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What is a universal camera cage?
A universal camera cage is a cage that can be fitted to any sort of DSLR or mirrorless camera. Some cameras are short, while others are tall. Some cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is wide.
The problem with custom-fit camera cages is, they’re expensive, and once the size/shape of the model changes on the next iteration, the cage pretty much becomes useless.
A universal cage is something you can buy once and use it for years, even decades. I’ve been looking for universal cages, and some of them are expensive for what is basically a simple accessory.
What do you really need from a camera cage?
Protection is not something I need from a camera cage. At best it can protect from scratches, and I hope it’s clear I write for professionals who use their gear to make money. Scratches are a non-issue.
The real advantages of a camera cage are:
- Multiple mounting points to attach external monitors, recorders, viewfinders, microphones, etc.
- Flat bottom so you don’t need spacers. You can attach this directly to tripods, other plates or 15mm LWS rod systems, etc.
- Keeps the camera rock steady within it, so it doesn’t twist around.
- Top handle, so you can easily carry everything.
- Protect cables (optional) from getting yanked out.
Universal Camera Cage Review
It’s made of metal, specifically aluminum alloy.
There are plenty of 1/4″ and 3/8″ threaded holes so you can mount whatever you want. The top and side handles are wood, and are screwed on to the cage for the most secure connection.
The big advantage here is the adjustable side bracket. It comes in two lengths, so you can use mirrorless cameras or larger DSLR cameras like the Canon 1DX or Nikon D5. I’m pretty sure you can even use this or Red cameras.
The package contains:
- Top Handle
- Side Wooden Grip with dual thumb-screws
- Cold Shoe mount on cage as well as top handle
- 4 side brackets/rods – 2 pairs of different lengths (68mm and 105mm)
- Hex screws and keys
This cage is lightweight, and is supremely customizable.
The downside is it’s basically a mix of lego toys with tons of screws. You should ideally set aside an hour to assemble everything correctly. Once attached and tightened, the camera is really secure.
The cold shoe mount on the top ensures the camera doesn’t twist around.
The base plate and top plate can be slid along depending on the camera, so you can even support wide cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. I’ve tried it on four cameras and it all fits fine.
Even with cameras like the Panasonic GH5, it has enough space to let the articulating screen be open to the side. If you can live with the pain of assembly, I think this universal cage (Amazon, B&H) is a solid investment for a small amount of money, and it will last you as long as you use cameras that fit in it – which is pretty much every DSLR or mirrorless camera out there.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.