One of the themes at NAB was being light and compact. This theme was evident in the hand held rigs I saw there. ikan, Red Rock Micro, and Zacuto had three of these rigs and I had the chance to get my hands on them. Before reading on, here’s a video interviewing the company reps on the compact rigs that caught our eye:
Let’s start with ikan. At only $149, the Hoverfly is a great piece for anyone starting out and anyone wanting to add a super compact handheld rig to their kit. The plate will work with any lightweight camera. They had it setup with a Canon XF105 and the LCD screen was in a perfect position. The adjustable handle and shoulder pad makes this very easy to customize for you and your camera. Loved how quickly it folds up and how easy it is to transport. I’d much rather shoot with a shoulder pad than a chest brace so this was a big plus for me. Find out more on the rigs at ikan at http://ikancorp.com/.
Red Rock Micro Event Rig
Red Rock Micro had their new event rig and this seem was pretty solid. Not as compact nor foldable like the two other rigs I compared but still lightweight and small. What I liked about this rig was the baseplate used. You can easily snap into a tripod and snap out to handheld. Also, it uses 15mm rods so you can mount a follow focus (as shown) and/or a matte box. For those that don’t have any type of hand held rig, this may be a great option. The baseplate will allow you to build out for a tripod rig and a full handheld rig. The way it was configured at the show you would have to shoot with a viewfinder. Most DSLR shooters have these so it shouldn’t be a problem. Check out http://redrockmicro.com for more information on their rigs.
As far as ease of use and portability, the Zacuto Marauder impressed me the most. It folds into the palm of your hand and folds out to a very stable, compact rig. Solid design. It uses a chest brace and handle for points of contact for stabilization. When you add your eye to a viewfinder and hand on the focus ring it becomes even more stable. What I liked about this rig is it can click into one spot to use a viewfinder and clicked one more to use the LCD screen. Now I already have the Zacuto Gorilla Plate but those that don’t will need one to make this rig work. I am not sure if they are going to offer a kit price to include one or not. To me this is a little bit of a downfall. I like the design and it makes it easy to put on and off, but it is one more thing to buy to use the rig. For those that own a Gorilla Plate, this may be the rig to look at. Check out all the Zacuto products at http://zacuto.com
Overall there wasn’t a clear winner. Really depends on what you are shooting with. They will all work in those tight situations and get you a much more stable shot than if you were to just hold the camera. For those new to the field, I’d recommend the ikan rig as it will work for a variety of cameras and it is a very simple rig. If you want to build out the rig or have other parts, the Red Rock Micro rig is the one for you. Anyone who owns a Gorilla Plate should go straight to the Zacuto store and grab the Marauder.
Rob Ruscher is the Digital Marketing Strategist at 522 Productions Alexandria, VA. He is passionate about gear and supports the company’s camera department. Aside from cameras, he enjoys meeting and working with new people and does this through meet ups, attending events and being active on Twitter.