ETHICS STATEMENT: Kessler Crane are my main site sponsor. They also make my pocket dolly. They are also my dear friends. This post takes a look at various low budget smaller jibs but mainly focuses on the new Pocket Jib Traveller from Kessler. It is the best, and yes I am biased…but I always strive to try and remove any bias from any reviews I have. Kessler simply make superior products and so they should, as they have been making cranes and jibs for many many years and therefore have enormous experience.
It is important to never take one person’s opinion on a product before buying it. Take your time, check out the options, and check out what other people say and if you can, please try before you buy! I know it’s not always possible.
This video takes a detailed look at the Kessler Pocket Jib Traveller, but a huge amount of the video is taken up with stuff that applies to all jibs and operating them.
If you choose to buy the Kessler jib by clicking on the images or links, it goes through my affiliate which means I get a small percentage, which in turn helps keep this site afloat, as it’s becoming very expensive to host. It also can help fund my totally independent camera reviews. So if you do buy through my affiliate I thank you enormously!
Jib shots can be epic. Especially on the really big ones. I have seen some shots which are beyond amazing from enormous ones. But these require large crews and cost a fortune. Smaller jibs ARE capable of getting gorgeous shots too though, and the quest for an ultra-portable low cost jib for the new generation of lighter cameras has been going for about a year now. I have tried four different ones. First off, the DSLR Devices one, then the one from Lightcraft Workshop, then the one I backed on Kickstarter the Aviator Jib and now this one, The Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler.
Cranes and jibs are heavy, they ideally need to be. They battle the wind and need to NOT fall over! I have two other cranes from Kessler. The Pocket Jib and the KC Lite. Both are good. The Pocket Jib/ Pro are terrific, but they require someone to help you. A very solid base is also essential. This gives us extra weight, but we don’t want to go crazy here. No point getting an O’Connor, as we lose the whole point of a portable solution. After all, the holy grail is a jib that we can set up and use on our own, gives us great movement, is stable and doesn’t break the bank!
My favourite by far of all the smaller jibs is the Kessler Crane Pocket Jib Traveler, truly bias aside. It’s incredibly well made and designed. Solid. Clever. Neat. One Piece. It works great, though has its compromises as you would expect at this weight and price point. I explain in detail why I like this one the most in the video above. It’s worth watching…I hope you find it entertaining, too! It also goes over technique and things to remember when using jibs.
The attention to detail is also key. From the ease of attaching weights to the incredibly robust brakes on both axis. I honestly feel this jib can withstand the rigours of travelling with me…a big ask, as I am rough as hell with my gear! It’s also one piece. Incredibly simple to put together so that even a muppet like myself can do it.
Is this a jib for all cameras though? Absolutely not. Its weight capacity is 10lbs, but this is without a head. To be honest, even though I had my C300 on the jib, I would prefer to use it on the Pocket Jib, not the traveller. Although technically there is no reason not to. It’s just that I would like to put a nice ball head on the end of my jib for my C300 and other cameras like this. I would definitely put my 1DC on it though!
BUT, this is a lightweight tool, and I will take it on all my foreign trips. It’s 4,5lbs so barely weighs anything and performs superbly. Just remember: practice makes your shots better. It is about control and the length of shots as well as composition and subtlety. NEVER over-use a jib! It gets boring very quickly, as you can see from my montage of shots from the Kessler Pocket Jib Below!
It’s great that I was able to operate the jib in Piccadilly circus without grief from authorities. Got a few looks, but that was to be expected!
For an overview of the other jibs, first up we have the DSLR Devices jib. James, who makes them, is a local to me. A lovely fella. I only have his first generation, and I believe he is up to generation 4. So it’s not possible for me to say what the new one’s like. The 1st one was fine, although a lot of improvements needed to be made. Do check it out though, and look out for any reviews. It still doesn’t look anywhere near as well designed or engineered as the Pocket Jib Traveler, but that is to be expected. It is dirt cheap though at £199.99 and occupies the bottom end of the market. The lack of brakes is an issue for me.
Lightcraft Workshop Trapezist jib
It’s quite basic and comes in two parts. I found it too stiff, and the lack of brakes on either axis put me off. It did come with a sand bag and slightly odd-fitting noga style arm for a monitor. Is it any good? Yes it works. I don’t like the movement or the operation. It has a lesser payload than the Kessler one and weighs around the same, give or take. It seems solid enough though, the problem is that, like the DSLR devices jib, it’s hard to compete with an incredibly well engineered beast like the Kessler one. It’s very cheap though at just $339. I have not used this enough to vouch for its stability though. I just worry about lack of brakes and the lack of smooth movement. Remember, buy cheap two or three times or buy well once. The Kessler is $599 and for me is lightyears ahead of this product.
I like Lightcraft Workshop, and their recent fader NDs are pretty good. They just need to work on this to improve on it…
I backed the Aviator Travel jib on Kickstarter, and it’s a really nice product. A nice design with some lovely touches.
It is SUPER light – at 2.75lbs for the carbon fibre one, it’s almost 2 lbs lighter than the Kessler one. The Aluminium one is 3.75lbs. For me though, the one that I bought, the carbon fibre one is easily the best one to get. The weight is its biggest selling point. It’s so light and can take a whole 1lb more weight than the alluminium one, 7.5lbs…this is 3/4 of what the Kessler one can take.
It’s the only other jib featured here that is one piece. No extras bits to lose and fall off. The way the weights are fixed on, though, is not great. Screwing them onto the back is not as neat a solution as the Kessler one.
The design is lovely. Both the centre section and camera section look great. The screw system to change the length and open the jib out, though, is not great and a little bit clunky. Although with the ultra light weight design it can be forgiven.
It’s the only jib featured here that I would consider if I had no access to the Kessler one. The one piece design, locks, design and weight are very attractive. It’s just the durability I am extremely worried by. The locks for the axis are incredibly flimsy and I can easily see snapping off with a bit of use. Just my opinion of course. I am sure the guys who make this will revise this soon for something way more heavy duty. It needs it. GEAR NEEDS TO BE ROBUST AND LAST…it shouldn’t need to be treated like an unhatched egg…It’s also not as smooth or feels as stable as the Kessler one. It is light after all, and the lighter we go the more unstable a jib will feel.
With some revisions, this jib could be really good. Right now it is disappointing. The design looks good, but in reality it’s not actually that practical as that way it looks down scares me a little. I could of course be wrong and have heard of nobody having this break on them. This is their first ever jib, and as a first one it’s incredibly good. It’s just up against very strong competition now, which is of course a great thing for the evolution of any product. Before the Kessler one came out, this would have been my recommendation. Now, it’s been surpassed. They need to make this more robust and sturdy on those joints. A jib MUST feel robust and the locks MUST be solid otherwise bad things will happen!!
I also found I was getting way more sway with this jib than the Kessler one. That’s the downside of being lighter. Try a beefier jib and the Kessler Traveler will have more sway. It’s the way jibs work.
DSLR DEVICES: 3.4lbs
AVIATOR ALUMINIUM: 3.75lbs
AVIATOR CARBON: 2.75lbs
KESSLER POCKET JIB TRAVELLER: 5.5LBS
DSLR DEVICES: 6.6lbs
TRAPEZIST: 7.8 lbs
AVIATOR ALUMINIUM: 6.5lbs
AVIATOR CARBON: 7.5lbs
KESSLER POCKET JIB TRAVELLER: 10lbs
DSLR DEVICES: 6.5 Feet
TRAPEZIST: 4foot 4 inches
AVIATOR ALUMINIUM: 6 FEET
AVIATOR CARBON: 6 FEET
KESSLER POCKET JIB TRAVELLER: 6 FEET
DSLR DEVICES: 35 inches
TRAPEZIST: 24 inches
AVIATOR ALUMINIUM: 24 inches
AVIATOR CARBON: 24 inches
KESSLER POCKET JIB TRAVELLER: 27 inches
DSLR DEVICES: $300
AVIATOR ALUMINIUM: $497
AVIATOR CARBON $797
KESSLER POCKET JIB TRAVELLER: $595
So we have gone over bias, I know I am able to put it aside, and it’s always going to be hard to convince people who don’t know me of that. But the Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler is a breakthrough price wise. For the cost/ performance ratio it cannot be beaten, and for me is the single best piece of indie production gear on the market, bang for buck.
I shot the review on the Canon C300 and the jib shots were done on the Nikon D7100. I like it but don’t love it. The image is nice and it’s a very familiar camera to me as it operates in a similar way to my D800. It’s noisy at 3200 ISO which I had to use in Piccadilly Circus due to needing to stop down to get a deeper depth of field. I hate the lack of metering or histogram for video, and the inability to change aperture on a camera-controlled lens in live view mode is a bit of a joke. I had to come out of it, change iris and then go back. A huge pain on the end of a jib. The clean output though was great. Although it drops to 720p when you hit record. If you use an external recorder, then you can get clean 1080p uncompressed. Just don’t record on the card at the same time please!
Overall Nikon need to fix these quirks. They are daft as hell. They have lovely cameras. Let’s see them get better please!
There is a second opinion review from Johannes Schoutsen below and Preston Kanak’s official how to use it video for Kessler.