Review: Camtrol Camera Control Grip

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Short version: Expensive but worth having around, this rock-solid accessory stabilizes and makes video more dynamic.

Features:

  • Locking ball-joint arm gives you a good grip from any angle
  • Retractable legs allow you to set camera down anywhere
  • Camtroller remote for controlling zoom, recording, etc
  • Reposition camera to adjust center of gravity
  • MSRP: $399

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Locking arm feels reliable
  • Having just a little extra latitude with shots feels great

Cons:

  • Too expensive for amateurs, too basic for pros
  • Grip not for everyone
  • Tilting/Rotating LCD or monitor necessary

Full review:

This is one of those products that’s a little easier to show in a video. I’ll just do that and then address some other points. Sorry about the sound, I haven’t really calibrated my webcam for this kind of thing.

http://player.ooyala.com/player.swf?embedCode=xuN2pyMTo3QUNHA6AsolIp5QKIf1gkXd&version=2

So there you have it. It essentially extends your reach, lets you do stuff like self-shots or extreme highs and lows with ease. It also lets you adjust the center of gravity for your rig and the weight helps stabilize the shot. All in all a pretty great accessory. Just don’t forget to take off your neckstrap for your video review, like I did.

I had some trouble making the remote work with the T2i, but firmware upgrades usually take care of these things. Threading the remote is a pain you generally only have to go through with once, and once it’s done, it feels like a natural extension of your camera.

The trouble I can see with this thing is basically that it lies in a rather uncomfortable area between consumer and pro. It’s too expensive for a guy who just wants to stabilize and extend his $500 camcorder’s range, and it’s too limited for a guy who needs to do follow focus on his 7D.

Conclusion

I still like the Camtrol, despite its questionable placement as far as features and price in the market. With a little work, it can make your video feel much less like amateur handheld footage. It’s well-built and easy to operate. Is it worth $400? People have certainly spent more on less.

Product page: Camtrol Prime


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