Panasonic GH5 Cage Review & Shootout – Zacuto vs. Movcam vs. Came-TV

We put three camera cages for the Panasonic GH5 head to head for an in-depth look, review and comparison. Came-TV, Movcam, Zacuto… Let’s see which one comes out on top on this GH5 Cage Shootout!

To use the full potential of any camera, it is crucial to find the right cage on order to mount whatever third-party accessories you may need. That said, cages don’t just add several mounting threads and cold shoes, they also improve protection of the camera body, usually add better grips and handles, and protect the HDMI connector and other ports.

In the case of the Panasonic GH5, there is now wide variety of compatible cages, and the quality differences are quite significant. For this comparison, we received three popular cages for testing, but please note that this is not an exhaustive list of Panasonic GH5 cages.

Structure of Each Review:

  • Ease of assembly and disassembly.
  • How securely is the camera attached to the cage?
  • HDMI cable protector design.
  • Do we have access to the side outputs, slots and all the buttons?
  • Is it possible to use the Panasonic XLR adapter?
  • How good is the included Rod Support?
  • Quality of the Metabones Mount.
  • The top-handle design.
  • Overall ergonomics.
  • Conclusion.

At the very end of the article I’ll summarize the main pros and cons of each cage and announce our veredict. Please note that no cage is perfect and it’s up to each user to decide which cage better fits their needs and preferences.

Came-TV

Came-TV has the simpliest design out of all three tested cages. It does not feature HDMI support, but has many threads and offers a rod support piece. How well did it perform?

Ease of assembly and disassembly

It is quite easy to assemble and disassemble the camera in the cage. It just secures with one screw at the bottom in the camera’s tripod screw hole. The cage itself also has quite a big opening for the lens, so even inserting the GH5 with a bigger lens mounted should not be a problem.

How securely is the camera attached to the cage?

In my opinion, the camera doesn’t seem to be very well secured. The cage doesn’t fit the sides of the camera too tightly and the bottom screw is the only thing holding it in position. If not tightened properly, the camera could turn a bit in the cage. On the other hand, the cage has quite a close fit on the front side, so if the camera does turn, it would just be a few millimetres. Attachment is not optimal, though.

HDMI cable protector design

The Came-TV GH5 cage does not provide any kind of HDMI protection. However, it is however possible to use the plastic HDMI protector that comes with the GH5. This works quite well in my opinion, although it does not fix the connector itself, but just the cable.

Do we have access to the side outputs, slots and all the buttons?

With this cage we have good access to all the slots, buttons and outputs of the Panasonic GH5. It is not a problem to use the flipout LCD screen either.

Is it possible to use the Panasonic XLR adapter?

Yes, it is possible to mount the adapter even with the top handle attached. Keep in mind, though, that when both XLR inputs have cables plugged in, most of the cage’s threads on the top right side will not be available, as XLR connectors take up quite a bit of space. This of course applies to all other cages too.

How good is the included rod support?

The included 15mm rod support is quite good. It is made out of aluminium and can slide from side to side under the cage. There are two knobs on the side – one for tightening the inserted rods and one for tightening the possible tripod plate under it. There were unfortunately no rods included in the package.

Metabones mount quality

There is unfortunately no Metabones adapter support included with the cage and it is not even possible to screw on the original Metabones foot as the cage’s front side is too thick.

The top-handle design

I like the top handle design and ergonomics. It is an all-aluminium handle with 12 threads and one cold shoe on the top. It is possible to unscrew two bolts holding it and change the position of the handle to be either forward-facing (necessary to accommodate the XLR adapter) or backward-facing above the camera body. That is it for possible options, though – the total number of available positions of the handle is two.

Overall ergonomics

Came-TV cage has a simple but functional aluminium design. It has not such a tight fit like the other cages in this review, but even holding the camera with your right hand is not a problem as the gap on the right side between camera and cage is not so big. Maybe with smaller hands this could be an issue. I also liked the amount of threads this cage offers.

It is also possible to keep the neck strap mounts on the camera when using this cage. People who occasionally use their GH5 for a photo work (like me) will definitely appreciate this. I also liked the extra cold shoe on the right top side.

The total weight of the Came-TV cage is 358g (208g cage only, 150g the handle only).

Conclusion

The Came-TV cage is simple yet functional with a few smaller flaws. Not very suitable for people looking for a tight fit solution. It is suitable for frequent mounting and removing of the camera.

Movcam

The next in our test is the magnesium GH5 cage from Movcam. It is the only magnesium cage I tested and I like the choice of material, which pairs up quite nicely with the magnesium GH5 body. It comes with a top handle, HDMI support and rod support with two 15mm rods included.

Ease of assembly and disassembly

The process of inserting the camera in the Movcam cage or removing it is quite easy. It is held in place only with the bottom screw.

How securely is the camera attached to the cage?

This magnesium cage offers a really tight fit – perhaps the tightest of the three cages. The cage really follows the contours of the camera and it’s therefore no problem to hold the camera with your right hand as if there was no cage at all.

Furthermore, there is a small pin on the bottom right side of the cage which goes into the little hole in the GH5 body next to the battery slot. This prevents the cage from turning and helps achieve a very secure attachment. Great little detail!

HDMI cable protector design

Movcam came up with their own HDMI protector design for their GH5 cage. It looks very similar to the original plastic HDMI protector from Panasonic, but it is made out of magnesium and gives the impression of a better build quality. It works quite well as it attaches directly to the cage with two screws, and with another two screws to the GH5 body. This helps with further fixing the camera inside the cage.

You will need a screwdriver to mount the HDMI support (as opposed to with the plastic thumbscrew-only HDMI protector from Panasonic), but those are the same tripod screws used to fix the camera’s bottom screw, so I don’t see this as a negative point as you only need one screwdriver to “rule them all”. Just like the original HDMI protector from Panasonic, the Movcam HDMI protector does not limit the opening or closing of the LCD screen, and it also just secures the cable, not the connector itself.

Do we have access to the side outputs, slots and all the buttons?

Yes, with the Movcam GH5 cage all buttons, dials, outputs and slots are very well accessible.

Is it possible to use the Panasonic XLR adapter?

Yes, mounting the Panasonic XLR adapter is not a problem even when the top handle is attached. When using both XLR inputs, the connectors and cables will cover the cold shoe on top right side of the cage. As there are no 1/4-20 threads in this part of the Movcam cage, this is something to bear in mind.

How good is the included Rod Support?

The Movcam GH5 cage came with a rod support piece and even a pair of 15mm rods (200mm long), although I saw that neither B&H or CVP include the rods in the package.

I found the build quality to be really good. The rod support is also made out of magnesium, while the rods are aluminium and feature the Movcam logo. They leave an impression of good build quality.

Metabones mount quality

The rod attachment offers a support for a Metabones adapter, with a screw going directly into the adapter foot.

[EDIT:] There is a Metabones support piece available even without the rod attachment. It is screwed in the lower part of the cage itself and when needed it can be easily placed underneath the cage and secured with a spare screw in the Metabones adapter thread. At the same time when not needed this support piece can be screwed back in the cage and it is available there when needed again. Very well designed piece.
The top-handle design

The design of the top handle is a bit different than the other two cages in this test, as it leaves space for one finger on the other side of the part connecting it to the cage. I don’t see this as an issue, but rather as something that takes a little getting used to.

What I found great about the handle is that its design allow it to be mounted in four directions, and it can even be mounted on the side of the cage using the included NATO rail. Those two screws in the handle itself are for mounting the NATO rail to the cage.

The handle features a magnesium and wood design, and offers two cold shoes: one on the top and one on the front side. It does not have any side threads and only three top threads, but offers a 15mm rod hole. Overall, a great flexible handle.

Overall ergonomics.

Overall, the ergonomics of the Movcam cage are very good. I was impressed by the lightweight magnesium design of all parts of the cage and that thanks to its very tight fit it can actually stay on the camera for most uses. It is possible to leave the neck strap mounts on the camera too. There are even strap mounts on the cage itself, in both the top-right and bottom-right corners.

The cage features a cold shoe on the right side above the camera grip, for a total of three cold shoes, which should be enough for most uses. It doesn’t offer too many mounting threads, though, with none whatsoever on the top right side. That is a slight downside.

The cage alone weighs only 140g, while the cage with the HDMI support and handle weighs 329g. The rod support weighs another 245g.

Conclusion

With the Movcam cage, I can really appreciate the lightweight tight-fit design, the variable handle and use of magnesium. The little details like that small pin holding the GH5 firmly in place, the little Metabones support piece incorporated in the cage itself and the neck strap mounts are also very nice. Its only downside for me was the lack of threads on the top side.

Zacuto

The last cage in this review comes from the American manufacturer Zacuto. Its design certainly looks quite nice and also features a tight-fit design, glossy aluminium and wooden grips. It comes also with a custom HDMI support piece and built-in Metabones support part. How well does it perform?

Ease of assembly and disassembly

Assembling the GH5 in the Zacuto cage is not so easy and was a bit of a challenge for me. As it’s a tight-fit cage, assembly requires you to first completely remove the neck-strap rings, which is not easy and requires tools or long nails.

You then have to unscrew the small screws on the cage’s neck strap mounts. After that, you insert the camera in the cage and secure it with the bottom screw. This was also wasn’t so easy as the GH5 does not fit in the cage completely and will pop into place only after the bottom screw has been tightened. Finding the tripod hole on the GH5 with the bottom screw from the Zacuto cage always took more time than with the other cages.

 

After that, those two little screws need to be tightened back in place – definitely not a cage for someone who plans to take the GH5 out of the cage and back in regularly. Also, the lens opening on the front of the cage is not too big, so it could be necessary to unmount large lenses before inserting the camera. I tested mounting the camera with the Metabones Speed Booster attached and that wasn’t a problem, but anything bigger could be.

How securely is the camera attached to the cage?

The camera sits really securely in the cage. Those two little screws going through neck strap holes really fix the camera in its position securely and there is no turning or moving possible. This is a plus.

HDMI cable protector design

The Zacuto GH5 cage comes with an HDMI cable protector made of aluminium with an optional L-shaped HDMI connector. The build quality is quite good and it actually does not attach to the cage in any way, so it can also be used separately. It only attaches to the small threads in the GH5 body. It is actually the only HDMI support out of the three cages that fixes the HDMI connector and not only the cable. This is a clear advantage.

It is worth noting that you will need a small screwdriver to attach the Zacuto HDMI protector, unlike with the original plastic HDMI protector that comes with the camera and has thumbscrews. It is possible to use the plastic Panasonic HDMI protector with the Zacuto cage, but you will not be able to attach the side handle, because that adapter simply takes more space.

Furthermore, there are four very tiny allen screws on the Zacuto HDMI adapter. You need to screw them in to have access to the USB-C connector under the HDMI protector. We did not get an allen key with it, though, so hopefully it will be something they include in the final package.

Do we have access to the side outputs, slots and all the buttons?

In terms of button accessibility, negative points for the Zacuto GH5 cage. The fn6 button next to the lens is not accessible, as the cage design completely prevents from pressing it.

The lens release button is available but it is quite deep because of the NATO rail on the left side, and can only be pressed with a small and thin finger. There is good access to all other outputs, buttons and slots.

Is it possible to use the Panasonic XLR adapter?

Yes, it is possible to mount the adapter even with the top handle attached. Again, bear in mind that when using the XLR inputs, the connectors and cables will cover most of the threads on right top side of the cage.

How good is the included Rod Support?

There is no rod support included with this cage. Zacuto offers an optional rod support piece, but I didn’t have a chance to test it.

Metabones Mount Quality

There is a Metabones adapter mount on the cage and it works quite well. It has a very similar design to the original Metabones foot piece and screws on directly to the cage. This is a nice advantage as it is not necessary to mount a rod support piece in order to have the Metabones fixed to the cage.

GH5 Cage

The top-handle design

The top handle does not come with the cage and needs to be purchased separately. It attaches to the cage via a NATO rail on the top of the cage and tightens with a knob. It has a nice looking aluminium and wooden design, but has no threads on the side. It has a cold shoe in the front and ten threads on the top side. It also has an (optional) 15mm side rod mount at the end. The handle can only be positioned facing forwards or back, and can move back and forth on the NATO rail.

Overall ergonomics

The cage is designed to be a tight fit. It does not protect the camera on the right side and has no threads there, offering a wrist strap instead. The strap reminded me of older consumer handycams, but I personally did not find it useful in this configuration. Maybe it was because my hands are rather big, but it was not very convenient to hold the camera with the wrist strap when trying to operate it and pressing some of the buttons on the top, even though I had the wrist strap adjusted to the maximum size. Maybe it works better with smaller hands, or it can be just a matter of getting used to it.

The side handle offered nice grip and an extra cold shoe on top. Overall I like how many threads this cage offers and how well the camera sits inside.

The cage alone weighs 268g, the cage with the top handle 426g and the side handle another 137g. The whole combo consisting of the GH5 cage with both handles (with the 15mm rod support on the top handle) weighs 563g.

Conclusion

The Zacuto GH5 cage has some nice design ideas, but also a few downfalls. I don’t quite understand covering the fn6 button and, thanks to the difficulty of assembling and disassembling, it is not a good option for someone who needs to unmount the camera often. On the other hand, the Zacuto cage is a tight-fit and offers its own neck strap mounts, so maybe leaving the camera in the cage for every purpose might be an option.

Zacuto offers many optional accessories, like the rod support piece or the flat Atomos Inferno mount. I did not have a chance to test them, though.

The Best Panasonic GH5 Cage – Results

For me, the Movcam is the winner of this GH5 cage comparison review despite being the cheapest of all three. The main advantages of this cage are: lightweight magnesium design, tight fit, variable handle, good rod support included, good-quality HDMI protector and a total of three cold shoes. Main disadvantages: Not so many threads on the cage.

The second place goes to Zacuto cage. The main advantages are: tight fit, lightweight design, secure camera attachment, left side handle, good direct HDMI support piece, Metabones support in the cage itself. Main disadvantages: Difficulty of assembly and disassembly, covers the fn6 button, no rod support piece included, the most expensive cage of this review.

The last place goes to the Came-TV GH5 cage. Main advantages are: simple design with no major flaws, included rod support. Main disadvantages: camera does not sit so securely inside, no Speed Booster support, no HDMI support.

Did this shootout help you make up your mind about your future GH5 cage purchase? Let us know in the comments below!

DOWNLOAD OUR MAVIC PRO LUT
Please enter a valid e-mail address. We will send the download to your inbox.
We hate spam! Your e-mail will be stored with cinema5D.com exclusively and you can unsubscribe from our newsletters at any time.
c5d-logo
PLEASE CHECK YOUR INBOX AND CONFIRM YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS
THANK YOU
Please check your inbox and confirm your e-mail address.
c5d-logo
DOWNLOAD OUR DJI INSPIRE 1 LUT
Please enter a valid e-mail address. We will send the download to your inbox.
We hate spam! Your e-mail will be stored with cinema5D.com exclusively and you can unsubscribe from our newsletters at any time.
c5d-logo
PLEASE CHECK YOUR INBOX AND CONFIRM YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS
DOWNLOAD OUR PANASONIC GH5 instaLUT B1010
Please enter a valid e-mail address. We will send the download to your inbox.
We hate spam! Your e-mail will be stored with cinema5D.com exclusively and you can unsubscribe from our newsletters at any time.
c5d-logo
GET 5 SONG LICENSES FREE!
Subscribe to the cinema5D + Music Vine newsletters
and get 5 songs and licenses for commercial online projects at musicvine.net.
Your e-mail will be stored with cinema5D and Music Vine. You can unsubscribe from our newsletters at any time.
We will not share your information with a third party.
MV-logo
c5d-logo
PLEASE CHECK YOUR INBOX AND CONFIRM YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS