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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gadget Bag: Steady Shooting

Versatile stabilization solutions that bridge the gap between stills and video

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This Article Features Photo Zoom

Zacuto DSLR Z-Cage
Whether shooting for the ultimate sharpness in stills or looking to capture video that's as smooth as possible, there never has been a better time for photographers to be looking at tools for image stabilization.

The explosion in video-capable still cameras has created an incredible demand for stabilization gear that works for both still images and motion pictures, and now that high-definition video is another option for photographers who are using video-capable DSLRs, tripod manufacturers and video companies are offering still photographers many of the same possibilities that high-end video-support systems have given video professionals.

These stabilization kits and rigs provide filmmaking tools at the same time that they act as extremely portable balancing systems for DSLRs. They're efficient, compact, lightweight alternatives to tripods, too, and many are modular, as well, offering options and features that give them a leg up over traditional tripods with a variety of accessories that can turn your DSLR into a versatile filmmaking machine.

BushHawk 320D
Stabilizing Solutions
Available in Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax and Sony mounts, the BushHawk 320D keeps your camera steady with a rifle-like shoulder support, particularly helpful with large telephoto lenses. The included shutter-release cord triggers the camera so you can hold the system comfortably in both hands through the double-handed grip. The BushHawk 320D kit also offers a window pod for shooting from cars, a sling strap and a black nylon bag. List Price: $299 (Deluxe Kit); $399 (Professional Kit with quick-release system).

Camtrol Prime
The Camtrol Prime utilizes a cage-free design, making it an ideal choice for cameras and camcorders with swiveling LCD screens. The ergonomic "true-feel grip" handle is built for low shooting and versatile handholding, leaving the other hand free for camera operation. There are also locking ball joints, QPRL quad pod retractable legs and a vertical stabilizer bar for positioning the camera on the ground or framing from above or even around corners. The Camtrol folds down to 10 inches in length, and a receiver post for a remote and accessories keeps wires out of the way, including the optional Camtroller remote for controlling camera functions in LANC-enabled camcorders and DSLRs. List Price: $399 (Camtrol Prime); $99 (Camtroller).

Cinevate Simplis Solo
Cinevate offers a wide range of DSLR-steadying rigs, from the basic DSLR Camera Grip all the way up to the DSLR Deluxe Package that includes everything you'll likely need to make a full film production. The Simplis Solo is offered as a more barebones "run 'n gun" setup, with a Simplis Quick Release plate, a swiveling ΒΌ-20" hand grip that attaches to the camera via the tripod mount, a shoulder stock and three lengths of shoulder stock rods. The unique Cyclops DSLR Viewfinder fits to the Simplis, too, for magnifying the LCD screen to check focus and to block sunlight from washing out the screen. List Price: $399 (Simplis Solo); $689 (Simplis and Cyclops DSLR Viewfinder).


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