This is not the shoulder rig you are looking for.
Prior to CES 2016, I fashioned a clever shoulder mount to work with my iPhone 6 Plus. What I came up with ended up turning a lot of heads and even some professional press videographers were asking about it. The base of the entire rig was a simple heavyweight plastic shoulder rig that was designed as a stabilizer for lightweight cameras. When the time rolled around for me to plan for CES 2017, I decided to up my game and I ordered a much more expensive, complicated system by NEEWER that had a lot of moving parts. While that rig was quite functional, it also required a lot of the user in that you had to know how to put all the pieces together in order to use it properly. Now with CES 2018 approaching, I made the decision to look at alternatives that might be the middle-of-the-ground for a shoulder harness. I want something that will hold my DSLR securely and not have a difficult assembly.
IMORDEN, a video and photo equipment company, makes a simple Shoulder Support Rig so I decided to try it out. This system is about $70 less expensive than the NEEWER rig that I previously tried, but then again, this system does not have as many parts to it. The IMORDEN Shoulder Support comes packaged with an M1 matte box and an F1 follow focus gear ring. You also have the option to use counterweights with a 1/4″ screw (my rig arrived with 2 – 200-gram weights). The main body of the rig is made out of heavy-duty aluminum. The system has a double-handgrip and a C-shaped shoulder pad.
The system arrived in three separate, nondescript boxes. The contents of the boxes include:
- Camera plate and base plate
- 180mm Aluminum rods (2)
- 300mm Aluminum rod (1)
- IMORDEN Handgrip (2)
- 250mm Aluminum rod with connector (1)
- Shoulder pad (1)
- Counterweight (2)
- M1 Matte box (1)
- F1 Follow focus (1)
- Gear ring belt (1)
- Cleaning Cloth (1)
After I made sure all the pieces were included as they should be, I began the assembly process. As I mentioned, there were far fewer pieces to assemble than the NEEWER system, but I still ended up with a bit of confusion because the “instructions” did not instruct me to do anything. It was more of a user guide with information about the unit and how to use it than how to assemble it. I had to look at the low-quality photos that were included in order to guess how to put the rig together. If I hadn’t had the experience with the other rigs, I’m not sure that I would have been able to put it together as quickly as I did.
Once I had the main assembly together, I tried it on my shoulder. It didn’t work as well as I thought because there was a huge gap between my shoulder and the base of the C-shaped pad. I tried to adjust it a few different ways and I added both counterweights, but the rig — without a camera attached — still felt awkward and off-balanced to me. I did really like the feel of the handgrips. They are covered with a soft silicone grip and they are just comfortable to hold onto. The frame — aside from the design of the shoulder pad — felt pretty good. The heavy-duty aluminum really seemed to hold up well and it seemed really sturdy.
The next part I put together was the matte box. As nice as the aluminum frame was, the matte box was somewhat of a disappointment. The bracket that attaches to the main frame was made of metal, but all the rest — even the thumbscrews — was plastic. This may not have been a problem if heavier plastic was used, but as it turns out, it was very cheaply designed. The flags that latch onto the frame of the box used a tooth-style grip. When I tried to attach them, I had two of the teeth break off. The flags were still useable, but not as secure as they should be. In addition to that, the plastic thumbscrews were questionable for security as well. When I tightened them, I felt that they could break apart too easily and that with regular use, they probably would. Unfortunately, things didn’t get much better when I went to add the Follow Focus assembly. The knob for it broke apart in my hand. When I picked it up, the glue that was holding the plastic ring in place had completely disintegrated and there was no adhesive left at all.
After I had the entire system assembled, I didn’t really feel comfortable mounting my DSLR to it because of the issues I had. I was hoping for a good middle-ground shoulder mount, but this particular model missed the mark on several levels. If IMORDEN would refine the design a bit and make sure to use quality parts throughout, then I believe this could be a decent option for a shoulder rig. I’m not sure that I would recommend it at this time, but if you are interested in trying it out for yourself, you can buy it from Amazon below.
BUY FROM AMAZON