If you’ve started making videos with your DSLR camera, you’ve likely realized just how shaky and unstable handheld footage can be. While some shake can look stylized in moderation, too much makes your videos feel amateurish and distracting. The solution is to stabilize your camera using a shoulder rig – a modular frame designed to mount your DSLR camera and accessories securely and comfortably on your shoulder.

Shoulder rigs allow you toshoot smooth, stable handheld video for extended periods without fatiguing your arms. They distribute the camera’s weight across your torso for better balance and support. This gives you the freedom to shoot on the move while eliminating the jittery look of handheld footage.

Shoulder rigs also provide multiple mounting points for accessories like external monitors, microphones, lights, and handles. This transforms your DSLR into a professional-grade video production tool capable of capturing great imagery.

But with so many shoulder rig options on the market ranging from $200 to $2000, how do you choose the right rig for your needs and budget? In this guide, we’ll cover the top 5 DSLR camera shoulder rigs available now. We’ll look at key factors to help you select the best shoulder rig for the type of video projects you create.

We’ll also provide tips on setting up and properly using a rig to get the most out of your gear. And we’ll recommend essential accessories that can help take your DSLR video quality to the next level when paired with a shoulder rig. Let’s get started!

Overview of the Top 5 DSLR Camera Shoulder Rigs

There are many shoulder rigs to choose from, but these 5 rise above the rest in terms of features, quality, and value. Here’s a quick look at the top options:

Zacuto Z-Finder Pro Shoulder Rig Kit

If budget is no concern and you demand the very best quality, the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro is hard to beat. This professional rig features an all-metal design with multiple mounting points for accessories. The quick release plate allows fast lens changes, while the padded shoulder pad provides comfort. The rock-solid stability ensures silky smooth camera movements. It’s an excellent but expensive option favored by Hollywood filmmakers.

Neewer Carbon Fiber DSLR Rig

The Neewer Carbon Fiber rig proves you don’t need to spend a fortune for pro-level features. It boasts a lightweight yet durable carbon fiber build with shoulder support, dual handgrips, and abundant threaded accessory mounts. The great value makes this an easy choice for indie filmmakers and video enthusiasts. It’s not quite as rigid as metal, but gets the job done at a fraction of the cost.

Fotga DP500 Mark III Pro

This Fotga rig combines the rigidity of a solid metal frame with smooth carbon fiber support rods. It comes equipped with follow focus and matte box attachments right out of the box. The numerous 1/4″-20 threaded holes make mounting accessories a breeze. While on the heavy side, the padded shoulder support helps stabilize even large cinema cameras with ease.

Morros DSLR Rig

Boasting a high-strength aluminum alloy frame, the Morros rig remains relatively lightweight. The included shoulder pad, handles, and mounting accessories give you a ready-to-shoot package. While not overflowing with mounting options like premium rigs, it has plenty for most users. This makes it the most affordable pro-grade shoulder rig option for DSLR filmmakers.

Ikan E-Image EH5 3-Point Support Rig

Purpose built for large DSLR and mirrorless cameras, the Ikan EH5 provides a 3-point body support system. The padded shoulder brace and waist belt help spread the camera’s weight evenly across your upper body. The quick release plate and dual handles round out the ergonomic design. This is a great choice when using heavy cinema cameras like the RED Komodo or Canon C70.

Key Factors When Selecting a Shoulder Rig

With so many options on the market, it can be tough deciding which features are must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing the best shoulder rig for your DSLR setup and video needs:

Buying a Used Shoulder Rig? What to Look For

Purchasing a quality used shoulder rig can save you money compared to buying new. But it also comes with some risks that are important to consider:

Buying used can be great value, but do your homework to ensure no major issues. Test thoroughly upon delivery before use.

Recommended Accessories to Enhance Your Shoulder Rig

A good shoulder rig provides a solid base to build upon as your video skills grow. Here are some of the top accessories to take your DSLR shoulder rig setup to the next level:

Tips for Shooting Smooth Footage with a Shoulder Rig

Once you have a solid shoulder rig setup, technique is critical for capturing usable footage. Here are some key shooting tips when filming with a rig:

Proper shooting technique makes a world of difference in the footage quality when filming with a shoulder rig. Follow these tips to take your work to the next level!


Hopefully this guide has given you a solid overview of the top shoulder rig options for DSLR and cinema cameras available today. The Zacuto, Neewer, Fotga, Morros, and Ikan rigs featured here represent the best across varying price points.

Choosing the right rig involves factoring your budget, intended camera size, desired features, and shooting style preferences. Remember to evaluate important criteria like rigidity, adjustment points, weight, accessory mounting options, and comfort.

We also covered key accessories that can expand the capabilities of your shoulder rig for lighting, audio, monitoring, and camera support. Used wisely, these allow you to improve production quality.

Finally, employing proper shooting technique is critical for capturing stable handheld footage with a shoulder rig. Follow our tips for stabilization, camera balance, consistent focus and exposure, monitoring audio, and maximizing comfort.

Shooting professional-looking video requires practice and patience. But equipping your DSLR camera with a solid shoulder rig kit greatly improves stability while enabling long comfortable handheld shoots. This opens up new creative possibilities to take your DSLR filmmaking to the next level.

We invite you to share your own experiences and questions about using shoulder rigs below! Let’s keep the discussion going.

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