Cages are very useful. Why? Because they give you multiple mount points for accessories. Accessories like proper mics, sound recording devices, monitors etc…The Canon DSLR as it is has just a hot shoe mount that I wouldn’t mount much on at all. If you are operating one band especially these cages are incredible useful due to these multiple mount points.

The Zacuto cage (pimped up beyond practicality but for fun above!) is different from the other two here as it is less box like and more grip like. Instead of using threaded mount points it uses the standard Zacuto connection system and the advantage of that over threads is they simply grip really securely, release a lot faster and don’t have threads. I hate threads as they go bad and also come loose very easily. With the Zacuto system you can add as many mounting points as you want by simply adding more fixings onto it. That is what I like about Zacuto is the modular concept of their gear making their gear completely expandable. The Zacuto cage ¬†works in tandem with the new lightweight DSLR plate. It’s a great piece of gear and for Zacuto pretty affordable at just over $800. Like all Zacuto gear it’s incredible well made and is guaranteed for life. Check out the below video to see it pimped out to the max! The iphone cradle on it is nuts but great for those long boring interviews when you want to play Angry Birds!

Below is me using the cage on the set of Lucasfilm’s “Red Tails” with the 5Dmk2. This is a much more practical set up! Obviously I am a big fan of Zacuto products and of course I am an affiliate but like all gear I recommend, I will only do so if I rate it. This is great, it’s also nice and lightweight.

On the set of "Red Tails", the mic is just for show!

The Jag 35 cage

made by me great friends the Garcias down in CA is a great budget option, the basic cage is $150 but you need to add on the price of bars and other stuff for it be totally usable. For all the trimmings expect to pay around $500-600, this will get you a handle, top and bottom rods and the cage itself. Like all their stuff it’s nice and they have awesome customer service. Don’t overload it too much though as it is not as rugged as the other two here.

Last but not least is the View Factor cage.

Much more like the Jag35 one. This is very well made, heavy and robust. It comes completely apart and surrounds your camera exactly like an er…cage…It has multiple thread mounts so you can screw just about anything into it! There is also a powered cage coming but I have not seen it. Click on the image to be taken to the website.

I will be looking at more cages when I get my hands on them…

Comments

  1. Imacanon says:

    Great stuff Phil…i would absolutely love to get my hands on the Zacuto Cage.

    Jared@Cinema5D reviewed the powered View Factor cage, video he did is below:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uWYWm9V6T0&feature=youtu.be&a

    http://www.cinema5d.com/news

  2. I want this zacuto cage !

    Thank you for this great post.

  3. JJ Kim says:

    Great review, Philip, as always.
    I am thinking about K-Tek’s Norbert.
    I like the fact that that one has both shoe and screw.
    Have you seen or touched one in NAB or any other expo/show?

    JJ

  4. The mic is just for show :) My cheap indian mattebox is also just for show especially when I use it indoors :o

    Special news coming up soon about a new gear purchase I made and will be receiving soon, you would be very proud of your #1 stalker.

  5. Jon Chema says:

    What one do you think is the best all around?

    1. pbloom says:

      I love the Z one as it fits into my gear and I hate screws

  6. MikeCollins says:

    I bought a Jag35 cage and it just didn’t feel sturdy enough for all that I had rigged to it, two shotguns, a ZoomH4N and a monitor.

    We weren’t able to get our hands on a Viewfactor cage so we ordered a Letus cage which should be here soon.

    I love Zacuto but didn’t want to have to buy more accessories on top of the cage for mounting.

  7. Ben Briceno says:

    That powered Viewfactor looks sweet… wonder if there is a way to add it to my gear without having it bolted in. I want camera easily accessible.

  8. dlab says:

    What about the Cinevate cages… the ones that have been around wayyy b4 these have…?

    1. pbloom says:

      i can only review cages i own, i have the three in this blog. i hope to get a letus cage soon.

  9. i’ve got a jag35 cage on its way to me along with one of their new shoulder mounts. As much as i’d love to get one of these Zacuto rigs without selling my Mrs I don’t think its really in my price range right now

  10. Micha says:

    Hi Philip, thank you for another great review about some very desirable gear. However before I am really getting hungry for a nice Zacuto cage I would like to know whether you have any information on when the Z-Finder (pro) finally will be available? 4 weeks ago the Zacuto webpage said something about 4-8 weeks. Today that page says the same. Why can’t I find any information on this question on the Zacuto webpages? On a tight budget shall I wait for the z-finder or shall I get a monitor only to hear that the z-finder is ready for ordering tomorrow. – Regarding the Zacuto cage it seems to be the same story: Ready for preorder! I have nothing against good pr for a good product but you should keep your (potential) customers somehow informed about the progress. –
    PS Sorry, for bitching a little. Keep up the great work!!!

    1. pbloom says:

      sorry i have no idea Micha. Have you spoken to them?

      1. Micha says:

        No, I haven’t. I thought you know them very well and since you are writing many reviews of their products which are definitely of great help for Zacuto, I assumed you had first hand information. ; )

  11. Greg says:

    @Micha
    I’m not going to assume I know anything about Zacutos
    ordering or manufacturing process but B&H has them in stock now
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/682681-REG/Zacuto_Z_FIND_PRO3_Z_Finder_Pro_3x.html

    Hope that helps

    1. pbloom says:

      they don’t…they have the same stock issues…

      1. Greg says:

        well see now what do I know :P
        I ordered mine from B&H and it came within 10 days

        and as there site states

        “Usually ships in 7-14 business days”

        # Important Notice!
        # This is not a regularly stocked item. Estimated arrival at B&H is 7-14 business days. You will be charged upon placing your order.

        So a quick call to B&H should answer any doubts.

  12. I have been using the version 1 Jag35 Cage for a couple of months now. It lacks the possibility of bottom rails which is a big shame – I wish now I had waited for version 2 which can mount bottom rails. Apart from that I have found it excellent after I laterally mounted 12″ top rails to hold a monitor, 12v battery, H4N, mic and if necessary, Juicedlink DT454 (though that tends to live on the 7D).

  13. Kevin says:

    I realy like the first picture, reminds me transformers :)

    PS annyone has an idea where i can find an battery plate ?

  14. Matt says:

    Is that a Hocus Focus I see on your rig…?
    A few steady cam ops I know use them. What are your thoughts on them?

  15. Bob says:

    Hmm, I’m not tangling with you Phil, must have an almighty punch with arm muscles like that!!

  16. Dave Therault says:

    Since I’m not selling anything, Philip, I hope won’t mind me pointing to a semi DIY cage-like rig I put together using 3 inexpensive commercially available products from Manfrotto and Indisystem:

    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=218909

  17. jake says:

    This is a very interesting article. Thank you!
    I am looking forward to seeing more stuff like this!
    nikon d5100 review

  18. Paul says:

    Philip, have you used the newer Zwiss Cage yet? It seems a little bit more useful, but wanted some firsthand feedback.