Best DSLR Shoulder Rigs of 2020 – Ultimate Review

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Stability is one of the most crucial factors when filming videos professionally and especially in cinematography. 

A shoulder rig is a piece of equipment onto which you mount your DSLR for better stability when shooting videos. A tripod is also a great choice for the very reason, but if you want to move around or adjust different angles, a shoulder rig is your optimum choice. 

To help you choose the best one, we’ve reviewed some of the top models that you can currently get your hands on.  

Comparison of the Best DSLR Shoulder Rigs

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Made from high-quality aircraft grade aluminum for durability and light-weight design
  • Ergonomic design with rubberized handles, shoulder padding and counterweight to reduce the strain of long hour filming
  • Designed to easily assemble and disassemble for convenient storage and quick setup
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  • Detachable hand grip can be applied separately for versatile functionality
  • Features height adjust-ability with comfortable shoulder grip for variable use
  • Can be used on left or right shoulder to adapt to any handler's specified needs
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  • Best for the Money
  • Complete design is built with gear mechanisms to improve anti-slip qualities, stability and control
  • Versatile design that is height adjustable to fit a variety of lens sizes
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  • Best DSLR Shoulder Rig with Follow Focus
  • Specially designed counterweight easily balances the rig and reduces the strain of filming
  • Adjusts easily for the mounting of different sized lenses
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  • Best Filmcity DSLR Shoulder Rig
  • Easily convert the size range from 6" to 9" that allows the fitting of variant lenses
  • Ergonomic design features comfort padding and a counterweight to ease the effort of use
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What Does a Shoulder Rig Do?

A shoulder rig can come in handy in a few different places. These include:

Shooting in Motion

A shoulder rig is a very handy tool that moves with the cameraman. It not only allows the cameraman to take necessary shots whilst in motion but also creates a dynamic range to shoot videos in. 

Stable Footage

If your camera is unstable, it produces shaky and blurry footage, which can spoil the film or video. A shoulder rig will ensure stabilization and produce smooth motions. It is the perfect way to improve camera ergonomics and is a better option than tripods for obvious reasons. 

Shoulder Rig vs. Tripod

While a tripod also ensures stable footage, it is difficult for the filmmaker to move around with one. Hence, shoulder rigs are usually preferred.   

Can You Really Find a Quality DSLR Shoulder Rig That’s Affordable?

You can absolutely find a great quality DSLR shoulder rig that’s affordable. It is true that most shoulder rigs out there that cost more than $500 or so are quite worth the hefty price tag. However, that does not mean you cannot get a decent one for less. There are many brands out there, including Filmcity and Movo, that offer excellent units at low prices.

Usually, an affordable shoulder rig is one made with plastic. However, the plastic used is of great quality and sturdy enough to last a long while without burdening the shoulders. In this article, we have listed the top most budget-friendly models that can help you produce great videos. 

How to Choose a DSLR Shoulder Rig

Investing in a shoulder rig is a decision that requires some thought and research. When looking for the right model, you need to go over some important features and factors to make the best choice. Here are some of them:

Material

Your priority when looking for a shoulder rig is that it should be light in weight and durable. Aluminum is a good material of choice since it checks all the right boxes. 

Stability Points

This indicates the number of points the rig could touch your body. They will determine how flexible the rig is in video movements. 

Sunrise Aluminium Portable Shoulder Stabilizer

Ease of Use

Pick a model with which you can adjust the height and light rails and is light on the shoulders. It should have maximum features and be user-friendly. Some rigs are easy to set up and have no issues adding or removing any gear when shooting videos. Furthermore, versatility is another thing you might want to consider. 

Load Capacity

Shoulder rigs come with instructions on the capacity of the weight they are able to carry. Make sure to consider versatility, too, and that your camera would balance well on the rig.  

Weight  

Choose something that will support your DSLR and other gear without any issues of balancing.

Quick Take - Best DSLR Shoulder Rigs

Before we dive into our review, here are the best DSLR shoulder rigs:

  1. Sunrise Aluminium Portable Shoulder Stabilizer
  2. Movo Photo SG300 Deluxe
  3. Morros DSLR Rig Movie Kit Shoulder Mount Rig

Review of the Best DSLR Shoulder Rigs

Now that we have laid down the basics, let’s get into the list of the best shoulder rigs on the market. Here we have elaborated on the pros and cons of our top picks.  

PROS

  • Can be used with a tripod as well
  • Stabilizer is light in weight and flexible 
  • Shoulder pad is adjustable and can fit many shoulder sizes
  • Counterweight can also be switched for a heavier one if need be 
  • Made with high-quality aircraft aluminum which is quite strong and durable

CONS

  • Matte box needs to be purchased separately
  • Counterweight comes as one solid piece which is difficult to use

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are quite pleased with this piece of sturdy equipment. They say it is easy to set up and quite robust as well. Not only is it great for the price point, but it is also made with high-quality material. Under $500, the market usually offers plastic rigs, but Sunrise has created a masterpiece.    

Why it Stands Out to Us

We particularly love the material of this stabilizer. The high-quality aluminum is not only strong and durable but since it is also light in weight, you could use it for long hours of shooting without any pressure on the shoulders. 

Besides that, we are impressed with the ergonomics of this model. You can shoot at different positions and angles, and the handles are soft coated for a comfortable grip. One of our favorite features is that it can be used with a tripod as well. That would warrant even more stability and focus - what more could one want?  

Bottom Line

The Sunrise aluminum portable stabilizer is one of the best shoulder rigs on the market. More than 90% of its users are more than satisfied with its performance to date. If you’re on the search for a comfortable, light in weight and excellent shoulder rig, look no further. 

PROS

  • Setting it up is easy
  • Height can be adjusted
  • Sturdy construction and light in weight
  • More compact as compared to many other models
  • Ideal for small or medium-sized DSLRs and video camcorders as well

CONS

  • Not the most comfortable to use
  • Some users say it is too light and therefore produces a slight shake

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent users quite like this model. Since it is light, buyers use it for long hours without tiring. Many different DSLRs are able to fit with this model. Buyers do recommend to use it with counterweights to reduce any possible blur since the added weight helps with further stability.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love the Movo SG300 for fast movement while shooting since it is so light. Its solid construction and compact size are definitely worthy of praise and hence make this the top choice for many users. We especially cherish that the rig can be used for longer time periods. 

Furthermore, you can use it with small or big DSLRs and video camcorders alike. Setting it up is an easy task, which will save you a lot of time. Many report it to be a stress alleviator because of how light it is. You can also get counterweights to help with stability.  

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly shoulder rig, the Movo SG300 provides it all. We highly recommend it if you have shoulder problems and want something light to relieve some of that stress. The simple and elegant design makes it an even better option!

PROS

  • Can be rotated 360° 
  • Easy to configure and set up
  • Comes with a one-year warranty
  • Compatible with industry style rods and has an adjustable height
  • Has a Follow Focus system for accurate shots that focus on the subject

CONS

  • Any screw mounts will need to be purchased separately

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers report this to be an excellent purchase. The rig is really light and compact, making it easy to store and move around with. The handle ergonomics are particularly impressive. Overall, this is reported to be a well-constructed model that does the job effortlessly. Users highly recommend it for the price. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Morros has some pretty extraordinary shoulder rigs, and this one is no different. We love that it comes with a quick-release camera plate, a padded hand grip, and is flexible, especially when it comes to adjusting the height. The rig also offers a swing away mechanism so that you can change your lens easily. 

Many users have reported that it is easy to set up as well, which saves a lot of time and research. Moreover, since it can be rotated a full 360°, filmmakers can get some amazing shots. In addition to that, the Follow Focus feature helps maintain focus on the subject as well.

Bottom Line

Overall, at such a low price, you can’t say no to the Morros Mount Rig. From compactness to flexibility, it offers everything you need, so don’t sleep on it; you wouldn’t get anything like it at such an unbeatable offer!

Best DSLR Shoulder Rig with Follow Focus:
Neewer Film Movie Video Making System Kit

PROS

  • Has the Follow Focus feature
  • Matte box can be adjusted as required
  • Can be used to shoot with DSLRs and video camcorders  
  • Adjusting the focus and zoom is made easy with the rail rod sliders
  • Designed with a C-shaped bracket, this rig can be made handheld as well

CONS

  • Reported to be bulky
  • Setting it up can be slightly complicated and time-consuming

What Recent Buyers Report

Although setting it up is a time-consuming process, users believe it is well worth it. They find it handy that it comes with a tripod mount for additional support. At such a good price, this rig is not only suitable for beginners, but even professionals would be at ease with its use. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Neewer film making system has it all – from comfort to flexibility; it offers everything at an amazing offer. It is uniquely designed with a C-shaped bracket so that it can be made into a handheld device. This makes it portable and easy to film with. 

Moreover, the follow focus feature and rail rod sliders give the videographer the ability to shoot accurately and zoom smoothly. Even the matte box’s height can be adjusted. Balance is made easier with counterweights, which is an essential piece of equipment. Since it is a user-friendly model, the Neewer film making system is ideal for amateurs and professionals alike.   

Bottom Line

At such a low price, Neewer offers a marvelous all-in-one kit. Once you purchase it, you wouldn’t feel the need to buy any other shoulder rig ever again. This is a durable model that has it all, so make sure to add it to your shopping cart now!  

PROS

  • Budget-friendly kit for professionals
  • Matte box can fit lenses of various sizes
  • Base plates are quick release to move faster
  • Offers adjustable shoulder support pads for added comfort
  • Has an impressive, sleek design and is light in weight and robust in use

CONS

  • Mostly made of plastic materials
  • Shoulder arm cannot be adjusted vertically

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are hooked to their purchase. This rig offers it all at such an affordable price. They report that it is easy to set up and is versatile enough to carry different lens sizes, making it suitable for professionals as well. All in all, users highly recommend it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s hard to say no to a shoulder rig that looks slick and impressive, has all the features you will need, and does not cost an arm and a leg. At this price point, the Filmcity shoulder rig has an impressive matte box. It is also quite flexible and versatile. 

What we love most, though, is that it is highly durable and has an excellent build quality. The adjustable, quick-release base plates make things move faster and smoother. Although on the bulkier side, the Filmcity shoulder rig is the perfect option for everyone, particularly if you’re shooting run-and-gun shots.   

Bottom Line

With the Filmcity camera cage shoulder rig set, you’re getting the best bang for your buck. It offers everything you need and more so hurry up and get it now because there isn’t a deal better than this one out there!

When Would a Shoulder Rig Come in Handy?

A shoulder rig acts as a mount for your camera, particularly when shooting videos or films. There are many ways in which they can be used. Here, we have given you an overview of some occasions you would need a shoulder rig in:

Shooting Without Shakiness

Whether you are shooting a movie or a documentary, a shoulder rig is essential equipment to reduce blur and stabilize your footage. This gives the videos a more professional and refined look. You are able to capture accurate and precise shots, focus on the subject when needed, and move around smoothly without any shakiness in the video. 

Great Ergonomics

Most shoulder rigs offer excellent ergonomics and help you attain the right angles, providing comfort at the same time. This is particularly difficult when shooting with a DSLR alone, but a shoulder rig produces those smooth transitions you often observe in movies.

Protection For DSLR

You don’t have to worry about damaging your camera. A shoulder rig acts like a roll cage and protects your camera from falling over. This equipment is also quite robust, making it ideal for long hours of videography. So you can count on your DSLR being maintained in top-notch condition. 

Conclusion

We hope we summarized everything in this article. Buying a shoulder rig can be daunting, especially because it is an investment of a long time. Therefore, you need to look for the best of the best and invest in something that promises nothing less. We hope you found that in this article!

People Also Ask

If this is your first time purchasing a shoulder rig, there might be some questions buzzing in your mind before you decide to make your purchase. Fret not, for we shall not leave you in the dark. We rounded up some questions, and well, here are some of the most frequently asked ones answered. 

How Do You Balance a Shoulder Rig?

Balancing a shoulder rig requires a few counterweights. Your camera is in front of you; hence your counterweights need to be attached at the back; this will balance the center point and reduce fatigue on your shoulders and arms. 

If you have an external monitor, you can attach it in front of you and balance the camera right on your shoulder (instead of in front of you); though the former is an ideal setup. 

How Do You Use a Shoulder Rig DSLR?

The first few points to note are that you’ll need to purchase a good quality, lightweight shoulder rig and then balance it well on your shoulder (along with any additional accessories) to avoid fatigue. 

In order to operate it well, you need to use gentle hands and focus the camera as needed. Walk softly when using this equipment, bending on the knees slightly, and taking small steps to take smooth shots. Synchronize yourself to the action happening in front of you. 

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