Kevin Luiz of Capion Studio reviews the latest cage from rising South Korean brand Motion9, designed for the Panasonic GH4.
Motion9 On The Rise
Camera cages are a dime a dozen in today's market. Every once in awhile, however, a company will emerge with a pleasant surprise. In enters Motion9, a South Korean company offering quality cages at competitive pricing. Until now, I never really had a need for a camera cage, but as my shooting style evolved, a cage seemed to become a bottom line necessity. There are a few questions that arise as your kit expands at an accelerated rate. You might find yourself asking some of these questions. Is a cage right for my workflow? What is the cage's build quality and functionality? Lastly, how does the product stack up against the competition? Lets dive in!
Workflow: Should You Cage The Beast?
When is the right time to cage your camera and why should you bother? This question stems from your workflow on set. You might find yourself operating solely on sticks and have a great support system to hold all of your accessories. A cage might appear to be added weight when fitted in this mode. However, a camera on sticks can benefit greatly from Motion9's rugged frame and handle. The GH4's Cube Cage transfers this weight evenly, distributing it down through the frame to your rig's base plate.
Now lets get something clear: you have to have a solid base plate and rods to pull this stunt off, but the cage allows you to actually pick up your entire rig on sticks and move it throughout your set, without ever having to grab the unit from the legs. Having this option substantially enhances your mobility. Let's say you are standing on a stage and your camera is down below. With the Cube Cage, you can literally extend your grip to the handle and pick the entire rig off the floor without having to jump off the stage. The unit is truly that strong!
Rigging without a tripod requires accessible grip points if you want a functional shoulder mounted unit. As mentioned previously, Motion9's build allows for even weight distribution so that you can grip your rig from the handle. The cage's handle works great for transferring the unit to different positions and angles, as well as transportation.
Lightweight rigging is probably the number one reason to go with a cage. Your main need might be to add some accessories directly onto the camera's body without having an elaborate rod system. Magic arms, matte boxes, plates and other mounting accessories might feel like a ball and chain when your shooting style requires dexterity. The GH4's Cube Cage offers sixty-seven 1/4 inch screw points throughout the frame, allowing you to bolt on just about anything from a monitor to audio equipment. This will allow you to sling the equipment you need in a compact, handheld form.
Lastly, cages will protect your camera body (to an extent). If something so horrible as a camera drop were ever to occur, depending on the way the camera was to hit a surface, the cage protects roughly eighty percent of the GH4's buttons. The camera's main handgrip and lens, however, is another subject entirely.