OT: Steady Stick Experience

Paul_Holmes wrote on 5/25/2005, 12:44 PM
Thanks to Craftech for turning me on to this and Bruceo for his review of it.

Got the Steady Stick Monday and thought I'd give my impressions for others that might be looking for a good inexpensive Camera Support.

When you first open the box you're greeted with 4 pieces, the belt, the Steady Stick holster, the Steady Stick and the mounting platform for the camera (with side stabilizer arm attached). The parts are well-engineered and strong, but very light.

Getting the belt and holster on wasn't too complicated and inserting the stick into the holster was easy. Mounting the camera was easy.

There are two knobs on the platform. One locks the X pivot plane of the camera, the other locks in the position of the stabilizer stick around the horizontal plane below the camera platform. The stablizer can hang down like a plumbline, depending on where you lock in the X pivot, or be kept in a horizontal position so it can be rotated out to the left or right, or to the back as a shoulder rest. Using the stablilizer locked down as a plumbline you can have a quick monopod (although only about 18 inches high). You can also use the Steady Stick as a monopod and it's height varies from about 20 to 32 inches. It took me a while to get the gist of it but 10 minutes of playing with the knobs and rotating the arm and camera got me accustomed to how it's set up.

I took about 45 minutes of practice video with it yesterday and found that using the stick attached to the waist and the stabilizer arm as a shoulder rest gave me incredibly steady video that would be ideal for filming people conversing close-up and even scenery if not zoomed in too much. I filmed some friends while we were having a conversation and for the most part it looked very much like it was filmed on a tripod. The horizontal tipping was gone and I could pan back and forth between people as though on a fluid head, but with the ability to dip up and down quickly and smoothly. The only arm fatigue you could possibly experience in this mode would be from holding one arm up to grasp the camera controls -- minimal.

The quick-release at the top of the Steady Stick allows you to detach the camera with platform almost instantly. This is great if you want to do some hand-held video where things are changing quickly or you want to be able to lower or raise the camera quickly. Using the stabilizer arm locked to the left and holding the camera with the right you can do some decent hand-held video. In this mode you can keep things pretty stable horizontally (necessary for 16X9 shooting) although you'll probably experience a little vertical dipping.

Shoulder-mounted I found I was able to zoom in to about 5 or 6X and still keep it very stable. Beyond that it could be usable if the subject was important, but obviously every millimeter movement gets noticed.

Although the Varizoom VZ-LSP sounds like a great product (mentioned by Liam Kennedy), I'd bet this does the same job, minus hands-free, with possibly more versatility. For a hundred bucks it's an incredible deal.

Having never used anything but the SVP Video Prop mentioned by Craftech (basically a stick that juts out from your stomach or waist with the camera mounted at the other end and a rope attached to the bottom that hangs around your neck) I can't say whether things like the Varizoom VZ-LSP are much better or equal, but I certainly think that this is all I need for stable video in situations where things are changing rapidly, or you need to keep changing your position.


craftech wrote on 5/26/2005, 10:29 AM
Thanks for the review Paul. I plan to order one myself.
Paul_Holmes wrote on 5/26/2005, 10:46 AM
You'll be having the same experience I did, John, going from the Sima to the Steady -- I'm sure you'll love it.
trock wrote on 6/21/2005, 7:11 PM
Based on what I read here I bought the Steady Stick and filmed a 2 hour school anniversary event/party using the Steady Stick for 90% of the shoot and I was extremely pleased with both the results and the lack of fatigue.

I was using a Panasonic AG-EZ30 and the whole thing was very comfortable and amazingly steady even when zooming and panning. Not quite as steady as a tripod all the time but probably 95+% of the time. Very good value :)