The Best Sony A7s Cage of them All? – 6 Cages Reviewed

best-sony-a7s-cageIf there is one thing that filmmakers need on top of a great camera and lens, then it is great camera accessories. The first step is a camera cage. Especially a photo-style camera-body like the famous Sony A7s deserves an appropriate housing to become a perfect tool.
But what is the best Sony A7s cage? We reviewed 6 A7s cages and will fill you in on the good, the bad and the ugly.

Review by Johnnie Behiri & Sebastian Wöber

Why a camera cage?

In the age of small cinema cameras the camera cage has become the most popular accessory by now. Matteboxes, handheld rigs, follow focus units, it’s all passé. Now the camera cage is what’s trendy and there are several good reasons why it’s the first thing to get:

  1. Cages provide mounting points (standard threads and coldshoes) so you can mount accessories
  2. They securely lock the micro-HDMI cable in place when you use the HDMI feed (for external 4K recording)
  3. They protect the camera
  4. They usually come with a handle, so it’s easier to carry your rig
  5. They make you feel more professional :)

best-sony-a7s-cage-113

Why this A7s cage comparison?

Because not every cage is equally useful. Actually the differences between cages and their functionality is huge. We wanted to know what the best Sony A7s cage is for our own work and we wanted to let our readers in on the pro’s & con’s of all the cages. So now there will be no reason to order a Sony A7s cage blindly. Here are the best cages for the A7s reviewed.

The way we did it

The cinema5D team (Johnnie, Nino and Seb) worked with all the cages (a few each) over the course of several months. At the end we sat together and went through all the cages, made remarks, tried them again and rated each aspect that we found important according to our experiences with them.

The aspects we rate:

  • HDMI cable protector quality
  • Access to other outputs on the side
  • Ease of assembly and disassembly
  • How securely is the camera attached to the cage?
  • Possible to use the Sony XLR-K2M audio module?
  • Access to the lens release button
  • 
Baseplate mount quality
  • Rod support quality
  • Handle design
  • Overall ergonomics
  • Conclusion

The ratings we give:

This is pretty straight forward. Basically we used the traffic-lights system and gave a rating to each aspect.

a7s-doublegreenDouble-green: In some rare cases we decided to give a double-green rating for outstanding performance.

a7s-greenGreen: The product performs as it should.

a7s-orangeOrange: There are some issues, but it’s ok.

a7s-redRed: The product didn’t live up to our expectations.

a7s-doubleredDouble-Red: Something is wrong here and should be addressed by the manufacturer.

The cages we reviewed

Simply click on the name of the product to get to the review page or find the conclusion at the end of this article. Products reviewed in alphabetical order.

IndiPRO Tools Thor a7S Cage
LockCircle BirdCage A7
Movcam Cage for Sony a7S

Motionnine CubeCage for Sony a7S
Skier LiteCage for A7
Varavon Armor II a7S Cage

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Links to each A7s Cage Review:

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Dan Buck Joyce
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I bought this cheap Small Rig one from eBay, added my Wooden Camera handle, works a treat http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=252029583313&globalID=EBAY-GB

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[…] IndiPRO Tools Thor a7S Cage LockCircle BirdCage A7 Movcam Cage for Sony a7S Motionnine CubeCage for Sony a7S Skier LiteCage for A7 Varavon Armor II a7S Cage […]

Member
Alex Pasquini

Obviously you can’t get around to reviewing EVERY cage on the market, but shame there is no mention of the Tilta rig, looks pretty good, a friend of mine has one:

http://www.cinegearpro.com/tilta-es-t16-sony-alpha-a7s-lightweight-cage-rig-kit.html

I’m looking for a cage for the a7rII at the moment but I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer for confirmation as to what rigs will fit, or when dedicated rigs come out!

Either way thanks for the helpful reviews Cinema5d!

Marcel van Leeuwen
Member

i love my Lanparte MCK-01 cage. It works for both the GH4 and the a7s. unfortunately the A7R II doesn’t fit by a very small margin, and Lanparte were a bit late to the game, but it’s a nice addition.
http://www.cinegearpro.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/650×650/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/img_8637b_2.jpg

Marcel van Leeuwen
Member

p.s. although no K2 support on this one.

Johnnie Behiri
Admin

Hi Marcel, thanks for sharing!

Looks like a nice cage and most important, it fits your needs!

Thanks!

Johnnie

Gerbert Floor
Member

I love my motionnine cage, it looks great as well and it handles it fine. But it needs improving, their design with attaching the camera is stupid and cumbersome, I lost the screw once and I was literally screwed :P. You just can’t use another screw since it won’t fit.

Also I like a quick release on the handle as well. I replaced it with a small rig one and a small rail.

Nicholas Lam
Guest
Nicholas Lam

I would have added SmallRIG who sells mainly on Ebay.

I have their 1633 cage for the A7S and it is super light weight and low profile.

Their accessories totally rock too. You can add 15mm rail holders, shoes…etc and are extremely low profile and light weight.

I had to modify the base plate to fir the LockPort HDMI for my A7S though. Took it to a metal work shop and they trimmed the corner closest to the HDMI port. Works great!

JohnGon Eune
Member

Excellent!
How do I order…

JohnGon Eune
Member

contact me on facebook or text message over +82-10-3495-8823

Member
T F

You guys may have used an older version of the Movcam cage. Mine has distinct metal tabs that lock the camera in place, both on the baseplate and the upper side of the camera (near the “a7s” logo). It’s not possible for me to move/slide my camera in the cage the way you show in your pictures, so they must have updated their design – you might want to follow up on this.

Tim Naylor
Member

Same here.

Bruce Hyer
Member

I looked at every one I could find (online) and thought the Varavon was the best setup (and value) for what I wanted. I especially like the handgrip. The two rod holes on the handle come in handy (see pics linked below) to mount a monitor, AND, the best part, to support long lenses. Also, I saw this rig as ideal for using a XLR-K1M and not the newer XLR-K2M, as with this setup there’s no interference with the handle. A7s, 24mm f2.8 Zuiko, SmallHD AC7, Lectrosonics UCR401 and Ikan detachable shoulder rig. VERY light weight, no more than 6… Read more »

Carl Rohumaa
Member
Carl Rohumaa

Sorry really confused now. The one where you can’t put a matte box on wins? Ok if you don’t want one but if you did want to put on a matte box which do you think would then be the most useful?
Are they are actually for different users and not like for like? They are cages I know but they must be aimed at totally different users?

Lightweight cages
Half cages
Cinema Rig Cages

 Illya Friedman
Member

A shame also Hot Rod Cameras wasn’t asked to participate. We make the only A7s & A7r II cage here (also 100% compatible with GH4 and Blackmagic Pocket) and have several major feature advantages none of the other cages offer.

Our cage is word of mouth only and about $199 more expensive then the most expensive on this list, but we are also the only cage system being used on multiple $100M Hollywood features, something I don’t believe any other cage on this list can boast.

Illya Friedman
President
Hot Rod Cameras

Eric Young
Guest
Eric Young

Why isn’t it available on the Hot Rod Cameras website, with photos & prices?

Jacques Albrecht
Member
Jacques Albrecht

So sorry that your pictured Varavon Armor II a7S Cage does not have the dual mounting holes for a tri-pod baseplate… instead of the open space that you show near your thumb, my unit ( purchased this June in Los Angeles ) has a second mounting hole so the tri-pod baseplate can be secured without twisting.

Steven Herman
Member

I use the movcam, and my model uses standard flat bit screws, not allan keys, and it doesn’t shift at all once tightened. Newer model maybe?

Tim Naylor
Member

Good reviews but a little incomplete concerning the the Movcam. You’ve seemed to have skipped the movcam 15mm rod support. It’s quite solid and allows you to quick release the camera from the rod support which is quite helpful. Also, regarding the camera mount onto the cage, if you use it with with an adaptor (as most A7s owners do), the Movcam has an excellent mount of the adaptor. When you screw that into a metabones, your camera is not moving. Also, in terms of mounting the cage to your A7s as being a hassle, keep in mind, the movcam… Read more »

Tim Naylor
Member

One aspect that seems to missing from your reviews is a mount for lens adaptors (metabones). Movcam and Tilta have them on their models (though not the one you reviewed for some reason). This is crucial for larger lenses. My movcam mount is so secure I can mount a canon 70-200 without an additional lens brace, something you do not want to do with just the adaptor and no adaptor mount. Also quick release systems for 15mm rod support. Again this is a tilta and movcam feature which is highly convenient when you have to free your camera quickly from… Read more »

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Paul Mor
Member
Paul Mor

Great artikel!
My problem with the a7s is the small size. I have big hands and that makes the a7s hard to hold. The motionnine cage looks like it gives the best handgrip. The Ikan Tilta cage also looks good for that. The winner cage Varavon Armor II dosent make the handel any bigger but that hand strap could make a differents .

Any experiens with the size of the handgrip and how to best improve it?

P.s the a7r II is also to small for me as my pinky finger doesn’t reach the handle.

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[…] Venus macro 1:1 lens review at Alphadxd. The Best Sony A7s Cage of them All? – 6 Cages Reviewed (Cinema5d). RX100 IV Review […]

 Paweł Korona
Member

What shoulder mount is this?

 Paweł Korona
Member

Specifically referring to the one in the motionnine photos! Sorry for not being specific. Thanks!

 Nathan Jung
Member
Nathan Jung

I have recently changed my old Sony A7S cage and got a7s from eBay with reasonable price. And I am pretty much satisfied with sturdy metalic frame and woonden hand grip.

 Jeremy Freedberg
Member

What on earth is that shoulder mount??

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[…] a way to make the connector more reliable. This is one of the biggest reasons to use a camera cage (click here to read our extensive Sony a7S cage review or here the new Sony a7S II cage review) or something […]

 James Layton
Member
James Layton

Just wondering what your recommendation would be if having a matte box and follow focus is a requirement? The Varavon seems to have got it right in many ways, but if disassembling the rig was not that important as the camera would be left built up nearly all the time, which rig do you thing is best?

Thanks.

 malik Nejmi
Member
malik Nejmi

hello, this ergonomy is awesome, is it possible for bmpcc ( i just bought the cage and a battery) thanks to help me to fing accessories for mic and viewfinder :-) best