Well, not quite: the a7R II [B&H|Amazon] offers neither the 10-bit 4:2:2 HD nor 120 fps slow motion on offer with the FS5. But attach the exceptionally minimalist yet strong and clever Wooden Quick Cage for Small DSLRs to the a7R II, and you have a superior low light, hybrid video/stills platform to which you can mount just about anything.
I contacted Wooden after discovering that my favorite hybrid, Sony’s a6000 [B&H|Amazon], suffered from flex when working with a follow focus and a geared cine lens. There are many cages out there, but I’d seen the Wooden Quick Cage for Small DSLRs [B&H|Amazon] before and its diminutive, spare design seemed ideally suited to the a6000.
Unfortunately, nothing could help the a6000’s flex except some additional engineering by Sony, and it appears Sony may have done just that by strengthening the lens mount in the a6300. We’ll see.
But I’d also just finished a review of the a6300 [B&H|Amazon] after returning from Sony’s global press event, and even compared the little guy to its big brother the a7R II and even bigger brother the FS5. You can check out that review here.
Bottom line? If the a6300 is ultimately about price, the a7R II is about that 42mp BSI sensor, and the FS5 is about being a pure – rather than hybrid -- video platform.
That’s where Wooden’s Quick Cage comes in: when you mount it to the a7R II, all of a sudden you’ve got a hybrid which is just as robust a platform for hanging on batteries, monitors, mics and more – even as you can quickly detach it and go hand-held for video or stills, superior to the FS5 when shooting in low light or needing to shoot stills.
Even so, the FS5 is a superior video machine for 1080p with 10-bit 4:2:2 output (via SDI only, not HDMI!), 120fps, built in XLR... you get the idea.
The Quick Cage for Small DSLRs itself costs $399 – eminently reasonable – but is very modular and expandable. Wooden offers kits beginning at $789 running all the way up to the Pro Kit at $2,225. The Pro kit begins with the Quick Cage and adds a quick release NATO handle, a pair of rods, an XLR adapter allowing a pair of XLR mics to feed directly into the a7R II’s mic jack, an EVF/LCD mount, a dovetail clamp, battery slide, and other bits and bobs to truly challenge the FS5 as a platform.
Only one, really.
In order to allow the rear LCD to swivel up, I had to remove the small, adjustable block designed to prevent the camera body from swiveling around the ¼” 20 thread by locking it in place from th rear. I wish Wooden would create custom blocks the way Really Right Stuff does (in this case, for the front of the body), because torque can result in a camera moving off axis.
Other than that, the Wooden Quick Cage for Small DSLR is a surprisingly affordable and rock solid way to handle even the most complicated set-up. They offer cages for a variety of cameras including Panasonic, Blackmagic, ARRI, and more. Visit their site to learn more.