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The Official Aviator Travel Jib Review – The Small & Mighty Camera Jib

By Pye Jirsa on February 14th 2013

Aviator-Travel-Jib-Kit

Overview

When shooting a video project, using a camera jib or crane is a great way to perform a cinematic motion sweep. Because of the rise of HDSLR cinematography, there are now quite a few selections of camera jibs available in the market.

Unlike most jibs out there, the Aviator Travel Jib actually started out as a Kickstarter campaign. It inventor describes it as “the most portable camera crane around.” The Aviator compacts down to 24 inches, can extend to 6 feet, weighs less than 4 lbs, supports a camera kit up to 6 lbs, and sets up in under a minute. Geez, that was a mouthful.

So is the Aviator a worthy addition to the SLR Lounge essential gear list? Just watch the video and find out.

The Aviator Travel Jib Video Review

The Problem with Traditional Camera Cranes and Jibs

If you are shooting light and mobile, then traditional jibs, even those made for smaller DSLRs, are heavy and simply not portable. They are bulky, take time to set up and break down, and slow down your shooting schedule if you have to move from location to location.

And let’s face it, as great as jibs are in raising the production value of your shoot, they are simply expensive. You are looking somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand dollars or more for a typical jib. On top of that, you may have to purchase a fluid-pan base and counterweights separately.

Why We Love the Aviator Travel Jib

The reason why we love the Aviator Travel Jib is that it essentially solves all the complaints we have with traditional jibs. The whole unit fits into a portable carrying case and only weighs 4 lbs. It is incredibly simple to set up, and once you understand how to set it up, it only takes a minute or two to set up and break down.

The best part is the cost of the jib. The mag-alloy version that we used in the video costs less than $500 and comes with a fluid-pan base, counter weights, and the aforementioned carrying case.

Aviator-Travel-Jib-Kit

You can even purchase the carbon-fiber version for around $850. This version weighs less than 3 lbs and can carry up to 7.5 lbs of camera load.

In regards to build-quality, both the mag alloy and the carbon-fiber Aviator Travel Jib kit feature technology engineered by the professional tripod makers 3 Legged Thing. So, it features top notch components!

The one piece of gear that you will still need for the Aviator Travel Jib (and any other jib for that matter) is a tripod. The company recommends a photo or video tripod that is rated to support 17 lbs or more. Below we have our full recommended setup for the Aviator Travel Jib.

The SLR Lounge Recommended Gear Setup for the Aviator Travel Jib

This is the gear setup that we use for our own Aviator Travel Jib:

Aviator Travel Jib
• Manfrotto 536 Carbon-Fiber Video Tripod
• Manfrotto 520BALLSH 75mm Half Ball
Canon 6D
• Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens

Conclusion

5-of-5-stars If you are an independent filmmaker shooting with a Canon 5D mkIII, a Panasonic GH2, or other similar cameras, then you should look into the Aviator Travel Jib.

Given its portability, ease of use, build quality and affordable cost, this is an absolute must have in any filmmakers toolkit! It will add production value to your film without taking too much out of your bottom line.

We may sound over-enthusiastic about it, but we really do feel that you can get more than your money’s worth with the Aviator. Therefore, we award the Aviator Travel Jib a strong 5
out of 5 stars.

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About

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Miguel Terán

    Waht Benro tripod would fit the aviator jib? Thanks!

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  2. Ning Wong

    I have one of these myself and I’ve been using it for quite a bit of video production work.

    i do have to say it’s a really nice jib in terms of portability and ease of setup.  the shots i get from it are fantastic and i really do recommend getting this jib if you are in the market!

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  3. Urieleomar89

    So, I have a SONY FS 100 I want to use, weighs about 5 ibs total: Will I notice a visible mechanical difference, in technique, between the gib alloy or Fiber? 

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  4. ChristopherLin

    nice review pye … funny informational, and entertaining .. the gib looks awesome

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  5. Patto

    I guess since I don’t have a 5D mkIII or GH2, I should look for something else…

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    • Zeke

       Hi Patto, What camera do you have? If it weighs under 6.5 lbs you can use it on The Aviator Jib.

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  6. mouse potato

    Fragile ???? and the stabilization ?? could it be used on a traveling dolly.

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    • Zeke

       Hi Mouse Potato,
      It’s no more fragile than a professional tripod. You don’t want to run it over with a tank. But as long as you use it the way it was intended, you should be in good shape.

      It will work great on a long dolly, but if your travel dolly is less than 4.5 feet, you might as well leave the dolly at home and use the sweep of the jib since it includes a fluid pan base.

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  7. kenyee

    Wish you took it apart or put it together…can’t picture how it fits into that small case…

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    • Payam Jirsa

      Just check out the image in the article. It shows it fully compressed. No need to take apart, it just can compact and then tucks into the bag. 

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