I heard about the Manfrotto 585 ModoSteady 3-in-1 Camera/Camcorder Stabilizer and Support System on a couple of weeks ago on Twitter. The poster was wondering if anyone had used it and whether it was worth the $89 price tag (the list price is given as $209.)
I figured I couldn’t afford not to give it a shot and see … I’ve been having trouble with hand-held shots from my Canon VIXIA HF100 HD camcorder because it is, quite frankly, just a little bit too compact and my big, clunky, paws, just can’t hold it steady for more than a few seconds at a time.
The ModoSteady works, as the name implies, in three modes: stabilizer mode, shoulder support mode, and, by opening up the operator’s handle, as a table top tripod.
As a stabilizer system, the ModoSteady does very nice work. After hooking the Canon HF100 to the ModoSteady using a quick-release mount, it’s an easy matter of freeing the gimbal and balancing the counter-weighted arm with a couple of thumbscrews. Having memories of struggling to balance my old Sony VX1000 on a Steadicam JR, I was surpised that this little guy was so friendly to use right out of the box, again, especially with regard to its price-point. The camera tracks well even at a run.
By locking the gimble and swinging up the arm and rubber-padded counterweight, the ModoSteady converts into a nice shoulder support for your camera … I suspect this is the mode I’ll use the most in my shooting.
An ingeniously-designed cap attached to a light-weight bungee cord pops off of the bottom of the handle, allowing the user to open it into a table-top tripod base.
One of the best features of the ModoSteady is that the whole unit folds-up into a compact form that will take up no more than about 4×6 inches, fitting easily into your backpack or camera bag.
Manfrotto also markets a separate remote-control zoom wheel for the ModoSteady, Manfrotto 585LNC Modosteady Remote Control. I’ve got one back-ordered from Amazon.com, and will update this post as soon as it comes in.
If you’re looking to do Pro-quality work with one of the newer HD camcorders, the ModoSteady can’t be beat.