Aviator Travel Jib Review and Test


photo-fullBack in the middle of 2012 Zeke Kamm (@Zeke_Kamm) and Nice Industries (nice-industries.com) put out a Kickstarter campaign (kickstarter.com) for the Aviator Travel Jib (aviatorcameragear.com). The jib promised to be a light-weight, portable piece of gear that would be a great add to any kit. I backed the project and it successfully funded in July; at the end of November I finally got my unit and I was ecstatic.

A-bDKLoCEAAa28C.jpg_largeThe jib comes in two options: a magnetic alloy or a carbon fiber. The units vary in weight (the mag comes in under 4 lbs, the carbon under 3 lbs), load capacity (mag at 6.5 lbs, carbon at 7.5 lbs), and price (mag at $497, carbon at $847). I opted for the mag alloy kit because the extra pound in carry weight and capacity didn’t equate to an extra $350. But at under $500, the mag alloy Aviator Travel Jib is a great find. It folds down really small and fits into an included carry case (not much bigger than a camera bag).

IMG_0579When the unit came in I decided to take it with me on my trip to Milwaukee with Loretta. I didn’t have anything fancy planned, but wanted to do some quick tests with it. Even with frozen hands I got the rig assembled and balanced in about 15 minutes (it only took me 10 for the indoor shots where my hands could bend). It levels really easily with one level at the base, and one at the head. The shots I chose were to test both vertical and horizontal movements, as well as shakiness at faster speeds.

IMG_0592I tested it both indoors and outdoors with similar movements to see how the shots would vary. The day I took it up to Milwaukee was a little windy, but it didn’t make a big difference for the Aviator. I mounted the jib right on top of my 504HD head; but, Zeke has recommended using a half bowl mount. I picked one up on amazon for $40, and the whole rig is a lot sturdier now.

Here’s my test footage, be kind to Loretta, she’s not a model, but lets me shoot her anyway.

Aviator Travel Jib Test Footage from Jeremy Widen on Vimeo.

The jib held up pretty well. Overall I liked the movement I got out of it, but the one axis I wish it had was a tilt. Being able to tilt the camera up or down during a movement would be amazing, but as is, the Aviator is awesome. Nice Industries makes some killer products, but for the price, the Aviator is the best I’ve seen. It’s weight and compact form make it perfect for shooters who trek to the middle of nowhere, and its sturdiness adds a great deal of production value to the shots you’re looking to pull off.


6 Responses to “Aviator Travel Jib Review and Test”

  1. Hey Jeremy — I’ve been looking for solid unbiased reviews of this jib. Thanks for this one. You say that the jib doesn’t allow tilt (which I assumed by looking at the Aviator website photos). But is it possible to mount a tripod head to the end of the jib arm and then mount the camera to that?

    • You could mount a head to the jib. Just be careful that it’s not too heavy. Try a ball head, they’re usually lighter.

      But if all you’re looking for is a new angle for your camera, then you can get that by adjusting the boom arms.

      My issue with the jib is that I wanted to be able to tilt while also operating the jib (physically impossible on such a small jib). But staggering the top and bottom boom arms of the jib is a decent work around, without adding a new head.

      • Thanks. Have you ever done a review of the pro-aim, pro-am or cobra jibs?

      • I haven’t had a chance to play with them yet.

      • 5 AR

        Thanks a lot for the detailed review..

        So did it actually work as a manual tilt by varying the length of the top bar while operating the jib? Do yiu have a sample video of that?

      • I don’t have a video of that. Bu basically, what you can do is adjust the arms so that you have the tilt amount that you want. You won’t be able to adjust the level of the tip during a movement, but you can get about 90 degrees (45 forward, 45 backward) of tilt out of the jib.

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