First off I’m going to put my hand up and admit that I previously had reservations of using a camera cage, I changed from a Canon DSLR setup to a Sony mirrorless one because I wanted the reduction in weight and I thought that adding a cage would mean adding unnecessary extra weight. With the capabilities of my newish Sony A7ii camera, I started to explore recording small video clips and it just felt clumsy when I wanted to shoot at different angles and having to rummage through my pockets and rucksack to get to all the accessories I needed from time to time.
So when SmallRig sent me their newest 1982 camera cage for the Sony A7ii, A7Rii and A7Sii, and their best-selling 1955 camera stabilizing NATO handle, I jumped at the chance to give it thorough whirl to see if adding that extra weight solved all the headaches I had when filming.
SmallRig’s 1982 camera cage is their latest edition for the Sony A7ii series mirrorless cameras. Many manufacturers release a camera cage for a certain model of camera and be done with it, but SmallRig is company that has listened to the users of their products and constantly refines its camera cages, and the 1982 is the latest product to roll out of its factory for the Sony A7ii series of cameras. From its first edition, SmallRig has rejigged the cage’s layout and refined the design by manufacturing the 1982 from one entire piece of aluminium block, add a built in hot shoe, ARRI locating hole, ARRI rosette mount and NATO rail on its side, and improved the access to your camera’s buttons, dials, switches and latches.
I have previous tried out camera cages that are comes in several pieces and needs to be assemble around the camera but I never liked them because they didn’t feel sturdy enough, and that any assembly screws are even slightly loose, the microphone picked up the tiny rattles. With the 1982 being made on one block of aluminium, it just has this sturdy feel to it and I was in the safe knowledge of having one less point of noise source to worry about.
Let’s take a quick look at how you would mount your Sony A7ii series camera into the SmallRig 1982 camera cage on the next page.
Mounting your camera inside the SmallRig 1982 camera cage is very simple; just position the camera inside the cage and then secure it into place via the mounting screw at the bottom of the cage with a coin. There are a few points to pay attention here:
- From experience I found I need to twist the screw with a coin hard to ensure the screw did not become loose, and the camera moving about inside the cage.
- Sony A7ii series cameras fit quite snuggly inside the SmallRig 1982 camera cage, so you will need to remove any protective coverings such as leather half cases and silicon sleeves to have the camera fit inside the cage.
- If you use a small prime lens you will find the camera installation very straight forward, but if you plan on using any wider lens such as I did in the video above or a cine lens, then you will need to detach the lens first, secure the camera body into the cage and then reattach the lens.
With bigger bulkier camera cages, and ones which are oversized, accessing your camera’s switched and dials mean reaching around the body or slipping a finger into a small gap to adjust the camera’s settings. At the top of the SmallRig 1982 camera cage, access to the Sony A7ii series top dials are unobstructed providing easy access, apart from the customizable C2 button, so you need to plan around this. If you do want to take photos as well, the right hand side of the camera cage has a indent where your right forefinger can press the trigger button with ease.
On the right hand side and bottom of the SmallRig 1982 camera cage, both the SD card opening and battery latch is unobstructed and again very easy to access. An ARRI rosette mount is located here which allows you to mount a rosette handle if so required.
On the left hand side of the SmallRig 1982 camera cage, both the latches that cover the audio ports and micro-HDMI ports are uncovered, and SmallRig was kind enough to provide a HDMI clamp in case of accidental knocks which would otherwise damage the port on the camera itself. You will also find an ARRI locating hole and NATO rail so you can slap on a side handle or mount a LED light or external viewfinder.