June 11, 2015

The Pandora DSLR Optimizer Is a Fully-Featured Camera Rig Unlike Any You've Ever Seen

Pandora DSLR Optimizer
Just when the DSLR revolution seemed to be coming to an end, a few Argentinian dudes came along and invented a camera rig that is both fully-featured and very, very strange.

The Pandora DSLR Optimizer, which is currently in the crowdfunding process, is many things. It's a stabilizer for smaller cameras. It's an audio solution that claims to provide better audio than many existing external recording solutions. It's a battery solution that provides all-day power to your camera (and it's solar-powered). And it's got, like, a gazillion other features.

Here's the crowdfunding video:

And a diagram that shows off the features and connections on the Pandora:

Pandora DSLR Optimizer Features

In all honesty, I'm not entirely sure what to make of the Pandora DSLR Optimizer. Its form-factor is strange to say the least, and at first glance, it looks like it would make DSLRs even less ergonomically-viable than they are on their own. At the same time, this rig has so many features crammed into it that it's hard not to be intrigued. Plus for a price of roughly $320 (at least that's what it is on their IndieGoGo right now), this rig is far less expensive than you would expect for something this feature-packed. Suffice it to say that I'm pretty damn confused about this thing. But I'm curious to hear your thoughts, so leave them down in the comments!

You can learn a whole lot more about the Pandora DSLR Optimizer over on their IndieGoGo campaign, which has loads of videos showing off the stabilization and audio features. Plus if you're feeling brave, you could order one.     

Your Comment

44 Comments

I love the concept and I see a lot potential in this. But the name is terrible. Sounds like something I spray at my car so the dirt doesn't stick to it...

June 11, 2015 at 12:35PM

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Paul-Louis Pietz Pröve
director / dop / editor
569

Haha, nice one, maybe inside Pandora we put some cleaning tissues also :)
Thanks for your comment !

June 11, 2015 at 4:34PM

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Pablo Damian Gallego
Producer / Inventor
147

Its a curious rig. I think the concept could work really well in a shoulder mounted configuration with an external EVF/ monitor but the way they're holding it in the video looks tiring! :)

June 11, 2015 at 12:50PM

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Lucas Ferreira
Cinematographer
441

So let me get this straight... for $320 you get XLR inputs for your DSLR in an extremely large and awkward-to-handhold box. Meanwhile Beacktek makes the same thing for half the price in a much smaller and lighter configuration. Nice concept but it's not there yet. Add an SSD slot that records Apple ProRes and then we'll be talking!

June 11, 2015 at 12:55PM

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Hi Matt, Pandora is more than an audio setup. the size is made to counter balance the weight of the lens. When you only use a beachtek, you have good sound, but it´s not enough to go shooting video.

June 11, 2015 at 3:27PM

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Pablo Damian Gallego
Producer / Inventor
147

Wonder how much it weighs.

June 11, 2015 at 1:05PM, Edited June 11, 1:05PM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
1050

2.2 pounds (1kg) aprox! Very light and portable!

June 11, 2015 at 3:22PM

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Pablo Damian Gallego
Producer / Inventor
147

ok. so from a form factor standpoint, it's basically a "gun stock" thing. which several known rig makers (zacuto, edelkrone, ikan, just to name a few) have done. and has proven to some degree and for some people reasonably effective.

but just about everything else seems like something you can get with existing equipment with a far less confining arrangement.

sorry. not a customer.

June 11, 2015 at 1:09PM

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Well that's is weird. I use a RM333, if I have to chose again... Yes I would pick the RM333 one more time.
Still, this weird rig things would be great if you have to spend days in the forest filming... whatever that is what you are filming, and what are you doing in the middle of the forest? I can't even comment right, this thing is too weird.

June 11, 2015 at 1:20PM, Edited June 11, 1:26PM

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Edgar More
All
1246

Hi Edgar, exactly, what would you take to a forest filmming? Something that could last days of power, economic in case a bear ear your rig, and that improve your stabilization and your sound at the same time? Lots of people shoot that kind of footage.

June 11, 2015 at 3:34PM

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Pablo Damian Gallego
Producer / Inventor
147

Yes, is exactly what I meant, wild life. I would say that the only thing I find attractive I'd be the solar panel. It takes a lot of space in comparison to a tiny lp6 battery, but it will compensate by recharging it. Hand held? Forget it, the subject would be to far away, a tripod is needed. This would be better for someone who just bough his first dslr and need to upgrade the sound.

June 11, 2015 at 7:19PM, Edited June 11, 7:19PM

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Edgar More
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1246

Hi Edgar! the solar panel isn't take space at all... We have the space, isn't expensive, we put it!... Pandora use 18650 bateries, (with 10 of those you have more than 14000mah) Canon Lp e6 have no more than 2000mah. The large body of Pandora is for stabilization purposes. :)

June 11, 2015 at 10:06PM

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Julian Cortizo
Director / Post-Producer / Composer
155

No kidding. The large body is what give it it's strange looking shape. I haven't use one in order to know how it feels. But if something is for sure, is that the shape is unattractive, making it difficult to show a good first impression. And that is important for a product. The smaller the better, like this, the user will have more flexibility. Why not make it as small as possible and then stabilize it using a shoulder arm just like the one on the FS7.

June 12, 2015 at 12:21AM, Edited June 12, 12:24AM

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Edgar More
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1246

All rail systems are large to the back of the camera. Is actually very common, because you need to mounted on your chest or your shoulder. And this is very similar to Zacutto's kind of rigs.

June 12, 2015 at 10:24AM

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Julian Cortizo
Director / Post-Producer / Composer
155

But I'm not talking abut rigs, I'm talking about the pandora box DSLR SUPLEX ULTIMAZER, which is a tool, just like the RM333 or a EVS, a toll, not rig. If I want to use the pandora's XRL connection with a rig I like or already own (or other kind of crazy DJI invention) it would be impossible thanks to a large body. That's why I mention something like this: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51E-nWG2mML._SY355_.jpg you can then hold it to your body, but if I don't want it I can't take it off and put something else. Or better yet, you have the option to ask people what works for them and crate something of their liking.

June 12, 2015 at 1:05PM, Edited June 12, 1:08PM

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Edgar More
All
1246

Actually you can mounted on a regular rig, on your back, as a contra balance system for your rig, just like a vmount battery. We actually think in all kind of situations. And Pandora will have mounting points like that. :)

June 15, 2015 at 12:28PM

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Julian Cortizo
Director / Post-Producer / Composer
155

Wait, the batteries last all day... Will that work with my Red?!? Haha!

I like the idea of all these things being in one package for dslr work but I don't understand why they wouldn't have made it a little more ergonomic. Maybe it's just version one...

June 11, 2015 at 1:34PM

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Hi John thanks for your comment, promess that we will try it on top of a red sometime :)
This is the prototype, and we are working on the new design.
Anyway the ergonomics are perfect. It´s like a photo grip but for video. Works the same way.

June 11, 2015 at 3:44PM

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Pablo Damian Gallego
Producer / Inventor
147

This would be really cool with the new Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera.

June 11, 2015 at 1:44PM

22
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How is this different than the Logger's Lunchbox? (besides form factor)

June 11, 2015 at 1:45PM

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William Streeter
Filmmaker
199

Hi William, I answered the same question to Sam on top! Thanks for your comment!

June 11, 2015 at 3:45PM

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Pablo Damian Gallego
Producer / Inventor
147

I'm missing where you mount the matte box and filters... oh, wait, it's for people who think lens flare is art, and microphones belong on cameras.

June 11, 2015 at 1:59PM, Edited June 11, 2:00PM

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Zan Shin
486

Zan, you can put either 15 or 19 mm rods under Pandora, like you would with any normal rig.
Let me tell you that if your problems are flares, then you could easily flag that out with a piece of black wrap or on-camera flags. A mate-box is particularly useful when using filters...you know, to hold them.......

It doesn't matter if you like flares, using filters or whatever...Pandora might be a solution for you, or not.

Also, you should be aware that in different parts of the World there are different ways of shooting, different budget considerations and more needs than feature film shooting...so yeah, there are people that find audio straight to camera a WAY better solution than audio to an audio recorder, and then syncing...I guess you are not one of them, but don't be so naive to think that the way you shoot is the only way it should be done!

Thanks!

June 11, 2015 at 7:40PM

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Nicolas Gril
DP
86

SOLAR POWERED FILMMAKINGGGGGG. Phewww, okay I had to get that out of my system...

June 11, 2015 at 2:54PM

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Donovan Vim Crony
Director, DP, Editor, VFX, Sci-Fi Lover
263

The price is appealing, but I feel like it's something i'd try, then throw in the back of my gear closet. It looks really awkward, and no apparent areas for rods, it's ambitious, to say the least. Solar charging sounds pretty sweet, though.

June 11, 2015 at 3:19PM, Edited June 11, 3:19PM

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Craig Douglas
Writer/ Director/ Editor/ Videographer
1751

Would've been cool if it locked the mini HDMI and converted it into BNC outputs for monitoring. Or better yet, had wireless video transmission.

June 11, 2015 at 4:42PM, Edited June 11, 4:42PM

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Anthony Chen
Cameraman
154

If it only had full HDMI and SDI inputs and outputs somehow. That's what is really killing DSLR's from being able to use proper monitors, evf's, recorders and etc. Most of us are forced to use a crappy micro HDMI port.

June 11, 2015 at 7:46PM

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Brad Watts
Filmmaker/Creative Director - Redd Pen Media
460

Without a camera, this is a pretty sweet solar powered flashlight.
If only they could make an external recorder fit inside a VHS tape housing, and then slide it into the side. If you want to know what people really think, stop patrolling the comment page on your own product.

June 11, 2015 at 7:54PM, Edited June 11, 7:54PM

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Zac Heileson
D.P. VFX Supervisor
74

I don't think they are 'patrolling' buy politely answering questions. Anyway, they could have waited a couple of days to do so.

June 12, 2015 at 5:40AM

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Álex Montoya
Writer/Director
314

Hi Zac, Hi Alex. We want to help, and answer all the questions and doubts. The IndieGoGo campaing is right now. We love to hear all the critics good or bad. But we know is a uncommon product, and we want that you guys understand what it's how it's works.

June 12, 2015 at 10:32AM

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Julian Cortizo
Director / Post-Producer / Composer
155

The handle looks way out of balance. And the XLRs should point back, not out.

There is no way a solar cell makes any sense on this rig. A panel that size would need all day just to charge your cell phone.

If this came out five years ago, I still would have waited for version 2.0.

June 11, 2015 at 9:38PM

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Jon Kline
Director of Photography
168

Does it take batteries to swap out or do you need to charge the whole unit?

June 12, 2015 at 4:50AM

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Rory Jackson
Shooting Assistant Producer
81

Hi Rory, You can do both ways! Charge the entire unit with a Micro USB cable, or you can charge the 18650 batteries with a charger. Is up to you. :)

June 12, 2015 at 12:19PM, Edited June 12, 12:20PM

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Julian Cortizo
Director / Post-Producer / Composer
155

It's a good idea, it has nice features for the price (audio bracketing! how does it work if you're recording sound to the camera, btw?) and I even think it's ergonomical.

It's way smaller than it looks in some of the renderings and has a nice additional shoulder pad.

But form 'coolness' is an issue. I see many people not using it just because it looks a little weird altogether. It sucks but that's what i gather from most of the comments I read.

June 12, 2015 at 5:39AM

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Álex Montoya
Writer/Director
314

I also don't like the way the camera attaches to the box. It feels a little filmsy, like I will be all day tightening the thing.

You should add a second bolt in some place to lock the joint.

June 12, 2015 at 5:43AM

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Álex Montoya
Writer/Director
314

Hi Alex, this is a prototype, we are allready working on a re-desing version for the final product. More esthetic, and modern look. And of course a new quick release system :)

June 12, 2015 at 10:28AM

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Julian Cortizo
Director / Post-Producer / Composer
155

great to see someone thinking outside the box a bit.
I would love to try this out and see how it feels. (and test sound quality).

I think version 2.0 will be the real winner, if this was a bit more modular.. the option of putting on a shoulder pad, rods, monitor e.c.t. would have really made this.

June 12, 2015 at 11:22AM, Edited June 12, 11:22AM

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Brenton Potts
1 man band
148

I think this looks interesting.The thing I end up using most out of my rig, is the shoulder grip/brace. I'd be keen to try it and test the audio, it looks compact enough to do away with a bunch of stuff you have to schlep around when you want to get around with the minimum, esp. traveling to more remote places. I do worry about the protrusion on the left of the camera - it looks difficult/uncomfortable to reach your lens and the menu buttons if you're using Magic Lantern. Yes, I just looked at the video again and the ergonomics on the left would definitely be a problem, the hard angles would dig into your hand/arm/wrist. And I'm curious about the weight which would be a huge factor.

June 12, 2015 at 12:04PM

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Hi Leonie, It's definitely depends on the size of your camera. The t3i is smaller and you have that "protrusion" on the left. That we made for HDMI cable clamps... Other models like the 5D or the BMCC are big enough to enter on the entire platform. It's only weight 2.2 pounds (1kg) aprox.

June 12, 2015 at 1:39PM

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Julian Cortizo
Director / Post-Producer / Composer
155

Looks cool, but how would I use a follow focus or matte box or any accessories while using this?

June 12, 2015 at 2:15PM, Edited June 12, 2:15PM

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If it was a recorder along with all that it is, THEN it would be of sound purpose and execution.

June 13, 2015 at 1:41PM

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Gilly
230

I like the idea of integrating a rig with gear. It gets expensive to buy a rig and gear to put on it. If you added some handles and a shoulder mount it would be more functional.

Personally, the biggest drawback to this is that it hangs from the camera with no additional support. I would hate to bump it and have the mounting screw pop out of the bottom of my camera. I want to hold the box and have my camera sit on top, no stress to the tripod mount.

June 13, 2015 at 11:17PM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
633

Pandora DSLR Optimizer is a scam. They havet shipped product. They don't give out refunds..and their reason is that they ran out of funds. DO NOT BUY. SCAMMERS.

August 10, 2016 at 7:53PM

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