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Opteka $80 shoulder stabilizer Review

Keeping your camera steady is a good thing, so is reducing fatigue on your body. But what if you value low profile and low cost? You'll be surprised at what your dollar can get you.

The Opteka CXS-1 costs only $80, so the first question is, how solidly is it built? Damn solid i should say, almost all metal. despite the thin looking metal rails, they have very little flex. The weakest part i would say are the knobs, which do feel like cheap plastic, but they are also very thick plastic, which gives you the sense they will last awhile.

How adjustable is it? 
There are two distance adjustments, one for how high the camera is, and another for how close it is to your body. The height adjustment leaves a little to be desired, but then again, my C100 is taller than any DSLR, and despite my wish for another half inch of lowering ability, it's a nitpick. You also have several places to attach the handle, which is all metal except the nice feeling cushion. The one little mod i figured out was to use one of my magic arms on any of the 1/4" holes and re-position the handle to waist-ish height or wherever really. Nifty.

They also have some upgrades which attach to a slot on the back of the shoulder bracket. First is a weight, which is simple, and works, so that's cool. The other is a strap which connects to a second strap you put around your waist, so that the camera weight pulls on your body as opposed to putting pressure on your hands/arms.

There's also an upgraded version for $130, which is the same except for the camera plate which adds more mounting holes as well as 15mm rail clamps along with some short 15mm rods with a pair of hand grips. Not bad, not bad at all.

How does it operate overall? Quite good, unless you get the weights or strap, it acts more like a gunstock, with the weight being pulled into your shoulder as opposed to sitting over it. I like that. It's a very low profile rig, which works well with my C100 and it's EVF. DSLRs shoudl work a treat, you may need to find a way to get the camera offset to the left if you wish to use a strait EVF if your camera doesn't have a rotating screen to get it more centered on your eye. One way to get it a little more centered is to ditch one of the bolts that connects the shoulder pad to the connecting bracket. That will allow you to move the rig a half inch or so closer to center.

Hard to complain at these prices. As always i keep price as the primary determination in whether a product has any negatives. Meaning, you get what you pay for, and if you happen to get more than you should have, then there can't really be any negatives, only features that may or may not be suitable. In this case, there's nothing to complain about. Zero, nada, nothing. I can nitpick about the height adjustment, but in the end it's already a damn good deal and does exactly what you would expect. Buy one.

Added on 2012-12-23 by
Darren Levine

Darren Levine

Stimulus Video

DP/Videographer, Video/Film Editor
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