The 7 Best DSLR Shoulder Rigs
This wiki has been updated 14 times since it was first published in February of 2018. Camera movement can be helpful to create pulse-pounding excitement in an action sequence. If you want to give your movie a kinetic feel, or you just want to record comfortably at a crowded family gathering, a shoulder rig is a good alternative to a traditional tripod. We've ranked them here by build quality, ergonomics, and the inclusion of special tools for power or focusing. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 11, 2020:
Having cut my teeth as a cinematographer shooting through DSLRs and still relying on their mirrorless usurpers for everything from b-roll to location scouting, I've had the pleasure of working with an enormous amount of shoulder rigs in professional settings. Most recently, I worked with the Neewer Filmmaking Kit, the assembly of which was a snap, and whose counterweight was just heavy enough to balance against the director's Nikon D850 without putting too much strain on my shoulders. Was it perfect? No, but the results looked good.
All of the rigs on our list are going to have things about them some people love or hate, like the cheese plate on the back of the Ikan Flyweight System. To me, this is a godsend, as you can toss a power pack on it (looking at you Sony), or create your own counterweight system that actually matches your camera when its built out.
I did decide to remove a few models from our last list for a variety of reasons, including durability issues with the update to the Opteka model we had. The problem came from screws that were too easily stripped from regular use, forcing you to either leave it set up in one configuration and never change it or just use it till it breaks. We also sent off the Fotodiox WonderRig, which may have the least comfortable shoulder pad ever created, for use with cameras or otherwise.
And for the shooters who want to make more of an investment, we've included a few professional level options in our special honors section, like the Zacuto ACT Recoil, which can be reconfigured into a number of useful shapes, from a shoulder rig to a handheld stabilizer, giving it the potential to significantly shrink the footprint in your truck.
Wooden Camera V3 Pro One of the most compelling things about this option is the fact that its arms are telescopic, so you can make adjustment to them that can account for everything from your height to the particulars of a strange shooting angle. Instead of a traditional rail system, its main point of contact with a mounting plate is a flat plane, which end up increasing its stability. woodencamera.com
Tilta Pro Instead of marrying its two handles together with an aluminum rail, this model allows each one to extend naturally from the base of the cage, giving you more opportunities to fine tune their positioning and get the most comfortable handling experience you can muster. It boasts a sturdy top handle for movement on set or low angle shooting. tilta.com
Zacuto ACT Blackmagic Pocket Recoil This model may be one of the most versatile on the market, as it's designed to work as everything from a handheld stabilizer to a shoulder mounted cage with an extension arm that can house a viewfinder or hold a monitor. Its ergonomic grips make it easy to operate and adjust, and its arca-swiss compatible baseplate allows you so swap your kit out with other systems seamlessly. zacuto.com