Whenever I test equipment, the first thing I look for is “durability.” The strength of equipment out in the field is first priority for me. When you’re out in bad weather, rugged terrain or extreme temperatures, your camera gear can not fail you. The Flyweight held up well with it’s strong build and simple, yet strong engineering.
The second thing I look for is “versatility.” I want to know how well the Flyweight is going to coincide with my other camera gear. After attaching a follow focus, matte box handle and cat claw, there was plenty of room to fit everything comfortably. IKan includes 18″ 15mm rails. This is a perfect length in my opinion. Not too long, and yet not too short. There are also many convenient mounting holes all throughout the shoulder mount and cheese plate in the back for attaching all sorts of camera attachments. Again, more versatility.
The third thing… “comfort.” How comfortable was the Flyweight? On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being extremely comfortable… I would say a solid 8. The shoulder mount is small, but quite supportive. It has some nice padding as well. All of these features play a solid role for things to be “comfortable” for long periods of time.
The Flyweight also allows you to “counter balance” the rig. This also plays a huge role in how long you as a cinematographer will be able to last throughout the day. By having the Flyweight balanced, this allows the weight of the rig to be focused on your shoulder, and therefore removes most of the weight from your arms, in turn preventing you from tiring quickly. IKan was smart to include a cheese plate with a counter balance pouch to hold the counter weights. If you want, you could even connect a large battery to the cheese plate to power your gear and this could take place of the weights.
The two main points that I liked the most, were the handles and thumb screws. The rubber on the handles are secured really well and don’t budge. I’ve used many different rigs over the years, and the handles are usually the first things to wear out since they are used the most. The Flyweight’s handles remained glued with no play or loosening at all. Big plus here! The second best feature of this rig are the thumb screws. IKan designed a “socket wrench” style thumb screw that allows you to tighten them at any angle even with bulky equipment in the way.
Let’s discuss the negatives that I found. The Flyweight did not come with a quick release plate. Having this feature is a must in my opinion. Without the quick release plate, you’ll be wasting lots of time screwing and adjusting your camera to the mounting plate. Another negative was how you need to remove one of the 15mm rails in order to be able to reach and tighten the screw to mount your camera to the rig. Again, another time waster, but certainly not a deal breaker. The last negative was that the Flyweight did not come with any counter weights. You will have to order these separately.
Now how much does one of these rigs costs? The Flyweight currently sells for $399.00 USD. Now, despite the lacking accessories (counter weights, no quick release plate), I believe the durability and versatility of the rig make up the difference. This is a cost effective rig considering the $1000+ you could spend on other rigs that pretty much do the same thing.
Overall, the materials and engineering are solid. The rig is comfortable and it’s versatility will allow for some nice configurations.
I give the Flyweight DSLR Shoulder Rig a 4 star out of 5.
If you’re wanting to learn more about the Flyweight, head over to iKan’s website here.