Looking to build an ultra simple target shooter type camera stabilizer? One of the hardest parts to come by is a decent looking shoulder stock. The cheapest little shooter kit might have been one from Gini or one from Wondlan's Sniper package, but that was still a bit over most budgets for such a simple thing. Well if you've got a few rig parts laying around you can now buy Wondlan's stock seperately for under $40 dollars + shipping. Would be great to piece together a small shooter for my Sony HX9.
Wondlan's new Leopard Stabilizer system comes in along with some of the cheapest Dual Arm Vest + Stabilizer kits. How well does it work? Hmm..There's a few videos that are showing up over at Vimeo for you to take a look at. One demo above, and an instructional type video showing how to assemble the entire kit and balance (below). So far, nothing else online from an actual 'owner' especially here in the US. I'm more interested in how comfortable the vest is and if it might be available seperately. The spring design and dual arm looks to be of very high quality and much better than the Flycam
junk vest stuff.
Wonland's products can be found below:
Wondlan DSLR Leopard Vest Video Camera Stabilizer
Wondlan's earliest DSLR products were pretty blah, but when they started pushing out their 'sniper' or 'target shooter' type rigs, they started making a bit of noise in the scene. My guess is they are doing pretty well since they are now expanding their lineup of previously only small parts. In 2011, here's one of their latest Full Shoulder rigs. Yes, everything you see above (except camera & battery pack) is part of the package including shoulder pad, extended handles, matte box, battery mount, top handle, LCD Monitor, and follow focus w/ whip. I personally don't think it's very aesthetically appealing in turquoise/silver, but Wondlan's new rigs are often being compared to Gini's quality. Current price not so exciting...
Another new product for Wondlan is their 'Leopard Vest system' (happy it's not in actual leopard print). The cheapest off the shelf vest systems still run over $1200, but are pretty much crap. If Wondlan's latest vest system is anything like their shoulder rig quality, the price doesn't seem too overkill.
It almost comes close to the total price of my Hybrid system using a Steadicam Vest & Glidecam HD4000. Wondlan's Leopard Vest system is spec'd out to handle 10 pound loads, comes with a Monitor and Matte Box (most likely does not come with a V mount battery). It will probably be a while before we see any video reviews on this, but if you happen to run into something, leave them in the comments.
Hong Kong trying to introduce a new ViewFinder, but is a bit late in the Viewfinder game. It's a decent color scheme when matched up with it's Wondlan Shoulder Rig counterparts, but outside of that it's not my style. It's also a bit pricey for something coming from over seas, considering the hot topic is the LCDVF clones. Now with the LCDVF replicas selling from under $70 bucks, the only thing anyone would want from this Viewfinder would be the solid mount under the camera.
I'm already skeptical about this even moving off the shelves. The only thing that's going to save this idea is if it gets in our hands for a good ol' fashion showdown viewfinder vs. viewfinder style. Here's where you can find this Wondlan Viewfinder.
video from YouTube by rattusvulpes
This Golden Oldie (literally Gold) looks very very familiar. If i'm correct, I remember seeing the transformations of this thing while it was coming out of DIY progress on the Internet. I think it was called Pegasus. It looks like it's a pretty finished project now that's gone into mass manufacturing under Wondlan as the 'Ares'. (Doesn't Ares mean 'A$$' in some languages?)
Because of it's entry level price for a Gimbal style stabilizer, I'm finding more and more people doing reviews on the Ares. Although it looks like a Steadicam Merlin, it doesn't have a full functioning Gimbal as the Merlin. The Merlin has much more travel in it's design. Then again it's not priced like a Steadicam Merlin, and it appears that this Ares stabilizer can handle much much more weight than the Merlin can, so it's not ALL bad.
I'm not a fan of the Gold color scheme, it looks like something Austin Powers might have carried in his last movie, or a prop designed for the next Marvel Comic movie. Hey, you can't knock the awesome smooth results this bad boy is putting out though. You can find the decently priced Stabilizer here if Gold is your thing.
Update: Good news, you can send an email to the seller and specifically ask for 'Black', and that should solve that Gold color issue.
click images to find Wondlan Ares