This is a short review of the Neewer Camera DLSR Cage, and the various add-ons I have used so far. Enjoy!
Parts and Assembly
There aren’t many parts. Top and bottom plates. Grips. Rail. Handle. And some screws to bolt it altogether.
Consequently, assembly is pretty rapid. Bolt the rails to the Base. Bolt on the grips. Bolt on the Top Plate. Then add the Handle. Job done.
For some purposes, that might be it. Screw in the camera and go shot. But for most, the purpose of using a cage/rig is so they can start adding various things like lights, mics, etc, onto the cage.
One of the first things you notice is that actually on this cage there aren’t that many holes. With Neewer’s little brother (good size for MILCs) the side bars have lots more holes to use
But then no grips (but you could bolt some on the side). Cages like these are more suitable for tripod mounting when a plethora of extra might be bolted on, like monitors, sound boxes, etc. Thougt for our needs it was the use on the move where the grips were a more important factor. But eh, its a cage. Want more holes that just bolt on an extension plate with them (more on that later).
These are the things I have added so far.
Quick Release Plate
Started with a quick release plate. I already have a couple of Manfrotto 501PL plates so I opted to use those, but they are quite large. Of course there are thousands of options here.
Just make sure that the tightening of the QR plate isn’t going to fouled anywhere. The camera mount on the cage’s bottom plate is quite wide. And when I first mounted the Manfrotto 577, I couldn’t tighten it because it would hit the bar running across that back of the plate.
In the case of the 577 it is straightforward to ajust the position on the tighening lever so that you can move it back a few notches, and then it will tighten before it gets to that bar.
But also notice that the tightening levers of rail and QR plate plate do come close together.
The first thing I needed was some hotshoe adaptors. I opted for the SmallRig 1241 as these have a good reputation for quality. But they are not cheap. Just 4 of these would cost more than the whole Neewer cage! As well as the main mounting screw, tiny locating pins are also included so stop any twisting – providing your cage has provision for the.
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With these in place, I could now add a light and a mic. Or what about a 2nd camera? Which could be forward facing to give you 2 different focal lenghts perhaps, as with this GoPro Hero5. Or rear facing to record you narration as you move so you can cut that footage in as needed. Or of course, the ubiquitous smartphone.
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One thing I did realize however is there is no mount hole positioned directly over the center of the camera except on the handle, which means a 2nd camera or the mic isn’t going to be perfectly aligned.
Earlier I said there weren’t that many holes on the cage itself. But there’s a large variety of extension plates you can add. They come in all shapes and sizes. Start by searching on Cheese Plates, Cheese Sticks, Cheese Rods, Cheese Bars… Note that sometimes appear to be camera specific, but they are usually not.
CAMVATE Cheese Plate Top Plate
I purchased a Camvate Cheese Plate. Which I can now bolt on the side, or to the hole in the handle – this should solve the issue just mentioned of the lack of a mount hole directly over the camera.
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I particularly went for this Camvate has it has a couple of M5 holes I needed.
Some impressions so far, and some pros and cons.
- As mentioned, there aren’t too many connection points. Mainly top plate. Grips mean no side connections. Though this is probably a matter of choice as to whether you want to use primarily on or off triped. But its a cage. Just start bolting more holes on.
- The camera mount point is fixed. It is offset of course because with most DSLRs their width is biased to the right because of their grips. But some might prefer something more central or at least adjustable.
- Excellent VFM. Quality isn’t up there with the pro-rigs, but for the casual users like me, its plenty good enough. But I can see the black coating is probably going to get scuffed for example.
Overall I am very pleased though considering the cost.
Here’s a couple of cameras mounted. The cage wasn’t assembled with these specifically in mind, but I had them to hand.
- Canon EOS M5. Canon’s latest MILC offering. It’s dwarfed by a cage this size. But its the first Canon ILC with both OIS and digital IS for video that work together to improve stabilization. So was keen to see how well they would work in the cage.
(back to an earlier point, without using the QR plate, the M5 with the mic mounted directly in its hotshoe fits within the cage)
- Sony RX10 III. Looks more at home. And gives me great quality 4K and other video options.