Small Rig 2049 - Best GH5 cage?
I recently purchased the 'Small Rig 2049' cage (along with some accessories) for my Panasonic GH5. If like me, you're slowly expanding your camera setup with an external monitor, microphones etc, you might be thinking of doing the same! In this blog post I'll run through some of my initial thoughts.
I've always loved how portable my GH5 is, and so with every exciting purchase I make, there is always a tinge of sadness as my "ninja stealth mode" slowly fades into a distant memory. I'd held off getting an external monitor for as long as I could, but after borrowing a friend's for a shoot one day, I had the dawning realization that I could never go back to the flip out screen. In the end I caved in and purchased the Atomos Shinobi 5, a super lightweight 5" screen which I could probably have got away with planting on the hot shoe of the GH5, but i decided if I'm doing this, I'm doing it properly.
Immediately the Small Rig cage feels solid in your hand. The front plates allow the camera to butt up against it nicely, and after a month of use now, I haven't needed to re-tighten anything. The cage features a slightly angled cold shoe on the top left (from the camera-human's point of view), along with camera strap holes, and a huge number of screw fitting for customisation. It certainly feels slightly odd to begin with, with your hand not being able to rest around the grip properly, but I got used to it after a week or so.
SMALLRIG GH5/GH5S Cage for Panasonic Lumix Camera (Upgraded Version) - 2049
Now, if you're in the market for a cage, I'm going to assume that you're probably hoping to mount a monitor and a microphone.
If you've been anywhere near the Small Rig website, you'll notice they have an unfathomably large number of monitor mount systems. In the end I opted for this little beauty.
I chose this one (out of 10,000) for a couple of reasons. Firstly this offers both X & Y axis rotation, so you should be able to get a decent angle on your monitor, even if you don't mount it centrally.
Secondly, I wanted the most flexibility for different working environments. I should explain. There is another version of this mount that connects directly to the Small Rig cage via screw thread, so a more permanent fixture. The beauty of this particular mount with the cold shoe is that if I'm on a shoot and having to use someone else's camera, I can get away with attaching this directly to the hot shoe of another camera should i need to, not to mention it's super quick to detach from the cage and the end of a filming day (I probably wouldn't recommend this with heavy screens, but I know how light my Shinobi is!) All in all this fitted my needs perfectly and haven't had any problems so far, the twist and swivel are both really solid, no saggy screen to report here!
Before buying the cage, I had really hoped that with some kind of black magic/ bending of physics i could mount my microphone on the cold shoe, along with a monitor mounted centrally. NO SUCH LUCK. I currently have the "Rode Video Mic Pro", which I think is a fairly standard sized microphone, so bare that in mind when you're buying this kit. Personally for me, I love having my monitor mounted centrally, I feel it helps keep the filming experience intuitive. And so a point for you to note, if you want your monitor mounted centrally, you'll probably have to purchase a cold shoe adapter plate, in order to mount your microphone on the side of the cage.
I picked up this pack of two, one for microphone, and one for my monitor mount.
As the picture shows, these come with both large and small screws, however I found the cage itself doesn't actually have many holes available for the smaller screw threads! If you are looking for a place to secure two screws, the only place on the cage for this is on the top right, by the cameras On/Off switch.
Speaking of On/Off switches, I'm lucky that i have fairly slender fingers, but I have to say, the cage gets remarkably close to the on/off switch. It's fine turning on, but you may find it a slight struggle to turn the thing back off again!
I also noted that with the cameras screw thread being used by the cage, I'm having to attach my tripod mount slightly off centre. This puts it right up close to the battery opening flap but luckily just misses. Those of you with a gimbal will also have to consider the additional width of the camera.
So here is my current setup, with side mounted microphone. Eagle-eyed watchers will notice there isn't a battery in the Atomos in the photos, with the battery in it does make the entire rig topple forward so thought i would leave it off for the photos, something to definitely bare in mind when putting your camera down though!