I’ve been looking for a small mounting frame for the Sony a7s and a few of you recommended I check out Smallrig’s offering. Smallrig sells a lot of bits and pieces so it can be a little confusing when you are trying to figure out what parts you need/want for a rig. It took me a little time trying to visualize the layout I was looking for on the Sony a7s and this is what I came up with:
- Sony a7s 1518 smallrig cage
- 2x 1437 Smallrig Nato rail
- Smallrig 1422 EVF Nato mount
- Smallrig 1558 v7 handle
The handle I selected has a vertical Nato clamp instead of a horizontal Nato clamp and includes a cold shoe adapter. Most of Smallrig’s handles have horizontal Nato clamps. I’m guessing this is because they were intended to slide across the top of the camera in order to balance things out, but I wanted to use the handle in a slightly different manner.
I was also looking for a compact monitor mounting option and the Smallrig 1422 EVF Nato mount seemed like a decent solution. While it is intended for an EVF, it’s also perfect for a small 5 inch monitor.
For those of you not familiar with Nato rails, they’re simply a plate with ridges on either side that allow you to clamp on extra gear. These rails were originally developed as a method for gun mounting flashlights and scopes, but companies like Smallrig and Wooden Camera have started to use them on camera rigs.
I used the Nato rails on the top and side of the sony cage. In one configuration I can hold the Sony a7s hand grip in my right hand and the handle in my left hand for an easy two handed minimalist rig.
Slide the handle off the side and move it to the top of the unit, then slide on the Smallrig 1422 EVF Nato mount and you have a nice setup for a slider or tripod. Strip the handle and EVF mount off and you are basically back to the form factor of the Sony a7s with a few extra mounting options.
Overall i’m pretty impressed with Smallrig’s system. All the parts and pieces set me back about $165 plus shipping which is a little pricy for a minimalist rig but far less than Wooden Camera’s small dslr cage system.
If I were to place this order again I think I would trade out the Nato rails I picked for the Smallrig 1409 rail or Smallrig quick release Nato rail. While the 1437 Smallrig Nato rail I choose works well on the side of the unit, I was only really able to get two of the three screws in on the top of the unit. I don’t think it’s a problem, but if you are looking to duplicate my setup, those two options are worth looking into.
I’ll post a review video on this when I get some more time this weekend. It’s not quite perfect yet, but i’m still pretty happy with how it turned out.