A user review of the CowboyStudio Shoulder Rig from Rod Guajardo

by planetmitch4 Comments

We found Rod Guajardo talking about his CowboyStudio Shoulder Rig (planet5D reviews) on twitter this morning and watched the video and knew many of you would be interested in it so we asked Ron if we could share with you. He started with a review posted on his blog here and finished it up with this additional video showing the offset rig addition. There had been some discussion in the planet5D forums about the CowboyStudio rig so this should help out some of those folks too.

Redrock Micro

Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig Part II from Rod Guajardo on Vimeo.

With 5 little one's, I'm always on a budget, here is my follow-up to my previous blog post, “Review: CowboyStudio Shoulder Rigfoursandyfeet.com/​reviews/​cowboystudiorig/​. This time showing a new piece to the $30.00 Cowboy Studio shoulder rig, the Express.35.com adjustable offset adapter.

Parts List:
Cowboy Studio Shoulder Support: $30.00
Express35.com Rail System: $129.00 (very limited supply)
Express35.com Offset Adapter: $80.00
Express35.com HD Handle: $50.00
Total Shoulder Rig Cost: $289.00

For more info and pics, check out the link below..

I hope this helps other budget-minded folks,

Video shot by Ismael Rodriguez

If you'd like to talk about the rig, we've got it on our forums – discussion in the planet5D forums about the CowboyStudio rig

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

Zeiss Cinema Lenses


  1. Nice post. Finally something where it is acknowledged that most people shooting HDSLR gear are not interested in paying outrageous prices for every additional piece.

    Personally, if I spent $115 dollars for a handle, or $1500 for a minimal camera rig, or $1000+ for a matte box, I’d feel like I got taken for a ride. I guess it’s the price you pay for being part of a fad.

  2. If you’re even more financially challenged (like me) I came with a similarly performing system using the Cowboy Studio shoulder rig as a basis for less than 1/2 that. No fancy rails but it is very adjustable and gets the viewfinder perfectly positioned for my eye as well as being comfortable and stable. For what it’s worth I wrote up my setup here: theselfconfessedgeek.blogspot.com/2011/01/plastic-fantastic-hdslr-shoulder.html
    Keep up the great info and site – Martin

  3. I have been pretty impressed with my Cowboy Studio shoulder rig, though I would like to throw some rails on it and some other stuff. It’s great when I want to run and gun with a DSLR and a Zoom.

    The thing about the more expensive gear is this: if you’re an amateur or a hobbyist or even very new and not sure if this is on the side work or a career, then this less expensive gear is definitely very good.

    But the expensive stuff isn’t being taken for a ride. Like lenses, it’s an investment. Just between college and my short professional life, I’ve seen a lot of cameras come and go. Cameras can be expensive, but its kind of a caveat of the pro video life that everything else you own will probably last you through quite a few camera bodies. Investing in high quality support gear one good time means not wasting money re-buying stuff that will break down the line.

    Not saying you should buy a thousand dollar shoulder rig. There’s plenty of solidly made stuff from manufacturer’s with good reps out there that aren’t crazy expensive. But spending the extra bones, if done with research and care, can mean a lot of headaches you don’t have to deal with later. There’s also the added benefit, if you are getting into pro work, of your gear looking good, which can win you points with clients without you even realizing it.

    That said, I’m not convinced DSLR’s are a fad. I think they’re creating a fantastic kind of leveled structure and a sub-genre to filmmaking. They’re an inexpensive way for people to cut their teeth, and can produce some really beautiful work in the right hands of someone dedicated to working with them. I love my T2i and will continue to use it after acquiring something bigger. It can do things like get into spaces that, say, the HVX’s or HMC-150’s might be too bulky for, and bigger ENG’s might be too heavy for.

    It’s ultimately all about where you are, and where you want to go and what you want to accomplish.

  4. Been following Rod on his blog for a while and I’ve been looking around at other rigs. I keep coming back to this set up. It a cheap way to get started with a shoulder rig. I know his rig has evolved since then but the cowboy studio shoulder pad is an inexpensive way to start. There’s many ways to trick them out too as Martin Taylor shows.

    I got mine on order my next purchase will be a decent VF.

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