The new Sony a7S II and Sony a7R II are currently leading the list of most powerful affordable large sensor cameras (Check out our comparison Review). To make those cameras work with third party accessories, a good camera cage is often a must. Read on to find the best Sony a7S II Cage (and a7R II Cage) out of 8 we tested. Review by Sebastian Wöber & Johnnie Behiri In August we reviewed the best cages for the original Sony a7S and now we take a look at cages for the new a7S II and a7R II cameras that share an identical body design. There are more cages out there that we didn’t test. Here we’re reviewing the ones that manufacturers sent to us in time to meet our publication deadline. We followed the same basic review guidelines of our first test, but also took reader comments into account. In particular Metabones adapter support was one review point that some of you were more interested in. We tried to keep it short, but this review is extensive. That’s why we split the reviews for each single cage into a separate page. Do you Need a Cage? In the age of small cinema cameras the camera cage has become the most popular accessory by now. But it is not always a good idea to follow the trend. First here’s a checklist to see if you really need a cage for your application. Mounting accessories on your camera? Cages provide mounting points (standard threads and coldshoes) so you can mount stuff. This is the main purpose of a camera cage, as the Sony a7 cameras by themselves don’t provide any other mouting points, besides one single hotshoe on top. Protection and Ergonomics. Cages protect the camera and can enhance the ergonomics, by offering a more handy form-factor or handle rec-triggers. On the other hand they add weight and some of thembulkyness. So if lightweight and compactness is your #1 concern, think again. HDMI cable protection. The original Sony a7S offered external 4K recording. As the new a7S II and a7R II have internal 4K, HDMI protection is less of a necessity. However if you intend to use HDMI for external screens, EVF or recording, then a cage that protects the HDMI port is essential. Lens Mount Support. If you use larger lenses or rigs with focusing gears, a solid lensport is a good idea. Sony’s native E-Mount is not the most sturdy of mounts and many shooters work with a Metabones adapter to use Canon EF mount lenses on the a7S II and a7R II. Why this Cage Comparison? Because there are huge quality differences between cages and you will not be happy with just any of them. Most of them actually are not recommended. Don’t just order a Sony a7S II cage blindly. You should weigh all the pro’s & con’s of the cages we present, so you can decide which of them will tick most or all your boxes. In our conclusion we will tell you which one we liked best, which ones we recommend and which need improvement. 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 other outputs on the side? Is it possible to use the Sony XLR-K2M audio module? Can we easily access the lens release button? How well can we attach a tripod plate? How good is the included Rod Support? Metabones Mount Quality. The top-handle design. Overall ergonomics. Conclusion How We Rate We rated each point as follows: Double-green: In some rare cases we decided to give a double-green rating for outstanding performance/design. Green: The product performs as it should. Orange: There are some issues, but it’s ok. Red: The product didn’t live up to our expectations. Double-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. 8Sinn a7RII / a7SII Cage Came-Tv Rig for a7SII / a7RII Movcam a7RII / a7SII Cage Kit Moza Cage for Mirrorless Cameras Shape Sony a7S II / a7R II Cage Skier LiteCage for A7RII / A7SII Tilta for Sony a7 Cage ES-T17 Varavon Cage for a7R II, a7S II GO TO PAGE 2 → Links to each Cage Review: Page 1: Introduction Page 2: 8Sinn a7RII / a7SII Cage Page 3: Came-Tv Rig for a7SII / a7RII Page 4: Movcam a7RII / a7SII Cage Kit Page 5: Moza Cage for Mirrorless Cameras Page 6: Shape Sony a7S II / a7R II Cage Page 7: Skier LiteCage for A7RII / A7SII Page 8: Tilta for Sony a7 Cage ES-T17 Page 9: Varavon Cage for a7R II, a7S II Page 10: WinnerRead more
If 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: Cages provide mounting points (standard threads and coldshoes) so you can mount accessories They securely lock the micro-HDMI cable in place when you use the HDMI feed (for external 4K recording) They protect the camera They usually come with a handle, so it’s easier to carry your rig They make you feel more professional :) 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. Double-green: In some rare cases we decided to give a double-green rating for outstanding performance. Green: The product performs as it should. Orange: There are some issues, but it’s ok. Red: The product didn’t live up to our expectations. Double-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 GO TO PAGE 2 → Links to each A7s Cage Review: Page 1: Introduction Page 2: IndiPRO Tools Thor a7S Cage Page 3: LockCircle BirdCage A7 Page 4: Movcam Cage for Sony a7S Page 5: Motionnine CubeCage for Sony a7S Page 6: Skier LiteCage for A7 Page 7: Varavon Armor II a7S Cage Page 8: WinnersRead more
Sony listened to users and developed something completely new with the FS7, an ergonomic camera. Yet despite their efforts there’s always going to be points for improvements, this article looks at how which manufactures offer what, to make the FS7 a more shooter friendly camera. The Sony has hit the ground running with the FS7, elaborating on the popular and affordable high framerate Sony FS700, adding 4K internal recording, a much stronger XAVC codec and perhaps most surprisingly for Sony, far better ergonomics. A specification list seemingly always comes first with a Sony large sensor camera; the FS700 and FS100 are…. a challenge to operate. The FS7 is a different beast, a shorter body, removable viewfinder and handle make it far easier to operate out of the box; Sony really listened to users with the need for ergonomics. However, there’s always room for improvement (at least that’s what every retailer I’m about to talk about will tell you). The shoulder pad was a great idea, but sits quite far back and lacks adjustment therefore is not ideal in many situations. The solution? Well there are a few, loads in fact considering the camera was only announced in September. Here we’ll take a look at what’s currently on offer. Zacuto Price range $585 – $1200 We’ve talked a lot about Zacutos Next Generation Recoil Rigs in the recent past. Fresh out of the factory and boasting capability with pretty much every camera setup there is; the FS7 is no exception. A Zacuto Recoil Rig is built on a simple philosophy, balance. Find the centre point your rig and sit it on your shoulder; Zacuto state this is nearly always where the lens meets the body. The VCT Universal Baseplate is the heart of this system, add an Axis Mini for the FS7 EVF, and you’re pretty much ready to go. The only problem with a perfectly balanced (with no counter balance weight) system is quite often the camera sits back on your shoulder, meaning you have to reach back to make settings changes. With the supplied FS7 handle, this is less of a problem. Simply mount a rosette to the baseplate and you’re ready to go. A Zacuto Z-Drive and Tornado relocates focus control also if you want to bring your left hand further down too. Wooden Camera Price range $938 – $2,350 Wooden Camera has taken the more tripod approach to its accessories. Offering a 3 different kits for the FS7, the Base Advanced and Pro. I’ll discuss what the Pro kit includes. A top cheeseplate offers a whole host of threaded mounting points for various accessories, including the existing handle if you require, or an improved rotating Wooden Camera option. The top handle connects via popular Nato quick release, and offers cold shoe, 15mm and 19mm compatibility for accessories. Most notably is the 15mm side connector to accommodate the native FS7 viewfinder mount or Wooden Camera EVF mount. The FS7 Quick Base offers two 15mm rods up front, and can accommodate another two on the rear for further mounting (more on that shortly). The baseplate adheres to the Arri dovetail plate meaning compatibility with existing shoulder rigs etc. is quick and easy; I love how much fore and aft adjustment you get with this setup. Lastly the Pro system from Wooden Camera takes advantage of two rear facing 15mm rod connectors on the baseplate, offering a battery plate to attach V-lock sized batteries. Shape Price range $399 – $2285 The Shape Rig returns to a shoulder rig orientated design. Offering a baseplate with a nice shoulder pad, 15mm rods to the front and rear as well as a dropped down handle for the left hand side. The right side makes way for Sonys existing handle, offering a rosette to accommodate this. The FS7 Pro Bundle from Shape includes their existing Follow Focus Pro, a hard stopped multi directional follow focus with height adjustable arm. As you can see from the pictures, due to the placement of the camera and shoulder pad, this rig will easily become front heavy, so best compatible with users adopting a v-lock battery system or the raw recorder to counter balance. Shape has also developed a lightweight baseplate solution for the FS7. Supplied with dual 8″ long 15mm rods, rosettes on both sides and a delta plate on the bottom for use with VCT style plates minus the rear-locating pin. Movcam Price range $990 – $7000 Movcam has become increasingly popular with their bespoke camera accessories. Notably their fantastic Sony A7S cage, which I myself own. The Movcam FS7 rig benefits from a half cage style design, running up the back of the dumb side of the camera, offering a host of threads as it goes and protecting the EVF cable connection. The baseplate is split into two parts, the bottom offering a standard VCT connection & dual 15mm rods, and the top a more compact Arca-Swiss dovetail mount. The connection between the two offers moderate fore and aft adjustment of the camera setup; the slim dovetail mount means you can add a shoulder pad for shoulder setups. Arri rosettes can be found on both sides of the baseplate to accommodate the Sony FS7 handle. The half cage also providing one on the dumb side to enable a rear mounted handle setup. On the top, a 15mm rod connection point and rod adds some adjustment to the current FS7 viewfinder. There’s also an option to remove the existing handle with a threaded-out Movcam equivalent that stretches the length of the setup. Lastly to mention is the neat little adjustable lens mount support. Between Sony E and Canon EF there’s often a tiny amount of play (a popular lens solution for FS7 users), and this support just firms that connection up. Vocas Price range $745 – $1900 The Vocas FS7 has similarities to both Wooden Camera and Movcam solutions. Primarily designed for tripod use, but by using existing common plates it’s compatible with a host of other setups including shoulder pads and rigs. The baseplate takes the curved shape of the underside of the FS7. Like many here it offers dual 15mm rods up front and a rosette on either side for use with the FS7 handle and popular Vocas wooden ergonomic handles. In order to keep the profile of the plate thin, rods do not pass through and instead a separate small module is used to connect 15mm rods at the rear. A top cheeseplate offers a wide variety of threaded mounting options, as well as inclusion of a heavyweight handle, and 15mm rod support for existing EVF. Tilta Price range $700 – $2800 The Tilta rig for FS7 is the most cage-like setup I’ve discussed so far. Expanding up from a baseplate across the front of the camera, serving as a front armour and offering many threads for mounting accessories. A top half cheeseplate does as many others in this list do, but rather than stretch the entire surface area of the top of the camera, the Tilta plate resides only around the sides meaning the top handle stays put. A back top plate piggy backs existing mounting threads and hangs a battery plate down the back on the camera for V-Lock solutions. The baseplate also equipped with dual 15mm rods and rosettes houses a curved shoulder pad. The pad sits pretty far back on the rig however, so like the Shape rig would be recommended for use with a V-lock battery or two (or a lot of rear counter balance). Like the Movcam, the Tilta rig also has an adjustable lens mount support, and also has the option to upgrade the system to accommodate larger 19mm rods. Arri Price Range – €695 – €2695 Arri has broken down their support into four main packages – Lightweight EF Mount Kit, Lightweight PL Mount Kit, Studio Kit 15mm and Studio Kit 19mm. Each package contains the same baseplate with front and rear rod support, an inbuilt shoulder pad plus rosettes for attaching handles. A raised top cheeseplate also runs throughout each package as well as a rear plate that connects via dual rods to accommodate batteries and/or counter weight. What’s unique about the Arri kits are the inclusions of matteboxes, with each package getting a slightly different flavour. The EF Mount Kit benefits from 4 flagged box that bolts directly to dual extended rods. The PL mount kit takes advantage of a sturdier camera mate and mounts directly to the end of lens with top and bottom flags only as standard. Both studio kits return to a fully flagged matte box, connecting via 15mm and 19mm respectively. Threaded rings, clamp adaptors and reduction rings are available for the relevant matte boxes, the Studio kits get a hard matte set and filter frames also. Further more for the studio kits is inclusion of a top handle, the lightweight kits making use of the native Sony handle. The Lens Adapter Support LAS-1 fits a huge range of third party lens adapters, including EF and PL adapters, as well as popular special ones like the Metabones Speedbooster. Lastly, each kit comes with a hand grip, microphone bracket and follow focus (Mini hard stop and MFF-2 for Lightweight kits, FF-5 for Studios). Chrosziel Price – $770 If you’re just looking for a baseplate, Chrosziel offer the LWS 401-FS7. Based on a 15mm rod system but compatible with existing Chrosziel 19mm products also, the bespoke FS7 baseplate offers an additional shoulder pad, Arri rosettes and VCT baseplate connectivity. A nice feature with this baseplate is the multi connection points of the camera body, using 1/4″ and 3/8″ threads as well as 3 point further back to ensure a solid mate with camera and baseplate. Whilst the philosophy of each of these rigs is very much the same, each design is fairly different from the next. Due to the modular nature of the Sony FS7, manufacturers have chosen which parts to improve and which parts to leave alone. Only the user can decide which works best in any situation. In many, a combination of any of the above can often be the best solution. It’s quite likely I’ve missed an FS7 solution, or in a day/week/month another comes out that is equally as useful. Please do share any rigs and setups you’ve seen that make the FS7 an ergonomically better camera.Read more
We thank our sponsor B&H who has made cinema5D’s news coverage of NAB 2012 possible. Get your gear through B&H to support this platform: www.bhphotovideo.com Movcam is a fast growing company with a line of very interesting products that provide high quality at an unexpected pricepoint. Just the kind of products 16×9 inc. is selling which is why a stop at their booth is mandatory for me. Visit their site here: LINK Indeed, testing the follow focus and mattebox I can say they have a decent build quality that obviously wants to compete with high standard industry leaders such as the Arri MFF-2. The $727 Movcam MF-2 follow focus (as seen on the left) is obviously a variation of Arri’s design. However Movcam didn’t just copy other products, like many do nowardays, instead it looks like they were trying to combine some of the best features with affordable solutions and upgraded them a little to provide a semi-pro line of gear: Like the follow focus articulation for example that has internal teeth to provide better stability while the Arri MFF-2 has a smoother frame joint for more precision while sacrificing the extra lock tightness. The Movcam Mattebox MM3 is $584. The swingaway version is $916. You can find over 100 other products by Movcam here.Read more
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