Here is my review of the Really Right Stuff Travel Size Boom. First off I want to start off by saying Really Right Stuff sent me this boom pole on loan. However, I was not paid anything by them and this is my honest review. I will also say that I own quite a lot of their products including their fluid head, plates, 15mm rods, ect.. I paid full price for all their products I own, I just like to own the best and highest performing everything. I finally will state that I do not buy because of a brand. I buy from research, reviews, and real-world use.
Lets start off with what you get. The boom pole is a 4 section carbon fiber boom pole. It has an internal cable with a Nuetrik straight connector at the bottom of the pole and a Cable Techniques right angle low profile XLR on the top of the pole. I know what you are saying a boom pole that has an internal cable is a no go. I experienced no cable noise at all this is thanks to anti-rattle inserts that do quite a good job at dampening noise. The pole’s carbon fiber is very rigid and when fully extended had no bounce or sway at all which helped keep it quiet. The carbon fiber sections are made the same way as their tripod legs which are rock solid.
The pole is carry on size which is how mine was used on many flights. It is a tiny 20.1 inches when the cable cage is removed which is how I traveled with it to fit it in my suitcase. Don’t be fooled by its small size it expands to 76.8 inches with the cable cage attached. The pole also is feather light, it is only 1.65 lbs. /750g. I use a Schoeps MiniCMIT on an inv-Light 21 with grey lyres and a Bubble Bee Industries Spacer bubble for wind protection. This combination makes a very light set up of the top of the boom pole. On the bottom I have my Lectrosonic HMA transmitter which helps to balance out the weight at the top of the pole. Everything together makes a very compact setup that is very easy to travel with and go all day with (unlike a heavy setup which wears you out quick).
The twist collars take about a ¼ turn to lock and unlock and are very grippy. No problems with wet hands or gloves, they are very easy to operate. The opening and closing of collars is how many people decide on a boom pole. I personally hate small collars on booms so the large easy to grip collars are a huge plus for me.
The bottom of the boom has a 3/8 16 and ¼ 20 holes. This came in handy as I use a boom pole holder during sit down interviews, when my checked bag got lost and my boom pole holder did not make it. I just screwed in one of my Arca Swiss plates using both of the screw holes so there was no twisting and attached it to my tripod head. Solved not having my boom pole holder in a pinch. I use the Arca Swiss standard with everything, but it can be adapted to any style plate so no need to use those plates.
There is also a female cold shoe at the bottom which I did not use but was nice to have. As filmmakers are problem solvers you never know when you will need the extra attachment. In fact if you are saying right now that is pointless, well mark my words. You will be on a shoot where it will come in handy at some point. It does not add any weight so that is a good addition and design.
After many uses I did have the cable wind up a bit on the inside, which is my fault from slightly rotating the sections as I was opening and closing them. This was easily solved in the field by unscrewing the bottom and letting the Nuetrik connector “untwist” then screwing the bottom ring back on.
The 3/8 16 male stainless steel thread at the top of the pole can be replaced if it somehow damaged or worn out. This is not field replaceable as you have to use a heat gun to loosen the thread locker. However it is nice that it can be user replaced and not throw away the pole if it were to wear out.
I did not run into any problems during my use of the pole which has been around 4 months and around 42+ shoots.
For improvements I wish they made an expanded cage as my Lectrosonics HMA transmitter was too big to plug into the bottom and then screw the cage over it. This is why I never used the cage and plugged my transmitter directly into the bottom. Having the expanded cage would be great as I could have my transmitter plugged in and protected as well as being able to rest it on the ground with its attached rubber foot (Which is also replaceable, if it were to wear out). If I used a right angle XLR cable out of the cage, I would be able to plug it directly into my waist mounted recorder and still set the boom pole on the ground. Having a rubber foot at the bottom is quite nice. Some people say well Gitzo has some boom poles with a rubber foot and a side XLR exit. While that works the same as having a right XLR out of the Really Right Stuff’s cage you lose balance when directly plugging a transmitter into it. You want balance, fighting an unbalanced boom pole all day will tire you out even if it is very light.
I love high end gear and this boom lives up to the really right stuff name with the same attention to detail, craftsmanship, and finishing that all other Really Right Stuff products that I own have. I highly recommend this boom pole to anyone looking to get into the high end boom pole market. Who knows it might make you change your mind about having an internally wired boom pole after you try out this one.
Really Right Stuff has great customer support and stands behind their products (Unlike some other companies which I will not say their names here). They listen to customer feedback and incorporate that into making their products better. If only every other company listened to their customers.