The Loki One camera rig could be the ultimate accessory for today’s videographers; it’s been designed to tackle a need and sheds the weight and bulk of its competitors.
Back in the ’80s I was a huge fan of Transformers, Rubik’s Cube and any puzzling gizmo that had mechanical folding parts that, once unraveled, revealed a completely different object from the one you started with.
Moving on a few years and for me that excitement for products that unfold still exists, there’s nothing like a gadget that transforms from one thing to another or spins to keep me amused.
But nothing in recent years has had the same transformer like excitement as the Loki One camera rig. It’s ingenious for keeping you amused with bits that fold out, flip round, rotate and move in ways you least expect, really as a fidget (update of the ’80s executive toy) it’s amazing. (Check out this feature at all3dp.com on Fidgets )
The Loki One camera rig however isn’t a fidget it’s an incredibly well designed and compact video rig. The size when packed down is only just larger than that of a camera body (180mm x 75mm x 65mm – WxDxH) and once folded out gives you all the support and comfort of much larger rigs, yet weighs in at just 1kg – click here for the full specs.
Innovation to tackle todays photography problems
Loki One camera rig’s design and innovation is all new and stems from a new wave of manufactures who are creating products that stem from ideas that they have to solve everyday issues. Then with the latest technology and funding they are now able to realise products that challenge the market leaders.
Loki One camera rig was first displayed at the Photography Show in 2015 by its creator Matt Marais. He wanted to develop and idea for a small and compact video rig system that they could be easily carried and packed away in a kit bag with the rest of your kit.
As with any product the idea came from a need and as a product designer he would often be called upon to take photographs of the products he and his company had designed. After much testing of video rig systems they found that there was a lot to be improved especially when it came to portability.
He then set about redesigning a rig and the outcome after much testing was the Loki One camera rig.
Loki One Camera Rig Build quality
The Loki One camera rig is a fantastic looking piece of kit, add carbon and titanium with the odd bit of 6061 anodised aluminium and it would be perfect – just saying. All components of the Loki are machined aluminium and precision made, this means that when unbolted and assembled together, which only takes a matter of minutes, it all feels very tight and secure.
It’s been design for DSLR cameras but will take a CSC equally well, the strength of the construction also means that it will support larger cameras such as the Sony FS700, but the rig isn’t designed for this and does feel a little unbalanced.
When it comes to the bolts the finish is good but the depth of the head feels a little shallow and although the knurled finish is exceptionally good and gives you good purchase you can’t escape the feeling they’ve been fabricated in a workshop, expertly, but still.
There’s also an order to the unbolting of the Loki One camera rig’s limbs and if these bolt heads were numbered and finished in another way it would just help add to the desirability of the design.
The other issue is that once the limbs are released and as they’re being slotted round and into position they just flap about. A spring and tighter fitting assembly with slight friction could improve this but would inevitably have a butterfly effect somewhere else with the design and obviously cost.
It’s all about the finish
On the finish, the grips feature a diamond style knurl, which gives you good grip, and all metal parts are matte finished to avoid reflections, which is a really nice touch and something that is rarely thought about on more mainstream rigs.
During the design they have also adhered to many of the usual design conventions, so the bar slots are all 15mm which is the standard for expandability, and the camera mounts onto the rig by means of a standard 1/4-inch thread.
Using a DSLR or CSC and the balance of the rig feels good, and without the usual bulk and addition of weights the overall system remains lightweight and easy to handle.
As you use the rig it’s quite obvious that Matt and his team are product designers who have designed the exact piece of kit they needed to get a job done.
There are elements that could do with a little refinement such as the design and finish of the bolt releases and the amount of play in the released joints when released, but essentially these are elements that would inevitably push the price up well beyond the value of the product.
Back to the rig and what it can do, basically three functions. The first is a handheld grip system supplying to grips either side of the camera enabling you to get better purchase of the camera for smoother and more fluid handling.
Second the shoulder support flips open to offer you more traditional against the shoulder support and finally the kit features wheels that can be attached to convert the system into a dolly.
For me this addition was the greatest winner for the product, as few if any rigs that I can think of also offer this type of feature. This like a transformer means that you can quickly convert your camera into a vehicle or camera dolly.
The great thing about the design is that the wheels can be angled slightly to enable you to shoot smooth arched motion around a subject with ease.
As a rig there is little to fault around the compact Loki. It’s a device that has stepped forward and really addressed the emergence of the DSLR and CSC as serious video capture devices. The majority of rigs and systems that presently exist are adapted from traditional systems used for camcorders.
Although their bulk makes them comfortable and expandable the simplicity of the Loki means that as a rig for everyday use it’s far more likely to get used.
If you’re in need of a rig for your DSLR or CSC then I’d seriously recommend a look at the Loki One camera rig.