Fourth Arrow Camera Arm In-Depth Review

by Neal McCullough

fourth arrow camera arm

The new Fourth Arrow Camera Arm is quickly becoming the new favorite for videographers across the country.

Every year the ATA Show fills our social media feeds and forums with loads of new companies and products. This time around, one product stood out from the rest, and I couldn’t wait to get more details about it. A few of our Bowhunting.com staff got their hands on a prototype camera arm made of carbon fiber that was, “insanely lightweight and had a unique shoulder mount with low cost bases,” and I knew I had to get my hands on it. After hearing about it and seeing a short clip on Facebook, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Now, six months later, I’ve finally got my hands on the new carbon camera arm from Fourth Arrow. Designed perfectly for a hunter who runs a small/mid-size camera, this camera kit is ideal for a self-filmer or mobile hunter. Let’s dive into the features of the Fourth Arrow Carbon Arm Kit. 

Unboxing the Fourth Arrow Carbon Arm Kit

fourth arrow camera boxed

Carbon Arm Kit Includes: Fourth Arrow Carbon Arm, Fourth Arrow Shoulder, Fourth Arrow Base, Ratchet Strap, Fourth Arrow Tool

The Carbon Kit is shipped in three simple boxes including one carbon arm, one shoulder (with tool), and one base (with ratchet strap). The key facts of this arm:

  • Arm Weight: 1 pound 3 ounces
  • Full Kit Weight: 4 pounds 14 ounces
  • Length of Arm: 30 inches
  • Total Reach: 36 inches
  • Rated for 6 pound Camera
  • Full Kit Price $199
Fourth Arrow Camera Arm

Assembly takes under 20 minutes.

First Setup Thoughts

Getting this camera arm set up was a very straightforward experience. I was able to quickly put together the entire package in about 15 or 20 minutes and couldn’t wait to try out some of the unique features with this arm.

Fourth Arrow

Base components before setup.

Features

Unique Ball Joint

The shoulder mount ball joint on the Fourth Arrow camera arm is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a camera arm. I’ll admit I was skeptical this would securely mount the camera arm, but I was able to mount this shoulder in a variety of settings including a sharply angled tree. One thing I was surprised with was the quality and size of the shoulder; it’s heavy and sturdy without being cumbersome or bulky. The manufacturing of this was well done, and the arm itself feels like a quality piece of equipment that will last me well into my bowhunting career.

Fourth Arrow Camera Arm

The ball joint in action.

Weight & Packability

For my initial test, I weighed the setup components, and they effectively weighed as advertised. The individual component weight is interesting but I was most concerned with overall weight of what I pack out every time I make my way in and out of the stand. I have two types of setups that I will be carrying into the woods with me this fall.

Setup #1 – Established Stand Setup

For stands I’ve predetermined for the 2016 season (I currently have five of these), I will pre-setup all my bases on these trees.

fourth arrow setup

My most common packed setup including the shoulder, arm, and fluid head.

Setup #2 – The Run and Gun

I do this type of hunting about 20% of the time – typically this will include carrying my Lone Wolf climber on my back (20 pounds) so packability and weight become extremely important components of this hunting approach. I packed up my full backpack to test this and found it helpful to pre-mount the shoulder into the base (one less thing to do in the tree).

Fourth Arrow

Overall weight is very manageable at just under 7 lbs.

Economical Bases

The reasonable price point of the bases for this arm was one of the top reasons for buying into the camera setup. With each base costing me under $30, I could easily get all my setups ready to go without breaking the bank.

Fourth Arrow

6 different bases ready for placement in my Minnesota and Wisconsin spots.

Fourth Arrow Fluid Head

For just under $80, you can purchase a fluid head direct from Fourth Arrow. Since I was upgrading my entire setup, I decided to give this a try. This fluid head was extremely well made and seems durable for all season. I’d expect this to easily last through several seasons of weather. The Fourth Arrow head attaches effortlessly to their arm, and the entire setup comes together for an unmatched filming experience.

Carbon Arm, Fluid head, and LANC Controller ready for the season.

Carbon Arm, Fluid head, and LANC Controller ready for the season.

Takeaways

Tool for Adjustments

While I found the adjustments to the head relatively easy, I’m also concerned this tool might fall out at some point during the hunt and make noise. Or even worse, get lost in the shuffle while being brought back and forth to the stand, leaving the arm unusable. I’ve solved this by purchasing an extra circle allen wrench that will be stored in my pack.

Fourth Arrow

Adjustment Tool is the most important component of this arm… without it you would have difficulty setting it.

Reach

Various arms on the market extend over 40”. This Fourth Arrow Carbon Arm extends slightly less than that, but for me the 4” doesn’t seem to be too big of a deal. However, time will tell if this is an issue in the stand.

Fourth Arrow

My setup created a reach of around 36”.

The “hard left” approaching deer is the worst case scenario for any right handed self-filmer.   In 99% of our hunting setups, we put the camera at our right hip so we can hold our bow (in our left hand) and move and adjust the camera with our right. This tricky angle is extremely important to consider, and I found this camera arm does a decent job of covering 360 degrees around my stand setups. It’s tight, and slightly more reach could be helpful, but overall I was able to maneuver without issue.

Fourth Arrow

The “Hard Left Approach” filming scenario.

Silence for Run-N-Gun

Overall the setup is relatively quiet, but given its metal, I’d suggest covering as much of the arm as possible with camo cloth tape. Additionally, I already switched the base ratchet for a silent buckle we had from our cabin. This makes it much easier to quietly secure the base to the tree.

fourth arrow

Silence is deadly. I switched out straps to eliminate the extra noise of a ratchet strap.

 Fourth Arrow Camera Kit Options

Fourth Arrow Camera Arm

Fourth Arrow Stiff Arm Pro – A Premium Rig for Professionals.

The carbon arm is the flagship arm provided by Fourth Arrow but they additionally offer two full kit options as well. The first is the “Stiff Arm” which, at a $159 price point, is the most economically effective of all the arms. This allows you access to the unique ball joint functionality associated with the carbon arm but has a slightly heavier, more reasonably priced arm. The Carbon & Stiff Arms share the same base system that allows for maximum flexibility in your setups. For hunters looking for a more professional, stronger arm, the “Stiff Arm Pro” is the option for you. Everything is upgraded in this kit including a stronger arm with a 20lb camera rating and better reinforced bases. For the serious hunter/filmer this is the option for you.

Fourth Arrow Extras

As I’ve already mentioned, additional accessories make the Fourth Arrow kit fully functional and ready for my 2016 hunting season. Extra Bases are a must and are sold individually ($30 each) or in 4-packs ($25 each). The Fourth Arrow fluid head is a commercial quality head that fits seamlessly on your camera arm. The head is much smaller than many heads you see, and this allows for reduced weight in the tree. The arm comes with flexibility for any fluid head you already own including ¼ inch or 3/8 inch servings.

What Others are Saying

“The Fourth Arm base and shoulder design is unlike anything on the camera arm market today. The almost infinite adjustability of the shoulder virtually eliminates the possibility of not being able to level your camera no matter what type of tree you’re in.”

-Justin Zarr

“Having the ability to leave the base stationary in any given tree is perfect for maintaining a run and gun set up. Keeping the weight down was also a huge bonus in the new carbon arm. I instantly noticed a considerable difference once I made the switch.”

-Richie Music 

Final Thoughts – Does It Really Work?

Fourth Arrow

Testing out the Fourth Arrow Carbon Arm.

For me, bowhunting is a highly analytical and precise process, and my gear and setup reflect that. I spend hours preparing, planning, and organizing the gear I use. This arm provides me a quiet, lightweight, high quality solution to not only capture the hunt on film but also achieve a successful hunt. Whether you are filming for TV, on a webshow pro-staff, or just filming for yourself, the Fourth Arrow camera arm kit is another great option to help you capture and create better content in your videos.

See the complete lineup from Fourth Arrow at: https://fourtharrowcameraarms.com/

Comments

  1. David bush (bushnlo) says:

    Would the camera arm bases work for other brand arms?

    Reply
  2. I own the carbon arm and have used it for 1 season. My observations are from a big guy point of view. For me its too short to film on your offside. However fourth arrow has designed an addition extension aluminum pc. to gain another foot to the length of the carbon arm. I have it in my possession but have yet to try it out. So now it will be a 3pc arm. I’m thinking at full extension it may be a bit bouncy however I cannot comment until I try it out. It will definitely solve the reach problem. On another note I spoke with the guys at fourth arrow about their “fluid head” thinking it would be a nice light addition to the carbon arm. I already own a couple of pretty good fluid heads. I learned that their “fluid head” is actually a “friction head” as of about 8months ago. They may have changed to a true fluid by now but I told them what I was using and was told that I should continue with my “fluid head”. Overall I think their camera arms are a great design and they are a good company to do business with.

    Reply

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