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Manfrotto Sympla
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    “We are thrilled to debut the new SYMPLA line at the 2012 National Association of Broadcasters show,” said Wayne Schulman, Sales & Product Manager, Video. “The SYMPLA line bridges the gap between off-the-shelf, ready-to-use convenience and custom modularity, and we look forward to showcasing it to NAB attendees at this year’s show.”

    SYMPLA supports can be assembled, configured and adjusted to a wide range of situations in seconds – all without tools. Every product in the line, from the unique Flexible Matte Box to the innovative Variable Plate, is made of steel and aluminum to withstand the rigors of professional use and meet Manfrotto’s high quality and performance standards. The number of components in the SYMPLA family gives users maximum flexibility and adjustment control with minimum hassle. Like everything Manfrotto makes for professional users, SYMPLA is 100% compatible with other Manfrotto photo and video support products.

    SYMPLA modular rigs are yet another example of Manfrotto’s unparalleled research and development, engineering and manufacturing expertise. They incorporate design and technology innovations and best-in-class ideas from Manfrotto’s current products. Self-supporting clamps that stay in place even before they’re locked, for example, come from the world of heavy-duty stage lighting. Flexible, easy-locking ball-joint hand grips were inspired by Manfrotto photographic ball heads. Multi-axis micro-adjusters and single locking mechanisms, which make fine tuning easier and safer, come from Manfrotto photographic geared heads. And sliding plates with quick release and secondary safety buttons were borrowed from Manfrotto professional video heads. Together, these advanced components make SYMPLA modular rigs easier, safer and more comfortable for even the smallest video teams to use on location and on the run.

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    We are excited to debut our new remote controls at the 2012 National Association of Broadcasters show," said Wayne Schulman, Sales & Product Manager, Video. "Using HDSLR's for video has always been problematic. Being able to follow focus and do other functions on a HDSLR without touching the camera will help alleviate many of the issues when shooting video. The products have tested well and have excited those that have been able to "play" with them. We look forward to showcasing it to NAB attendees at this year's show.

    A brand new range of Manfrotto remote controls for Canon HDSLR's promises a true innovation in the field of HDSLR filming – true electronic follow-focus that works by interfacing with camera and lens firmware.

    Until now, follow-focus equipment has been based on an expensive, delicate hardware system of a gear-tooth belt fastened around the lens focus ring, hand-turned or motor-driven, usually via an off-axis second geared dial: every lens or set-up change has required slow and precise adjustment of components; every movement of the focus dial and lens has brought the risk of an unwanted shift in framing; every camera operator has needed to use one hand – or even an additional person – to control follow-focus alone; and follow-focus at a distance (for example, when the camera is mounted on a crane) has been almost impossible.

    Manfrotto electronic follow-focus: easier, quicker and with less interference… even at a distance

    Manfrotto's new remote controls circumvent the need for any physical, hardware interface between follow-focus system and the camera lens, and instead wire directly into the camera body to use its internal focus control systems. The advantages are obvious: lenses can be swapped easily, no extra hardware or adjustment is required, nothing and no-one moves the camera unexpectedly during follow-focus, one-man camera operation is easier and control at a distance is as simple as extending the cable between the camera and the remote. It's tempting to say that Manfrotto's remote controls could reshape the HDSLR sector, opening up a host of new applications and possibilities.

    **Control over all key camera functionality **

    By interfacing with the camera's electronics, it's not just "normal" follow-focus operations, in- and out- focus point pre-sets and focusing speed that can be ably managed by Manfrotto's remote controls; many other camera functions can also be operated from the same convenient hand grip or clamp unit, including record start & stop, photo/video switching and shutter release, live view, one-touch auto-focus, digital zoom, aperture and exposure, ISO settings and more besides. The LCD screen on Manfrotto's Deluxe version remote also relays general information, such as battery charge level, white balance temperature and memory card status from the camera body – especially useful if the camera's on-body screen is hidden or inaccessible, or just too far away to be seen.

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  • 13 Replies sorted by
  • Looks really nice. Hope they keep the price down.

  • @driftwood

    Only remote handles look nice. But I highly doubt your price hopes :-)

  • For people that use manfrotto heads could be the end of plates chaos..

  • I like the mattebox design. I hope it would be two 4x5 rotable tray.

  • I Like the look of it but as simple they want to keep it. Where the parts where we can attach a monitor or recorders?

  • Remote handles are great, but there is no way they will work on GH2 ...

  • Just got my new Sympla shoulder rig delivered today. Was originally only going to get the adjustable base and rods to start, but found a vendor who had the complete rig on sale and they took Paypal which let me use some extra dollars I had sitting in my account.

    Just a (not so) quick initial review, hope to get out to shoot some video this weekend and will give a review in use plus some pics.

    First, this thing is massive. Typical Manfrotto build. My little GH1 looks tiny, even with a largish lens attached.

    Attached to my 504HD head the base almost dwarfs the head, actually they are pretty much equal in size. The camera base is adjustable from the rods, up/down and lateral adjustments are not large, a little more than a half inch each way, but should be enough to fine-tune a matte box or other attachments. When locked down, even at the limit of the adjustments, the camera plate is rock solid. And this base accepts the standard Manfrotto camera plates which is the main reason that I bought it. The base has 2 threaded attachment points to mount a monitor arm or other extras.

    The rods are kind of cheap looking anodized aluminum, a bit rough finished, with red anodized threaded extension adapters. It came with 4, 12" rods.

    The hand grips are very nice. The mounting bracket is quick attach so you can mount and dismount without needing to slide all the way from the end of the rods. From the mount there are 2 arms that can be angled either at about 30 degrees or 45 degrees out from the rods, and the whole bracket can be mounted forward or backward or upside down, giving a lot of options for how the hand grips extend from the arms. The grips themselves are mounted on small ball heads permitting them 180 degrees of movement, plus the ball joints can rotate through a full 360 degrees. This gives pretty much limitless options as to the angel of the grips. Probably not as much as a double articulated unit like the Lanparte, but pretty good. A single knob controls each ball joint and takes very little pressure to tighten them to where I could hold the whole rig plus camera horizontal with just one grip. Each handle came with an extra 2" extension if you want to get it further away from the rig.

    The most curious part of the rig is the shoulder mount. It is just a (roughly) quarter circle piece of metal, covered in rubbery plastic. It attaches to the second set of rods with another quick release clamp. Also included is what they call an "H" bracket. This bracket can be attached to the 2 main rods, moving the axis of the shoulder pad about 6" left or right of the main rig, and about 2" above or below the main rods, to get your eye in front of the camera or an accessory monitor or viewfinder. You can also attach the shoulder mount directly behind the camera without the H bracket if you wish. As supplied, the H bracket is kind of a PITA, the only way to attach it is using the threaded rod connectors, which requires almost completely disassembling the main rig to do this. I am thinking that I am going to try and replace 2 allen-head screws with thumbscrews which will permit removing the H bracket from the threaded adapters easily. Or a stacked double rod clamp and 2 short rods could do the same thing.

    One feature of the shoulder pad that may come in handy is that it can also be used as either a chest or belly support by mounting it directly to the main rods. The belly mount option might be good for getting steady, low angle shots.

    The parts have been designed to balance very well. The shoulder pad is purposely heavy to counter balance the hand grips. With the whole rig assembled and the camera centered directly over the tripod head, setting the 504HD counter balance at 3 (out of 4) holds the camera at any angle when I let go the panning handle, without any creep and does not fight back when I pan.

    Anyway, sorry I got long winded but looks like a well made if slightly unusually designed rig. I would love to hear if anyone has tried their rubber matte box, that is the next thing I need for my new rig and don't know if I am willing to pull the trigger on this really different design.

  • Thanks for the review, any chance you can do a video review or some detailed pics? I have been eying this rig, and I think their mattebox is pretty cool

  • Rain finally quit so I could get outside and snap some quick pics of my new Sympla rig. Showing pretty much all the options except using the H bracket to offset the shoulder mount. Note the one shot of the limit left and limit up offset of the adjustable base. I show the grips mounted in the front-down position only, can be swapped around to whatever suits you best for the shot.

    I would probably consider this a bit spendy other than you get superb Manfrotto quality and very heavy duty build.

    Also showing my Fotga DP500 MK2 follow focus, works great so far.

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  • Has anyone tried the Manfrotto Sympla matte box? Curious to how it performs compared to the Cinematics matte box and others in that $300-$500 price range

  • Has anyone tried the Manfrotto Sympla matte box?

    What one you mean? This big round thing on top?

  • Yes, the matte box itself. I don't usually see one with a collapsible hood, and I wonder if there are advantages of using it. This one hopefully has a better rotating filter holder than the Chinese ones out in the market.

  • It is lot of disadvantages and very few advantages. Get normal MB.