Photography

Manfrotto Magic Arm Kit

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Mount a camera to almost anything

At $154 the Manfrotto Magic Arm and Super Clamp is not cheap, but I rely on this every single week and it’s been a worthwhile investment. If you happen to pick one up using the link in the description, you help support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.

So what’s so magic about the magic arm? This is the best tool I’ve found for getting perfect overhead shots of project builds on your desk or workbench. It has a standard camera mount on the top, a heavy duty clamp on the bottom, and a locking elbow joint in the middle.

Unlocked, the whole thing can twist and wiggle around until you find an angle you like. By locking the elbow, every joint, from top to bottom, seizes up and holds its place. This is especially handy when you need a heavy camera to cantilever out over your desk and stay still while you drill and solder and screw a project together. Most of my Cool Tool videos, with the exception of this one, are made using this system.

The only thing I don’t like about it, aside from the price, is that every few months the elbow joint needs to be tightened with an allen wrench to keep the tension snug. I also sometimes wish the arms were a little longer so I could get higher over my work. But it helps that the clamp has a removable wedge so the clamp can attach to round poles, like a big tripod, when I need more height.

-- Donald Bell 11/11/17