Video review: Matt Allard looks at the Movcam F5/F55 rig with wooden handle and trigger

By technical Editor Matt Allard:

Movcam Sony F5/55 Rig Review from Matthew Allard on Vimeo.

I’m a big fan of Movcam camera rigs.  I’ve tried quite a few different rigs over the years and as we all know, finding the right one can be pretty tricky. 

When Dan Chung first mentioned I should look at Movcam -back when I first got my Sony F3 – I must admit I was skeptical.  Like most people, I find ” Made In China” sets off alarm bells.  When we tend to think of Chinese products we think of things that are cheap and not well made. But that’s not always true: your iPhone or iPad or the computer that you are reading this on were probably made in China and I’m sure you don’t view those as being poorly made. I purchased a baseplate from Movcam for my F3 and I’ve never looked back.

I now have Movcam rigs for my F3, FS700, BMCC and now my F55.  So why am I choosing Movcam over any other brand out there on the market? For me it comes down to the following:  REAL WORLD PERFORMANCE.  Lots of camera rigs look great on paper but when you actually start using them they just aren’t very practical.  Movcam really do listen to the end user and encourage feedback, whether it be negative or positive. They are constantly changing and refining designs to suit the end user. The designs are well thought out, beautifully made and most of all very affordable. Movcam offers the best quality and price compared to any other rig manufacturer out there. Find me something better for the price and I will use it.

Movcam's excellent wooden F5/F55 trigger handle
Movcam’s excellent wooden F5/F55 trigger handle

I’ve had the F55 rig ever since I got my camera.  I received a prototype to try out and was encouraged to give feedback.  I loved the original design and when I came up with some suggestions they had already done it or were working on it.  The EVF cable protector is a prime example – I emailed them to see if they could make one and they replied that they had already finished making it. The wooden hand grips and start/stop record button other examples.  The day the firmware that enabled start/stop recording from the hirose connection came out, Movcam had already made up the handle and trigger.  They are always one step ahead. I also suggested after some field use that maybe they should make up a wooden handle with a strap like the one for an ENG zoom lens……..they did it.  This is a company that listens and to me that is so important: don’t tell me what I want, ask me what I want. 

The F55 in action with Movcam rig
The F55 in action with Movcam rig

I have used the Movcam F5/55 rig for the last three months and have been very impressed.  It is rock solid, beautifully made, easy to use, includes all the features I like and offers the camera protection. It is available in VCT-14 and Arri dovetail versions, making it very versatile. But the biggest thing is that it works in the real world. In fact, it’s a joy to use, going easily from tripod to hand-held.

For more information please visit their website – or, if you’re in the US, the Movcam distributor 16×9 Inc – and check out our video from NAB 2013.

About Matthew Allard, Aljazeera Team Leader Cameras, Kuala Lumpur:
Matt has been a Camera/Editor in TV news for more 22 years, previously working for both Channel 9 and Channel 10 in Australia. Twice Network Ten Australia’s cameraman of the year as well as being a Walkley Finalist for outstanding camerawork in 2006 (for coverage of the Cronulla Race Riots) and a Logie Finalist for outstanding news coverage 2006 (Bali 9). He has won 14 ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society) awards. His Sword Maker story that was shot on a 7D won the prestigious Neil Davis International News Golden Tripod at the 2011 ACS Awards. He has covered news events in more than 35 countries, from major sporting events to terrorist bombings. Based out of the Kuala Lumpur broadcast centre in Malaysia he is an avid user and follower of new technology, shooting stories on HD broadcast cameras, the Sony FS700 and F3 as well as Canon DSLRs.

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