The guys at Cinema5D have had some fun recently. They received a bunch of rigs from various suppliers and tested them from a HDSLR user perspective. We have done this in the past, but their work is at a total different level of scale! 62 pages of review! It is actually because of them that some of the reviews I was supposed to write were delayed: all the demo gear was stuck in Austria!
While I agree with some of their evaluations and I like how demanding they seemed to be, I don’t agree with some of the ratings, or think they should be put into context. You cant really judge a rig by trying it out in a test environment, no matter the amount of experience you have. These few minutes are good to reveal big flaws and general feeling but not how a rig performs for a real job where you have to carry the darn thing on your back a whole day! Then again, not every camera operator has to walk the whole day with a rig on his back. This is my main complain: the review seem to have been done from a single point of view: film making.
That is why, when I write reviews, I do it from the perspective the product was develop for and I don’t believe every piece of gear should perform at the same level for the same job.
Also, (from my understanding) these rigs have been reviewed by pros who are used to work with high end gear (Arri and the likes) so they might have a higher level of requirements regarding ‘built quality’ than average Joe who wants to make his first movie!
There are some missing rigs too, like the Shape WBL Sumo 2 which would have probably scored very high since its design is similar to the Vocas, but at a fraction of the price and much more stable.
While not an end by itself, I think the work on the C5D team should be used as a starting point to anyone interested in getting a rig.
Now the question is: are we going to see some of the lowest rated rigs for sale on the market place?