SmallRig in use on the Sony A7ii.

Lately, my "go to" camera for doing portrait work in the studio and on location has been the Sony A7 ii. It's the 24 megapixel model and if you look around you might be able to find a lightly used one for around $1,000. The High ISO Whiners would tell you that it's noisy above 3200 but I'd say that if you are really, really picky, and have no idea of how to use the noise reduction features in any of the major post processing programs, you might not even want to use it over 1600. When I put on strong, strong reading glasses and press my noise against my computer screen while diddling the magnification to 100% I can see the noise as clear as day....

But like the fool I am I bought one anyway. And even more foolishly I used it this year to create hundreds of portraits. Which clients happily paid me for. Go figure. I should probably hang my head in shame since none of my full frame cameras focuses faster than I can pull them out of the camera bag. I feel horrible anxiety when "real" pros saunter by with their Nikon D500s since I know I will be unable to photograph my clients (with studio flash) at 10+ frames per second. I hear how great the 153 AF points are but end up wondering why a camera that advanced doesn't have eye auto focus. My A7ii doesn't have it either but the A7rii and the a6300 both do; along with 400+ focusing points... But, once again, I digress. 

I wanted to write about the SmallRig cage I bought for the A7ii and to show you what I meant about holding big lenses stable on tripods while shooting in the vertical orientation. The lens in question is the Rokinon 135mm t2.2 Cine lens. It's pretty front heavy. Sometimes, when I use it on a camera mounted directly to a tripod it droops. And droops can be embarrassing. Especially in the studio. 

After I bought a cage for the a6300 and saw how well it stabilized the camera and transferred the stress of the tripod connection to its own structure I was anxious to try one with the A7ii. This cage fits very tightly and the feel of the construction is just like the cage for the a6300, very high quality. 

The following are a few images from different angles....

So, if you are one of those guys who always handholds cameras, doesn't own a tripod or only uses puny lenses, just ignore all of this and go on doing your craft in the way which you've become accustomed. We're not even grading on a curve here. But if you have a wimpy, little camera and a plump, oversized and front heavy lens you like to use you might consider some sort of "camera prosthesis" to handle tripod work.

While we are on the subject of cages... I did put a XLR mixer and a monitor on the cage on the A7Rii today to record a quick testimonial video for a financial services client. It was great having everything right at hand instead of clamped and cabled away. Can't wait to get the A7 cage set up optimally to be able to move with the camera and watch the image on a 7 inch monitor mounted just above the camera. Should make moving shots just a bit more fun. 


Art in LA said...

I like the Steampunk/"Road Warrior" look of that cage! Our dystopian future is now!

Craig Yuill said...

I have held off buying a quick-release/L-plate (such as ones available from RRS) for some time. I shoot mostly handheld, but sometimes need to use a tripod. A cage like that would be perfect for vertical compositions with my camera mounted on a tripod. I see they make one that will fit my camera, one of those last-century Nikon D7000 DSLRs. ;-)

Seriously, thanks for sharing info on this rather interesting accessory.

Images West said...

Hi, Kirk - I thought I should point out that the Sony A7 II does have eye AF, although it is only available in AF-S mode.