Smallrig Camera Cage For Sony A7iii Review
Smallrig is a company based out of China who make all sorts of metal accessories for cameras. When the Sony A7iii came out, they create the Sony A7iii Smallrig Camera Cage.
So what exactly is a camera cage? It’s the ultimate inspector gadget device of the photography world. A camera cage allows a photographer or videographer to mount all sorts of accessories using the cage’s threaded 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 accessory mounting points. It also functions as protective barrier to bumps and dings that may occur when using your camera.
When deciding to purchase a camera cage for your Sony A7iii or other manufacturer’s camera, it’s a good idea to know what you want in terms of a cage size. A full cage will wrap around your camera, but it does limit your ability to take photos because the cage gets in the way of your buttons. I feel the full cage is strictly a video production setup, rather than a photography setup. A half cage offers more access and freedom to your camera’s setting dials and buttons, but limits the amount of accessories you can attach to the cage.
When we received our Smallrig setup, it came with the following
- Full Smallrig Camera Cage
- Smallrig handle (Right Side)
- Smallrig Nato handle
- SmallRig Nato Quick Release Safety Rail
- SmallRig HDMI Cable Clamp Lock for SmallRig Cage
Most of the above items included various 4mm hex wrenches as well as screws to mount the accessories to the cage. The cage is chalked full of 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 holes for various mounting options and looks a bit like Swiss Cheese.
Smallrig Camera Cage For Sony A7iii Review
Camera cages usually come in 2 forms including half cages and full cages. Obviously full cages provide a bit more protection and allows for more accessories attachment points, but are a little heavier.
One of the shortcomings to the Smallrig full cage was the lack of a quick release mount for the camera. While the Smallrig full cage offers plenty of protection for your camera, it simply isn’t optimal for anyone who wants to use a cage for shooting video and also take pictures. Smallrig does offer a half cage with a quick release plate, which makes it more useful for quickly removing the camera for photography. My guess is at some point Smallrig will also offer the quick release setup for a newly designed full camera cage.
Smallrig Handle (Right Side)
One of the cage accessories you can buy from Smallrig is a really nice wooden handle. You can purchase either a right or left side handle or both. In order to attach the handle you will need a Rosette bolt on mount. The mount requires both 4mm hex wrench and a small phillips head screwdriver.
While the handle comes with it’s own thumb screw fastener, a better option, is to purchase the Smallrig Quick Release Rosette clamp rather than the bolt on one. The Smallrig Rosette quick release will make it much easier and quicker to attach or detach the handle.
Smallrig Nato Handle
We also received the Smallrig Nato Handle, which is typically mounted to the top or side of the cage. The Nato handle comes with 2 cold shoe mounts, making it perfect for attaching a microphone or a video monitor. The Nato handle does require a Nato Rail and in our case we received the Nato Quick Release Safety Rail.
One issue I had with the Nato handle was the orientation of the handle clamp. I would have been nice to reposition it vertically instead horizontally. While it certainly works as designed, having the option to turn the clamp would allow for more attachment points on the cage. I found that I was limited to where I could put the handles. A company called Wooden Camera offers a handle that has the option to rotate the handle.
While the Smallrig Camera Cage for Sony A7iii is good, after using it, I feel the Smallrig half cage offers more benefit for someone who likes to do video and take pictures. I felt the full cage really limited access to the cameras buttons and dials and was more useful as a video tool rather than an all around camera tool.
The other downside is a lack of a quick release plate allowing you to remove the camera. While the cage certainly offers a lot of protection, it just seems a bit of a pain to have to remove the camera every time you want to take pictures.
On the plus side, the Smallrig full cage with all it’s 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 holes offer a ton of flexibility to mount your camera cage accessories.
Check out Smallrig (https://www.smallrig.com/) for the full line of camera equipment and cage accessories.
Here is what I suggest purchasing from Smallrig for your Sony A7iii or other compatible Smallrig camera setup. With this rig setup you have the ability to add a monitor and everything that attaches to the cage is quick release, with the exception of the Wooden Camera Nato handle. You have the ability to use a microphone using the Wooden Camera’s cold shoe or the camera’s hot shoe.
- Smallrig Half Cage with quick release plate
- Smallrig Left Wooden Handle
- Smallrig Rosette quick release
- SmallRig Field Monitor Holder Mount with Quick Release NATO Clamp
- Wooden Camera Nato Handle
- 2 Smallrig Nato Rails