This thing is seriously f’ing cool! There’s something to be said for some crazy fast drivelapse, or a nice cruise through a tree-lined mountain pass. Trouble is not all car mounts are created equal and for those of you looking, it might be well worth spending a few minutes reading this little post!
My first experience with a car mount was somewhat lack lustre. It was a two cup mount with no stabilisation and the camera wobbled all over the place as soon as you hit a bump. Shooting with the 5DMKII, this meant the footage turned to jello and it was totally unusable. It was a less than awesome experience and somewhat disillusioning.
I was most interested in getting some drive lapse footage and also some cool lifestyle shots from around the place – coastal drives, buildings and a bunch of other stuff – so I put my head down and eventually came across the Filmtools Gripper 3025 Car Mount with Triangulation Kit.
As soon as I saw it, it made sense. . .stick the camera to the car, then stick a stabilizing rod in the hot shoe of the camera and connect it to another 2 seperate suction cups with some rods. It holds the camera steady while you’re driving along, preventing all the shake, rattle and rolling shutter shittiness that I’d previously experienced. As a sidenote, I cannot say just how infuriating it is scrolling through minutes of (what should be great) footage captured using an unstabilised mount looking for the rare couple of seconds that it isn’t unusable mush.
So I decided to drop the cash on the mount. . .It didn’t arrive straight away. . .in fact due to heaps of other probably really smart people who had the same idea I did, the kit was on backorder for quite a while. But when it did arrive I was suitable impressed.
For one thing, Filmtools don’t shaft you! Imagine that!? There are no optional extra’s that should be included. . .everything you need is right there, the suction cups, the clamps and most importantly 3 different sized rods to do the stabilising bit for you. It really impressed me that they didn’t just include one length of rod and then make you find out after you’ve got the thing that you actually need to buy the others. +1 on the props scale there.
The build quality is really solid. The clamps feel really well made and the whole kit gives you the impression that it will last a long while. I would think that it’s most likely the rubber will perish before any of the metal components will. I have been using the mount for close on 6 months now and it’s still in very good condition, the rubber is still very soft and i haven’t experienced a decompression yet (touch wood!).
Secondly, the mount is really easy to fit and it doesn’t take a long time. Probably around 5-7 minutes (if you are really taking your time because it isn’t your Mercedes ) and it is all ready to go. One thing though, the actual camera mount doesn’t really allow for a huge range of movement and getting your head around how it moves and how to get it in the position you want can be a little mind bending at first. Even on a fairly curvaceous vehicle, it is possible to get it in some tight positions, with a little creative suction cup placement. In my experience there was a bit of trial and error involved in getting a good stable setup when you have the mount in a less than ordinary position, but it does get easier and knowing what’s going to work the first time around won’t take you too long.
So what’s the footage like? Well, it’s good and it’s stable. It’s not perfectly stable all the time, but it stands up really well under normal road use. Off road, I can’t comment on. With a DSLR, it’s pretty easy to turn your footage to Jello by getting on a rough bit of road and I didn’t test with any other type of camera. The 3025 seems to suit the size of a DSLR very nicely and the camera can be mounted nicely over the top of the suction cup, maintaining a nice, tight centre of gravity. You can tell for yourself by watching the footage, but as I said, the stability of the rig really depends on your ability to work out the best length rods to use, where to place the support suction cups and also the rigidity of your mounting surface. You can gurantee the windscreen is going to wobble a lot less than the middle of the bonnet.
But it’s really a night and day comparison when you compare the unit to the non-stabilized rig that I’d first used. You can actually feel confident that you will get the shot you need using the Filmtools Gripper 3025 Car Mount with Triangulation Kit.
So would I recommend it? Hell yes I would, I spent my money on it and it’s been really great for what I need. 100% perfectly solid? No, you’re not going to get that at this price bracket, if you need 100% perfect, not going to wobble one little bit, you need to be spending a little more than $400. . .but I’d have to say that if you mount it nice and solid, it’ll do a really great job 98% of the time which should be more than enough for most of us.
Check out the embedded video clip, it’s a really rough cut of some different shots I managed to hustle together just now. I didn’t grade it or do any post processing on it at all. All the clips are shot with Canon DSLR’s – a 5DMKII and a 7D – There’s some Canon 15mm Fisheye stuff, Tokina 11-16 f2.8, Sigma 30mm f1.4 and that’s about it I think.
If you’re looking for a car mount for your DSLR, this is definitely worth a look at. . . Filmtools Gripper 3025 Car Mount with Triangulation Kit.
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