Varizoom Steadicam Stabilizer Vest – Review (lack of)

(Note Video Error: I kept saying the arm mounts dead center in the 'Chest' What I meant was in the Stomach area.)

In this video i'm referencing the Varizoom DV Sportster Vest for some Steadicams, Flycams, and Glidecams. It's a cheap vest, and have heard slightly negative feedbacks about this particular item. Part of the fun in finding useful affordable tools is to get hands on and see what the true limitations are. Since there wasn't much information on the web about this product, I thought I would at least be a reference point for others who might be searching for information on this. I know, I know, I gave it a shot, but it's ok to leave comments saying 'Emm - I Told You So. What were you thinking? Why didn't you listen to us all...."

The problem isn't the build quality. It's very light weight and sturdy. The arm feels plenty strong to carry the Glidecam HD1000 DSLR Stabilizer that I did a video about. The problems I had with the vest was the ergonomics. Everything just felt like it was in the wrong place. Just after a few minutes of wearing it, I felt like grabbing some steel and fixing the design with my own. Just by relocating the arm to the side instead of dead center would have already been a huge improvement. A simple steel plate is all that it would take to get that situated. The back support is just straps, so it doesn't provide good relief from the weight. Everything just loads up on the back of your neck. So, it's lightweight, strong, fairly priced, but needs redesign in the Ergo department. Hey Varizoom..if you ever want guys like me to test and suggest for product design...Holla!

By the way - You can catch a bit of the studio i've been working on. Thanks to some local Photographer friends, they all pitched in to (literally) scrub the floors, lay down epoxy, tile the bathroom, change out the toilet, and move in some gear, but it's still a long way to go. Just brought in some couches and chairs, and there's still a whole lot of equipment not yet there. I can only pass by for an hour before I head home, and all my weekends have been booked with camera work. Someday this thing will have it's use....



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13 thoughts on “Varizoom Steadicam Stabilizer Vest – Review (lack of)

  1. Dodger

    When wishing to change the second spring to one with a different draw weight due to a camera change I discovered that no spares are available on the Varizoom website so had to source my own. When dismantling the arm I was shocked to find they had used crappy imitation mild steel circlips instead of proper spring steel ones so I had to replace them all. For the price of the arm I think it reasonable to expect quality.

  2. agreed - I have this vest - it's okay for resting or really slow movement - for anything like walking or running a dual arm vest is a must.

  3. KGB

    re:

    "After running around with the HD1000 & 7D, I have to agree it can get pretty hard on the arm. So I saw this over at Glidecam : http://www.glidecam.com/product-body-pod.php

    I find it’s still a little on the expensive site, so I’m thinking of putting together a DIY one. Thought you might like to have a crack at it or have some ideas. I have a few ideas of my own, just got to find the time to put them to use!"

    The only thing the body pod does is hold the Glidecam for you when your arm gives out, it's nothing but a holder stuck to your gut. Pass on it.

  4. KGB

    Well, remember, you get what you pay for...

    Or in the case of Varizoom, not so much.

    Varizoom... run away.

  5. Goran

    Isn't the HD 4000 very similar to Flycam 5000?

    The setup on the video, is it close to the limit that the merlin arm can handle?

  6. Goran

    Thank's EMM!

    I guess i'ts possible to use it without a monitor since most og the time you can frame the shot with the lcd on the camera.
    But I saw the video and there was a 5D with battery grip and separate microphone and that must be quite heavy.

  7. Although it did just suddenly seem less interesting to work on when I realised that it would be useless in moving shots! Ha!

  8. Hey Emm,

    After running around with the HD1000 & 7D, I have to agree it can get pretty hard on the arm. So I saw this over at Glidecam : http://www.glidecam.com/product-body-pod.php

    I find it's still a little on the expensive site, so I'm thinking of putting together a DIY one. Thought you might like to have a crack at it or have some ideas. I have a few ideas of my own, just got to find the time to put them to use!

    Thanks for the review!

  9. Emm

    Post author

    Sorry, that Merlin won't fly that setup. Not sure if you've ever flown with a monitor, but I choose to fly without one. If you must fly with a monitor, then at minimum would be the Glidecam HD4000 to Steadicam Pilot.

  10. Goran

    Thank's for bringin this up, you saved me a lot of research time, I'll think I'll go for the merlin arm and vest with my Flycam 5000.

    BTW I emailed you about how much the merlin could actually carry. I was thinking of using it with my 7D, Flycam 5000, camera rail with a matte box and a monitor on the Flycam.
    Any advis?

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