Hands on with Opteka CXS-1 Shoulder Support

The Opteka CXS-1 is a fairly inexpensive ready built video camera shoulder support rig. Besides the obvious mount for the camera, the stage has a few extra mounting points if you want to get creative and add some extra accessory brackets. The Opteka was designed for cameras up to 20lbs (so they say), but no matter how much or how little weight you place on the stage, the shoulder support is not a 'complete hands free' solution as stated on the box. I think the claim to be a 'complete hands free solution' is a bit misleading. There's no possible way this thing will hang over the shoulder without using hands to support it. The shoulder pad only meets the top of your shoulder, and doesn't go completely behind like the $24.00 dollar shoulder support.

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As you can see though, with a counterweight added, the contour of the shoulder pad will eventually allow you to balance a Camera like the GH2 (as seen in the video). I'm using my DIY counterweight from my other rig just mounted to an already existing slot in the rear of the shoulder pad. The slot allows me to slide the weight left and right to level out the balance too.

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Offset a bit more by using just two bolts

The build quality is pretty nice, especially for the price using all metal components with an anodized finish. If you're a first time DSLR shooter with light accessories or have a lightweight camcorder, this type of stabilizer should suit you fine. It's also one of the better looking 'cheap' shoulder supports out there. There is only so much horizontal offset and vertical height adjustments, so depending on your frame, you may not be able to get the camera to the 'exact' position you need. Quick release adapters, battery grips, or DSLR's with variable LCD's should help correct some of that lack of positioning. You can choose to use just two of the hex bolts instead of three if you want to get a bit more 'inset' or 'offset'.

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No padding on stage

The handle can be removed and inserted directly into a camera if you're looking to shoot without the shoulder support. The stage is also not 'padded' so if you're experiencing some slippage, you'll need to DIY some type of cushion to the stage. Cork or a rubber pad should suffice. Being that the shoulder pad is an all metal build, it would be very easy to drill some new accessory mounts for your portable audio recorders or wireless receivers. There are a few large clamp knobs that should allow you to break it down into a few smaller pieces if you need to pack it up for traveling. Overall the Opteka is a great lightweight stabilizer for the price, and you'll be hard pressed to find something that looks as polished in it's price range.


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find-price-button Opteka CXS-1 Video Shoulder Stabilizer Support System for DSLR Cameras & Camcorders



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19 thoughts on “Hands on with Opteka CXS-1 Shoulder Support

  1. JOSE

    Thinking about one of these, to be paired with a Canon 5D Mark II + a battery grip. Any feedback on that combo? Thanks in advance

  2. Just bought one. It's an utterly flawed design for DSLR use with viewfinders. Why? Even at MAXIMUM extension, the rails are only level with the shoulder pad.

    Last time I checked, every human being has their eyes at least 6-12 inches higher up than their shoulder. So be prepared to massively hunch your shoulders, pass out after 3 mins and spend far too much money on masseurs fixing your busted shoulder.

  3. Tony Carretti

    Emm,

    I just got mine! It's actually very nice for the price. Here's a short review I did of mine with a T2i, battery grip, Tamron 17-50, and a clone lcdvf on it:

    http://www.vimeo.com/18311119

    Thanks for the heads up! Mentioned your site in the video so hopefully will push more folks your way so I'm not the only one spending all my money!!

    Tony

  4. Emm

    Post author

    @Joakim T - Yeah, I mentioned battery grips and quick release adapter plates, would help bring up some of that missing height. Otherwise, a block of wood? LOL.

  5. Joakim T

    Bought this last week and noticed the height adjustment was slightly too short for me. Do you have any ideas for a diy riser? Thanks!

  6. diputs

    I must say that I hate your website because I am spending money every day I log on.

    I purchased this shoulder rig last week. Purchased the fluid video head. Purchased the Z96 LED light, Purchased the friction arm mount. Purchased a Liliput monitor.

    As much as I love the information you post, I just cannot keep coming back if I do not want to become broke.

    Thanks for all your posts.

  7. ophuls

    So I've been trying out the products you recommend lately, particularly the Flycam nano, and I was wondering: Is there a way to display a passive crosshair on the Canon t2i's LCD interface while recording video? Been looking through a lot of menu options to no avail.

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @Richard - Shoulder rigs aren't designed for best walking. You can try to loosen the chest clamp and let it balance over the shoulder.

  9. richard

    can you walk around your room emm? i noticed that when i used the $24 shoulder support, walking around was always so shaky.

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Tan - Yes it should work, especially with the grip. This thing lacks the height adjustment, so with a grip you will gain more height, and if it's too high, you have plenty of room to lower it. To get more of an offset, you can two of the hex bolts instead of three. This will allow you to adjust it a bit more in front of you.

  11. Tan

    Do you know if a gripped t2i + LCDVF could be off-setted so that the LCDVF is exactly in front of your eye using this rig?

  12. Rabi

    Looks very nice, though I *just* picked up the $24 support on your recommendation and am super happy with it.

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