Pros and Cons, and Conclusion
This is cheaper than buying a commercial shoulder rig if you already have the tripod or plan to buy one for double duties.
This is very easy to build and use and doesn’t require much parts.
- This camera shoulder rig still retains its ability to be a tripod or monopod. You do not need to carry two main pieces of camera gear around with you but just the shoulder rig conversion parts.
- It is adjustable and has various holding positions.
- You are able to attach various camera accessories to it using the crossbar pole. Eg. monitors, portable light, audio recorders, clamps, etc.
- The tripod head can be interchangeable with other tripod heads.
- This shoulder rig works like any other shoulder rig that I have seen. It improves stability as compared to handheld shots.
- Multiple holding positions on the front tripod legs for comfort.
- The pole extension for the tripod head that is in the middle of the tripod can be used as a handle for single hand held shots whilst your other hand do other things like focusing or adjusting settings on the camera or audio recorder. It does get tiring quickly when you have a lot of camera gear mounted and you are using the Tripod Shoulder Rig with one hand only.
- There is not much items needed to convert a tripod using this set-up.
- It gave better balance and grip for handheld type shooting.
Not cheaper if you have to go out and buy a tripod just for the purpose of converting it into a shoulder rig. It is also time consuming to build and does not look as professional as a commercial camera shoulder rig.
After prolong use my hands, arms and shoulder do get tired, even when alternating positions but I would say that using a shoulder rig is better than going handheld only. The issue with the shoulder pad and clamp as a shoulder hook is a major issue for prolong use. As mentioned before, using it on your shoulder with the pipe insulation as shoulder pads is like knuckles digging into your shoulder after a while or doing squats at the gym using a weighted bar. Also using a spring clamp as a shoulder hook causes soreness and pinching, but both these issues could be minimized with better padding and design.
My DIY Tripod Shoulder Rig looks pretty good to me, I have no shame in using it out in public or with clients. Some professionals may feel the opposite and feel embarrassed to use this device because it is obvious that it is a customised tripod being used as a shoulder rig, but the question is, does looks really matter if it can produce the similar results as a commercial version?
I found converting my tripod into a shoulder rig to be the most costs effective way of obtaining a shoulder rig in my set-up. It was quick and easy to make and it improved my handheld shots. The shoulder rig gave me the ability to shoot for longer periods at a time and it provided space for me to attach my camera accessories to. The only issues I have with my tripod shoulder rig is that the tripod I used is made of carbon fibre and my shoulder pad and shoulder hook section needed improvement to make it more comfortable.