A DSLR Shoulder Rig is an essential part of a Videographer’s kit. DSLRs are used by both photographers and videographers alike. Being light weight, they are still not ergonomically friendly for handheld motion picture works. Therefore a good DSLR shoulder rig will decide the fate of your hard work.
Using a Digital SLR for professional video recording without some stabilization is a bad idea and can render many of your shoots unpleasant due to the unavoidable camera shake.
That is typical with any camera, not just a DSLR. The key to recording a perfect movie has many factors, but stabilization is one of the most important factors.
Destabilization is quite standard with any camera, not just a DSLR. The key to recording a perfect movie has many elements and stabilization is one of the most important ones.
Today we will try to narrow down on the best DSLR shoulder rig for your in-motion recordings. I have researched and reviewed many of them and have finally shortlisted 4 DSLR shoulder rigs which should be perfect for your use.
You should know that the best DSLR rigs for your movie kit are those that are:
- Light Weight – Because who wants to carry around a 15-pound rig, in addition to your camera weight?
- Within your budget – you already spent a fortune on your sophisticated camera, why to spend another when you can find the best rigs for budget prices?
I have decided to give you these options because not many of us have the same budget and choices. So choose your favorite one from these, your investment will be worth it.
Top 4 DSLR Shoulder Rigs
Why Use A DSLR Shoulder Rig?
There are several reasons to own a Shoulder mount, especially if you are making a career out of Videography.
When people see you with a DSLR, they tend to assume you are taking a still Photograph with your camera, whereas you are a Videographer and nobody recognizes that.
This behavior can seriously affect your overall business. It is the way others perceive you that makes or breaks your artistic vibe.
If a person holding a professional Shoulder Mount is moving around focused on his DSLR, do you take him as a Photographer or a Videographer? I bet the latter.
Another important reason to buy a shoulder mount is the added stability you will get with your DSLR. You cannot compete for that with handheld shots or Image Stabilization in the lens.
DSLR shoulder mounts are essential when filming around when in motion. Maybe you are filming a person going down a stairwell, without a shoulder rig your video will be all shaky but with a shoulder rig, it will be smooth shooting.
These scenes can be shot with a Monopod or a Tripod too, but if you are into professionalism then go for a DSLR shoulder rig. You will find out the benefits in the long run.
Things to Consider Before Buying a DSLR Shoulder Rig
1. Shoulder Mount Type: You need to decide if you want straight shoulder mount or an offset shoulder mount. If your DSLR has an articulated display (an LCD monitor that opens up on to the side like the one in Canon T3i), then you should go for an offset shoulder mount.
In offset mount, the rig will keep the viewfinder in front of the operator’s eyes. For other fixed type DSLRs, you can go with the straight shoulder mount type.
2. The design of Shoulder Mount: Mainly there are two designs to choose from, one which uses Flat Metal Surfaces and attaches the DSLR to the top and other which uses Rail System.
In my observation, a rail system is better because it is more adaptable to different scenarios. Rail system also makes it easy to add attachments to your DSLR such as Lens supports, Cage.
3. Weight Management: Most DSLR Shoulder Rigs come with “Arm” or “Chest Support,” you should choose one of these because your DSLR though seemingly light can get pretty heavy when you add your extra goodies on to it such as your custom lens which is pretty bulky.
Plus if you are shooting hours straight, it can cause body pain. To help reduce the discomfort, choose a rig with “arm” or “chest support” where the arm rests on the camera operator’s chest and supports the front of the camera.
4. Counterweight: These rigs get pretty “front heavy” quickly when you keep storing your goodies for easy access to the front pockets. To help prevent the front heavy situation, shoulder rigs available today come with counterweight options where you can add weights to the back of the shoulder mount to re-balance the mount.
Now let us review the top 4 rigs.
Review of the Top 4 DSLR Shoulder Rigs
Below you will find the complete review of the most recommended DSLR Shoulder Rigs. You can checkout the rigs on Amazon to find more reviews and order one at the cheapest price available.
The Fotodiox WonderRig Elite is an exceptionally powerful DSLR shoulder rig; It has had great reviews from many Photographers/Videographers.
All of them have complimented on the full metal rig which has a nicely finished body and the minimal use of plastic that too – high-quality plastic and not the kind of cheap plastic material used by many manufacturers.
The follow focus of the rig is smooth, and it adds the perfect amount of resistance to it. Plus you get an attachment point for the zoom mechanism too.
You do not need to carry another bag for all your DSLR accessories; the very well sculpted rig has an attachment place for every accessory you might carry. The balance of the rig is excellent and does a good job at stabilizing at a very affordable and meaningful price.
It has a height adjustable matte box with a Top Flag and Two Side Flags, a 15-mm rail adapter and adjustable lens gear belt.
As you can see from the picture, it has dual hand grips, and the shoulder pads are comfortable.
This DSLR shoulder rig is capable of withstanding a broad range of whips and speed cranks without affecting the video quality.
Plus with a 2-year manufacturer warranty, this rig is a steal.
The Morros DSLR Shoulder Mount Rig is the perfect shoulder rig for your needs if you need a professional kit and also don’t need to break your bank in the process.
With the Morros DSLR Rig, you will not need to buy external rail raisers if you use Battery Packs with your DSLR since the Matte Box and Follow Focus are height adjustable.
The Matte Box is made up of pretty sturdy plastic with side flaps and flag that holds its position.
The one shortcoming I came across was that there was no way to fit Filters, but of course, with a bit of DIY hacks you can fit them on. Also if you use a Telephoto Lens, it will tend to poke out a bit through the hood attachment.
The Follow Focus needs a bit of tweaking to become smooth but not something that would need anything more than an amateur expertise. It has a gear index adjustment of 360 degrees
Hand Grips are made up of high-quality comfy rubber, and so is the Shoulder support which fits well. The Top handle is made up of Aluminium Alloy and fits all 15mm rod system.
The entire shoulder rig is pretty sturdy compared to others.
The Morros DSLR Rig is pretty light weight and doesn’t put the strain on shoulders even after several hours of shooting videos with the shoulder rig.
The entire package comes with much gear and is available on Amazon. Check out the Amazon button below.
The near perfect solution for DSLR shooters, this is a truly bang for buck shoulder rig for all your shooting needs.
The FILMCITY DSLR Shoulder Rig FC-02 is a highly functional and low-cost rig with a counter balance.
The matte box comes with metal flags and is the right size and right weight for when the rig is upon your shoulders.
The counter weight is a bonus and maintains the stability correctly for a rig of this magnitude, pull the handles as far back as the base plate and still even out the weights.
Although the cage is made up of hard composite plastic, it is very rigid and light. However, on the firm side.
The top handle, as usual, makes it easy to carry the rig around and you can easily fit and lift it off a tripod.
The handles are sturdy and comfy, but they roll around in their position which doesn’t seem to get fixed even after excessive tightening of the screws. However, that is just a minor annoyance.
DSLRs fit perfect on the quick release plate, but the plate is made up of plastic, and I would suggest you get a metal release plate for like $10 on Amazon. This one comes with a spirit level too which is quite reasonable these days.
There is no vertical adjustment on the shoulder arm, but you can rotate the handle grips to get the right angle.
The shoulder pads are moderately comfy but bang on for the price.
The major plus point is the rig weight distribution, makes it so much easier to take fluid shots.
However, after a few hours of shooting, I would suggest you take a break to prevent shoulder stiffness and fatigue.
Check out the Amazon button below to find the lowest price for this rig.
This shoulder rig has been a popular guy among the others with many people ordering it. It has been a people pleaser and has had pretty good reviews from almost everyone.
As the name suggests, the rig has a Follow Focus, Matte Box, and a Counterweight.
Although the matte box is made up of plastic, it is still a good quality work and doesn’t let much light in resulting in high-quality videography.
I agree that the build quality could have been better with all the plastic matte box and the silicon rubber on the handles, but feature wise this is a quality product.
The counterweight feature solves all the issues I addressed in the “Things to consider before buying a DSLR shoulder rig” section. That is the body ache and imbalanced DSLR issues.
The set does require much tightening around but the setup time will not take longer than 25 minutes.
The rig weighs around 5.7 pounds plus the extra weight of your accessories, DSLR, and counterweight.
I hope you liked all our choices of DSLR Shoulder Rigs, Choose any one of them and click on the Title/Image to visit Amazon and order one. You will get great discounts and free shipping from Amazon. Enjoy their free benefits.