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Gimbals are great,
But whilst brands bring out new models each month the humble shoulder rig continues to provide reliable support day in, day out, year after year.
The shoulder rig is a key part of your filmmaking kit and the right one can grow with you, lasting a lifetime.
Most are built using a standard rail system meaning you can easily mount your follow focus, lens support, cage, and many other accessories and are not restricted by one brand.
Their design and construction make them customisable to suit your shooting style and chosen kit, enabling them to develop as you do.
As well as providing mounting options, a shoulder rig helps distribute the camera’s weight across the body and away from the wrists allowing you to shoot for longer. By supporting the camera on the shoulder your shots become more stable and footage becomes smoother and more professional.
There are many options for shoulder rigs, from basic models to complete kits and prices to suit first timers to professionals.
We take a look at some of the best DSLR Camera Shoulder Rigs available.
- 15mm Rod Shoulder Mount Rig
- Height Adjustable Bridge Plate
- Adjustable Dual Handgrip System
- Shoulder Support
- Follow Focus with Integrated Hard Stops
- Weighs Just 3.9kg
- Includes 2 x 300mm Rods
Lanparte are renowned for making solid, well-built accessories and this starter rig is the perfect example. Every component fits together tightly and has been incredibly well machined for a lifetime of use.
This Lanparte Starter DSLR Camera Rig includes all the important elements of a professional camera rig. It weighs only 3.9kg, has V2 universal grip and can easily mount a field monitor, LED lights or a matte box. There is a power supply input and space for a battery pinch that can be mounted to the ergonomic shoulder pad.
The price puts it into the mid range category, a reasonable amount more than the Filmcity rig but much more affordable than a Shape or Zacuto model and in our opinion with the same build quality. A big selling point of this rig is the included follow focus which has a changeable gear mod, can be mounted on either side of the rig, and has a removable white marketing disc. The value of the follow focus alone is half that of the complete rig, making it a great deal.
Buy: Lanparte Starter DSLR Rig
- Straight bracket and Z bracket for better eye line contact with your camera
- 9’’ to 6’’ convertible cage brackets
- High-grade matte box fits multiple lenses up to 95mm
- Perfect for Handheld, Shoulder Mount & Tripod use
- Adjustable handles & soft shoulder pad for comfortable use
- Easy mount capability for follow focus – matte box and more
This is our most popular entry level rig and for the price boasts an impressive range of features.
The fully customisable set up has multiple mounting points for unlimited configurations and the 9″ cage can be converted quickly into a 6″ version. The soft grip handles, shoulder pad and included counterweight make this an great starter rig. You can easily mount it to a tripod using the quick release plate or capture hand-held low angle shots by using the top handle.
The price is almost unbeatable but this is not a throw-away rig, the quality holds up, and the included matte box and counter weight make it the complete package for beginners. It does not have a follow focus or the same build quality as the Lanparte BSK-01 but for an entry level rig this is an excellent choice.
Buy: Filmcity DSLR Camera Cage Shoulder Rig Kit
- 15mm Rod System and Paparazzi Riser
- 4 x 15mm Rod
- Quick Handle and Rod Block
- Adjustable shoulder pad
- Weighs 2.7kg
- Anodised aluminium
The SHAPE Composite Grip Camera Support is a professional hand-held camera support device that attaches the camera to the platform through a 4.5″ mounting hole (11.5cm) and weighs only 2.7 kg
You can raise the camera directly above the camera support or offset it to the right or the left. Providing tight control on the position of the camera relative to its operator. This is a very solidly built rig that feels stable to hold and the shoulder support hugs the body well. The build quality is certainly higher than a lot of the cheaper models and Shape has put a lot of effort into the details. The tool-less design, push button technology, back support and overall feel make this a premium piece of kit but that does come with a higher price tag. At £659 it is considerably more than the Filmcity model and whilst only a little more than the Lanparte BSK-01 it does not come with a follow focus or any other add ons.
There is definitely a quality difference and as a Canadian based company, you may find the customer support easier to deal with than the Indian/Chinese brands but the price and lack of included items make this more suitable for experienced filmmakers looking to upgrade rather than those filmmakers just starting out.
Buy: SHAPE Composite Grip Camera Support Rig
- Hi-grade aluminium components
- Top handle with quality rubber grip
- Customizable telescopic handles
- Universal quick release plate
- Completely modular
- Includes shoulder mount, cage, follow focus, matte box, mic suspension, remote control
If you are looking to buy your first rig that has everything to get filming but don’t want to break the bank then this is the perfect solution. The Proaim 6CF Kit is a complete camera rig kit that provides all the accessories that a professional filmmaker needs. The Kit-6CF features a lightweight cage, shoulder mount rig, MB600 matte box, Follow Focus X9 Gear, a microphone suspension, a V-remote control and much more.
This is a highly customisable and easy to set up rig. The shoulder mount’s telescopic handles feature comfortable grips, adjustable telescopic handles, and is compatible with standard 15mm rod systems. The 6″ cage with top handle allows for low angle shots and the quick release plate makes tripod mounting easy.
For what you get in the package and at a price that is still lower than the Shape rig this is really an incredible deal. Along with the shoulder mount rig and cage you get a matte box, follow focus, remote control, mic suspension, and a free support rod to help stabilise your shots further. If you are an amateur filmmaker who is looking for their first rig and think you will benefit from a complete set then you will struggle to find a better deal than this.
Buy: Proaim DSLR Filmmaking Kit 6-CF
- 15mm Rod Shoulder-Mount Rig
- Height Adjustable V-Lock Bridge Plate
- Dual Handgrips & V-Lock Shoulder Support
- 7″ HDMI Monitor
- Follow Focus with Integrated Hard Stops
- ABS Case with Custom Foam Interior
At almost £1900 this rig might not quite be suitable for those new to filmmaking however it comes with an impressive list of gear that not only justifies the price but actually makes it an incredible value for money. As this is another Lanparte rig the build quality is sturdy and the components are all tight and well machined. Where this rig stands out is its contents list which includes; shoulder mount rig, carbon fibre matte box, follow focus, focus whip, lens support, C shape support, top handle, battery pinch, battery, 7″ monitor, and a variety of cables and extras. All this comes in an ABS safety case making it easily transportable and well protected.
With this kit you are ready to take on professional work and will have everything you need. Where this package is different to the Proaim model is its ability to grow with you. The quality of each component means it will last a lifetime and as you develop as a filmmaker you will not need to upgrade the matte box or follow focus which you may need to with some of the cheaper kits. This is an investment but one you will not regret years down the line.
Buy:Lanparte Professional Kit
Choosing your rig
When selecting your rig consider if you want a straight shoulder mount or a offset shoulder mount, an offset can put the viewfinder in a more comfortable place but this is less of an issue if you’re using an external monitor.
Some rigs are built on flat metal structures whilst a lot are built on a rail system, the rail system allows for more customisation and mounting, you can even get offset arms to turn your straight mount into an offset one.
Think about if investing in a full kit now will be better than buying each component as you go, you may find you never use some parts but could equally find buying a bundle saves you a lot of money and allows you to experiment with different kit. Finally, price is always a factor, don’t spend your entire budget on one piece of equipment and leave nothing for production. There are plenty of options for every type of filmmaker, we have a wide range of DSLR Rigs so if you need any advice just give us a call.