a person holding a camera rig with film camera attached in front of a wooden wall.

Best Camera Rigs in 2023 for Efficient Filmmaking

A guide to the best camera rigs for beginners, amateurs, and pros, including handheld rigs, shoulder camera rigs, camera cages, and vest camera rigs.

The 7 best camera rigs out on the market right now are covered in this guide, which will take you through their features and use cases.

A rig will help you protect your camera, film more stable footage and, by accessorising, allow you to create a piece of kit tailor-made to your exact needs.

Tilta Lightweight Shoulder Rig

Perfect solution for lightweight handheld camera operating, offering multiple comfortable positions and well-placed mount locations. Folds easily for transport.

From grabbing different angles to stabilizing footage, a high quality camera cage is an essential piece of kit for filmmakers.

I like to use them to help distribute the weight of the camera and lens across my arms, not to mention the other benefits.

As an occasional rig user and enthusiast film maker myself, I know you’ll find something to whet your appetite from the choices below.

What Are the Best Camera Rigs in 2023?

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageTilta Lightweight Shoulder RigBEST OVERALL
  • Adjustable Rosette Arms
  • Dual Manfrotto
  • One NATO Rail
  • Includes Handgrips, Shoulder Pad
Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →
shk2-table__imageNeewer Shoulder Rig KitBEST VALUE SHOULDER RIG
  • Two Adjustable Handgrips
  • Counterweight, Shoulder Pad
  • Top Handle
  • Follow Focus
Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →
shk2-table__imageSmall Rig Full Camera CageBEST CAMERA CAGE
  • Arca-Type Quick Release Plate
  • Two Cold Shoes
  • Two Locking Side Plates
  • Aluminum Alloy & Steel Construction
Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →
shk2-table__imageNEEWER Camera Video CageBEST VALUE CAMERA CAGE
  • Aluminum Cage
  • Dual Side Grips
  • Top Handle
  • 3 Shoe Mounts
Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →
shk2-table__imageFantaseal 3-Shoe Expansion CageBEST BEGINNER CAMERA RIG
  • Anti-slip Cell Phone Clamp Mount
  • Light Weight
  • GoPro Quick Release Buckle Plate
  • 2-Hands Holder Design
Check AMAZON Price →
shk2-table__imageZeadio Handle Grip BEST BUDGET CAMERA RIG
  • Lightweight
  • Wide Compatibility
  • Cushioned NBR Padded Handle
  • Sturdy
Check AMAZON Price →
shk2-table__imageSteadicam AERO 15BEST FOR PROS
  • Supports Up to 10 lb Payload
  • 8 x 4 oz Balance Weights
  • Locking Quick Release Camera Plate
  • 1/2" Docking Bracket
Check AMAZON Price → Check B&H Price →


Tilta Lightweight Shoulder Rig (Best Overall)

a camera with a tripod attached to it.

  • Breathable, grippy handles
  • Well-designed carry case
  • Lightweight
  • Durable, high-quality design
  • The base plate adjustment lever can be awkward to get to

The Tilta Lightweight Shoulder Rig packs a lot into a small package. If you’re the kind of videographer who is on their feet for long days and has to be mobile, it’s definitely a piece of equipment you’ll want to seriously consider.

The adjustable base plate has a shoulder mount with plump padding that can easily be set up for those who want to shoot from the right shoulder and those who want to shoot from the left.

There’s more padding on the back pad. This is also height adjustable and spring-mounted, so it does a great job of conforming to the contours of your back. If you want to take the load off your arms for a while, its arm is also plenty strong enough to allow you to let the rig hang for a while.

The extension arms and rosette handle gives you great flexibility in terms of both your camera and body movement and the dual base plate is reversible – Manfrotto on one side, Arca Swiss on the other – so there’s a different kind of flexibility there.

And the whole thing fits perfectly into the camera rig’s specially designed hard-shell carry case. It all folds away neatly into the cutouts, and there are pockets for all your accessories.

A slim king among camera rigs!

Neewer Shoulder Rig Kit (Best Value Shoulder Rig)

Neewer shoulder rig kit on an orange background

  • Sturdy, durable feel
  • Affordable
  • Easy to assemble and adjust
  • Follow-focus
  • Multiple threads for attaching accessories
  • Shoulder padding needs more friction
  • Flags are a little flimsy

This shoulder rig kit from Neewer is designed for use with DSLR and mirrorless cameras, and camcorders. Its professional look (check out that matte box with flags!) and ergonomic design could make it a winner at its affordable price point.

As well as using it in the traditional way you’d use a shoulder rig, up on the shoulder, it also comes with a sturdy, detachable top handle, so you can get those super-low-angle shots.

It’s all metal (apart from the flags), so it’s a little heavy, but of course, the flip side of that is how durable it is. And anyway, the comfortable hand grips and shoulder pad should make sure you don’t get fatigued.

A nice feature that every budding cinematographer will appreciate is the Neewer’s built-in follow-focus. This is a dial that sits up against your lens’ manual focus ring, which allows you to make micro-adjustments to your focal point on the fly.

Small Rig Full Camera Cage (Best Camera Cage)

a small camera cage on a pink background.

  • Lightweight
  • Accessory mounting options
  • Thoughtful design
  • Has aesthetic appeal
  • Honestly, none

Small Rig camera cages are much loved by the photography and videography community, and with good reason.

They offer rigs designed for specific cameras, from Sony DSLR bodies and mirrorless cameras like the Nikon Z and Canon R5 and R6 to medium-sized DSLRs such as the Sony a99, and beasts like the Fujifilm X-H2.

The button above takes you to the Sony variant, but they also make the Small Rig for:

And while the rigs are custom-made for the shape and design of these different cameras, at heart they are all the same.

They wrap your camera in a light but strong frame that takes into mind where, for example, your battery compartment door is, or other access points, so that use of your camera isn’t impeded.

With the different-sized thread holes, you have tonnes of accessory mounting options. There are cold shoe mounts on the top, tripod mounts on the bottom, and plenty of places where you could add other accessories like a follow-focus, a monitor, or a mic.

Starting small, you can build outwards and, using Small Rig or third-party accessories, tailor-make the perfect rig for your needs.

NEEWER Camera Video Cage (Best Value Camera Cage)

a camera cage with a camera attached to it.

  • Easy to assemble
  • Protects camera
  • Good price
  • Lightweight and strong

This piece of kit is like the Small Rig’s big brother. Whereas Small Rigs are designed to fit specific cameras like a glove, the Neewer Camera Video Cage is made to fit any camera.

As such, it could be the perfect rig option for people who use multiple brands of cameras right now or want to have something that they’ll be able to use in future if they change cameras.

It’s made of aluminium alloy so it’s both lightweight and strong, and Neewer claims that it boasts ‘tool-free’ installation and adjustment.

That doesn’t mean you can set it up without tools. No, and Neewer provides you with the tools you need. What it means is that once you’ve set it up, you can just chuck it in your bag to use whenever you want, no more tools needed.

When it’s in use, your camera sits on the bottom, attached with a tripod mount, and the housing frames it, protecting your camera and providing you with multiple handholds and a variety of mounting points for video or photo accessories.

Fantaseal 3-Shoe Expansion Cage (Best Beginner Camera Rig)

Fantaseal 3-Shoe Expansion Cage on a pink background

  • Simple, easy to use
  • Variety of mounts
  • Compact
  • Bottom mount blocks camera battery compartment
  • Not the sturdiest design

The Fantaseal is a very simple rig set-up that could be perfect for you if you’re just dipping your toes in the video scene. A stepping stone to bigger things, perhaps, but probably still a great piece of compact, lightweight kit for anyone to have in their bag.

Its design allows you to hold it with two hands of one (C-frame style), and the mount lets you swivel your camera to allow these positions.

Its mount is sturdy enough to hold a DSLR, but it also comes with a GoPro mount, so this is a great option for GoPro users. Activate HyperSmooth and you’ll eradicate all the camera jitters that are common to handheld rigs.

There are other mounts too. A cell phone clamp mount (not universal, so make sure to check compatibility first), for capturing backup footage or linking to your GoPro, and a ball head that can be used to attach LEDs, mics, and the like, at any angle.

Zeadio Handle Grip (Best Budget Camera Rig)

Zeadio Handle Grip on a pink background

  • Very affordable
  • Good for low-angle shots
  • Compact
  • Cheap materials
  • Limited use cases

This, in terms of what it is and what it can do, is basically a budget version of the Fantaseal above.

(Bear in mind here that I’m talking about the standard version. There’s also a pro version with very similar features and price as the Fantaseal).

You won’t be able to hold it with two hands, but you’ll be able to use it as a C-frame for getting increased camera stability and those handsome low-angle shots.

It comes with a hot-shoe mount (for a light, mic, or monitor), and cold-shoe mounts that can be used to pimp up your rig with a range of accessories.

You won’t want to overload it with heavy gear, but with its compactness, low weight and low price, it’s a worthy competitor to the Fantaseal for those just starting out.

Steadicam AERO 15 (Best for Pros)

Steadicam AERO 15 on a pink background

  • Stabilizes your footage like nothing else
  • Holds cameras up to 10 lbs
  • Extremely durable
  • Professional-level design and performance
  • Extremely expensive
  • Complicated to assemble

Are you a serious movie maker and want to go the whole hog? Bump yourself all the way up to the Steadicam Zephyr Camera Stabilizer. This is a high-level piece of equipment for those dreaming of working with Scorcese.

Steadicam is a household name in households that know anything about videography or cinematography.

If you or your business has the budget, then splashing out on one of these bad boys will be sure to separate you from the pack.

It’s not the easiest piece of kit to assemble and use – you’ll need to balance your camera properly – but nothing of this level is supposed to be simple. The complexity of its design is what will give you the professional results you’ve been looking for.

You wear the Steadicam using its fully adjustable padded vest. An arm extends from the chest plate, and that’s attached to a centre post and rigid camera stage. It comes with a Canon LP-E6 battery plate on board, plus a 7-inch HD monitor.

Once it’s all set up you’re ready for long shoots, capturing buttery-, silky-smooth footage. No bounce, no jitter, no wobble, no shake. Smoother even than you get from a gimbal, smooth enough for the big screen.

What Are Camera Rigs Used for?

a camera attached to a rig cage with the sun behind it.

Camera rigs give you a way to get more camera angles, more stable footage, and all while adding a layer of protection to your precious equipment.

The way they are designed, too, allows you to add a huge range of accessories to their framework.

This gives you the flexibility to create your own, bespoke piece of video equipment, that you can change and modify over time.

Types of Camera Rigs


Not all rigs are built the same. And that’s to be expected – not all videographers and cinematographers are built the same, nor do they have the same needs. Here are the types of rigs you can choose from:

Handheld Rig

As it says, held with the hand. That could be in the form of a C-Frame style rig, that has one arm and is held with one hand, or a full frame rig that you hold in two hands like you would a steering wheel.

Shoulder Rig

For folk who want some support for their camera. Shoulder rigs use a shoulder mount to sit on one of your shoulders, the back part of the rig, anyway, and take some of the weight off your hands, which hold the front of the rig.

Camera Cage

Camera cages are a type of protective housing that either sits snug around your camera or acts as a wider frame.

Its main purpose, other than protection, is to give you a range of mounting points with which you can create a smaller-scale, customized and customizable, rig.

Professional Stabilizer System

These are wearable systems for the pros. Your camera needs to be fully calibrated and balanced with the equipment, and once you’ve got that all in order, you’re on the way to being able to shoot unfailingly stable, dynamic, and cinematic footage.

Is a Camera Rig Necessary?

Not necessarily. It’s a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer gimbals, some people prefer rigs.

For me, personally, I like to have a rig as an option, just because it gives you a different style of handheld footage, and also gives my camera a layer of protection it wouldn’t have without a rig.

Frequently Asked Questions about Camera Rigs

What is the difference between a gimbal and a shoulder rig?

A shoulder rig, although designed to stabilise your footage, is also made for a different kind of cinematic footage, slightly more organic, and less smooth. The gimbal, on the other hand, is specifically designed to make your video smooth and eradicate all the bumps.

Another difference: gimbals often have electrical parts, and motors, whereas shoulder rigs are purely mechanical.

What do you put on a camera rig?

Rigs come with a range of mounts and threads, so there’s really no limit to what you can put on them. You can mount lights, mics, follow-focus accessories, and cell phones, just to name a few examples.

Are camera rigs worth it?

For sure they’re worth it if they add something to your workflow that you need.

How do I setup my camera rig?

Camera rigs all come with detailed instructions and often with the specific tools to assemble them. And many of them are extremely easy to setup, requiring zero camera balancing or any of that lark common with gimbals.

How do you put a camera on a shoulder rig?

Depending on the type of rig, there will be a direct mount to thread into your camera or an Arca Swiss or Manfrotto tripod mount to secure it.

How do you stabilize a camera rig?

The rig itself is the stabilization, you’ve just got to hold it steady! Of course, if you’re using a GoPro, you can switch HyperSmooth on for added stabilization. If you’ve splashed out on pro equipment like the Steadicam, you’ll need to do a bit of calibration and fine-tuning of the balance, and then you’ll be beyond stabilized.

Final Words

So now do you dig the camera rigs? I hope so!

They’re not for everyone, but then again, nor is anything.

But I hope you can see from this guide that they have clear, undeniable uses as cinematic video equipment and that in the right hands, they’ll help you level up your footage. Which is what it’s all about.

Tilta Lightweight Shoulder Rig

Perfect solution for lightweight handheld camera operating, offering multiple comfortable positions and well-placed mount locations. Folds easily for transport.

Leave a Comment



Enter your email to be sent
today's Welcome Gift:
19 Photography Tools

🔥 Popular NOW:

Shotkit may earn a commission on affiliate links. Learn more.