Zacuto C-Shooter Hands On Review

June 9, 201311 Comments

The Canon Cinema EOS cameras are the most ergonomic camera I have used. So why use a rig for them? Well for a couple of reasons. If your trying to shoot ENG style then holding a camera with no rig can get fatiguing really fast. Try interviewing someone for over five minutes holding the C100 up without a rig. Three minutes in your going to see more jitter because it’s hard to hold up the camera with just your arms for extended periods. That’s the hardest thing to do. Not moving the camera, because you never know when the best sound bite is coming, and bam! As soon as it does your twitching and shaking the camera and the shot looks like…. Yeah you now. Always happens right? Before I go to deep please read my ethics statement at the bottom of this post.

Zacuto C-Shooter Rig

Zacuto C-Shooter Rig

When the shooting situation calls for a lot of longer handholding then that’s where a rig comes in. The ENG camera (Short for Electronic News Gathering or basically what a broadcast news guy uses) is designed for handheld use. Cinema cameras like the ARRI Alexa also have a shouldering friendly design but 99% of the cameras we can afford do not. With the C100 things have changed a bit and we get the best of both worlds. If you need to shoot for long periods of time the C-Shooter by Zacuto is a good choice.
Zacuto usually makes universal products. I can understand that since new cameras these days come out so frequently, but they decided to make this rig for the the Canon Cinema EOS Cameras. They also have special rigs for other cameras as well. Check them out. The C-Shooter comprises of several Zacuto products that come together to create the C-Shooter. All the pieces can be purchased seperatly or you can buy them as a kit and save a few bucks. The one specially designed piece is the ENG Grip Relocator.

Zacuto ENG Grip Relocator for the Canon C100-300-500

Zacuto ENG Grip Relocator for the Canon C100-300-500

Grip Relocator

The one feature that stands out is the Grip Relocator. Absolutely brilliant! Takes the C100/C300 grip with all the functionality and puts it where you need it. How many times have you fumbled with other rigs because the grip has no controls on them In most cases its just a place to put your hand.  The Canon Cinema EOS grip has a bunch of function controls that makes accessing the settings easy and right at your finger tips. Change the ISO, Iris, even the white balance presets. All at your finger tip. No other camera has a grip like the Cinema EOS has and now you can take that control and move it where you need it with the Grip Relocator. I think this is the core of the C-Shooter and if you have a rig already that alone is a great addition that will make your existing system even better.

Zacuto Studio Baseplate with 12" rods for Canon C100/300/500

Zacuto Studio Baseplate with 12″ rods for Canon C100/300/500

The Studio Baseplate

One thing stands out about the C-Shooter. It’s simple design makes it very easy to use and is pretty light. The Studio Baseplate is the center piece that the rig builds out from. It has a channel that the rails pass through making it easy to adjust where you want the plate and camera to be. The Studio Baseplate with 12″ rods has four 15mm lightweight holes. Two on each side for mounting monitors, an EVF or other goodies you might need. I tested the rig with the Zacuto EVF Standard Mount (not included). They’re locked down via an Allen screw. Wish it was a tool-less operation but no room for a thumb screw since the baseplate is very low profile. The screw hole pattern on the Studio Baseplate is ¼” 20, 3/8” 16, 3/8” 16, 3/8” 16. To mount the C300/100/500 camera, you will use the 1/4” 20 and the first 3/8” 16 screw holes. The Baseplate ships with one ¼” 20 screw and one 3/8” 16 screw.

One thing to be aware of is if you use a matte box it has to be an adjustable type since the baseplate height isn’t adjustable and isn’t at the standard height settings for rails so if your matte box isn’t adjustable you wont be able to use it. I don’t feel this is an issue since adding more to the front of the rig is only going to cause a balance issue and more weight in the back would be needed for counterbalance making the rig even heavier. A 3.5lb Z-Lite weight sits behind the shoulder pad for counterbalance. If you need more just get a pair of short threaded rods and extend the rails out a little and let physics do the job.

Zacuto Shoulder Pad

Zacuto Shoulder Pad

The Shoulder Pad

I like how soft and light the shoulder pad is It slides easily along the rails. Maybe a little to easy but repositioning it is super fast. This isn’t a hard piece of rubber its soft and light.

Using The C-Shooter.

Finally right! The C-Shooter pared with my Zacuto Z-Finder EVF Pro feels really good on the shoulder. It’s still a little front heavy since the camera isn’t directly over your shoulder but it’s much better than trying to handhold it for longer shoots. I love the Grip Relocator. This part of the rig stands out the most because it takes 90% of the controls with you. No other rig has this and it’s a big deal to get the controls that matter the most right where you need them. One feature that doesn’t work with the EVF is magnification. No problem just use the Zacuto EFV’s magnification.
To assist in stabilizing the camera I found myself using grabbing the base of the Zacuto EVF Standard Mount with my left hand. It felt natural to do so. If you use a follow focus then that would be an ideal place to grab on to as well.

The C-Shooter has a lot of advantages but you need to add an EVF to get it to work as a shoulder rig and also add a EVF holder of some kind if not the Zacuto EVF Standard Mount, so that has to be considered. If you shoot with the C300 the LCD can be used instead since it flips down. I like that a lot about the C300. The LCD is great! I’m farsighted so I would have to wear glasses when using the C300 and LCD screen plus you don’t get that extra contact point when using a EVF to assist in stabilizing the rig. The price for the rig is $999. If you need the Zacuto EVF Standard Mount add another $265. If you already own a rig you like you can add a Grip Relocator for $320. Again I think the Grip Relocator is the bomb!

In the video review at the end I added a test shoot I did with my son singing and playing guitar on a song he is working on learning. He’s a great kid and I’m thankful he was willing to help his old man out.. I was for the most part sitting on a chair shooting with the C-Shooter from varies angles. It worked really well and was able to work really fast. It felt more like a ENG camera than any other rig I have used. I put my C100 with the Canon 24-105 on the C-Shooter. I also used my Zacuto EVF Pro. I turned the image stabilization off on the lens. I think the video looked pretty good. I shot some 105mm tight shots that looked pretty solid.

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*Ethics statement. Zacuto was gracious enough to lend me the C-Shooter at my request. They are a sponsor of my blog but they didn’t pay me or have any expectations of the outcome of this review. Okay. Now that that’s out of the way onward to the hands on review!

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Filed in: C100C300Equipment ReviewsSupport and GripZacuto
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About the Author ()

I'm a broadcast DP In San Diego. I enjoy sharing what I'm working on and testing new equipment. This blog is also part of giving back. I've learned so much from so many people.

Comments (11)

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  1. Jon Roemer says:

    Erik – thanks for your review. You only briefly mentioned focus above. It seems like it would be hard to focus or focus on the fly with the EVF on the rig and in the way, and with no follow focus. Any thoughts on that with this setup?

    I also wonder about actually getting the camera back further, using Zacuto’s new quick release shoulder pad (e.g. their Recoil v2) and then using the Mira by Diety + C300’s display instead of a EVF. The trick would be getting the screen forward more since the camera is on the shoulder at that point. There would be much less sliding around of the shoulder pad (I had that problem with a similar dslr setup) and you do away with the counterbalance.

  2. Erik Naso says:

    Hi Jon!
    I didn’t have any issues focusing at all. But the 24-105 is a longer lens than most however that would be the one I would pick if I was running and gunning anyway. I didn’t want to add to many non C0Shooter parts since I was reviewing the actual rig but the EVF holder is a must have so I added it in. Zacuto is making some nice pieces of kit for the new bread of cameras and that shoulder pad looks great! So many choices. If you get the camera over your shoulder I think getting to lens would be even harder. YMMV. At least these rigs a very customizable to fit most everyone’s needs.

    • Jon Roemer says:

      Thanks – I agree on the 24-105, it’s my go to lens for run and gun (C300.) I agree too on trying to keep the kit as simple as possible. Good to know that focus is fine with the EVF it was hard to tell from the video. I saw the one rack focus toward the end of the song.

  3. Todd Covelli says:

    Erik!
    Your blog is great man! Long time since I have seen you, (my KUSI days) Do you know if Zacuto will be doing a similar grip for the BMCC? Great work man.

    • Erik Naso says:

      Hi Todd. Long time since I’ve seen you! I don’t think Zacuto will make a grip for the BMCC since it doesn’t come with one. They do make a Grip Relocater for the Sony FS700.

  4. Michael says:

    Hey Erik. Thanks for your review (and your original review of the C100).

    I am looking to specifically use this camera without the EVF. I own the EVF for my 5D, but part of my reason for getting the C100 was to get away from the days of adding more stuff to my camera rig that needs batteries, etc.

    Also, I love the look and functionality of the built in LCD much more than the EVF. The waveform and peaking are very visible, and the magnification on the re-locator is a huge plus. Magnifying on the Zacuto means taking your hands off and reaching for tiny buttons.

    I was thinking that this rig could work if I slid the camera forward on the rails… even if I had to extend the rails. Did you try that setup at all? I can’t find anyone anywhere who is using this rig without the EVF. So, I’m guessing it’s a no.

    If that’s the case, I might just buy the re-locater and find a different rig elsewhere that would put the C100 in an optimal placement.

    Thanks for your help!.

    • Erik Naso says:

      Hi Michael.
      I didn’t try putting the camera forward because it would be to front heavy and its to hard to shoot that way. If anything I would like to get the camera even farther back. I dont think the C-Shooter is the rig for you. Look for an offset rig that might be better. Or heck like you said no rig. I prefer to shoot mostly with with out a rig or use a Fig Rig for smoother camera action. Different tools for different shoots. I haven’t found just one that does it all. Yet.

  5. Ian Boyle says:

    Hi Erik,

    Would you recommend a follow focus with this rig if so which one?

    Cheers ian

    • Erik Naso says:

      It gets pretty tight up front with an EVF but sure if you need one then it could work. As for a specific brand or type. It really depends on your budget. The good ones are very expensive and the cheap ones are well cheap. I have a Tilta and a TrusMT. Both are pretty good for the price. I hear good things about the Redrock Micro Blue. Haven’t tried it yet.

  6. Hi Erik.
    Well I tried out the Zacuto Recoil with the C100 and NG, so I explored the C-Shooter which is much better as you suggest. Only issue I have is with the Zacuto EVF Trimount holder. Can’t get my fingers in to zoom and focus the lens at all (comfortably). The HDMI plug blocks, even with a right angle. And with playing with the position of the EVF. Guess I’ll have to try an arm coming off the top of the camera which I know won’t be as sweet. If I ever get that solved I will try to add in a follow focus. Will pass on what I end up with.
    Thanks

    • Erik Naso says:

      I didn’t have an issue wit the EVF being in the way but I used only the 24-105 lens. This lens is longer than most so thats probably why it worked better. I have had this sue in other rigs before and it’s a drag. Going from the handle is your best bet. Let us know how it goes.

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