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Vests and arms for steadicams topic
  • This is topic about various chinese (ONLY chinese!) produced vests and arms for them.

    I'll try to focus on double arm designs (aka double spring arms) as they are preferable.

    First, vest and arm from Wondlan Leopard 2 set:

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    Not cheap, but as far as I asked operators this is among best chinese vests.

    It is offered as option to Wondlan Carbon stabilizer in our deals.

    http://www.wondlan.com/product/260-leopard--carbon-fiber-standard-edition--5fdc/

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  • 42 Replies sorted by
  • I am in the process of moving to my ag-3da1 for projects. And a Sony f3. Due to their larger sizes I can only use 2000$ came tv prodigy. So I am looking at stabilizers now. About 5-6 kg weight of camera + recorder. Is laing m30s still the best option?

    Also any issues with 3d footage using stabilizers?

  • Ok thanks appreciate the input

  • http://www.personal-view.com/deals/stabilizers-steadicams-gimbals/laing

    Laing is really cheapest among things that are made for real work.

    For larger cameras and lenses they have M35, M50 is out of stock as I know.

  • Whats a good Steadicam with vest and arm for something like a ursa mini , or even a little larger original alexa, so up to 20 pounds..anything good 1000$ and under?

  • @cp_from_oz. That is what I thought when I bought it, but the black dials just lock the screws. They cannot move the pins since those are connected to each other through a vertical pin. You need to unscrew the vertical pin (like I did in the photos) in order to turn them. Believe me, I tried - that is the only way.

  • @Tobsen OK ... check the black dials that are set into the silver part of the male socket block. Adjusting these dials should cause the two pins (called "rod ends") to move independently horizontally in and out of the block. This angle adjusts the "left to right fall" of the arm. You should be able to adjust the dials easily when the arm is loaded, but you may find it easier to check when the arm is unloaded. In the Steadicam Operator's Handbook (by Jerry Holway) they recommend to have the bottom pin all the way in, then back it off 1/8 of a turn. The top pin should be all the way in and then backed off about three turns. Then adjust the top pin either way to fine tune. (This is a good starting position for Steadicam brand systems, and should be similar for Wondlan). If your dials do not move the pins, you may have a faulty unit.

  • @cp_from_oz Just check page 1 - there I posted the socket block and how diffiult it is to adjust the left/tight balance.

  • @Tobsen Could you perhaps provide a photo of your socket block / arm connection? I am having difficulty working out what model you have and how it adjusts.

    The Wondlan dual arm vest that I have seen (basically identical to the Laing M02 vest) has two screws with round black knobs facing forward (one above the other) on the silver "female socket block" part of the vest. The male socket block section is inserted beside these screws, and then the screws are tightened to lock in the socket block. You can adjust one screw tighter than the other to affect whether the socket block tilts slightly forward or backward, which means the arm will fall away or fall towards you. There are also two black dials set into the male socket block section that adjust the "left to right" fall of the arm.

  • @cp_from_oz It does not really affect my posture and shooting since the entire system fits me very well out of the box. It just falls a tiny bit forward with heavier rigs. In that case, I would adjust it to fall a bit towards my body before locking in the cam, which is unfotunately not possible (except I am blind and have overlooked something).

  • @cp_from_oz I have the dual arm and it lacks the function to tilt it "away from the body" and "towards the body". Just left/right adjustment. Sorry for my poor English - no idea how to call it.

  • @Tobsen As far as I can tell from various listed photos, the Laing M02 vest/arm is almost identical to the Wondlan Leopard vest/dual arm, apart from some different cutout shapes on the side and embossed lettering on top. It is hard to tell if there is any difference in metal or spring specification without having them side by side. However, the socket block attachment and adjustments on the two look essentially identical - each offering dual axis adjustment to control the "direction of fall" for the arm. Do you currently have a Wondlan Leopard dual arm? What adjustment do you think it lacks in comparison to the Laing? Or are you referring to the Wondlan single arm which I understand has just a "drop in" pin system to connect it with the vest? If you have a single-arm system, it would be interesting to hear your feedback on how the lack of "fall adjustment" has affected your shooting and/or posture!

  • That Laing socket block looks like a good solution regading adjustment. I hope I can get something like that for the Wondlan to make it work better.

  • The wondland looks great. I may have to look into getting a Leopard IV when I have some cash to burn. Does anyone know what price range these run?

  • @cp_from_oz

    Laing M02 is available on our deals now, you can PM me to get details.

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  • There is also a Laing M02 version which has the rare feature of an integrated tilt head and also greater flexibility with monitor positioning

    I know guys who made initial positive review with video up soon and he says they supply various strength springs.

  • Is there a plan to have the matching Wondlan Sled available with the leopard arm?

  • @cp_from_oz

    I am not talking about "knock-off". I am telling that it is intermediate that just stick their own badge.

  • Wieldy sled is Glidecam knock-off. I do not know if the arm has been copied from elsewhere.

  • @cp_from_oz

    As far as I know, Wieldy is just reseller brand.

  • Great info guys, thanks for posting.

    Emm says this arm has performance close to that of the Merlin (i.e. the gold standard for small arms) . He points out that a lot of these cheap arms have springs that are too powerful for light cameras, but apparently not the case with Wieldy. emm will be doing further video comparison . Wieldy also has good demo video (including 320mm FF long lens work) for its single-arm system at:

    Wieldy rig is also on ebay labelled as "Came" brand although there are some reports Came bearings are of differentquality.

    I requested that these arms be assessed in videos by a few critical performance indicators:

    • the effective boom range

    • the range of payload weights and what feels like the “sweetest” load on each arm. This is the critical “iso-elastic feel” of each arm (i.e. Merlin claims that only a small constant lifting force from your hand is required to boom the arm through its entire range, even at the extremeties of the spring range, which means it is highly iso-elastic). Whereas a less than ideal spring will need heaps of grunt from your hand to lift at the ends of the boom range and is thus not considered iso-elastic.) The iso-elastic performance will vary according to the weight that is placed on the arm, hence the "sweet spot" or ideal carrying weight for each arm.

    • the "operating footprint" or room that the arm takes up outside the hip area of the operator (i.e. how easy it will be to operate in confined quarters). This can be influenced by the length of the "bones" (i.e. "arm sections") and also how far out to the side the socket-block connection or “effective rear pivot point” of the arm is. Often the cheaper arms have a more monstrous “operating footprint” are are bad news for any sort of confined shooting. Having a 2-axis adjustable socketblock like the Merlin/Wondlan (although helpful for adjusting the "fall" or natural floating position of the arm) is likely to increase the operating footprint of the rig and make it more likely to bang into door frames when going through doors or confined spaces. I tried a Wondlan-copy arm and the rear pivot point of the arm sat 37cm from the centreline of the vest - effectively 15cm outside my natural hipline! That's a lot of real estate. The Wieldy has only a drop-in socket-block without axis adjustments and looks to have a smaller operating footprint, but I am waiting on confirmation from supplier, as it also has longer arm sections.

    Regarding the quality of bearings (especially the critical pan bearing around the post) there is a good simple test --> Hold the rig at arms length straight out in front of you and rotate your whole body through 360 degrees over about three seconds and come to a stop. A perfect bearing will retain the original camera axis (pointing direction), whereas if there is significant friction in the bearing, the camera will be pulled off axis. (A few degrees can be acceptable). This test simulates the standard moves of an operator who has to walk around the rig during the shot and have the camera orientation undisturbed.

    It is interesting to see the Laing stabiliser pictured above offers an in-built HDMI cable run through the centre-post for proper monitoring. It is possible to do a DIY mod on these posts to run HDMI, as per the attached sketch ... with the warning that drilling the carbon fibre might affect its structural integrity / flexibility.

    I hope people can post any videos they know of for these rigs ... in terms of setup and also operating results.

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  • @Tobsen thanks for the information - that sounds really like Wondlan copied the design from one of the other manufacturers but without understandig the function of this part - so, they made it to look like the others ;-)

    I will give the Laing system a try, where this part seems to be missing at all - maybe I will add it later on if it will really help to adjust the rig.

  • In comparison with a Steadicam, Sachtler or ABC system that allow the bolts to be adjusted freely without dissassembly, this is much more time consuming. I think Wondlan should change that in future models.

  • @Psyco In my case, you have to take it ALL apart to move the bolts in or out. I never noticed cuz the configuration was perfectly balanced for me right out of the box. When I was thinking of doing a short review/hands-on video of the Wondlan (will do in early next year), I noticed that the wheels don't move anything. They just lock the bolts int he position you like. If you want to adjust the bolts, you have to remove the big vertical bolt and the parts attached to it (in your picture, the left part) to screw the bolts themselves in or out. Then, you can put it back together and test if balance it right. Really not ideal, in my opinion....

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  • Thats the part I was asking about:

    By turning those small wheels you can move the bolts in or out, this tilts the arm up or down and let you adjust it to make the axis vertical.

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