Ok so here's my review on the product.
I got the Proaim Shoulder Mount and Mattebox. Below is a good look at the set up:
I didn't get the follow focus because I'm cheap.
It would've been $300 more and I didn't feel like paying that much for it at the moment. I'll get one eventually, but for right now I can focus the lens fine without it.
Most of the metal parts were kinda greasy and smell greasy too. So I had to wipe them off. (starting to realize how much I suck at reviewing.) The metal parts are really heavy. More heavy than I expected or wanted. It looks like they only use steel and no aluminum or anything. Which is good because it's stable, but still I wish it were lighter.
PROS: Stable and strong. The grips are nice and adjustable. The shoulder mount has a pad that rests against your chest (something like the $24 dollar one) so there's no need to add weights on the back to keep it from being too front heavy. The mattebox is made with both plastic and metal. The flags are also metal.
The mattebox has 2 filter holders. The holders are plastic. One is stable, and one is rotatable. The flags are tight and don't wiggle when you move. The kit also came with different foam donuts for different lens sizes.
The rods are pretty long (more than 12 inch) so you will have enough space to fit a lot of things. The plate is height-adjustable, so you can place the camera at different heights. The mattebox is also height adjustable.
There are many holes in there to mount equipments. Both 1/4" and 3/8". There are a set of holes on the side of the camera plate (I will be mounting my monitor there using a power arm), another set on the bottom of the plate, and another one on the back where it rests on your shoulder. The rig also comes with 2 1/4" screws, and 2 3/8" screws. So it's good to have extra in case you lose one from your tripod's quick release.
It's fairly quick to change a lens, or remove the camera to change a battery. You can attach the whole thing to a tripod, so I usually just leave the tripod's release plate on there.
The rig looks awesome! I am no longer ashamed to wip my t2i out for paid shoots. Like any shoulder rig, it gives really nice stability, and for the price it's a pretty good deal...
CONS: It is heavy. This is my first rig so I have nothing to compare it to, but I can say that with all the parts together, it feels like 10 pounds give or take. Like I said I don't think they used any aluminum on there. Once you learn how to hold it right/if you're a man, it shouldn't be that bad, but still I wish it were lighter.
The plate is height adjustable, but not in the way you think. To get the plate to go higher you have to screw in some flat metal pieces on top of each other to create height for the camera.
The mattebox's height adjustment is a lot better/classier, but I wish it went up higher. For example it wasn't high enough to properly reach my lens when I had the battery grip on the camera. So I had to remove the battery grip when using it on the rig. I would have to buy something like this to get it higher: http://cgi.ebay.com/Height-Riser-rail-systems-follow-focus-mattebox-/190353971566?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c51fb196e
I don't like that the filter holders on the mattebox are plastic, but if it can hold the filter then I guess that's not that bad. I just don't like that it's plastic. The holder that holds the filter holders are metal which is good. The mattebox color is a dark gray. While this isn't a big con, I wish it was black. Mattebox works great as far I could tell.
The cushion on the shoulder mount isn't that great. It's not soft enough. For 3-4 minute takes it's fine, but if you will be filming 30 min-1 hour live events you might have to put a folded towel on your shoulder.
Your arm can get tired fast if you don't hold it right. Keep you arms as close to your chest as possible, don't let it 'hang' on your arms.
You won't really be able to use an LCD viewfinder with it without moving your head into an awkward position because the rig is straight. An EVF would work great in that situation. You can see the LCD just fine, just won't be able to comfortably look into the LCD Viewfinder when you attach it.
This is a 'team' set up. Which means it works best on a set where you have a team with you. If you're just filming something by yourself then the Cowboy Studio shoulder mount will work best since it is a simple design that does doesn't require attaching parts, adjusting parts, mounting parts, changing style of parts etc.
The set up did not come with a bag, which sucks.
Overall I would give this a 3.5/5. My biggest problem with it is the weight. Right now I mostly bought it for the awesome looks, but it gives more than that. Soon I will be using square filters, I will be mounting a lot of stuff on there and it will prove very helpful. The shoulder mount should last me 10 years because unless I drop it from a building I can't see anything happening to it.
Last edited Mon, 4th Apr 2011, 2:55pm; edited 1 times in total.