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

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Varavon Cage for a7R II, a7S II

In our first cage review for the original a7S, Varavon received our award for the best cage out of all the ones we tested. The new design however is very different from the first cage, so let’s see how the Varavon Cage for a7R II, a7S II performs.

Ease of Assembly and Disassembly

a7s-greenIt is very easy to assemble and disassemble this cage. There is one single slotted screw that attaches the camera at the base. The screw is locked inside the cage and can’t fall out. Nice.

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How Securely is the Camera Attached to the Cage?

a7s-orangeThe camera doesn’t move inside the cage when the base screw is sufficiently tightened. Unfortunately the camera didn’t sit straight in our cage and was raised about 1mm on the right hand side, probably due to some machining flaw on the wooden part.

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HDMI Cable Protector Design

a7s-doubleredThe new cable protector that Varavon introduced with this cage is very different to the design of their cage for the original a7S. Unfortunately it doesn’t work for us at all as it merely attaches the cable to the side of the cage, but doesn’t actually protect the HDMI port or prevent the cable from being detached.

The screw-in cable clamp is a very nice idea and it allows you to tighten down a cable with a thumbscrew easily and quickly. But besides holding the cable in place there is little to no protection. Also, in case you wonder, this only works when the clamp is installed further away from the port, as otherwise this would put too much strain on the cable and HDMI port.

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Do we Have Access to Other Outputs on the Side?

a7s-greenYes there’s sufficient space to access all the connections on the side.

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

a7s-greenYes.

Can we Easily Access the Lens Release Button?

a7s-greenYes. Even though we wish the wooden grip on the front wasn’t there, there’s still enough space to easily access the lens release button.


How Well Can we Attach a Tripod Plate?

a7s-orangeJust like on their cage for the original a7S, there’s also not much surface area at the base of this cage to attach a tripod plate securely. If your rig isn’t huge and you lock the screw down tightly this cage will still sit tightly enough.

How Good is the Included Rod Support?

The cage does not include a rod support and Varavon does not have an optional rod support that would work with this cage.

Metabones Mount Quality

a7s-redThis cage has no Metabones Mount option, which is why we rate this point red.

The Top-handle Design

a7s-orangeThe top-handle of the old a7S cage had outstanding attributes. Unfortunately the top-handle for the new cage didn’t fully convince us. While the NATO rail attachment is a nice idea, the fact that there are no security pins on that rail (like on the Tilta Cage) make it a bit dangerous to use.

Another aspect that adds to that “insecure” feeling is that the handle cannot be fully locked to the clamp attachment. There’s always a little bit of play.

Unfortunately the audio module still can’t be attached while the handle is installed.

On the positive side, there is a rod mount for an EVF, albeit this should be positioned a bit lower and there are two cold shoes, as well as multiple 1/4″ and 3/8″ mounting points all around. Also the top-handle can be rotated in 90° increments.

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Overall Ergonomics

a7s-greenOverall we do like the ergonomics of this cage. It is well crafted, very lightweight and has mounting points to attach accessories on all sides while having a very low profile at the same time. It is easy to use and works quickly, just like the first a7S cage.

On the negative side we’re missing more mounting points on the top surface. The distribution of threads is actually quite sparse there and the wooden grip on the front didn’t work for us as it makes the camera sit less nicely in our hands. We would have preferred no grip at all.

You can get this cage with an optional second handle that let’s you use the cage in a side-handle configuration. There seems to be a trend where manufacturers build rigs like that, but this hasn’t worked for anyone of us here at cinema5D. Maybe it is simply not our favourite shooting style as we like to control our lens and camera while shooting.

Cage weight without top-handle: 251g
Cage weight with top-handle: 448g

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Conclusion

Surprisingly the Varavon Cage for a7R II, a7S II didn’t perform so well in our test this time. While there are many good things about this cage, like the lightweight and ergonomic design, there are also many things we found problematic like the loose and insecure top handle, the missing Metabones Mount or missing HDMI port protector. It seems that this cage is not here and not there and actually a step backwards compared to Varavon’s cage for the first a7S. We hope the company will consider to go back to the old design for their next cage and take the nice improvements of the new cage along for the ride.

Price: $312

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
Guest

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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