Today we are taking a look at two very exciting arms developed by iFootage called Spidercrab and as we are going to show you, these are game-changing arms that are truly revolutionary in several important ways.
In the last couple of years, we have tested almost half a dozen arms and similar gizmos for mounting monitors, mics, lights, and other small accessories either directly to cameras and cages or to tripods and heads and so we have a very firm grasp of what is currently offered by the leading manufacturers in this segment.
One of our favorite arms to date has been the Manfrotto 244 micro arm which we reviewed here a while back with their anti-rotation head (twisting is a much bigger issue with arms than actual carrying capacity in most situations and finding a solution proved very difficult due to the nature of the connection which typically is a single 1/4″ 20 or 3/8 16 screw that unsurprisingly can spin on its own under pressure). The Manfrotto 244 micro arms are pretty great and they do a very good job but the anti-rotation mechanism they use only works with specific Manfrotto tripods and heads and is not universal.
Unique innovation – the IFootage Spider Crab Arms
IFootage Spider Crab Arms
Ifootage on the other hand took a very different approach with their new arms which come in two sizes: 12″ (30cm tip to tip with the cold shoe adapter or about 11.5″ / 29cm without) this version is called Spidercrab MA 5-6 and is just a tad longer than the Manfrotto 244 mini arm. The second version is shorter and is called the Spidercrab 3-4 which is about 8″ (around 20cm with the cold shoe adapter or 7.5″ / 19cm without).
Ifootage’s approach to the design of the arms is much more comprehensive, not just when it comes to the anti-twist mechanism but as a complete solution. Let me explain why.
I’ll start with the general build quality and while we tested some very good quality arms in the past (the Manfrotto 244 micro arms and the LanParte FANS are very well made for example), the Spidercrab arms really stand out both visually and mechanically. The wing knob is dual-sided and very easy to hold, it has a substantial and deep metal rosette which ensures a strong lock and seems like it is going to last for a very long time, plus the ball joints are nice and heavy.
But none of these are what really make the Spidercrab arms unique. The tips are the really ingenious parts and it took us a while to understand just how special they really are. Both sides have dual lever locks, a large one that you need to pull, and a small one you push.
Initially, this duality seemed a bit redundant but it is actually a very smart safety mechanism that prevents you from having your gear fall when you open the large lock. So let’s take a closer look at the way the tips work. Opening both lever locks lets you remove the connector part which has a 3/8″ 16 screw that can retract into a 1/4″ 20 screw with two ARRI Locating Pins that are also retracting. These added pins will make sure that if you connect the arm into a compatible mount it will not twist at all.
The best accessory arm around
What is really nice is that even if you are connecting the arm into a thread with no attachment for ARRI Locating Pins the tips have a rubber ring that seems to have enough friction to prevent most twisting as long as you lock it securely enough.
Talking about locking – another fantastic aspect of the tip system is a very well-made collapsible thick D-ring that lets you lock the tip to any 1/4″ 20 or 3/8″ 16 threads separately from the arm itself. This means that you can connect an arm even in a very confined space easily and securely without having to twist the entire arm which is a problem with many other arms. This also means that you can connect to any device with only the tip part so no more rotating a monitor each time you want to connect it.
One other nifty thing that we discovered after using the arms for a while is that you can easily use the tips as a sort of quick release plates and if you have several tripods with attached arms (say one with a fluid head, another with a jib and another with a slider), all you need to do to move your monitor between them is release the monitor from the tip and move it with the arm to the other unit and connect it to the second tip – super convenient and much easier than removing the monitor each time and connecting another arm.
Finally, the Spidercrab arms come with an extra bit on one of its tips. This extra bit can be easily removed and it includes a well-made cold show with a female 1/4″ 20. Just like the rest of the arm this part was also very well designed with two ARRI Locating Pin holes so it will also not cause the arm to spin.
Super solid rosette
At the end of the day what does all this technical stuff means in real life? well, after using the arms for several months now (we have been fortunate enough to be very early testers) we can say with confidence that in any type of connecting setup we used the arms were not just strong enough to hold all relevant accessories but from our experience, when connected correctly they will stay in place and won’t twist even with no ARRI Locating Pin on the mounting part, which has been one of the biggest drawbacks of most of the other arms that we have tested.
Furthermore, the actual connecting process is so much easier than any other arm that we have used since you don’t have to turn the entire arm each time and can lock the tiny tip separately and also do this much more tightly thanks to the thick metal D-ring (this is a game-changer all on its own in our book).
The Mars 300 Pro on a spider crab arm
There is not really much more to say about the Spidercrab arms. They are, in our extensive experience the best arms in the industry period. There are no drawbacks that we can find (and we looked, hard), they do exactly what you would expect from a perfect arm to do and then some. If you are in the market for a multipurpose arm look no further than the Spidercrab arms – these are what we have been looking for all this time.
Following our video review, IFootage approached us and was generous enough to offer 5% discount for our audience on all the Spider Crab arms by using the code: lensvid (active until October 7 2021) on the ifootage webiste.
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