After spending a few evenings in a treestand this year, I was quickly reminded why I am so fond of my Fourth Arrow Stiff Arm. The weight of this camera arm alone makes it worth the buy, but it is also packed full of great features that make it ideal for the SELFILMED hunter.
Each camera arm is made up of an arm, a base, and an adjustable shoulder. The Stiff Arm base weighs about 1 lb 13 oz and is designed to be left in the tree once it is set up. The bases come standard with a ratchet strap so that the base is securely fastened in place without any risk of unwanted movement when the camera arm is extended out to full length. Fourth Arrow has designed their bases to be extremely affordable, allowing their customers to purchase multiple bases for multiple setups. Each tree they hunt can have a camera arm base setup before they climb the tree to start hunting. This allows for quicker and quieter setups; no more ratcheting sounds when attaching the base to the tree.
The shoulder slides into the slots on the front of the base, and can be locked in place by tightening a nut, or you can purchase a cam lever to make the connection even stronger (I highly recommend it). The shoulder itself is designed much like the shoulder of a human. A balled joint allows the shoulder to move up and down as well as right and left to a very large degree. Most importantly, the shoulder can actually turn 360 degrees in place so that no matter what angle you have your Fourth Arrow base mounted, you can level your camera arm effortlessly. To loosen and tighten the shoulder, Fourth Arrow has included a leveling tool which helps you really snug the shoulder in place. After you have the shoulder setup, you can slide the arm into the socket on the shoulder and you are ready to go.
With the Stiff Arm fully extended, you have approximately 38 inches of reach. I found that this range was sufficient for most situations, but there a few times last year that I wanted to film something slightly behind me on the opposite side of the tree from my base. I was able to get the camera around the tree, but it would have been impossible to maneuver my body into position to shoot without bumping the camera arm off target. I ended up purchasing a Fourth Arrow Extension Arm which extended the total length of my Stiff Arm out to 47.5 inches.This allows for a much larger range of motion, and often times I find that I like the way the camera arm moves better with the extension in place. However, if I am hunting from a stand where it is impossible to shoot behind me, I like to leave the extension at home to reduce the weight I am carrying.
The load capacity of the Stiff Arm is 10 pounds. For my XA20, this is more than sufficient even with the additional accessories I use. It is important to note that this load capacity includes the weight of whichever fluid head you use as well. In the past, I have noticed that as you get close to the max weight capacity your camera arm can hold, your camera arm tends to become a little off level when it is fully extended. With my Stiff Arm, I have not experienced this, although my entire camera setup comes in at just under 6 pounds.
Perhaps my favorite thing about the Fourth Arrow Stiff Arm is that it is extremely affordable. At $159.00, it is hard to find another camera arm that is as capable as the Stiff Arm. It is quiet, light, and simple to use. The Stiff Arm is a self-filmer’s dream and a camera arm I highly recommend you take a closer look at if you are in the market for one. For more information about the Fourth Arrow Stiff Arm and other products by Fourth Arrow Camera Arms, be sure to visit their website at https://fourtharrowcameraarms.com/.
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