Camera Support Reviews

Manfrotto FAST GimBoom Carbon Fibre – Initial Thoughts

Having been out in the wild with the Manfrotto FAST Carbon Fibre GimBoom a few times now, I thought it was time to put my initial thoughts into a brief GimBoom review and push it out into the world. Read on to discover if the GimBoom is a useful addition to your camera support kit, or little more than a bogus double-bladed lightsaber.

An image of a fully extended carbon fiber Manfrotto FAST GimBoom over a spotlight gradient background.

I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like the Manfrotto GimBoom… it’s an interesting piece of gear! The build is solid – it feels sturdy, even when extended, with the weight being just right at 1.76 lbs (0.8 kg). Hoisting it around with a gimbal and camera can be tiring, but the GimBoom itself feels well balanced in the weight department. When fully closed, the GimBoom packs down to a nice, neat 20.3″ (51.5 cm), making it easy to bring along on most shoots, but it extends to just under 4′ at 45.3″ (115 cm), which makes for a nice extension to one’s point of view. The design is well thought-out, with three mounting points on the upper end of the main shaft, a solid twist lock system that allows for quick expansion and retraction, and a nifty little 1/4″ mounting screw at the top that has a retracting 3/8″ threaded sleeve around it, meaning that you can mount units with a 3/8″ or 1/4″ receiver on it without the need for any adapters. The bottom of the GimBoom has a 3/8″ threaded receiver in it, and a 1/4″ adapter.

My first excursion was to a local creek – I mounted a Manfrotto MVG460 gimbal on the GimBoom, and chose to go with a BMPCC 6K Pro camera. I’ve used this gimbal / camera combination many times in the past, and thought the GimBoom would add a nice perspective to things. And, it did! I was able to get into tighter spaces than I could with just a gimbal – coming in low over the water, up and over rocks into a solid high-angle position. Getting things smooth took a few tries, but I got there, and using the GimBoom allowed me to position myself to minimize shadows. Over time, the weight of the rig did begin to take its toll though and I needed to take a brief break before moving on to another setup. Perhaps a beefier version of myself mightn’t have had any problems?

Subsequent adventures took me out to some local parks, swapping out the gimbal / camera combo for a Manfrotto MVG300XM and an X-T5 mirrorless from FUJIFILM. This combination was terrific! It was considerably lighter and allowed me to swing the rig around more freely, from nearly scraping the ground, to high above my eyeline with my arms fully extended. Using a modular gimbal like the MVG300XM meant that I could also reduce the weight by removing the grip and the handle completely! This dropped the load considerably and allowed me to try out some longer, more difficult shots, without as much fatigue. I thought the perspectives were great – uncommon points of view that definitely would add production value to any shoot. After time however, weight inevitably was still a bit of an issue when trying to keep the movements slow and smooth, creating some shuddering.

An image showing a smoke filled room with tube lights and a cameraman hoisting a gimbal and camera high above his head using the Manfrotto GimBoom
An image showing a GimBoom in tripod formation with a Gim-Pod and a man using the Manfrotto MVG300XM gimbal handle as a remote to follow the action as a women walks down a path.

The GimBoom is part of the Manfrotto FAST product line, which, as the name implies, is designed for speedy deployment and, coupled with a MOVE Quick Release System, to allow the user to quickly go from one camera support system to another. This product line can significantly reduce setup times and streamline the one-man-band shoot in many ways. There is even a Gim-Pod Accessory, used to turn the GimBoom into a tripod, with which you can get some nice high-angles, particularly when using the detached MVG300XM handle as a remote.


CONCLUSION

Is the Manfrotto Carbon Fibre GimBoom a worthy addition to a run-and-gun shooting kit? Absolutely! For less than $200 USD at the time of this review, it’s well worth it. It won’t replace the smooth, controlled shots given by a jib, but it is much more mobile, and obviously has a much faster setup time than a jib – allowing you to catch unexpected opportunities and grab shots in tight nooks and crannies that wouldn’t be possible with a jib. Overall, the Manfrotto GimBoom is a unique tool, not designed to replace anything per se, but instead be used alongside the other tools in your motion picture arsenal. So far, I’ve found it to be an excellent addition to my kit and plan to it use regularly. I haven’t discovered any significant problems with it as of yet, however whilst twisting the GimBoom in my hands to achieve different angles, it did feel as though I had accidentally unlocked it a few times. Nothing came crashing down, so I don’t believe I ever fully unlocked the unit, but Manfrotto might want to incorporate a locking switch into the unit on the next version?


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GEAR LIST
The National Flag of Canada
The National Flag of the United Kingdom
The National Flag of the United States of America
Manfrotto FAST GimBoom Carbon Fibre
Manfrotto Gim-Pod Accessory Leg Set
Manfrotto Gim-Pod MOVE Quick Release Plate
Manfrotto MVG300XM Modular 3-Axis Gimbal
Manfrotto MVG460 3-Axis Gimbal
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro
FUJIFILM X-T5 Mirrorless Camera

Rob Neilson

Rob Neilson began working in motion pictures over 30 years ago. His credits span numerous departments, currently working mainly as a colorist, editor and producer in Canada, in and around the Vancouver area.

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