Thursday, March 29, 2012

Manfrotto Magic Arm

 I recently purchased the Manfrotto Magic Arm which is, truly magic. The arm provides a flexible and stable way of mounting a camera to a pole or any flat surface in locations where tripods are forbidden. The arm is available in two different models and each offer different configurations with /without camera brackets etc.. One model uses a locking lever the other uses a variable friction locking knob which provides a more precise method of positioning your camera or lighting head. The locking knob located at the elbow joint when tightened also locks in place the two ball joints at either end making it very easy to position your camera.
 Both models can be purchased with a quick release camera bracket (which uses a 200PL-14 plate) or a removable camera / umbrella platform bracket. I went with the platform version and then added a Manfrotto 323 quick change plate adapter, essentially the flexibility of both models in one. The arms can also be bought without a camera bracket or in a kit which includes: platform bracket, backlite base and a super clamp. I recommend getting a super clamp even if you do not own the magic arm, it's an indispensable piece of equipment when trying to securely mount a light, gobo or any equipment that uses a spigot. You can use a super clamp along with a Justin clamp and mount a speedlight almost anywhere on location.
 The arm is ideal for low light or night photography in places where tripods are not allowed: buildings, observation decks etc.. The rent a cops (security) in these places are usually only interested in tripods, so if it doesn't have three legs they'll usually leave you alone. Others have used the arm to mount cameras on bicycles or cars to capture video and have found it to be very stable.
 The arm likely wont fit in your bag but it's fairly light and compact when folded up and can be easily transported around. I order mine through B&H in New York because local shops here in Toronto didn't carry the friction version. I received the arm within a couple of days and even with shipping charges the price was cheaper when I compared to local prices on similar model.

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