As some of you might have noticed, this blog went a few days without an update. I was busy attending CES - Las Vegas. Since there were several days of event coverage and many hours of walking, we needed to travel light - super light. The area was sooo crowded with what felt like hundreds of thousands of people, it was too cumbersome to even bring out a simple Tripod. We knew that we had to rely mostly on hand held shooting. Not to mention all the Taxi and Shuttle rides that made it difficult to travel with excessive gear and navigate through crowds. Our weapons of choice were two $24.00 dollar shoulder supports with a basic set of rails and handles. At times, the shoulder support was put in the backpack and the cameras were stabilized through the basic rail system which includes handles.
(Above) Camera on Basic Rails from Express35
Manfrotto Shoulder Support Adapter
Quick tip: If you want to make a straight shooter out of a basic set of Rails and Handles, you can also carry around the Manfrotto 361 Shoulder Brace for Monopods. This adjustable shoulder support will connect directly to the Tripod plate of the rail system giving you that extra point of contact.
One of the benefits to using a modular rail system is that when it's taken apart, it has the smallest footprint possible and extremely light weight. It's also the core foundation of building up to Follow Focus systems, Matte Boxes, and other accessories that are designed around the industry standard mounting solution. Another benefit is that it can be reconfigured into different ways by shifting the parts around. (I bet you guys never though about doing this). By just rotating the camera sideways on a set of rails and repositioning the Handles to each side, I was able to make a Fig Rig type stabilizer. I didn't want to pack the Flycam, so instead I used this type of setup for all my walking shots. Switching to my Tokina 11-16mm wide lens helped smooth out any walking motion too. When I was done, things packed up very neatly into a small backpack. When I get a third handle, i'll show you guys how i'm planning on adding a 'Top Handle' to the basic rail set. This would have all the same functionality as my DIY DSLR Fig Rig with two handles to each side and one on top. Of course it would be more lightweight and can be broken down for easy traveling.
(Above) Shown using rails sideways in a Fig Rig Stabilizer Configuration
(Above) Traveling with Basic Rails
For those who were hunting down a way to mount a set of rails to the Cheap $24.00 shoulder support, here's the answer you've been waiting for. This is a custom offset adapter that I requested from Express35.com. Unlike the mock-up version that I first received, this is a set of parts that allow multiple axis adjustments to get the camera where you want it. If you're looking for such an adapter to mount your Redrock, Zacuto, Gini Rig, or other rails you can contact Express35.com here and let them know you want that Cheesycam Offset for the cheap Shoulder Support.
(Above) Custom Offset Adapter to Cheap Shoulder Support
Cheap Shoulder Support for Video Camera
Supposedly a few other people have been requesting this same setup of rails to 'cheap shoulder support', but didn't even know where to start. For those of you who haven't invested in a basic rail system yet and looking to adapt to the cheap shoulder support, a new bundle of parts labeled as 'RigX' became available on the Express35.com website. The RigX Project is the custom offset adapter (above)+ basic set of rails + DSLR base + Tripod mounting Plate + HD Handles - all ready to be used seamlessly with the Cheap Shoulder Support. The bundled parts are designed specifically to be used in what many are calling the most comfortable entry level DSLR shoulder rig (you'll need the cheap $24.00 shoulder support) combination. If you want more information and prices on the complete RigX project from Express35, you can check it out here: https://express35.com/rig-x/1857/
Wow, it is now $309.00. That doesn't include double handles either. Anyone know any cheaper solution?
Hey thanks for the post!
I've got the cowboy pad too after reading this post, but the "Custom Offset Adapter to Cheap Shoulder Support" is really expensive --- $99 dollars now.
Guess we will have to wait for a more affordable alternative for the time being :S
Lensse DSLR Cage – RigX » CheesyCam
$30 Dollar Shoulder Support Weight Test » CheesyCam
I just came across a "new" product from Ikan. It's the $24($30) shoulder support with an Ikan logo... and a set of rails, but not offset. Overall, its more expensive than the Rig-X and lacks the adjust-ability that the offset provides. I'm a big guy and the 'cowboy studio' support ends up sitting at about a 20 degree upward angle... no problem, I just adjusted the offset. Then as I lose weight (it could happen)I can just keep changing the angle. Can't do that with the "new" Ikan unit.
@Emm, that pic that Chris asked for would really help me too. I want to see if the RigX and the $24 shoulder option gets the camera high and close enough to the eye to use with the LCDVF. Thanks for this amazing blog!
@Hello Stranger - Yes you can. The rig x comes with a tripod mounting plate.
Can you put a quick release manfrotto plate on here to be able to mount on a tripod easily ?
@Chris - The Sigma 20mm is one of my favorite lenses. I've had it for a very very long time.... When dinosaurs were still walking the earth. On a cropped cam, it's wide, but with almost no distortion. On 5D, it has very little. You can see my real estate tour was with 5DM2 and sigma 20mm.
@Andy - Sounds like just a wee bit more expensive than Express35.
I called Brian and he said he charges $2 per inch of aluminum black anodized rod. Just letting everyone know so that we're not all calling him and wasting his time.
Great thanks Emm,
Gotta stop reading this blog! Just purchased the tamron 18-270 lens for travel.
Just wondering if you use the sigma 20mm 1.8? If you do, what do you think of it. Perhaps you could do a short review.
Oli, if you want rods, you can try contacting Brian from here:
He's coming up with quite a few new stuff like baseplate, rig and accessories, so you can just email him directly about your needs. Pretty sure he can cut you a good price for rods. His website isn't updated much yet but he's a fine guy to deal with. Just let him know Jimmy from Singapore told you about him. Btw, he's based in USA 🙂
Emm, thanks for the additional photo upload. Gosh didn't even know such thing exists from Manfrotto lol. It's a handy option though.
@Andy - Yeah i'm the kind of guy that's never satisfied...it's a curse. JK! Actually all of the parts can be used together - mix and match. Even though they are all different manufacturers, the handles fit, the baseplates, tripod plates, etc. Keep in mind that I also work with several cameras and we have them working at the same time. For my trip to CES I had to build out two shoulder rigs.
As far as handles go, you have to see which works best for you. The Gini handles are well designed and very smooth. Smooth isn't always for everyone though, as the Express35 HD handles (HD only) have some pretty cool positive rubber grips. Cinevate has some very lightweight and well contoured handles that are highly adjustable.
Thanks, I'll go with Express35 over Redrock.
@Emm, it seems like you have tons of shoulder rigs (Gini, Express35, Jag35, Proaim, $24 rig, etc.). Out of everything you have, which do you like/use the most any why? I would be GREAT if you did a shoulder rig shootout video on the blog!!
@Oli - I think 10-12" rods is about the standard. Gini has good stuff too, but doesn't really sell spare parts on eBay. (2) Redrock rails will run about $80-90 dollars. (2) Express35 rods about $40 dollars. Not sure if there's international shipping though depending where you're at.
Thanks so much for this info, I've just bought the $24 support (which cost me the same in pounds!) and I've got some handles from Redrock. This offset will hopefully be the final piece in the puzzle towards a pretty affordable rig. Just wondering, as I need to buy some rods to connect my handles to the offset, how long do you think those rods need to be? I'm thinking either 12" or 18" perhaps. And do you know anyone that does good cheap rods? I'll go with redrock if I have to but they're not too cheap.
@Chris - I'll take a pic as soon as I get all my pieces back together. I stripped the setup down pretty minimal for CES and have stuff everywhere. You might get a basic idea of what an offset looks like on the shoulder support at the end of this video httpss://cheesycam.com/gini-rigs-got-a-few-new-pads/
I actually just got the macro rail that Emm talked about in the earlier related post. It works gr8 and costs less than $30 shipped. Been too busy lately but I do want to shoot a short video to show everyone. I was able to mount my rail, follow focus & handle. This is a much more cost effective solution for those of us using the Cowboy Studio shoulder support.
First off thanks for your blog!
I know the price is a little steep, but i reckon the rig-x looks great and i'm definitely interested in it.
Just wondering if you'd be able to take a photo or video of the rig in use like your other bts videos. Just so we can see how it looks with a camera on it (on the shoulder) etc.
Thanks so much mate,
love your work.
Chris (from Australia)
@Hunter Lyon - Yeah the adapter to build around is a bit high, which makes the RigX budle thing more appealing. You can grab some Gini stuff, but his prices are slowly getting up there. Hard to find a deal with Gini these days.
Very true. I do have rails, and the $24 mount (which I will be buying) is sick, but I think the stand alone mount ($89) is a little steep, because then you need to add handles which is yet another cost. I can see maybe if you already had handles, but to build a rig around it might be pushing it haha
@Hunter - Gini is great, Jag35 is great too. If you've read my blog, I have both of what you're talking about but they all ended up on the $24 dollar mount, which I really like shooting with. If you have rails already, I suggest trying out the $24 shoulder support. Actually the Field Runner lacks a few extra parts to make the Shoulder Support work the way I want https://jag35.com/new/products/the-field-runner/. So if i'm adding a few more things to the Field Runner bundle, that's really not comparable in price.
If you don't have rails, there's plenty of places to get a set of rails, base plate, tripod plate, and handles. Many of them are found here on this blog if you look around.
Way to pricey to be effective...you are spending $279 plus $24 for the shoulder support, you are up to over $300 for a "project" shoulder support. I would take that $300 and buy a Field Runner with the top handle, or spend a little more, and get a Gini Rig, which are way more customizable. But, to each his own.
@J Toha - I added a new photo to the article. It's the Manfrotto shoulder support in case you want to do a straight shooter without the Shoulder Pad.
You're right. I missed that part u said about the $24 shoulder support attached to the rig. Was more focused on the photos.
I agree that the price isn't the most competitive around (plus a bit of DIY time, and who can measure how much does that cost? :/ )
The other similar setup I've seen that are sold commercially is from Shape WLB. Check out their Spider & Sumo series. Even then it'll run you at least $600+.
@getem - yeah it's not for everyone, but compared to the other gear out there, it's extremely cheap. Let me know if you see something else comparable to this setup.
@J Toha - not sure what you mean. There shoulder rig is a chest clamp and completely hands free. There is a pad on the front of the shoulder support like a chest pad. It felt very comfortable. One of those things you have to try.
If you're referring to the photo with handles in front, that's just what it looks like without the shoulder support attached, without the shoulder support, I used the fig rig style.
Emm, did you have trouble balancing it with the setup you had? It seems like it's missing a chest pad, at least. Since it pivots at the handle, I imagine it'd tend to swing back towards you as you move.
I agree, $279 is too expensive. If they would offer the rails + handles for $150 I would bite, but at that price it is too expensive.
Where's the competitors at?
I really like the idea but 279$ for the rig and 89$ just for the offset adaptor is a kind of expensive, knowing is for the 30$ shoulder rig. For 299$ you can buy the Indisystem ULTRACompact similar size and many mount options, but for what i hear bad customer suppport.