Saturday, October 8, 2011

Review: Gini DSLR rig

Korean DSLR builder 'Gini' has built quite a name for himself over the last few years in the DSLR-world.  DSLR-rigs were -and still are- outrageously expensive. But Asian companies like Gini have brought these prices down considerably.
I bought my Gini DSLR rig about 8 months ago and only recently have I been using it regularly and with all the accessories I needed to be able to make full use of it. I feel that only now I can say something sensible about my rig. The emphasis is on 'my rig' because there are so many packages out there, so many configurations that you can only talk about the components in your particular set-up. But the basis, the materials, the clamps and the rods are of course all the same.

What is really the use of a rig?
  1. For one, to be able to mount your DSLR like a proper videocamera, on your shoulder and getting that same steadiness you're used to when working with pro camera's. 
  2. To add much desired mass to the camera's light body to keep the camera from registering your every touch or shake.
  3. To be able to add a light, a mic, a mattebox and whatever other accessory you may wish.
  4. It adds blingbling to your gear which to some makes you more professional-looking...
 But there are alternatives to rigs. You can buy yourself a DSLR cage. You won't be able to use your camera like a shouldercam but consider if you really intend to shoot like that. If not, a cage may be the better choice. It is generally more compact, more solid and easier to set up. It will also do a better job of protecting your camera.

I bought my Gini rig in January. A relatively simple package: shouldersupport, baseplate, handles, monitor arm and some rods and clamps. It's easy to assemble and you can make different configurations from even a simple package like mine. But what do I really think about the Gini rig?

I still think, as I did then, that the design is wonderful and the materials top-notch. The finish is solid in every respect. (hardly a scratch after banging it around a bit) This stuff makes you feel like a little boy in a toy store. But there's a few points of criticism I have about the rig:
  • the baseplate has a screw for attaching your camera and that screw is hard to tighten. It's too big and you can't get your fingers inbetween once you have a follow focus or mattebox mounted. Almost always the camera keeps turning on the base and that's a bad thing. An idea to solve this would be a little piece of rubber that's sunk into the baseplate and would accomplish two things: 1) prevent the camera from turning/moving 2)it would allow for tighter screwing.
  • Another weak point of this rig is tightening the handlebars. It is a problem with all the clamps: you have to tighten the clamps so hard it hurts your fingers. Even then, I've had the handlebars loosen/slide when I was carrying a fully loaded rig. That's a very bad thing because it made me feel insecure and worried about damaging my equipment- and that's the last thing you need on a shoot. I have since tightened the clamps with a hex screw and was thus able to screw it tighter. But for obvious reasons I would have liked to just use the little levers that were made for that task and not have to bring extra tools (that can be forgotten or get lost) ...
  • Gini's shoulderpad is not ergonomic. It would be nice if it would adjust/sink onto your shoulder somwhat. And you need some counterweights to balance the rig out.

Its eight months on since I bought my rig and meanwhile, Gini may have changed some of the designs. But I have seen the baseplate currently for sale and it still looks the same. (I am experimenting with removing the screw altogether and permanently attaching a quick-release adapter.) The levers and locking system still looks the same so I am curious if others have problems with securing the clamps.

I have recently bought some extra parts for my rig. I think a top handle is essential for carrying the rig around. And you will at least need a C-shaped support to attach that- or a cage.

My advice to shooters looking into buying a DSLR-rig would be: look carefully at what others have built and see what you need for your style of shooting. Start small and build according to your needs. Gini sometimes offers good deals but so do others. And last but not least: looks are great but not very functional. The importance of keeping it small and simple cannot be over-emphasized!



  1. If your looking for a Gini rig - check out - There new store is online and has 20% opening sale which makes them super cheap

  2. What Matte Box is that? I am looking for a decent one under 150, if possible.

    1. It's a TrusMT and I bought it for around 250,- and that was very cheap, part of a group-buy. A decent one for under 150? Save some more (and save yourself a whole lot of hassles, while you're at it) and get a real Mattebox.