If you've been a fan of Edelkrone rigs, they are currently offering up some major discounts on the Modula Series. Here's a look at how the Modula systems can be configured differently.
There are several different Modula models starting from the Modula 3 to the Modula 9+. The most expensive combination listed on their website drops more than $1k off the list price. You can find out more about this deal over at the Edelkrone website (click here).
Reader Jip shares a camera support find. Taking a few tips from the big guys about Camera Shoulder Shooter designs, this 'Chest Pod' acts like a shoulder stock or placed on the knee as a monopod. There's a sling strap included so i'm not sure if it can be worn in any other configuration. Pricing is way too high for something like this, but maybe you guys can track down something cheaper, or DIY something better. [Thanks Jip]
Looks like a few new eBay sellers have picked up this unusual camera support item and now there's some promotional videos online. Folds up, folds out, with extremely large (too large?) handles that can configured into different style stabilizers such as a Shoulder rig, Fig Rig, DSLR Cage. Doesn't look like it can be positioned to get a DSLR with view finder loupe offset properly, but functions as a basic shoulder support with an external monitor attached. Above is the most recent video ad promoting this product labeling it as the 'Spider Steady'. Pricing is still less than desirable....
I love me some RedRock Micro gear, but unfortunately i'm just one of those poor souls who can't afford even their entry level stuff. As seen in the image below, this is just one bundle in the line up of RedRock Micro's Nano rigs called the Running Man. Pretty solid piece of gear that doesn't look quite overkill. Light weight, sturdy, sets up fast, and packs down small. Nice little stabilizer for the frequent traveler. You can find the Running Man rig here: Redrock Micro nano - RunningMan
Having a few spare parts around the studio, just decided to mount the Calumet Mini Tripod / Handle to a Manfrotto 361 Shoulder Brace for Monopods. The bearing on the shoulder support spins freely, but by adding a handle under the camera, you can keep it steady. It's also handy having the handle break out into a Tripod to rest the gear down (gotcha on that one RedRock..JK).
Would be an interesting travel brace for a smaller camera like the GH1, GH2, Sony NEX, or A55. I don't know..all for fun...
Sorry things have been quiet here, but i'm working on packing up for CES (Las Vegas) this week. I want to travel light, so I minimized the amount of parts on a lightweight shoulder rig setup. It's mostly Express35 rails and clamps on the Cheap Shoulder Support by going straight inline, but I still really wanted an 'offset' for the LCD ViewFinder. I just happened to look through random parts in the studio and this Macro Rail works awesome! It's an all metal bracket that adjusts through gears and can be locked into position. These rails are designed to mount your camera to slide forward, back, or mount the camera for side to side adjustments. Now I have mine mounted under the camera, but if you choose to mount your entire set of rails over the adapter, that will also work. Why didn't anyone think of this before? It's perfect!!
Here's a couple of inspiring videos that do a great job showcasing low budget gear with great results. First up is another tutorial from Vimeo Member TLA Productions (showed us the use of the DIY Ring light for use in Video), but this time he's showing us the RedHead lighting kit. Yeah this is the same stuff i've been talking about for a while now, but I really haven't been able to show you guys how well they work. TLA Productions does a better job at this, and it's great to see other people using it.
Next is a great little documentary short from Vimeo member Hello Stranger. Shot using the cheap $24.00 dollar shoulder support, a 50mm F/1.4 and a Sigma 20mm F/1.8. For Audio, it was just a Zoom H1. Just goes to show you that it's not all about expensive gear behind the picture. Pretty cool video, and if you want to show support with a vote, it was shot for the Nikon Contest at http://www.festivalnikon.fr/videos/view/id/251
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.
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.
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'.
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.
I've seen a few cheap DSLR related items spin off into some success. Here's another new stabilizer on the market that I think is going to have a good future. It's coming in at $99 bucks available on Amazon and $99 on eBay with Free Shipping. Although the price is going to help make it popular, it helps to be designed fairly similar to another rig that goes for more than $250 dollars. Designed with aluminum and stainless steel, it can adjust your camera forward/back, left/right for an offset, up/down, and also can be modified for left or right shoulder shooting. A good 1" thick foam shoulder pad with metal shoulder support, i'm thinking it would be a great platform for drilling in accessory mounts. The handle can also be removed for going uber-simple.
The description claims a 'hands free' solution, but i'm curious if it really has that ability. If it does, then it's going to give the cheap plastic $24.00 dollar shoulder support a good run for the money. I should have my hands on one soon to be used with my new Sony A55. Looks like it will be an excellent light weight camera stabilizer for other cameras like the Panasonic GH1/GH2, Canon T2i, or Nikon D3100, but it does claim to be able to support up to 20lbs of weight.