Spiderbrace -- Impressions of Two Models at DVinfo.net

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Old August 23rd, 2005, 11:44 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,483
Spiderbrace -- Impressions of Two Models

I and my co-shooter took a look at 2 of the 3 Spider Brace
models. I haven't done much with them yet but just
wanted to pass along some initial impressions. (I will try to use it more for a wedding this coming weekend and will pass along any additional thoughts after that.)
I had been thinking for awhile about getting a shoulder support. Most of them are in the $150 range or so. The Spider Braces are $60.
Here's their site:


They have three models. There's the Spider Brace 1 for Canon XL. The Spiderbrace 2 is for Canon GL, Sony VX/PD,
Panasonic DVX, and other similar cams. And then there is
Spiderbrace Mini-rig which appears to also be for the Canon XL ($50).
We took a look at the models 1 and 2, which I'll refer to as
the XL model (1) and GL model (2).
The two models are the same as to their front left and right legs. They differ on their rearward shoulder legs. The XL's is shorter and straight. The GL's is offset (bent) and a bit longer. We tried the two models with Sony VX and PD.
They arrived well packaged, wrapped in plastic with cushioning. There was a nice friendly note from the owner,
Marcos, along with a helpful tip sheet. Marcos got them
out to us pretty quickly, too.
I have never used a shoulder brace before so I really don't have any other models to compare to.
They are made of plastic with the legs being covered
with foam. I was wondering about their sturdiness what with being all plastic but they seemed plenty sturdy with my
6-pound Sony PD setup on. I also had wondered if the cam would be prone to turning on the device (seeing as there is
no place on the device for a cam's locking pin to be inserted) but the cam stays in place well due to the grippy rubber Marcos has used on the mounting plate where the cam sits on the Spiderbrace. I also wondered if the mounting plate, which is made of plastic, would hold up when the metal mounting bolt was tightened to the mounted cam. I opened
up the mounting plate to see what was inside and I found a
simple but, I think, effective system of bolts and nuts that
should make it so that tightening the cam to the base plate
should not cause any issues of the plastic breaking. My partner is a woman and preferred the "smaller" XL model for use with the Sony VX for the reason that the LCD is up closer
to your eyes and her arms were in tighter to the body because
of the shorter shouder leg. This shorter leg puts more of the
cam's weight onto your shoulder. The GL model has your
arms stretched out farther from your body so that more arm
strength is required to support the camera. For myself, I wear
contacts to see things at a distance and the cam LCD screen was just too close when on the XL Spiderbrace.
Like I said, I've never used a shoulder brace before and will say that these are not really a substitute for a monopod. Even though one of the legs is on your back there still is a fair
amount of weight that is placed on your arms. Also, the stability of the shot is much less than with a monopod.
I grabbed a Spiderbrace to use at a wedding reception for
covering cocktail hour where I'd shoot people from 12 feet away or so and I saw right away that my shot was too "bobby" so I went to a monopod. There was a time where I jumped up on the stage and shot the band members
and here the SB worked out well where I had to be real mobile. I looked at the footage and my guess is that the increase in stability over handheld is a 70% improvement or so. Another use for the SB might be for going out onto the dance floor where you may want to be moving the cam about
quite a bit, and where you really woundn't want to roam about a croweded dance floor with a monopod.
So, for times where you need to go handheld, the noticeable
improvement in image stability is definately worth the price
of the SB.
One advantage I think the SB has over some of the metal units is that it has the two front handles (not just one
handle) so that if you need to make an adjustment on the right side of your cam you can support the cam with the SB's left handle, and vice versa.
I think shouder braces are better for shots that don't have to be held very long and where the subjects are closer to you.
I hope to get some pictures up tomorrow or the day after where I'll show attachment of a lanc controller, attachment of a quick release plate, and some shots comparing the two models side by side.
If anyone has any questions feel free to go ahead and ask me.
I'll continue to post thoughts on these in the near future.
Dave Largent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 24th, 2005, 03:50 AM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Suwanee, GA
Posts: 1,241
Thanks Dave. Your review answered my question about monopods vs this brace (or any brace). I will be getting a monopod. :D
George Ellis is offline   Reply

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