Building A Zacuto Recoil Rig. My Hands On Review

February 10, 201412 Comments

erik with recoil

I’ve been on a quest to build the perfect camera rig for some time now. In fact I wrote a blog post on just that! Using several different bits and pieces to create a well balanced shoulder mounted rig. I got so close but just never had one system that absolutely worked. I basically quit trying. Then Zacuto came out with the C-Shooter rig for the Canon Cinema EOS cameras. The C100 and C300. This rig worked very well and it introduced the Grip Relocator. This one piece of kit alone really impressed me. So basic but solved a huge problem. Triggering and controlling the cameras functions.

Here is my Hands on review Zacuto C-Shooter.

Now Zacuto has new system called the Recoil. With several new pieces of kit. When combined it creates a system that is truly revolutionary. Zacuto took the Grip Relocator and added in a Z-Drive and Tornado to the mix and a new shoulder pad that goes right under the camera. A counter weight is no longer needed! This is huge! I put together a rig that I think works pretty darn well and shared my thoughts with ZacutoCheck out my full hands on review on 

Here are all the pieces that I used to create the Recoil rig for my C100.

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Filed in: C100C300Equipment ReviewsZacuto
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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 (12)

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  1. Thanks for the Recoil review. Looking forward to your review of the 70D on the video side!


    • Erik Naso says:

      Hi John.
      Sorry for the 70D video portion of the review. I had shoulder surgery last week and had so much work to get done prior to the surgery I couldn’t get out and shoot. I’m pretty bummed, but I will hopefully be able to in a few weeks. The one thing I can share is the camera performs pretty much the same image wise as the other Canon DSLR’s do when shooting video but that Duel Pixel Auto Focus is really cool!

  2. Dale says:

    Hey Erik.

    Such a timely review for me! Thankyou. As my C100 kit grows, so does the weight. I can’t hold it hand held now for long periods of time which I really need to do!

    Buying a rig is the hardest thing to do via the web. So many unknowns so thanks for demistifying things here.

    If it all pans out I will buy thru your link.

    But I have a couple of questions for you. Hope you have some time to answer.

    1. I love the hand grip relocator idea… Can I ask you tho- I am wondering about how quick it is to go from handheld to tripod and put the grip back on the camera? My ideal situation is obviously to do get back on/off the ‘pod and be shooting within seconds. I don’t feel this is possible. Whats your thoughts?

    2. I am thinking of trying to use the Zacuto C100 Viewfinder that attaches to the LCD. Do you think this is possible with this rig and would it be comfortable? I can’t really tell. Its a budget thing naturally!

    3. I wonder if the C-shooter is better for me as opposed to the Recoil. I just really NEED to be as quick as possible switching from tripod and shoulder and back again. Whats your thoughts on which is quicker to use in respect to this and also then, in relation to Question 2?

    4. Lastly, I can’t remember now, ( i am a little bamboozled from too much research!) Do I need a Zacuto style piece of kit for my Miller head so I can switch from shoulder to pod quickly?

    As I say, if it all works out I will gladly help you out here!

    Thanks for your time Erik… Your blog is the best out there as its narrowed in to my gear- C100/GH3.

    Cheers from Australia,

  3. John Keating says:

    Eric, what do you like better the c shooter or the recoil?

    • Erik Naso says:

      I like the new Z-Drive, Tornado and Axis a lot. Grip relocator is a must for any Cinema EOS camera rig. The cool thing is all the bits can be used on other baseplates as well. I just bought a Zacuto Studio Baseplate to use in my Recoil rig. The Gorilla is great to keep it smaller but I feel I need a little more rail space behind the camera like a Ninja 2 and battery for external devices. Gorilla Baseplate doesn’t have rear rail slots.

      Simple answer is I prefer the camera more over my shoulder so for that setup the Recoil suits me better.

  4. Serge says:

    Eric, have you tried Tornado/Z-Drive with cine lenses, in particular with Canon CN-E primes? How fast it can rotate focus ring – what’s the experience in using Tornado in this setup? I am asking since it looks like Tornado/Z-Drive were created with still lenses. Thanks, Serge

  5. Therese Tran says:

    Hi Erik, Thanks for the review. Just a couple of questions. How are you attaching the Axis EVF and Zotshoe to the C100 handle? Also, I’m not sure if my eyes are deceiving me, but it looks like your grip relocator is on a separate lower rod, is there a particular reason, for comfort, hand position etc. I’ve been looking at the Zacuto site and they have two different types of grip relocators, which do you prefer? Thanks!

    • Erik Naso says:

      I added a cold shoe to the 1/4 20 on the handle for The Zotshoe. U went with the C100 grip relocator with the rod because it gives me a little more versatility. Shooting handheld can get fatiguing so being able to move the grip around helps with that.

  6. Erik,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with this equipment.

    The Recoil system looks great for the c100- one question I have is- when actually moving with the camera on your shoulder, how smooth is the filming? Even with using an IS lens, for example, when walking behind someone or beside them, how would it look? Or is that simply a developed skill (without using Steadicam)- thanks, Michael

    • Erik Naso says:

      Everybody is different and yes that is a skill you should practice. Back when I shot news I did a lot of that and you have to walk smoother. Looks funny but just try not to bounce as much.

  7. Hi Eric,

    Thanks for this review, it’s very helpful.

    I was wondering if you had any advice over mounting options when transferring this rig to a tripod. I’ve just ordered this rig & the Tripod Adapter Plate, but was wondering how to mount my 70-200 2.8 with this? Do you know if a QR plate on the lens collar would work with the studio baseplate mounted? Or do you have another solution for this? Thanks!

    • Erik Naso says:

      You might need a lens mount that attaches to the rails. The C100 and C300 have very sturdy lens mounts so for the 70-200 2.8 I dont think you need lens support. If I remember correctly the lens collor’s tripod adapter is longer than the body of the Canon EOS cameras. I had a problem having two Zacuto QR camera plates on at the same time. In order to moint the lens to the QR I had to take the plate off the camera body. If wanted to put the lens on the baseplate that might work. I think I would rather have the camera on it. Loosen the collor and turn it to the side or remove it if it’s in the way.

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