When I posted the article about Fancier's new product line of DSLR support rigs and related accessories, it grabbed quite a bit of attention. Supposedly these rigs were also shown in Photokina earlier this year, so they are really pushing these products. In pictures it looks like it's got all the right stuff. They've come up with several modular pieces in their designs from entry level to heavily accessorized full shoulder rigs. The Fancier Rod Rig systems looks to meet industry standard measurements with 15mm rods and proper spacing to accept various other accessories.
This rig is designed with two main modular parts. First part is the DSLR cage type frame that can hold a few accessories and a follow focus. The cage can be released from the shoulder support for you to get hand-held shots and then quickly get the entire cage mounted back again. On this rig is Fancier's own friction follow focus system and Matte box. The follow focus has a smooth marking disc area, a very nice knurled black anodized knob that can support a whip. The follow focus is actually made quite nice, but the mounting and adjustment bracket is a terrible design. The matte box comes with large metal french flags and a standard sized plastic filter holder. The body of the Matte box is made of some type of molded plastic which is strong and light weight. There is very little adjustments to the matte box which makes it difficult to match up a combination of cameras or lenses for a decent fit.
The DSLR cage (thing) has a solid base plate, but the follow focus is raised to where it hits the bottom of the lens. Even my cameras with the battery pack on were too big to fit into this cage. There is also no vertical adjustments for the follow focus - only horizontal. Without the vertical adjustments there was no way I could mount any of my cameras with any combination of lenses to their system. This is how the rig was shipped, so it's possible 'they' even messed up on putting it together. Looking at the follow focus plate, it's still possible to flip it upside down and move the horizontal adjustment under the lens giving me a few millimeters of clearance, but the threaded knob would still dig into my lens. Not to mention they weak two screw mounts they use for the bracket wouldn't hold up well either. Basically worthless, but don't worry this rig isn't mine. I didn't pay for this rig, but sure am glad I got an early peek at it, and to share some of this information with all you guys. Perhaps saving many of you the time and money.
The rear shoulder pad for the rig was very comfortable and balanced the rig well with the counter weights. Once the rig was on my shoulder, I head quite a bit of squeaking and thought my clamps were loose. It turns out the shoulder pad was really just shifting around, and it's a flaw in their design. Too bad, because I really liked the shoulder pad and counter weight mount. It's much more comfortable that other rigs i've been playing with.
There it is folks. I really hope this information is helpful to anyone reading this. I'm quite pressed for time this week, and almost passed up the chance to review this one entirely. I didn't see any more information about this rig elsewhere, and wanted to get something online before anyone starts throwing money around on these rigs. This might be the first review anyone's posted about the Fancier DSLR rigs, and i'm really sorry to find so many things that just don't work. I still think they make decent budget tripods, LOL. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments.