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Review: Camtrol Prime 22 Camera Stabilizer Platform

Overview : The Camtrol Prime 22 is a camera rig that stabilizes your camcorder or DSLR camera as you capture moving, overhead, ground-level and hand-held shots. It supports combined camera/lenses weighing up to 7 lbs (3.17 kg). It consists of an ergonomic grip, an adjustable stabilizing platform and a 5.25" (13.3 cm) vertical stabilizing bar.

Features :
  • Weighs 2 lbs 2oz
  • Collapsed size 11 1/2" L x 6 1/2" W x 2 1/2" T
  • 3 center of gravity balancing channels for quick setup
  • Quad pod legs for safely placing rig and camera on ground
  • 7.5 lbs capacity for camera, lenses, and accessories
  • 6 1/2" clearance between balancing plate and handle
  • Anatomical hollow handle for concealing wired accessories
  • 1080 degrees of angles
  • Anatomical hollow handle for concealing wired accessories
  • Protects camera and lenses from damaging bumps and scratches

Quality/Usability : I first saw Camtrol at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show 2014 in Las Vegas and was intrigued by their product. The Camtrol Prime 22 is an inexpensive video or DSLR camera stabilizing rig.

The Prime 22 doesn't come with much at all as you can see. It comes with the Prime 22 stabilizer, LCD sunshade (Camshade) and a rubber cap.

The Camtrol Prime 22 is an all-aluminum platform with a three-part articulating arm. It has a maximum load of 7.5 lbs. Due to the articulating arms, it can be folded down into a relatively flat package that can be put into your camera bag or case.

The platform has four retractable legs with rubber feets and a maze like channel that allows you to freely move the 1/4" screw. The 1/4" screw screws into the tripod socket of your mirrorless, DSLR or video camera.

The articulating arm has knobs to lock the position of the ball joints in place. The upper-arm segment is a comfortable handle with a receiver post to attach additional Camtrol accessories (accessories below). Thanks to the articulating ball joints, you can customize and configure it to how you want it.

The Camshade is a sunshade for your fold-out LCD screen. This would benefit those who have a fold-out articulating LCD screen like a Panasonic LUMIX GH3/GH4 or Canon EOS 60D/70D. Since I have a 5D Mark III, I couldn't really use this.

I used the Camtrol Prime 22 with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 50mm f1.4 and it had no problem holding the camera. I thought the articulating ball joints wouldn't be strong enough to hold the weight but surprisingly it did pretty well. There were maybe 1 or 2 configurations where the ball joints kind of slipped no matter how much I tightened it. Of course, this all depends on the weight of the gear and gravity. For the most part, no matter how I configured the arms, it stayed in place. The above is just a few examples of many configurations that you can set the articulating arms on the Prime.

Even though the Prime 22 is a camera stabilizer, there's no messing with counter weights to get your stabilizer centered.

These are a few other Camtrol products that you can purchase and attach to the Prime:

The Remote Mounting Plate ($29) is a 90° camera mounting bracket made of black anodized aluminum. It includes a Velcro pad so you can mount remote controls or accessories the way you like them.

The remote mounting plate mounts to the end of the handle on the Prime 22, or Sniper 1080 KS. You can then attach the Camtroller, other LANC / infra-red remotes, GoPro remote or other camera accessories for quick access. It allows the shooter, via his remote, to use his thumb to operate his HDSLR, camcorder, or POV action camera.

I'm not the type of person that likes to stick anything to my accessories in the event that I upgrade, replace or swap gear.

Camtrol allows versatility with the addition of TROL ($139): a 4.2” camera articulating arm with miniclamp. Easylink connectors for attaching: monitors, remotes, lights, clamps and accessories.

You can also connect your iPhone 4 to the miniclamp by using Camtrol's X-Shot case ($35). The X-Shot is a two-piece snap on case that features removable tripod adapters, which allow you to mount your iPhone to a tripod, or to the Camtrol rig, in either landscape or portrait orientations. Also included with the X-Shot is a mini flex tripod but my review unit did not. This will allow you to film a live feed straight to your iPhone.

Conclusion : Overall, the Camtrol Prime 22 Camera Stabilizer Platform is a nice camera stabilizer without the need of counter weights. The big selling point for the Prime is the versatility of the articulating arms. You can configure it to the way you want to angle your camera without being fixed to a certain angle. But I did notice that if I had the arm a certain angle and depending on the weight of the camera, the joints can move a little. An example would be if I had the handle at the bottom and the camera above and I wanted to get a high angled shot. Gravity plays a factor into it.

Manufacturer: Camtrol
Site: Buy from Camtrol / Buy from B&H PhotoBuy from Adorama

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