weight and the tension put on the plate across the whole body. I will look up the cheaper alternatives and post them here later.

ex3-mounting_points-300x273

So using this extra plate and the Protech ST-7 I have an amazing new camera. It has UTTERLY transformed by EX3 into a camera I can now properly use handheld with the front heaviness causing issues to both my arms and the image!


IMG_0183IMG_0186

Now I look slightly awkward in the above photo, I had the VF too far out so my head is twisted. This will give you neck ache after a while so make sure you get optimum position of the VF for you. Look in a mirror so your head is straight and set the VF to that.

Fat IDX battery

Fat IDX battery

IMG_0190

These three BNC connectors are purely port replicators for the ones on the back of the camera. Use short BNC leads to make it easier to connect those connectors to your peripherals. You don’t have to, it’s just a nice little feature. You can also see above a DC in for you to use a pro power supply to power the system. But of course you can still use your normal charger. There is a DC out for powering lights etc too, with an output wattage of 35 watts…You use a simple lead that connects the ST-7 to the EX3’s DC in to power the camera. IMG_0193

I can’t be more positive about this than I already am. It’s really quite superb. The balance isn’t “quite” there, but that depends on what batteries you use and what lens you have on. I think I would double up my battery on the back if used my wide angle adaptor or a bigger lens to maintain that balance. But all things considered this feels like a major upgrade for the EX3. It also works with the EX1 but you can’t use the VF you use the LCD. If you the ex1 then I cannot strongly recommend enough the sock loupe with turns your LCD into an amazing viewfinder. Trust me…it’s brilliant!

Hopefully I will get my own ST-7 ASAP as this is game changer for the camera for me.

In the UK you can buy it from:

CVP Mitcorp also from these others…

If the product isn’t showing on their pages just email them or call them to order it as it’s very new.

UK Dealers

Top-Teks
Bridge House, Royal Quay, Park Lane, Harefield, Middlesex, UB9 6JA  Tel: 01895 825619
www.top-teks.co.uk

Mitcorp
23 Shield Drive, West Cross Industrial Estate, Brentford, TW8 9EX  Tel: 020 8380 7400
www.mitcorp.com

CVP – Creative Video Productions
Priory Mill, Castle Road, Studley, Warwickshire  Tel: B80 7AA 01527 854222
www.creativevideo.co.uk

DS Video
Unit 27 Metro Centre, Britannia Way, Coronation Road, Park Royal, London NW10 7PR  Tel: 020 8965 8060
www.dsvideo.tv

H Preston – London
74 Milton Road, Hampton, Middlesex Tel: TW12 2LJ  Tel: 020 8979 9281
www.videokit.co.uk

Visual Impact
Units 3-4, Teddington Business Park, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 9BQ   Tel: 020 89771222
www.visuals.co.uk

Planet PC
The Old School, 690 Bradford Road, Birkenshaw, West Yorkshire, BD11 2D  Tel: 01274 713400
www.planetdv.net

Wendys Broadcast
Unit 4, Clayton Court, The City Works, Ashton Old Road, Manchester, M11 2NB  Tel: 0161 223 2200
www.wendysbroadcast.co.uk

Proactive UK
Unit 1, Eastman Way, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 7DU  Tel: 01442 253313
www.proav.co.uk

WTS
Media Park, 40b River Road, Barking, Essex, G11 0DW 020 8594 3336
www.wtsbroadcast.com

BPS – Broadcast Production Services
The Old Fire Station, 42 Thames Street, Hampton, Middlesex, TW12 2DX  Tel: 020 8941 1199
www.bps-tv.co.uk

Ireland Dealers

Tyrell CCT Ireland
Unit 13, Bluebell Business Park, Old Naas Road, Dublin 12, Ireland  Tel: + 353 1 8881118 Ireland

Eurotek – Ireland
Unit E, 61 Heather Road, Sandyford Ind Est, Dublin 18, Ireland  Tel: +353 1 295 7811
www.eurotek.ie

If you are anywhere else get in touch with distributor Opteca Professionalto find out who their partners are.

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Comments

  1. mattdavis says:

    Obviously a game changer for EX3 owners, but is it overkill for the EX1 compared to the various El Cheapo solutions?

    1. pbloom says:

      it really depends. with the sock loupe it you were doing a lot of handheld it would work brilliantly with the ex1 as it does with the ex3

  2. Nino says:

    How’s the weight in general (of the thing alone without a battery or camera)?

    I use the RedRock microshouldermount and think it’s quite nice, my only complaint is the weight of it. These rods are sure heavy!

    1. pbloom says:

      that’s the great thing about it. It is not heavy at all. so there is not that much extra weight

  3. HDWarrior says:

    Personally for the price you pay for this unit I think it looks Heath Robinson and the gap between the camera and the battery looks ugly, sorry but I am only being honest.

    1. pbloom says:

      try it and see.

      It is also very solid and well made. Nothing wrong with the gap. That is pretty standard with every shoulder mount with a counter weight.

  4. Rob Imbs says:

    Hey Philip, Do you have any suggestions for a shoulder mount on the HVX200?

    1. pbloom says:

      Sorry Rob I don’t know on any good ones personally

      1. Rob Imbs says:

        I was shooting last night and felt inspired to try and shoulder the camera. It’s kinda tough with the viewfinder at the back of the camera. The EX1 definitely has that on the HVX. I think I need a external LCD before I get a shoulder mount.

        1. pbloom says:

          or a different camera :-)

      2. deebee69 says:

        Phil
        Have got the ex3 and 4 different shoulder rigs .was giving up hope of ever getting the ex3 balanced as I have the fujion wide angle lens on a lot of the time which is a lot hevier.Do you think this set up will be worth another spend adter the previous ones?

  5. billydec says:

    Nice write up about an amazing accessory for the EX3. I love Protech’s gear from the simple ST-1 baseplate adapter to this shoulder mount rig.

    Best from Tokyo,
    Billy

  6. darraghsinnott says:

    Got one on order Phil, so you can have another play when you get to Dublin.
    That gap could be handy – drop a lead brick in there and you might just balance off a Letus DOF rig ;-)

  7. Erwin says:

    Interesting shoulder mount, thanks a lot for the review. A quick question, if you don’t mind:

    Is it still possible to balance the shoulder mount well enough when you have attached mattebox, filters and light on the EX1? Can extra weights being added? And last but not least: is it difficult to add some wireless receivers at the back of the mount?

  8. T. Daigon says:

    Philip, can you tell me where I can buy this in the US?
    I Googled Opteca (British vendors) and Protech (Asian Vendors). It looks great but I cant find out where I can buy one “locally”. Thanks!

    1. pbloom says:

      email Opteca and they should be able to help you

  9. Jiri Bakala says:

    Hi Phillip, here is a fairly new product from Quebec Canada, what do you think and have you heard anything about it?
    http://shapewlb.com/en/products/redmamouth2pro.php

    I am intrigued by the price and accessories, i.e. matte box rods and handles.
    Jiri

  10. A Wynne (Eirehotspur) says:

    Phil

    Good info and another choice for sure.

    Curious…I have never seen you with a Steadicam….do you find them too restrictive to wear/carry for your kind of work or style?

    1. Hi,
      Just waiting for mine.

      How does the support affect the left heavyness of the camera?

  11. Thanks for the review, I am now using this on an EX1 but still having problems with weight distribution. Resorted to using a large V-Loc VL-160 battery but still a bit front heavy. That space between Camera and battery may well hold the answer when I find something heavy to put in it.
    In use it is a lot better than no shoulder mount and after all the years of using PD150s and the like it is so nice to have a shoulder mount again. Ah the old days when I used a Sony dockable camera, I think it was a Sony 537 if memory serves me well, sorry rambling again.

    Thanks again for your review.

  12. paulo says:

    Have you come across the Exmount? See http://www.exmount.com/

    From the site:

    PMW-EX3 Camera Mount

    A mount that utilises the VCT-14 style of baseplate, compact enough to be left on the camera, help with balance, power the camera/accessories via a V-Lock or Anton Bauer battery and allow mattboxes and other accessories to be attached – just like the big cameras!

    Some of the features of the mount are:

    Compact design (can be left attached to the camera)
    Compatible with Sony type tripod plates (VCT-U14/VCT-14)
    Locates to camera in 3 places (Easy attachment and removal of camera from mount)
    Protects base of camera
    Solid Aluminium construction – anodised black
    Allows mounting of Mattbox system
    V-lock or Anton Bauer battery mount with outputs for powering of EX-3 and accessories (optional)
    3-position shoulder pad. Pressing the release button on the back allows the shoulder pad to slide back for comfortable shoulder operation – or forward for mounting on the VCT-14 plate. The battery moves with the shoulder pad to help with balance