Manfrotto recently released the Sympla rig, which they call the “system moving platform.” The name is quite fitting considering how many different variations of this rig are available. Let’s go over the separate pieces, which include:
HDSLR Clamp-On Remote Control: There are two versions of this — one with iris, shutter, ISO and focus point control, and the other with just focus point control. The first one mentioned attaches with a Manfrotto rosette to the side of a Manfrotto Tripod and acts as a 2nd arm to the tripod, putting together a studio setup environment for the camera.
Sympla Variable Plate: This is a fancy name for a Manfrotto baseplate which is actually similar to any Manfrotto quick release on the market that uses a 501 tipod plate. It will fit most Manfrotto video and photo tripod heads, making the mount interchangeable.
Sympla Shoulder Pad: This actually is not padded, but many people think it is very comfortable despite that fact. It leans on the shoulder and allows a weight to hook on the back with a 3/8″ screw.
Sympla Adjustable Handles: These are not 15mm rod mounted. They are handles custom to the Sympla rig, so you won’t be able to move or interchange them with handles on any of your other rigs. They go straight down and the angle is adjustable at the very top of the handle.
Sympla Flexible Mattebox: This mattebox is perhaps the coolest of it’s kind and the coolest on the market! It is called a universal mattebox, but it is universal in more ways than one. It has 4 “lengths” — lengths equaling from the camera on out. This mattebox is made of a thick flexible rubber, which holds shape when you bend it and adjusts to the way the light falls without changing your entire setup. The mattebox pushes in to become smaller or pulls out to become longer. It does include step down rigs and what is called Nuns Knickers, or a Shade to go between the camera and the step down ring to ensure that no light gets in.
Fig Rig: The Fig Rig is a steering wheel that goes around the camera. The lens sits through the steering wheel to balance the weight, and the shoulder pad is turned upside down to lean against you instead of going over you.
Lens Support: Lens support is a sloped piece that sits under the lens to support it. This is actually a nice way of doing it, as you don’t have to screw anything in.
That being said, it’s a nice way to focus your DSLR while it’s attached to a rig, or think of it as another way of putting a tripod in a studio-like setup. The focus is accurate and not painfully slow. I would recommend this if you’re looking to operate a little differently than what you are used to with more flexibility — especially when you are shoulder mounted.
–Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales, firstname.lastname@example.org