Shoulder mounts…which one?

Well I have spent all the money researching this for you and have come up with surprising results!

First up is the DVRIGPRO HD from dvtec.tv  based out in Israel

I have a couple of these, one for my big cameras and the new HD one for EX1 size cameras aswell as 35mm adaptors. This photo is obviously not me and it is an HVX but you get the idea!

The great thing about this one is the springy support arm, it makes it superb for using for long periods of time and gives you remarkable steady shots. Although it means taking it off is not a simple affair! Sometimes could be dodgy is someone demands you take the camera off or you will be shot!

You can use it with a 35mm adaptor. It’s heavy and you need to make sure you have enough counterweights on the back (which you have to supply yourself) but it works. You can see in the EX1 viewfinder or LCD which is great.

It is just a bit cumbersome though. The joy of the EX1 is it’s size and having this big rig makes handheld much easier but removes a lot of the plusses of having this small camera. But that’s the downsize of the small camera, you need these rigs to make handheld work stable and possible all day and the this rig does it very well!

So yes I do recommend it, the sprung arm is superb for all day handheld and it is very well made and the lads there are top notch. Danny is very helpful and always quick to reply to emails. A good mid cost solution! Total cost around $450.

Next up is the very expensive but incredibly well made Zacuto system.

This is THE best modular system out there. Everything they make is so well made you know it will last for years. I have the rails to support my Extreme but how does the handheld rig compare?

The first pic is again an HVX as is the adaptor free setup. The counterweight is something called a lunchbox, instead of the professional battery option above.

It works really well, when set up, although a little high on my shoulder the weight and feel made it feel like a proper big camera, I don’t recommend the arms for non adaptor work, how on earth do you change focus or exposure with your hands there??! I hold the camera on the lens like I would with a proper cameras.

Now with the extreme the shoulder pad is moved to underneath the camera. This balances the camera because of the extra weight up front…the downside you can’t see in the VF and the LCD is as close to your eye as a pair of eyeglasses. Not good. You can move the shoulder bad back but the balance goes out. So basically it needs work for me. I think it’s going to be way I will shoot handheld Letus stuff, just not got the rig right. Steve and his team at Zacuto are astonishingly helpful and are going out of their way to help, sending lots of photos and advice and loads of emails. Top team who make amazing products.

The product setup was designed for people using LCD monitors to view, with the ex1 the LCD is so good you no longer need a monitor, this hasn’t been taken into consideration but I am sure they are working on the best solution for me. As soon as it is solved I will update this page.

You do need the arms for the 35mm adaptor setup though, just tricky to focus pull and change the iris. I need a remote FF.

I must reiterate, their support rods are the best I have ever seen and I have waster 3 times the cost of their rods on inferior ones which don’t last that long!

Total cost of this set up is around $2000 give or take.

Last up is by the baby of the bunch and easily the cheapest. The concept is simple. Let your body take the weight,

My god it works well. It stabilizes your shots, takes the weight off your arm and keep the camera small and portable. I have put a Manfrotto sliding plate on it so it comes off very easy and goes straight on the tripod.

For me, for non adaptor work this is the easiest rig to use and work with. I can’t recommend it enough. Best of all it cost my £65

This is the one I will be traveling with. This is the one I will be using most of the time when shooting “clean”.

You can buy it at creativevideo.co.uk I also understand some companies are giving them away free with the ex1. How good is that?

Next up is my test with the EX1 Letus fix and an interesting little surprise Letus has sprung on me when they returned my broken extreme!

0

You may also like

21 comments

  1. That cheap one you recommend can be picked up for only £29 inc postage on Ebay from a seller with great feedback in China. Do a search for “Pro Shoulder Support Pad”. Can’t go wrong.

  2. Philip,

    Your Extreme broke? Did I miss that blog? What happened to it? As a new owner of one, it would be good to hear your experiences with 1) how it broke and 2) how Letus was dealing with it.

    Thanks as always.

  3. Thanks for this and for all your blog entries, Philip. My main concern with most of these rigs is that it looks from a distance like you have a weapon. I am shooting in Central America and southern Mexico and I know other videographers are in more dangerous spots. I suppose the camera itself could attract attention. Not sure what can be done about it. I guess in those conditions you go handheld and take your chances.

  4. the hv20 is SOOOOO little! I guess it would work though. Especially with a 35mm adaptor.

    Dave P. All of them bar the last do looks like a rocket launcher but no more than a full size camera which I have used in warzones many times!

  5. Phil,
    Have you tried just using a monopod? I have disliked the shoulder supports because they limit your mobility which is what I prize when handheld.

    I’ve been using a monopod with a cheap manfrotto tilt head on the top that gets tucked into fanny pack on my waist for years now and I love it. The weight is well distributed and I’ve run for long periods of time with an HVX and a marshall mounted on the HVX. The tilt head is neccessary for flexibility

    Nice thing is you can adjust the length easily. It has complete flexibility if you want to be low or even extremely high overhead. You can tilt at an angle (hard with a shoulder support) or do a little boom up with ease. I can drop it to carry at my knee level with no problem and it still helps to stabilize. I can put it down on a table or any surface and either rest or or shoot from there with no hassle. And I can carry it around while I’m working.

    For long interviews you can drop it to the ground and triangulate with the weight off you.

    I use a giotto quick release and then have the same on on my tripod so I can switch easily.

    Nice thing is you can adapt it also to use with a 2/3″ size camera also and it will still help considerably.

    Cost – about $150 with the quick release. This has saved my back dozens of times.

    Lenny Levy

  6. Hi Philip
    do you have some new thoughts on shoulder mounts?
    Im using dvrig, good, but its both big and not to easy to keep stable if you walk alot…
    Have my underarm around the grip handels and hold on to the rods with right hand, focusing with the other hand.
    How do you do it?

  7. Phil:

    1. – Thanks so much for your above product introductions and reviews – your Internet reviews (including EX-1, EX-3, Letus, etc.) have been invaluable to me and hundreds of others! Your wonderful Internet programs cause me to rate you a top Hero, along with Bass Pig and a few others. You have my sincere and abundant gratitude for the inspiration you provide.

    2. – Regarding the “El Cheapo” shoulder rig (the third above), I saw your initial post elsewhere about this, and on the basis of your high recommendation, I have been attempting ever since to order it from the British supplier you linked (I cannot find it available anywhere else on the Internet, at least as of last month). Very unfortunately, I have not been able to purchase it. I originally found out that it would cost over 450 pounds to ship it to Austin, Texas from the UK (WHAT?!!!!!). So I e-mailed the Company, indicating that I was prepared to wait up to two months for shipping by camel or any other conveyance, so long as it didn’t cost as much! Weeks later, I received an E-mail indicating their sorrow that they had misplaced my E-mail, had just found it, and they quoted me about 80 or so pounds as a less expensive shipping rate. I immediately E-mailed them, asking them for a final quote in American Dollars, and indicating that I would then place an immediate order. That was weeks ago, and I have heard nothing.

    3. Finally, I wish to add the “Davis & Sanford Steady Stick Compact”, going for around $100 US, to possible supports for your readers here. I heartily recommend it after two months use. And in closing, I quote my review of the product which B&H just posted:

    I am rating this with five stars (out of 5), but with a quality caveat noted at the end of this discourse – in a word, this is the steady, easily portable platform I have been seeking for over three years! And in that period of time, it is the fifth device I have purchased, but the first steadying device that has worked unequivocally well for me. The price is only a fifth of the most expensive shoulder mounts or combination shoulder/waist straps I have purchased in the last three years, and for me it runs absolute circles around every one of the other four.This one has the first advantage of really working well for me as a convenient, solid shooting platform of light weight. It enables hours of fatigue free support of my FX-1s and EX-1. One other device utilizing a waist belt as this does did not work out at all well – the competing product’s belt tended to unmanagably roll over and move down (even when uncomfortably tightened), whereas this one stays comfortably and nicely in place. Its a snap to assemble (pun intended). And the final device I used was solidly trustworthy in supporting the camera and accessories at well above head height.I have found a number of other devices tiring to carry separately, just because of their weight, but not so with this.And finally, on the plus side, the device not only solidly supports the camera from the waist, thus freeing one up from worrying about breathing (!), but it’s design also permits penultimate flexibility in either fixed or panning venues.In a word, if you can’t tell by now, I am highly enthusiastic about this device! It does well what it is purported to do.NOW, for the other side, as alluded to at the beginning of this review – it took purchase of two of this product to get one that worked properly. And yes, I’m still giving it five stars because the second one fulfilled everything I’ve been looking for. I had purchased the first of two of this product, and really liked it, except for two factors – first, for some bizarre reason, the screw on the device which fastened it to the bottom of the camera could not be tightened properly, and therefore permitted the camera to swivel inappropriately on the device’s support platform. Second, the snap-on snap-off device at the top of the unit’s rod did not solidly couple, and permitted unwanted movement. And finally, on the negative side, I was on a shoot in Manhatten when the device’s Philips head screw holding the forward camera pin in, evidently came loose, and fell out, never to be found again! Well, that did it! So, off to B&H I went […] a new replacement Steady Stick Compact unit. And the second unit works perfectly, with none of the just indicated three problems. The only other device I had with me on the trip was an extremely competent, excellent quality monopod also previously purchased from B&H. But for this shoot, the Steady Stick Compact in comparison was a must because of its light weight, the versatility it permitted in handling the camera while providing a solid support, and its compact size when being carried (often in public transportation) but not in use. If you decide on this unit and quality issues show up quickly, you can of course avail yourself of B&H’s excellent replacement policies. You might say, well why take the chance on the hassle? I’d say, based on my experience in using the Compact that in the long run it would be well worth it

  8. BILL URSCHEL

    Excuse me, that’s my review above on the Davis & Sanford Steady Stick Compact, and accolades to Phil! I didn’t intend to be anonymous.

  9. Thanks for the review. Is it possible to use the CVP SM1 Shoulder mount, the small ‘cheap’ one, with a redrock, letus or brevis rig. Can it take the weight and can it connect to the rig base?

  10. first let me start by saying,
    Philip, I love your work.
    I enjoy reading your reviews and blog,
    and I love your input on shooting “hardware”
    you’re pretty much the reason I bought the letus extreme to use with my sony v1e hdv cam.
    Lately haven’t been using the extreme too much since I have a couple of dirty dots I can’t get off but I digress since I am posting here about the “el cheapo”
    I too wanted to buy this el cheapo shoulder mount and was willing to pay mitcorp
    (http://www.mitcorp.com/public/view_item_cat.php?catalogue_number=cvp_shoulder_mount-1&product_name=CVP-SM1-Shoulder-mount-camcorder-support-bracket-system—-Ideal-for-most-handheld-DV-/-HDV-camcorders) their asking price but had a drawback due to their shipping rate.
    the item costs 70£ but the shipping 88.92£(fedex international priority 2-7 days).
    I live in Israel so that’s the cost mitcorp charges for Israel shipping.
    I want the shoulder mount but I don’t need it next day delivery either and therefore maybe a longer shipping would change the cost, but there isn’t such option.
    all the while I keep hearing about an el cheapo shoulder mount made in china for a low price of 30$ and a shipping rate of about 20$ (http://cgi.ebay.com/Pro-Shoulder-Support-Pad-for-Camcorder-Video-DV-Camera_W0QQitemZ150316646595QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAU_Cameras_Photographic_Accessories?hash=item150316646595&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72:570|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318|301:1|293:1|294:50)
    saw a forum post in dvuser about the el cheapo that you can find it in ebay while searching for (shoulder support)
    is anyone familiar with this china made shoulder mount, looks the same as the mitcorp one?
    what about you philip? do you have a suggestion what to do?

    anyway, thanks for listening and maybe helping out a friend in need……

    Roy

  11. hi again,
    in one of your posts you were talking about a
    shoulder mount for the ex1 made in India.
    while looking for the el cheapo in ebay I found pics of the same indian guy in that post.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Video-Cam-Shoulder-support-for-ex1-ex3-gl1-gl2-vx2100_W0QQitemZ370133046375QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_CamerasPhoto_CameraAccessories_TripodsSupports?hash=item370133046375&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72:570|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318|301:0|293:1|294:50

    this regarding the el cheapo mind you……

  12. Hi Philip,

    Love your site/work. I’m a long time reader, first time poster.
    I know this article is very old now, but regarding the last item, the cheapy Cvp, have you ever used it with a DSLR?
    I use a 5D and 7D and this would be perfect, light and cheap.
    I guess I’m wondering if my eye will line up with a loupe when mounted?

    Keep up the great great work.

  13. The us ebay seller of the el cheapo does not ship to Japan but the same is available from aliexpress.com (direct from China) so I think I’ll do it.

    The one at the top looks like the ones available from thecinecity, the Indian shop/producer. I have never bought anything from the Indians but their stuff looks okay and is certainly very cheap.

Leave a Reply