Ikan Elements Starter Fly Kit Review

by on March 15, 2011

in hdslr

The Ikan Elements Starter Fly Kit is a compact and affordable (around $100) HDSLR rig.  While this kit is basic, it is surprisingly effective and will deliver enough performance for many HDSLR users who want to get some more stability out of their handheld work.

I love stuff that works and is cheap.  While stuff that works is a necessity and stuff that’s cheap is nice, put the two together and you get a real winner in my book.

The Ikan Elements Starter Fly Kit is a barebones, modular HDSLR support.  This kit allows you to use it as a foundation on which to build in the future.  Although, out of the box, this thing works great.

It comes with a basic cheese plate that has a number of mounting options, including 1/4″-20 mounts.  A padded handle is attached to the cheese plate with a flat aluminum arm.  Atop the handle is a cold shoe mount, which can be used for accessories such as lights or mics.

I used the Ikan Elements Starter Fly Kit extensively with a Canon 60D, 18-135mm kit lens, Rode VideoMic Pro and basic LED light.  I found the best arrangement for me was to place the Rode VideoMic Pro on the handle’s cold shoe on the left side of the camera and place the LED on the 60D’s hot shoe mount when needed.

By arranging the accessories in this fashion, I was able to easily utilize the 60D’s video and still image functions in a seamless manner.  In fact, placing the handle on the left (from the rear) side of the camera allowed me to treat is as an additional support when shooting still images (similar to a standard flash bracket for off-camera bracket-flash users).

Below is a short sample of a few clips that I captured using the Ikan Elements Starter Fly Kit in the above-mentioned configuration.  I’ll have more footage to share in the coming weeks, but this should give you an idea of the stabilization that’s possible when shooting handheld with this simple kit.

The large plastic knobs work well enough; however, I found them to be a little on the big side.  I would prefer another way of securing my camera to the cheese plate that would allow me to also mount at quick release tripod plate.  However, you can pick up Ikan accessories to make this happen if you want.  Other, more advanced kits allow you to mount to a tripod right out of the box.

For a little more about the Ikan Elements product lineup, I’ve embedded a video from Ikan, whose Product Manager, Barry Garcia, explains the design and expandability potential of the line.

One of the very frustrating things about the affordable entry-level HDSLR cameras is that a decent camera rig that’s designed to aid in video capture can cost as much or more than the camera itself.  Of course, there are many professional situations where that expense is warranted.  However, for those just dipping their toes into the HDSLR world, or for those aspiring indie filmmakers on a strapped budget, the Ikan Elements Starter Fly Kit is a worthy place to start when assembling a kit.

The Ikan Elements Starter Fly Kit is available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following link:

By making your photo and video purchases at B&H Photo through these links, you are helping Photography Bay to continue bring quality camera tests, news and reviews. Thanks for your continued support.

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