EEVblog #550 – Manfrotto Video Camera Articulated Arm

Dave checks out the Manfrotto 396B 3-section double articulated arm to see if it’s suitable for his bench video camera work. Also, the Manfrotto 035 super clamp and the 237HD heavy duty flex arm.
DIY camera mount:
DIY microscope stand:

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  1. Clearly you need a six axis industrial robot arm to hold the camera for you. Program it to go “limp” when you press a button to reposition it, then hold still.

  2. Dave, why don’t you just unscrew your Manfrotto joystick head from your tripod? As far as I know, all Manfrotto heads are terminated with either 1/4-20 or 3/8-?? threadhole. Maybe there is a hex locking screw that you’ll have to remove, though, to be able to unscrew your joystick head.

    Also note: a very important thing is the vibration stability. The articulated arm vibrates crazily at the slightest touch of the camera. The goose-neck flex is more damped, does not vibrate as much. And with all the macro shots you do, that Manfrotto arm would give us all seasickness attack.

    To test your rig, do an impulse response test with your finger as the impulse generator (just push any button on your camera) and see how it will vibrate. You can objectively compare them by macro-shooting a fine ruler so you can visualise the amplitude.

  3. Hi Dave,
    I have a Manfrotto Joyphoto arm that you described with the single lever to make the arm go “limp” and position it anywhere you want. Then you turn the level and it locks in place. It allows rotation in all directions, I find it great.

    Here is a link showing something similar to what I have:

    I was lucky I found my arm basically in the dumpster, it was a lucky score!!!!

  4. Dave, your pronunciation tricked me good this time. I was constantly thinking: “What is this Frodo business all about. No LOTR material there whatsoever. Not even Gandy.”

  5. Would it be good to mount the flexible arm to a shorten articulated arm to “extend” it’s length? Since the flexible arm has its useable length, taking out 1 or 2 of the sticks should be a good solution to make it more rigid I think~

  6. Dave,

    Singers solved this exact problem long ago. Use a microphone stand with a camera mount on it.


  7. Just out of curiosity, have you considered using multiple cameras to record your videos? It would seem like cameras are now cehap enough to have one setup up for closeups, one for head shots of you explaining, or commenting, and perhaps a 3rd for a side, or overhead shot.

  8. Can’t you just mount the flex arm to your hover board?

  9. I’m pretty sure you can buy a different style of bolt that goes into the superclamp I have several for professional radio mic antenna systems and I’m able to freely rotate mine. Might be worth having a look in a photo supplier if they have stock of the range. I’ll take another look and email you if mine does what you’re needing.

    Also, someone commented on the tripod heads being the same. That was also my feeling although I have one of their higher end tripods for DSLR use. I’d imagine that the tripod head is transferrable though..

  10. David,

    I would recommend the Manfrotto 244 Variable Friction arm..

    it has a simple knob that you tighten to lock in any position (like the Magic arm)..

    I use camera a lot at work and the magic arm with the lever is a cam lock… once you get close to the position you want and then try to lock the cam with the lever..

    The darn thing moves.. is a pain in the butt!!

    Please save your money and try this one first..

    Good luck..

    EEVBlog it just awesome!!



  11. Thank you to share such a great information about Manfrotto Video Camera Articulated Arm.

  12. Just got the time to eventually watch this really good, it was also heart warming to see the young future engineers / designers in there learning and looking at what’s going on.
    good one Dave.

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