Alright! So you need a camera cage for your A6000/A6300/A6500 A7/A7S/A7R/A7II/A7SII/A9, and you found a few options but which one to get? I’ve been there, a few months ago I sold my Sony A7s with its cage, and bought an A6300. Sure I have a universal cage, but I hold my rig with the top handle a lot, so I needed something sturdier.
First, the packaging is flawless with this cage, it is in a sturdy box where everything is compartmentalized the same way you would do in a hard shell case. It is refreshing to see this rather than receiving your equipment in a plastic bag with bubble wrap.
The moment you open the box and feel the cage you can see how well made it is. All the pieces are CNC machined to perfection and have no defects. Assembling the thing shows you the quality control and tolerance used on these is taken seriously, every piece fits nicely and firmly together with no play or wobble. Starting with the camera cage itself, it is a full body cage, not a half shape, but it doesn’t hug the camera body like some other cage out-there. This is especially true with the A6300 since this cage is a hybrid cage with the A7 and A9 series, which have larger bodies who would fill the cage more.
The cage has plenty of 1/4-20 attachment points on it, maybe a little less than other cages, but who needs 300 different options when you only use 2 to 3 of them? It also has other sizes screw holes dedicated to mounting an HDMI clamp and an EVF. Talking of HDMI clamp, the cage has one integrated into it and is right next to the handle NATO rail facing up. The cable JTZ provide is a micro HDMI to full-size female. I am not personally using it but the clamp makes it really secure and makes for fewer chances of a mishap if someone would snag the cable. Also, other cables on this cage can be managed via the 2 different sizes cable holder at the front of it.
On the top right side of the cage, you have a cold shoe to mount an accessory, which works great for a wireless lav mic receiver. The top handle function markings and the 2 JTZLink J6 port and a LANC port are also there. All the electronics are mostly hidden within the camera cage and a USB cable is routed in it coming out conveniently on the ports side.
On the left, the ports are covered twice, once by the camera QD plate and a second time by the cage itself, so it is unlikely someone would rip anything by mistake. Personally, I would have loved a screw-type cable clamp to pin the cable down and make it absolutely impossible to break anything, but that may be overkill!
Now on the left side, you have more 1/4 mounting points and an Arri Rosette to attach the JTZ grip handle to it. And lastly (for the cage body), the bottom has an integrated lens support and/or lens adaptor mounting point. It is adjustable in many ways (up, down, forward and backward) and the provided lens support has small integrated wheels that make it adaptable to any lenses. In my case, I am using my Nikon lenses on my Sony A6300 and the lens support rest on the Nikon-G adapter aperture ring. The bottom also has a battery cover hole so you can change your battery on the fly, which is nice since most Sony mirrorless chew batteries like there is no tomorrow!
As for the top handle, at first, I was skeptic since I really like the cheese plate style one, even though I never used more than the cold shoe and the front rod attachment, which the JTZ one has anyhow. After spending some time with the camera cage, I can say this handle is great. It fits really nicely in your hand, it is made of strong polymer (you can lift a fully kitted camera cage with the tripod attached to it without any issues), it controls the camera with JTZlink, and, it has all the features I like to use, like the rod attachment.
The top handle features a NATO rail attachment that can be used horizontally or vertically depending of your setup and personal liking. It also has a 1/4 mount toward the rear, to mount a magic arm or what have you. And then you have the JTZlink buttons, where you can control a few functions from the 4 buttons, such as Wide or Tele zoom functions. The two other buttons are Hold and REC, which is really handy, as the REC button placement on the Sony cameras isn’t liked by many.
Coming with the camera cage is the 15mm rod baseplate and the dovetail plate, both of which are well made and really sturdy. Everything in the kit features a quick disconnect stage, which is great for flexibility and not have to disassemble everything when you need to do little changes to the rig. Basically it works this way: The camera baseplate connects to the cage > The cage connects to the rod baseplate > The rod baseplate connects to the dovetail plate, which is connected to your tripod baseplate.
To conclude, there are some minimal cons to this cage, no deal breaker as everything can be worked around. The setup is made to work within its own ecosystem, by that I mean, it works well with the JTZ DP30 matte box, the JTZ DP30 follow focus, and so on! So, if you are using a matte box and follow focus from a different line or manufacturer, you will get those piece of equipment interfering with the quick disconnect features. Again, nothing major, but it can be annoying to some! Another little flaw I found was when using the lens support, it would render the cage to rod baseplate quick detach useless as the support would hit the rods so you basically have to unscrew everything manually instead.
Overall this JTZ DP30 camera cage is the sturdiest I had the pleasure to work with, I am very happy with all of its features. Another great piece of equipment made by JTZ and a real contender with the other major players.
If you want to see what we think about the DP30 Mattebox, see our article and video here!