Most readers yawn when I start talking about stuff related to video but it's getting to be a bigger and bigger slice of my business so I'm forging onward. Today's blog is about a product I recently acquired that makes handling my a6300 more fun. The a6300 (Sony, APS-C) has great guts and a mediocre external camera/human interface. The body is too small, too short and lacks much space for adding the kinds of stuff that makes video easier. I wanted to make use of the fabulous 4K files from the camera but I favor a "snapshot" aesthetic for some work and that seems to be at odds with the small camera design. For instance, if you put a shotgun microphone in the hotshoe of the camera it pokes you in the middle of your forehead when you use the EVF.
I also find a handle, centered over the lens axis, to be a big plus when holding the camera below waist level. Something I find myself doing more and more when making videos for a client who manufactures legs prosthetics and joints. I just wanted a small "cage" that would add surface areas of cheese plate onto which I could hand accessories, without interfering with the overall operation of the camera.
Enter a company called, "SmallRig," which makes cages for various popular cameras. The base price of this (well made) rig is under $50. The handle adds about $25. My primary want was for a place to hang a microphone without interfering with the EVF. My second desire was for a nice handle. For about $75 I had both of those covered. I've also purchased an additional accessory shoe to I can attach a bigger, external monitor; if the spirit moves me.
The whole rig still keeps the basic profile of the system nice and small. All the controls as well as the battery/memory card compartment are fully usable without having to remove the cage from the camera. A bonus is that even in regular still photography shooting the extra "bulk" makes the camera easier for me to hold.
If the a6300 only had a headphone jack I would be more or less euphoric to use it, and the 18-105mm G lens, as an all around, run-and-gun system. But even without the headphone jack the camera is endlessly useful for anything that doesn't require sound. I am currently building a little rig to use it on a moving dolly for some "walking" shots for the above mentioned client. Shooting in 4K and editing on a 1080p timeline makes for pretty much perfect video files for this kind of work.
For interview work I am current considering one of two Sony dedicated video cameras: the PXW-x70 or the PXW-x150. If you have experiences with either of them I'd love to hear about it in the comments. If you already shoot video you are well aware of the convenience of on-board XLR connections, built-in ND filters and the (possibly) superior 10 bit, 4:2:2 codec. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
You can buy a Smallrig cage for your a6300-6000-6500 here: http://amzn.to/2gU1iNi
clean access to the EVF.
Lots of surface area for additional mounts.
High coolness factor.
Access to all ports.
Access to battery and card.