Shoulder Mount vs. Hand Held at

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Old February 20th, 2007, 10:27 AM   #1
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Shoulder Mount vs. Hand Held

I own a Sony A1 and I'm in the market for something a bit bigger. I've used other cameras that have "handy cam" form factors but never something shoulder mounted.

I do a lot of run and gun shooting and want to know if a shoulder mounted camera would be an advantage in these types of situations (stability and arm fatigue being a major issue) .

I also shoot in tight spaces so I'll be keeping the A1 and adding the second camera.

I'd especially like opinions from people who've gone from hand held to shoulder mounted cameras.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 10:57 AM   #2
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I've probably spent more time shoulder mounted than handheld so it may not be a fair assessment but I prefer the shoulder mount EXCEPT for the jobs that are supposed to be down and dirty and wind up going on forever. Thats when my shoulder starts to ache-as well as my back. When I used the JVC5000 with the Anton Bauer Hytron 120s after a while I couldn't even pick the camera up-those batteries weigh in at 5.5 lbs each BUT it sure did balance the camera nicely. When I swapped to the AB Dionic 90s even though the balance was off a bit the diffeence in weight was so big that I actually enjoyed shooting again. When I switched to the DSR250 I kept the AB batteries of course but again found the camera to be somewhat nose heavy so I got the Varizoom ENG Rig and even though I sometimes feel a bit goofy wearing the belt and having the rod sticking down off the camera I find that it not only relives the front end weight off of my shoulder and back BUT I can lock it down and have gone as long as 30 minutes with only a very slight movement once in a while when I shift my feet to get more comfortable. For me it was well worth the investment.
I have never been able to handhold a small form camera rock solid steady for a long period of time (read 5 minutes or more) but with the shoulder mount it's never been a problem even before the addition of the Varizoom rig. The other thing is that with the smaller cam if I use it in a comfortable position which for me is slightly above my waist so I can cradle it, my shot level is down around the subjects waist or chest, not so good when shooting a wedding and the cam is on the brides chest ;-) The shoulder cam puts it to eye level or at least close (I'm only 5'6" so it's a challenge no matter what)
The other thing I like is not having wires hanging off of me-with the full size I have a wireless receover and a light on th ecamera almost all the time and both run off the AB battery so not belts, juice boxs or pouches to hold things-not so with he small camera. I did a wedding Saturday night and my 2nd shooter had my PD150 with a receiver and a light and headphones and let me tell you he got tangled a few times with all the wires.
Now having said all of that as you can tell I like full sized cams always have BUT for certain jobs I use the small cam-IE Bridal Prep certain creative things where the small form gear is just easier to handle but for about 90% of what I do I use the full size gear.
Thats just my opinion of course-I know guys that woldn't have or use a full size. To each his own ;-)
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Old February 20th, 2007, 11:12 AM   #3
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I too think it comes down to prefrence. I have always used larger ENG cameras only, never really used a small sony or anything, so I'm a bit biased. If you like the quality coming from your small camera, I would definately suggest a stabilizer, as the above post touches on. There's a "support your camera" section on the main page with a forum for stabilizers - go read through them and see what people are saying. You can get something that will be much more cost effective than purchasing a whole new camera.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #4
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I've used both.

The Sony DSR 570, fully loaded with extended-life battery and wireless receiver, is heavy. Especially if you're used to a smaller camera. Probably in the 30-pound range.

The camera I use the most is a Panasonic HVX-200 with a CAVision shoulder mount. This shoulder mount provides a great deal of stability to the camera.

To see the difference, try strapping your handheld to a short board, then mounting that onto your shoulder. You'll notice that a lot of the usual shaking goes away. With the camera mounted that way, the usual pitching and yawing is reduced dramatically.

To help counter balance the camera, I attach my wireless receivers and the battery for my light to the back of the shoulder mount. The whole package looks a bit odd but it's a nice ergonomic fit.
Dean Sensui
Exec Producer, Hawaii Goes Fishing
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