Ikan Flyweight Rig and Table Top Dolly Review
Hey everyone. Sorry it’s been so long since my last post; been slammed. If you don’t want to read my review below, the video is basically the same as the text.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/56125500 w=500&h=281]
A couple months ago, I got my hands on the Ikan Flyweight DSLR shoulder rig (ikancorp.com) and Large Table Top Dolly (ikancorp.com) and I’ve been working with them, really putting them through the paces.
Before I get into the dolly, I want to talk about the Flyweight. It’s got everything you would expect from a 15mm rod system: shoulder stalk, rods, camera plate, and handles. Shoulder rigs are pretty standard anymore, but there are a lot of things that can be done to make a rig really stand out. So if you’re looking for a shoulder rig that wont break your budget like Red Rock, but is better build quality than the cheepy rigs the Ikan Flyweight fits right in. At just under $400 the Flyweight is a great solution for DSLR shooters.
It’s made from black steel and is comprised of 2 18” rods, a 12” rod, a newly designed shoulder pad, DSLR baseplate, and 2 90 degree adapters. Most of the rig is like your standard system, but there are two components of the flyweight that I really like; the lock knobs and the shoulder pad.
Ikan has introduced a new locking system that makes assembly a breeze. The new lock knobs use a ratchet mechanism that allows you to put the knob in any position you need to tighten the clamp.
They’ve also worked out a shoulder pad design that cuts down on weight, adds some comfort, and allows for weight customization. The pad itself wraps around the front of your shoulder; meaning more stability and less bulk behind the shooter. And by adding the new weight bag on the back end, you can completely customize the counter balance for the whole rig by inserting anything of weight into the bag. The back of the shoulder pad is also a cheese plate so if you need to mount batteries or the like, you can.
The Flyweight isn’t without its downsides though. I found that the 12” cross rod was just a little short when I mounted a monitor to it. The whole setup felt a little cramped when I used anything bigger than 4 or so inches.
The other flaw I found with the flyweight isn’t so much a design flaw as it is a unit flaw. One of the handles I have unscrews from the mount if you twist it just the right way. You can tighten the handle back down, but it just comes undone again.
Like I said, the handle issue is only on one of the ones I have, so it’s probably just a unit defect, not a design flaw. But, overall, the Ikan Flyweight DSLR shoulder rig is a top-notch 15mm rig solution that has some new components that set it apart from other rigs in the price range.
Now lets talk about the tabletop dolly. Like the flyweight this is made of black steel that proves really durable. The unit is basically a cheese plate with wheels. It works really well though.
The LTTD has three large urethane wheels that work best on completely smooth surfaces, but also handle well on say hardwood floors, where there are small bumps. The wheels tighten down with a single lock knob, which make them easy to adjust to get the right angle of movement. The wheels can be adjusted to move straight, on a curve, or in a circle.
The LTTD can handle up to 25 pounds without having any extra drag on the wheels, so if you’re shooting with a DSLR, you can fit it with matte box, monitor, even a small rail system that allows for a follow focus. I took my Manfrotto 504HD head and mounted it right to the dolly. And put my camera on to of that. But you could use any ball head and it’ll work fine.
I do a lot of product shots, and if you mount a flat board to the cheese plate then you can also use the LTTD as a lazy susan and get some nice spins on your products.
I’ve been using the Photography and Cinema Pico Flex table top dolly, but the Ikan LTTD allows me to mount either heavier cameras or more accessories to the frame. Which means I have more control over my image.
And unlike other table dollies, the LTTD only has 3 wheels, versus four on other dollies. That means the LTTD has a great turn axis and can pull off tighter movements.
The LTTD clocks in at $199. Which is on the high end of the average for table dollies. But the build quality, tight turning radius, and wide cheese plate are well worth the extra 20 or so you’d send on cheaper rigs.
So that’s the Ikan Flyweight DSLR Shoulder Rig and Large Table Top Dolly. They give you all the quality of more expensive rigs for much less cost and are solid video solutions for anyone working with a DSLR or light format camera.
For more information you can see the product pages at IkanCorp.com.