Quickdraw is a 3D-printed counterbalance system which aims to make lens swapping easier when working with a gimbal or a steadycam. It normalizes the center of gravity of each lens in the kit by adding weight to lighter lenses. Quickdraw will be available on September 2019.
Nowadays, gimbals are already a part of almost every filmmaker’s kit. They are able to produce smooth footage when used and balanced properly. One of the issues when working with a stabilizer is the need to rebalance the setup when swapping a lens with a significantly different size and weight. That takes a certain amount of time, which might not be a problem for some shoots, but at times (for run-n-gun type of shoots) a quick workflow might be needed.
Quickdraw – Counterweight System
Sebastian Barbera from Reflex Cinema seems to have a solution to this problem. The company’s new product is called Quickdraw. It is a 3D-printed ring with metal weights inside. It can be screwed on the front filter thread of a lens and thanks to the additional weight it will match the center of gravity of this lens with other heavier lens. Therefore these lenses will be swappable without the need for rebalancing the camera setup.
This applies not only for modern motorized gimbals but also for traditional mechanical steadycams.
The idea of using this system is to balance the setup with the heaviest lens that you are planning to use. Then use Quickdraw for each additional lens you intend to fly on the gimbal or steadycam. As an example, if you want to use four lenses, you will need three Quickdraws. The heaviest lens will be without it and every other lens with a custom balanced Quickdraw.
Price and Availability
For the month of September, Reflex Cinema will have the Quickdraw discounted:
- one Quickdraw: $185 (for a kit with two lenses)
- two Quickdraws: $315 (for a kit with three lenses)
- three Quickdraws: $470 (for a kit with four lenses)
After that, Quickdraw will retail at a standard price of US $200 for one counterweight ring.
Quickdraw will initially launch with a three week pre-order, shipping on September 26th, 2019. After that, Quickdraw will be available with a one week lead time thereafter. Every set of Quickdraw is customized to the lenses the customer specifics, for the lenses they want to balance on their gimbal or Steadicam. This customization ensures that Quickdraw stays as compact as possible. Reflex Cinema also claims that its Quickdraw is 100% made in America.
Quickdraw – Good Idea or Not?
From my point of view, this is a nice idea and it might be suitable for some “run-and-gun” scenarios. I see, however, couple of potential problems with this system. First, you are adding weight to your setup, which is not ideal for long shoots. It might be ok for larger gimbals with Ready rig or steadycams because the weight is distributed. For smaller handheld-only gimbals, however, every extra gram counts and makes the back- and wrist pain little less of a problem.
Second, all that weight is being attached to the front element of the lens via front filter thread. I am not sure if it is good for any lens to carry such a weight on the filter thread in the long run, as something might get damaged over time (especially for small plastic lenses like the Canon 50mm f/1.8). I am also not sure if it would be possible to use front filters with this system. Getting them between the lens and Quickdraw will mean the filter will be carrying all the weight, which is again not ideal in my opinion. I am also quite sure that mounting variable ND filters with this setup would not be possible.
What do you think of Quickdraw? Do you swap lenses often when working with a stabilizer? Would you consider getting a set of Quickdraw counterweights? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.