The Best Sony a7S II Cage / a7R II Cage – 8 Cages Reviewed

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Tilta for Sony a7 Cage ES-T17

Tilta offers camera accessories for professionals. Unfortunately we missed their ES-T16 cage for the original a7S review, but in this one, we’re including their new ES-T17 Cage which is made for the a7S II, a7R II and even the original a7 cameras. The cage comes as a bundle with a lot of accessories including a beautiful wooden handgrip. Let’s see how it performs in action.

Ease of Assembly and Disassembly

a7s-greenIt is very easy to mount the camera inside the Tilta a7S II Cage. A single hex screw at the base needs to be tightened.

We tried the cage with an a7R II cameras as well as an original a7S. There are two different mounting points at the cage base for either camera and there’s a separate quickrelease NATO rail plate that goes on top to offer the correct height for each camera. A very neat solution to house both cameras in a single cage that doesn’t seem to compromise functionality.

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How Securely is the Camera Attached to the Cage?

a7s-greenThe camera sits very securely inside the cage.

HDMI Cable Protector Design

a7s-orangeWe were impressed by the cable protector solution of the Tilta ES-T17 cage. It comes with all the correct cables you need that fit their locking clamp.

It’s nice that the HDMI port is tightly locked, but the USB cable, used for the side-handle, comes without protection. This is a minor concern, as the USB cable sits very tightly by itself and is somewhat protected due to the HDMI clamp underneath.

Our main concern is that the supplied HDMI adaptor cable, that transforms the a7S II’s micro HDMI into a female standard HDMI port, is too long. This gives you a big loop that always sits at the left side of the camera where it will probably block your hand while you’re pulling focus, especially on small lenses.

None of the 3 points where you can install the large HDMI port is ideal.

Another concern is that the micro HDMI cable sits so tightly inside the clamp, that it’s hard and time-consuming to attach and detach the camera. This could be improved.

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Do we Have Access to Other Outputs on the Side?

a7s-greenYes, the mic and headphone ports are easily accessible and the doors can be opened and closed while the camera is inside the cage.

Is it Possible to use the Sony XLR-K2M Audio Module?

a7s-greenYes.

Can we Easily Access the Lens Release Button?

a7s-greenYes, there is nothing blocking access.


How Well Can we Attach a Tripod Plate?

a7s-redHere the one downside of making this cage compatible with both the old a7S as well as the new a7S II becomes visible. When the cage is used with the a7S II or a7R II, a baseplate can only be installed off-center. This could have been solved by drilling the 1/4″ threads at the base differently.

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How Good is the Included Rod Support?

a7s-greenThe rod support offers a similar kind of quality as the rest of the rig. There’s a NATO quick release lock at the top and a dovetail quickrelease at the bottom. The small wingscrews are very effective as they only require very little force to lock the parts in place.

The only concern is that due to the dovetail design on the bottom, there is little surface area for a normal tripod plate on small setups.

The Movcam solution that allows you to separate the camera cage (including Metabones Mount) from the rod support would have been a nice addition to this design.

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Metabones Mount Quality

a7s-doublegreenThe Metabones Mount Quality on Tilta’s ES-T17 Cage is impressive. The screw cannot be lost as it sits securely within the small protective rod. By opening a wingscrew the mount can be easily adjusted and quickly installed. The Metabones Adapter can be attached and detached while the camera is locked inside the cage.

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The Top-handle Design

a7s-doublegreenWe found Tilta’s top handle solution very nice. You can attach it via a NATO rail on top of the cage that is quickly locked down with a wingscrew and additionally secured with a small spring loaded knob, so the handle can never fall off.

Alternatively you can use another mounting solution they provide as part of the package (Note: Tilta has not been shipping this part in the first batch of the product.) which lets you mount the handle to the front of the cage. By mounting the handle sideways you can then fit the Sony XLR-K2M audio module. This is the only handle solution that doesn’t compromise a solid and compact handle design and can at the same time be adjusted to fit the audio module without any drawbacks.

The top handle offers numerous mounting points on all sides and can easily be rotated in 90° increments with a large thumbscrew on top.

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Overall Ergonomics

a7s-doublegreenThe overall ergonomics of the Tilta Sony a7 Cage ES-T17 were outstanding. Clearly a lot of thought and celever ideas have gone into the design of the cage and the execution and craftsmanship is superior to all other cages we tested.

Very impressive is also the supplied wooden handgrip that attaches via an Arri rosette mount that can easily be relocated with a female rosette mount on your rig. The handgrip connects via USB and triggers the rec function on the camera. There’s no battery required to use the handgrip.

There are many mounting points throughout the cage including 1/4″, 3/8″ and 2 cold shoes. Also there is an EVF rod mount that can easily be attached and detached with the wingscrew that also tightens the rod.

On the downside this cage in total requires 3 differen allen keys and also a philips screwdriver. This is too much. Two allen keys max and a slotted screw for the base would have been more ideal.

Cage weight without top-handle: 291g
Cage weight with top-handle: 510g

(without rod support and side handle)

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Conclusion

This cage surprised and impressed us most. In total it received 12 green lights. Everything you need to start running and gunning is included in this package for a competitive price. The whole package costs as much as you would usually pay for a similar wooden handgrip by a different manufacturer.

The quality and design of this cage is outstanding. Overall it feels like the most mature product we tested. This cage will also serve shooters who like to use larger rigs and larger lenses with the Metabones Adapter. The Tilta Sony a7 Cage ES-T17 for us is the best cage you can get for the a7S II and a7R II or even the original a7S. This is the winner of our a7S II Cage Review.

(Note: Tilta has not been shipping the second top-handle attachment in the first batch of the product. If you are one of those customers they will send you the part. Contact Tilta here.)

Price: $399
With Side-Handle: $499

Please consider getting your gear through the link above. Thank you

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Links to each Cage Review:

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Williams Antonio Lamattina
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Nino Leitner
Guest

No – we asked several times but didn’t receive a review unit.

Williams Antonio Lamattina
Guest

Nino Leitner I could not know.I hope you will try it as soon as possible ;)

Nino Leitner
Guest

it’s mentioned in the review – yes we will make a second run if enough additional cages show up

cinema5D
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No, we didn’t receive it in time despite asking for it. Might include it in a second run with additional cages.

Williams Antonio Lamattina
Guest

cinema5D Thanks for the answer ;)

Anand Vyas
Guest

Lockcircle is a small company but its the best cage

Carlos Chiossone
Guest
Carlos Chiossone

As for your HDMI cable support. I love the idea that i can use the support that comes with the camera, main reason, i can move the camera out of the cage onto the MOVI or drone easily and don’t have to deal with reattaching a cable support.
Wish could mount rods with better support.

Ollie Kenchington
Member

I’ve been using the Smallrig cage with my A7rii and I’ve been pretty pleased with it. I use a 3″ z-rail and Zacuto recoil handle on top and a kessler mini plate on the bottom. It’s a no frills option but only cost me £40.

Randy Panado
Guest
Randy Panado

I use this one too. Great cage for the money!! The new HDMI port protector is great as well. After reading the review, I think small rig would do very well in the round up. Only thing is no metabones mount (that I’m aware of).

 Matt Eldridge
Member

On the cage’s only Amazon review, it mentions that the Mode Dial is difficult to turn on the SmallRig Cage. Have you guys had similar experiences? Or is it all good?

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