My under 350$ video rig (video)

Edit: If you are interested in the cheapest possible shoulder rig, you should check this post for a kit that goes under 200$.

I talked about my rig a while ago and never had time to (1) show it to you guys (2) write a proper review of the follow focus. So in this first post I am going to present the rig which consist of:

Manfrotto 323 RC2 Rapid Connect Adapter(you really need to buy one of these!)

DV City Lens gear: they changed the model since I made the video. This newer version is way better!

D-Focus: we all know about this cheap and effective product!


FD to EF adapter

Also shown in the clip are my Manfrotto 701HDV Pro Fluid Head and the Manfrotto 190XB Tripod.

Sorry about the quality of the clip. It was made with my girlfriend Canon PowerShot G9 with the Wide Converter which caused some flaring and I edited the whole thing in less than 10 minutes.

Have fun with my French Canadian accent! The D-Focus tests results will be online in the next 24 hours. are now available.


If you get the D|Focus DSLR Mount, you can replace the RailsPro with it, reducing the overall weight and size of the rig and save some money. If you are not planning to get a matte box, this is the way to go.

About Tommy

Photography allows me to be what I want to be, to be where I want to be, and to do what I want to do ... I'm not professional photographer and I don't need a title, I love to take photographs and that is what I do, I love to learn and I always try to do it better ...

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  • Evan C. King

    In the past people always told me fd lenses were no good on ef bodies? But your doing it? Can you make a post or possibly email me explaining this? Because I’ve got a bunch of fd lenses I’d love to use on the t1i and the 5dmk2

  • admin

    Depends of what you mean by “no good”. To make them work on the EF body, you need an adapter (look at the link above).

    If you are talking about image quality, you are half right. While they are OK for video, they cannot compete with L lenses for still pictures in terms of image quality, contrast, saturation, etc.

    Adapters are cheap, just buy one and see for yourself!

  • Pingback: Canon 5D Camera Rig for under USD 300 | PHOTO VIDEO TUTS()

  • Do you still use your FF and are you happy with it? Do you have some new footage where you use it? Is there room to add external display in your rig?

    It looks nice and it’s damn cheap. Keep up the good work!

    • admin

      Hi. Yes I am happy with the rig but I have not had the opportunity to use it much recently. This is probably going to change next weekend since I am planning to either go on a photo-roadtrip or shoot a promo clip for a friend.

      The problem with this rig is that it takes a lot of room and setup time (tripod, head, FF, etc..) while the Zacuto Rapid fire is up and ready in less than 30 seconds. Of course they are both use for different things. It just happen that what I am shooting right now benefits more from the Rapid Fire.

      If you are thinking about getting one, it is generally a sign that you will need it ;-) Happy shooting!

  • Ok. It seems that it’s at least better than focusin normally with your hand :)

    yeah those two are made for different use. I’m pretty much always shooting “planned” shots (music videos, short films etc) so there’s always time to adjust my equipment. For work in enviroment that you don’t control, this kind of rig are not the best.

    Do you know any good and cheap way to add this kind of handle to the top of the camera:

    That’s from redrock so the handle itself costs like 240$ without those additional rails and stuff you need. That kind of handle is very good for some faster moves and places where there’s not much space. I think there’s room for that kind of handle in your rig..

  • admin

    I never used a top handle so I dont know what I am missing but since a lot of people are talking about it, maybe I should give it a try…

    I dont think it would be very hard to get the parts from a hardware store. The plumbing department should have everything you need. The real challenge would be to make it look cool, and balanced. I will keep this in mind the next time I go to Home Depot.

  • 5d user

    Could it be possible to install that Manfrotto baseplate directly to this rail block:

    I’m trying to go even cheaper than you ;) so would it be sturdy and would it even work if I buy rails, Cinevate block and Manfrotto baseplate?

    I think I’m trying to say that is that huge iron plate necessary that comes with indirails, or could you just put your Manfrotto to the rail block you have there, if the rail block had hole on top of it, like Cinevate block does have.

    • admin

      I dont think it would work because the lens would be too close to the rails and you would not have enough room to install the lens gear. Also, think about how you are going to install this on the tripod! The current Indirails brick might be a bit too tall but anything smaller would need to be custom made for the 5D.

  • 5d user

    But that Cinevate block has threads in both sides, so I could install the Manfrotto to the upside and the tripod mount plate to the downside like you have, but instead of installing them to that indislider brick, I would install them to that Cinevate block. Or am I missing something?

    I’m also going to make something like this to get the top handle:

    That’s too expensive for what it is and I wouldn’t be using those side handles, so I’m going to make that myself. That will make the camera go a little bit higher too.

    Would it be too much of trouble if you take a picture from both sides of your rig when the camera and FF is installed? I would see how much the FF will take space.

  • 5d user

    How long it took to get that lens gear set from dvcity? I made my order 23th day and it still says “processing”. Last update on my order was 24th day. I emailed them yesterday but havent got reply yet.

  • admin

    In my case, it went straight from processing to my door without any intermediary states. Give them a few more days and it should be at your door.

  • Ron Martin

    Thanks for the info..
    I set up a Rig with the Atomos Ninja-2 on the Nikon D4. ~$73
    From my blog:
    Once set up all I have to do is start Live View (in video mode) and start the Ninja-2 recording. When I cycle the Live View button on the D4, the Ninja-2 starts recording when Live View is on and stops when I shut it off. Each time the Ninja-2 creates a new file for the next take. I turn on the Focus Peaking to ensure perfect focus and it stays on the whole time (does not reset when Live View is cycled). Perfection!
    Check out my rig
    Dan at Vigorotaku

  • kayleighb

    Hey! Great post – thanks for the tips! Personally I get all of my gear from I’d definitely recommend taking a look at their DSLR rigs. They have; rig bundles, matte boxes, follow focus and loads of rig power accessories :)