Review rating: ***
List of sponsored/free gear: None
Did I get paid for this review? No

VaravonZeusCageThis is my review of the Varavon Zeus cage for the Sony a7S II and a7R II. Is it good enough?

Goals of this review and why I purchased it

The choices for the a7S II and a7R II are limited at the time of this review. I only know of the following cages currently available:

  • Skier (didn’t find the design practical enough)
  • Tilta (it looks like a replica of the Movcam cage I own for the a7S)
  • Motion9 (played with it, didn’t like it, though it has a 3/8″ screw at the bottom so that might count for something)
  • Generic cages that fit anything (I was looking for something compact and custom designed – it shows there’s some intelligence at work)

I am not a fan of open cages (how is an open cage a cage?), they just don’t give the camera the structural integrity a cage is supposed to provide. Why settle for one less feature when you can have it all?

The Varavon Zeus Cage does:

  • Protection
  • Multiple mounting points for both 1/4″, cold shoe mounts and a rod mount for an EVF
  • Flat bottom so you don’t need spacers (almost)
  • Keeps the camera rock steady within it
  • Removable handle
  • Full access to everything, including hot shoe accessories on top
  • Is lightweight

Does the Zeus achieve all these objectives in reality?

Review

Here’s my detailed review:

Notes:

  • I meant to say “dovetail” whenever I say “arca-swiss-type”, I just couldn’t remember the word.
  • The handle is definitely its weakest link, and without two handles it’s risky.
  • The clamps are okay, but not really that useful – you can always tie your cables around the cage itself.
  • Everything squeaks – it drives me mad.
  • All screws and knobs tighten down okay, only you need to really give it everything.

Takeaways

For the moment I believe there’s no better cage for the a7R II and a7S II, but only if you buy the double handle. The single handle, at least on the version I got, is just too risky. I won’t call it a deal breaker (after all, when tightened, it’s solid enough), and the only thing I really dislike is the price.

The squeaky-ness I can get rid of with some oil. If you have seen my earlier review of the Movcam cage and are wondering which one I prefer, there’s no doubt. I’ll pick the Movcam any day. Not only is it gorgeous, it has proven itself over the course of a year under many kinds of projects and run-and-gun situations. Hopefully, I might be able to say the same thing about the Varavon Zeus next year.

You can purchase the Varavon Zeus cage (both versions) on Amazon or B&H.

5 replies on “Review: Varavon Zeus Cage for the Sony a7S II and a7R II”

  1. Sareesh Sudhakaran The top mode dial is accessible through an opening in the cage, as also the case on their GH4 cage.  Regarding a handle, they do have one – http://dfocussystem.com/top-handle – though like you, I find these frustrating and always prefer customizing my own way.  As explained in my rigging video, a Zacuto top handle using a NATO rail (what they call a “Z-Rail”) is ideal, and also, you can buy one handle and transfer it across cameras via that universal rail mount.  Simply put, we’re gonna keep buying new cages for new cameras.  I’d rather get a good handle and just keep using it with each new cage.

Comments are closed.