SmallRig: 3 Handles solutions

1 Introduction

1.1 Using handles to improve stability on your Sony Cameras

When mounting many accessories like external recorder , microphone , audio recorder on a cage it becomes difficult to have a good stability by just holding the cage

For low angle shoot you can use a Top handle , but if you need to to film at normal height , side grips / handle are becoming very handy to get a good grip , stability and balance your total kit

In this review we will review 3 solutions from  SmallRig

1.2 SmallRig: Choice & quality

As usual with SmallRig, the choice is very large and the various cage, L grip, plate, accessories… can be combined to fit all your needs and dreams

Quality is very good with very well designed items , quality aluminium alloy and perfect measurement

SmallRig Cage for Sony A7RIII/A7M3/A7III 2087

2 SmallRig Left side Grip for L Bracket 2218

The SmallRig 2218 Left Side Grip for L-bracket is to be used with the the  SmallRig L-Bracket For Sony AIII 2122 that I had tested here

It is the most compact and ideal solution if you just want to fix a small external screen (eg Feelworld 5MA 5″) + a microphone (like the Rode VideoMic Pro)

It add a very nice grip on the left more or less of the same size as the body right grip, making it very well balanced

The left grip has mainly one hotshoe and an ARRI Rosette mount

Heavier accessories like an Atomos Ninja V external recorder will possibly be too large to be used together with a microphone without additional accessories to get some spaces between the microphone and the external recorder

One other attention point is to use an angled micro HDMI cable otherwise you may not be able to fix the left side grip as the HDMI cable will be in the way.

L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7M3/A7RIII/A9

L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7M3/A7RIII/A9

SmallRig L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7M3/A7RIII/A9 2122

3 SmallRig NATO Cheese Handle 1688

The SmallRig NATO Cheese Handle 1688 (89$) is a vertical handle that can be fixed on vertical Nato Rail. It is particularly suited when used in combination of the  SmallRig Half cage for A7RIII 2238

The Half cage 2238 is extremely versatile and easy to use

  • It allow to fix sturdily many accessories thanks to 2 Arri places  
  • > 1 nato rail on the left
  • >  Numerous holes
  • 1 Arca Swiss plate is built in to easily remove the body from the cage and fix it directly on a tripod with Arca Swiss fixation
  • You don’t need to unmount the lens to slot the camera + lens into the cage (you need to do so for the full cage)
  • You can use the camera right grip

SmallRig Arca QR Half Cage for Sony A7R III/A7 III/A7 II/A7R II/A7S II 2238

SmallRig Arca QR Half Cage for Sony A7R III/A7 III/A7 II/A7R II/A7S II 2238

The NATO Cheese handle 1688, allows to add a left handle to the half cage, it offers

  • Vertical and horizontal shoe mounts that are particularly handy to mount a screen or a microphone
  • There are numerous mountings holes 1/4″ and 3/8″
  • An Arri mount
  • A 15mm rod port
  • Height of the attachment can be adjusted in height

SmallRig NATO Cheese Handle 1688

SmallRig NATO Cheese Handle 1688

SmallRig NATO Cheese Handle 1688

SmallRig NATO Cheese Handle 1688

SmallRig NATO Cheese Handle 1688

SmallRig NATO Cheese Handle 1688

In Use

The NATO cheese handle is very easy to mount and unmount and is very versatile in term of expansion possibilities

It offers a good grip and allow to balance well your kit.

However it is not very comfortable for long shooting and if you want to get the best experience you should look at wooden handles (see next chapter)

4 SmallRig Right/Left side Wooden grip

SmallRig Wooden grip exist in Left and right side

You can mount it with a Nato Mount (+45$) or a Bolt on Mount (+10$)

For this test I have ordered 2 Bolt-on-mount to fix them on the Smallrig 2087 cage for A7III

The build quality is excellent , the wood is very beautiful and well finished and it fit perfectly in my hands, surface us very smooth and you can hold it for a long time without any discomfort

The height of the Arri rosette can be adjusted in 3 positions

Wooden Grip with Arri Rosette

Wooden Grip with Arri Rosette

Wooden Grip with Arri Rosette

Wooden Grip with Arri Rosette

Wooden Grip with Arri Rosette

Wooden Grip with Arri Rosette

From all the systems I have tested this is the one giving the best balance, stability and pleasure to hold

The only point of improvements are the fixation system

  • The wheel you need to turn on the wooden grip to fix it to the bolt-on-mount is not the most accessible one you may use, but you can attach or detach the handle in less than 30 seconds
  • Bolt on mount can not be easily removed and attached to the cage, you need to use 6 screws for it

SmallRig Cage for Sony A7RIII/A7M3/A7III 2087

SmallRig Cage for Sony A7RIII/A7M3/A7III 2087

SmallRig Cage for Sony A7RIII/A7M3/A7III 2087

SmallRig Cage for Sony A7RIII/A7M3/A7III 2087

With those handles and the A7III full cage you can support without any issues External recorder like an Atomos Ninja V , a big shotgun microphone like a Rode NTG4+ and a Audio recorder like a Zoom NH5

It is the Rolls Royce of the handles in SmallRig range

SmallRig Cage for Sony A7RIII/A7M3/A7III 2087

SmallRig Cage for Sony A7RIII/A7M3/A7III 2087

5 Conclusion

For each setting SmallRig was able to offer a very good option

Light & Compact : SmallRig Left Side Grip for L-bracket 2218 (31$)

Versatile and easy to mount/unmount : SmallRig 1688 NATO cheese Handle (89$) + Smallrig 2238 Half Cage

Heavy duty kit while having best confort and balance: SmallRig 1891 Left / SmallRig 1941 Right side Wooden grip with Arri Rosette (98$ each) + Cage Smallrig 2087

Final choice depends on your needs !