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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.

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Old April 11th, 2005, 08:05 AM   #16
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Posts: 54
I've been doing a lot of research, looking for a Z1 support device that would take the weight off my 55-year old arms and allow me to use either flip-out screen or viewfinder.

The CAVISION rails/shoulder pad/handle looked interesting on the web, but no retailer in Toronto stocks it. Given my tricky eyesight, moving from using the EVF to LCD would mean having to stop shooting and sliding the camera on the rails, not an instant move.

I tried VideoSmith's MightyWonderCam Classic Shoulder Pod (without Ab Pad--store didn't have it). It was well designed and engineered but didn't take much weight off my arm. I'm sure the Ab Pad would have helped. But more critically, I couldn't comfortably use either the EVF or LCD with this unit. To get my eye on the eyecup, I had to crane my neck uncomfortably to the right. The unit seems designed for a larger camera with L-shaped EVF. I assume Varizoom's unit (from web pics) works about the same, but apparently doesn't readily allow vertical camera height adjustment (using discreet hole rather than clamp/slider like the MightyWonderCam.

The same store (The DV Shop in Toronto) had just received a new DvJunior Rig from DVTEC I'd seen the big brother unit on the web, but wasn't interested in all the baggage. I wanted something simpler.

On first seeing the Junior, I was skeptical. It's a belt with holster concept with spring loaded telescoping pole for support. I tried it in the store. Very quickly I felt at home with it. I used it that night at a fancy dinner/reception for 300 people. The night started with one hour of walk about short impromptu interviews. The unit was amazing. No arm fatigue. I could easily switch from EVF to LCD. The telescoping pole at full extension let me get slightly above head level shots with support. I tried walking with it keeping the telescoping springs slightly bouncy to see if I could take the bounce out of my steps. Not very well, but with more practice, I think I'll be able to get a steadier walking shot that just hand-held.

You can dampen and/or lock the tilt and swivel (left to right tilt), although it's not a fluid head.

If you see the pic on DVTEC's website, there is a black and blue belt and holster shown. M y unit came with a thinner plain black belt with black and blue holster. I'd prefer a plain black holster. Would draw less attention to my groin!! Especially when I like to wear black when shooting.

The belt placed the weight of the camera on my hips where I barely noticed it.

All in all, the best support unit I could find for my purposes.

While the unit cost more than I originally was hoping to pay for camera support ($329 CAD, plus $65 CAD for a separate quick-release plate), I have no regrets.

Whatever unit you're considering, I'd highly recommend trying before buying. Web photos just don't tell you how it'll work for you.

BTW, I have no financial or other interest in promoting this product, or the store where I bought it. Just wanted to share some recent positive experience.

Mark Woollard
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Old February 6th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #17
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 218
I got a Frezzolini Shoulder mount-- it works like a charm. Lightweight and adaptable.
George T. Griswold, Jr. New Orleans
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