Habbycam Snap 15mm rail rod system DSLR, cage, rig, hd, canon, 5d mark ii, iii, 7d, 6d, 1dc, nikon, d800, d90, d600, d800e, blackmagicdesign, cinema camera, video, movie, film, filmmaker, filmmaking, indie,
Habbycam Snap Camera Rig - $60 on amazon
This little Habbycam Snap 15mm rod rig is only $60 on amazon right now. It goes for a little more at B&H and adorama, and even retails for much more on other sites. I got mine at amazon because I was looking for an affordable kit to knock around, nothing fancy.
I already knew the Habbycam name from their popular DSLR cage that is considered a pro piece of gear. This Snap kit is their first product in the 15mm rod market that I know of. Habbycam has other products like shoulder rigs but nothing utilizing 15mm rods like this. Since I knew their name and knew that they make pro gear, I didn't resitate to order the Snap system. It was refreshing to see it at that price among all Chinese junk gear out there that doesn't look very great and is expensive.
I love that Habbycam is a company from Hollywood and their products are made in the USA. Or at least that's what they tell me. You never know these days, but most companies with Chinese products will let you know...I don't think Habbycam would take a risk and lie. Anyways, it's made in the USA!
The Snap system is what they say it is, a kit that uses 15mm rods and connectors to give you a rig for your camera. I imagine almost any standard camera with a 1/4" tripod hole on the bottom will work with it.
Habbycam w/no accessories, in one of many configurations
I'll go through piece by piece and let you know what is good and what is not so good:
The L-shaped support arms are made of ABS plastic and seem tough. Not as tough as aluminum, but hey, one Red Rock Micro L arm costs more than this kit. You get two in this kit, nice! The cheapest L arms I've seen sold separately on amazon and ebay are $26 each. So just by buying this $60 kit you get a $52 value in the L arms.
The L arms (and everything else in this kit) attach with a plastic clamp that seems well made and works on a 1/4" bolt. It's not the more common standard m4 or m6 machine bolts. Too bad it's not, cause you could replace these plastic clamps with metal ones later if you wanted, but looks like you cannot - very easily anyways.
Next is a cheese plate made of ABS plastic that attaches between the two L arms. In the cheese plate you can press 1/4" nuts to attach your standard accessories. The cheese plate is attached using ABS plastic rods, the weird segmented kind, not smooth rods that are so common. These segmented ones are weird and I decided to ditch them in favor to some 6" metal ones.
Next is the 12" rods that will be your base. These are nice standard rods and are at least a $20-30 value if you bought them separately. These do their job. I decided to use some longer 16" rods as my base rods and use these 12" rods on the top or sides of the rig for extra protection. You can do whatever you want with all these parts, which is why it's so fun to mess with! It's like an adult erector set.
Next is the base plate where you mount the camera. Here is where I have to say I was disappointed. The design could be a bit better. The plate that attaches to the camera also attaches to the bottom section of the base via four screws. These screws are difficult to attach and in the end I cracked two of the holes because I tightened them down too hard. Be sure to tighten carefully! I ended up scraping that piece in favor of an all metal camera base that I already had lying around.
The ABS plastic feels pretty sturdy and is strong in the places it needs to be. The base plate design does invite some breakage, but if you spring for a metal baseplate on amazon or B&H, this Habbycam Snap kit should be compatible with them all.
The clamp design is poor. The clamps only tighten one side of the two rails, leaving one rail loose. This is okay since in most cases you'll have several clamps tightened to keep everything secure, but I ran into a setup where I just wanted two rails running off one clamp and the clamp wouldn't tighten them both by itself. As soon as I added another clamp that solved it - an annoying design flaw nonetheless.
The clamp knobs are plastic and small and hurt my fingers. It'd be nice if they were the common large aluminum ones.
Yeah the whole thing is made of plastic but so what? It's half the weight to carry around on an all day shoot. This makes the Habbycam Snap system a great lightweight handheld rig as well as an efficient tripod setup. It may not be as protective as a metal system in the situation it's dropped, but I imagine it would give a decent amount of protection.
For the price, nothing out there, not even the Chinese junk, can come close to everything you get here. Yeah, I had to swap out the baseplate and the cheap segmented rails, but you still in this kit you get real 12" metal rails, two L arms, and the accessories cheese plate.
Yes, it does feel a bit toyish when you put it together and look at it on your tripod with all its plastic glory, but in the end it does the job for a very sexy price and it's a "snap" to put together and get started shooting.
I'd consider this an amateur-use piece of kit and not something that can handle everyday or professional wear and tear. If you want something rugged, go with the all-metal kits by Red Rock Micro, Zacuto, etc.