Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig

A few days ago I tweeted a couple pics of my new Run and Gun DSLR Rig, the Cowboy Studio (CBS) Shoulder Support Pad.  Since then I have received a lot of requests for more information and additional pics, so here we go….

First off thanks to Caleb Pike and Phil Hoyt for turning me on to this idea and saving me hundreds of dollars!  I was looking for an affordable solution and this sure did fit the bill.

For those unfamiliar with the product it’s basically a low cost, lightweight shoulder rig, and retails anywhere from $20.00 to $30.00 online. I have used other DSLR rigs, including the Red Rock Micro eyeSpy Standard, which sells for $826.50. However, I must say I greatly prefer the CBS solution. One of the biggest features I like about the CBS rig is that it can be completely hands free. While using the Red Rock Micro system, I often found myself needing to use both of my hands, which was simply impossible. With the CBS I can do just that.  Ohhh..and did I mention how comfortable it is?  It’s much lighter then anything else I have tried and put’s less strain on my back and shoulders, which allows me to go longer with less fatigue.

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I just completed shooting my second music video with this rig and for under $200, I have built a system that is really working for me.  With the addition of the rail system($129), I am now able to attach my D|Focus Follow Focus and handle grip($49.99).  I did look at other possible rail solutions for my new $20 rig, including, Red Rock Micro, and Zacuto, but they did not have a complete system that I was looking for. I would have had to order this plate, then this other thing, and then that thing, meanwhile the total price was going up and up.  At, I got everything I needed in their rail system, not only did it come in all black, which I like, it includes (2) 10 inch rails, (2) rail blocks, (1) tripod mount plate and (1) DSLR camera mount plate with removable riser. I added a Manfrotto 323 RC2 System Quick Release Adapter with 200PL-14 Plate and my hi-speed, run and gun rig was complete.

I will have additional pics with camera attatched in the coming week.

Thanks for stopping by! -Rod


**12/29/2010 Update - I just want to be clear, this $20 shoulder support does not come with the pictured rails, follow focus, and handle.  These are all items I purchased separately to add to the kit.  However, it does come with plastic pieces that will allow you to connect your camera right away (pictured right).  I did not especially trust these parts and that is one of the reasons I have decided not to use them.  Please view Caleb Pike’s video to see both configurations, setup with kit parts, and setup with a professional rail system.

**2/12/2011 Update: Just posted part II of this review with video, click here.


**6/23/2011 Update:  PART 3 with Zacuto EVF has been posted!


17 Responses to “Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig”

  1. Kings Farmer says:

    Great Stuff. Caleb Pike’s site alerted me to the CBS. So comfortable, and easy to adjust.
    Thanks for the tip on that rail system.

  2. Rod says:

    Your welcome, I hope it helps. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  3. 68Stones says:

    I saw the CBS earlier on Amazon, would like to order it but they don’t ship to my country; to bad. Any idea of another site who sells them?

    It looks like a good rig, especially for that price. I might just do the same if I can get my hands on the CBS.

    Great post!

  4. Rabi says:

    Looks really good. I just got the CBS at the recommendation of Caleb, as well as Emm over at Cheesy Cam. You mods to it look great. I was thinking of doing the same thing, but maybe with Jag35 parts. One question, though. How does using the LCDVF feel without any offset on the design?

  5. Rod says:

    Rabi, great question. The LCDVF feels just ‘ok’ when I use it on the rig and pull it up to my eye. Currently, I find myself using the LCD to monitor. However there are a couple of possible solutions on the horizon. Red Rock Micro will start selling their EVF soon, which will solve this. Also, probably a more affordable solution, I just saw last night that Emm posted a video of his CBS rig with an offset adapter from Hopefully these adapters will hit the market soon to give us with viewfinders, maximum comfort.

  6. Rabi says:

    Yeah, I saw Emm’s post. I have been looking at ways to offset a rig.
    A rails system probably isn’t first on my to-buy list anyways, so it’s not really an issue right now. Just mounting the camera+LCDVF to the CBS rig with the cheap offset it comes with is so much better than nothing.

  7. 68Stones says:

    @Rod Thanks!

  8. [...] to the guys over at The #dslr Daily for thinking my little review of the Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig was [...]

  9. Marty says:

    When you say you don’t trust the parts, you mean the ones that come with the CBS or the entire rail system in general? Because I want to save money using the express35 rail system instead of the red rock rails. Also how would you add an external monitor to the rails?

  10. Rod says:

    Hi Marty,
    Sorry for the confusion. I don’t trust the plastic parts that came with the CBS. The Express35 rail system on the other hand is extremely solid, and yes I would and have added an external monitor to the rails. Pics with a monitor attached can be found in part 2:
    Hope this helps,

  11. Marty says:

    Thx Rod,i’m really excited to get an affordable shoulder mount. I just have another question. Why when I click the link totherail system, it is unavailable?

  12. Rod says:

    Sorry Marty, I need to update the link above, here it is:

  13. Marty says:

    Is there any way to reduce the price from $280 to the original $130?

  14. Mike says:

    Yeah I noticed you quoted the price at $130 but the Rig X system is $280. I see it includes the offset adapter and the handle but I assumed because of the price that it was the Rail System on Express35 which sells for $130 that you were talking about. After reading further I realized that it’s not, the rails are only 8″ on the Rail System unless you get the Rig X for the 10″ rails. Is it still a good deal for that price and is the offset adapter necessary?

  15. Nyk says:

    What is the total price when you add the pictured rails, follow focus and handle?


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