This is the second post in the part 2 review of the Zacuto Gorilla rigs. You can look at the review of the Rapid Fire here.
Meet the Quick Draw
The first time I saw the Quick draw in the Zacuto promo video, the thing that came to my mind was “WTF?”. I couldn’t figure out how someone was supposed to use a rig without having both hands on the camera. Also, having the points of contact far apart (compared to the Rapid Fire and Tactical shooter), would make it less stable.
After playing with the rig for a few hours, I found out that I was partially wrong. It is much more comfortable to use than the Rapid Fire: once the arm is locked in position, it feels very natural. Almost no weight is transferred to the right hand, all the camera & lens weight is pushing toward the bottom left in a circular motion, with the right hand being the center of rotation. This rotatory force is counteracted by the left hand, but since both hands are not on the same plane (the longer the lens you use, the more distant they are) the camera body will keep going down, aiming the lens up and right.
Of course, using a short lens and holding it with a stronger hold will prevent these behaviors but you have to take into account that your left arm is going to get exhausted faster since your hand is above the hearth and it is holding most of the weight. This is when I realized I should play with the adjustments.
Adjusting the rig
The way to minimize this rotatory effect is to reduce the distance between the hand grip bar and the camera mount bar. By setting the grip under the camera body, almost all the weight is transferred to the strongest arm which translate in a huge stability gain.
If required, you could also add some weight to the right end of the pipe to achieve perfect balance.
This is the way I prefer to use the rig. It is different from what is displayed in the Zacuto advertisement material but it is so much more stable. I have done this quick clip to illustrate the differences. Sorry for the crappy quality, only had time to do one take and the sun was blasting my loft like hell so everything was quite over exposed.
My other issue with the rig is that it is impossible to press the record/stop button or make an exposure adjustment without the hand leaving the handle. This is why I think this rig is better suited to shoot long video segments rather than many quick ones (like I do with my Rapid Fire).
Using the rig
The design of the rig gives it some clear advantages over to the Tactical shooter. First, by having a strong and stable support from the right arm, it is very easy to do smooth panning shots or shoot for extended periods of time. If you hold the camera lower with a wide angle, you can shoot from the hip and yet have some stability.
The Quick Draw is also the tallest rig on the market (from any manufacturer I know). So, if there is a crowd in front of you, just firmly hold the handle and lift it as high as you can. If the rig is correctly balanced, you will be surprised to see how stable the shot can be! Actually, you could even do some ghetto boom shots this way.
So, should you get the Quick Draw or the Rapid Fire? Personally, I prefer the Rapid Fire because I can keep both hands on the camera at all time which is more in line with my shooting requirements/style. If I had to shoot anything that lasted more than a minute, I would prefer the added stability provided by the Quick Draw. The Quick Draw also allows a broader range of moves which I find useful. Which to pick? Hard choice! That is why you might consider our third candidate: the Tactical Shooter. Coming next.
It is obvious to me that the Quick draw is going to benefit from a view finder even more so than the Rapid Fire. The Z-finder will provide support to the camera body and stop it from aiming ‘up right’. Again, more on this once I get mine!