The Best Magic Arms You Can Buy On Amazon

February 18, 2024
3 mins read
A cinema camera on set, with a magic arm holding a monitor

Magic arms are versatile and robust filmmaking tools. After completing your ideal setup, it might not seem like the first thing to consider, but it’s a vital accessory, especially for solo filmmakers.

What is a Magic Arm?

Contrary to what the name suggests, a magic arm, unfortunately, involves no real magic. It’s a device that securely holds any piece of equipment in your chosen place. Like your arms attached to your torso, a magic arm has two straight sections connected to a central joint (the ‘elbow’), which can be twisted by hand or with an Allen key.

Most magic arms offer the same functions, regardless of price. The cost often reflects the materials used, type of attachment threads, unique features, and branding. Magic arms are commonly used in photography studios and by small film camera crews for extra support or to set up additional lights or accessories on the camera rig.


Traditional Uses

Magic arms have a wide range of applications. If an item has a thread or can be clamped to the arm, it’s likely compatible. Common uses include holding camera accessories like wireless video feed systems, external monitors, LED lights, and more. Photographers often use magic arms to attach flashguns in studios, providing additional lighting alongside the main softbox or light unit.

Their articulating design allows for positioning these accessories anywhere on your camera rig. Their robust construction ensures they can securely hold what you need for as long as necessary.


Non-Traditional Uses

Thanks to their ultra-versatile ¼ twenty-thread mount, magic arms can secure almost anything with that mount. A creative, non-traditional use I’ve seen is mounting a small, wide-angle B-camera on an A-camera for additional shots and angles. For instance, in a budget-limited, time-constrained film shoot requiring two-camera coverage, your A-cam captures the main angle, while a B-cam, mounted on the main camera with a wider lens, grabs an additional shot.

In the image example below, you can see the magic arm being used to connect a monitor to a jib to allow the operator to see the framing without moving blindly.

A monitor attached to a magic arm, attached to a crane on a film set.

Inexpensive Magic Arms on Amazon

Now, like near enough every aspect of filmmaking, there are corners that are incredibly expensive, and others which are more apleasing to the no-budget filmmaker. Let’s have a look at four

1. SmallRig Magic Arm ($29.90 to $69.90)

SmallRig offers a range of affordable options. Despite their basic features and build quality, they effectively support additional accessories and monitors.

Product image of the SmallRig Magic Arm

Key Features:

  • 1. Made of aluminium alloy and stainless steel for greater sturdiness and durability;
  • 2. Designed for photography; clamp maximum open distance of 54mm; 360-degree adjustable magic arm;
  • 3. Built-in cushions for safety and stability;
  • 4. Note: The maximum load is 2.8kg

Purchase the range here.


2. FALCAM F22 Dual Quick Release Articulating Magic Arm – $69 (nice)

A quick release plate on a tripod is essential. The ability to detach your camera with a single flick of a knob—and then place it onto a shoulder rig or switch to handheld—is invaluable. But imagine transferring that convenience to a magic arm. The Falcam F22 makes this possible with a dual quick release plate on the articulating arms. This means if you have a wireless monitor attached, you can remove it from the camera swiftly.

Key features:

  • Ultra Quick Release: F22 has quick release plates at both ends for fast, easy installation and removal.
  • 360° Dual Ball Head Design: Features two 360° rotating ball heads for flexible angle adjustments.
  • Anti-deflection Design: Includes positioning columns and bolts to prevent deflection and ensure stability.
  • Premium Craftsmanship: Made of aluminum and stainless steel with a sleek Monet gray finish.
  • Wide Compatibility: Universal 1/4″ thread connects easily to various equipment for quick accessory changes.
  • Patented F22 QR Ecosystem: Offers a patented range of accessories for improved filmmaking and photography experiences.

Purchase here.


3. Manfrotto Magic Arm ($125.88)

Known for quality tripods, Manfrotto also boasts an incredibly vast accessories division. Among their offerings is a series of magic arms. Given the brand recogniztion, the prices are slightly higher than others, but this one is a great buy with a 3/8″ Adaptor, and it can hold up to 3k!

Key features:

  • Attaches by: 1/4″ attachment type
  • Attachment (top): 1/4″ attachment type
  • Material: Aluminum + steel
  • Safety payload: 6.61lbs / 3kg
  • Arm length: 5.91″/ 15cm
  • Weight: 0.49lbs / 0.22kg

Purchase here.


4. IFootage Spider Crabs ($109.99)

This unique system is strong, portable, and lightweight. It offers a dual locking safety system, toolless assembly, and can support up to 2.2kg horizontally and 6kg vertically. There’s also a “lite” edition for smaller setups.

Product image of the IFootage Spider Crabs

Key features:

  • Upgraded Ifootage Magic Arm: 11-inch with quick-release heads and hot shoe, allows instant removal.
  • Universal Compatibility: Fits devices with 1/4″-20 & 3/8″-16 screws.
  • Enhanced Safety: Features anti-fall design with buckle and security button.
  • Versatile Use: Ideal for DSLRs, monitors, lights, and recorders.
  • Adjustable Double Ball Head: Easy angle adjustments, secure with a knob.

Purchase here:


Conclusion

Magic arms are essential tools for solo content creators, offering support for additional accessories without the need of an extra hand. While they can be pricey, they are worth the investment for building the ideal camera rig. With the variety and modularity of magic arms, you can customize them to fit any setup.

If you want to enhance your camera rig, utilize more mounting options, or securely attach a B-cam, consider investing in a magic arm. With the exceptional options available today, you will surely find the perfect match for your next production.

All camera images via Shutterstock.


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Lewis McGregor

Lewis McGregor is a filmmaker, photographer and online content creator from Wales.