Is The 5D Cage A Factor? > Digital FX (Louisiana Production, Post, & Rental Services)

Is The 5D Cage A Factor?

The new Contineo 5D MKII powered cage from View Factor Studios seeks to remedy the problems associated with 5D productions.

If you’ve ever tried to shoot serious video on a Canon 5D, you know its limitations first hand. It’s true, the 5D shoots great video, even professional quality video. But apart from this fact, albeit an important fact, the 5D is not a serious tool for serious professionals for a myriad of reason. Or is it? The new Contineo 5D MKII powered cage from View Factor Studios seeks to remedy the problems associated with 5D productions.

First, let’s address the problems associated with producing high-quality professional video with the 5D. If you’re producing a professional product, then you have a client. As it turns out, clients like to see what you’re shooting while you’re shooting. With the 5D in its natural form, your face is covering the only monitor available. Secondly, you will want better control of your lens and are likely shooting wide open. But with no mattebox or follow focus, that becomes problematic at best and prohibitive at worst. And beyond even those issues, the battery life while shooting video is not too hot. You’ll spend more time exchanging and recharging battery packs than shooting.

The Contineo 5D MKII powered cage does in fact address all of these issues. The cage holds your 5D with a billet aluminum structure that offers numerous mounting points for accessories. Most importantly, the cage provides regulated power to your camera and accessories using an external cine-style brick or block battery, which can also attache to the cage. The result, once everything is up and running, is a fully-functional professional setup. You can have an external monitor, feed video village and have plenty of battery life, a plethora of accessories and attach a mattebox and follow focus. The powered cage also includes a port for a wired trigger to allow you to start and stop the camera with a remote follow focus or wired remote.

The Bottom Line

The Contineo 5D MKII powered cage successfully achieves all its claims. In fact, it’s the perfect solution to the 5D problem. It’s everything I had hoped for when I ordered it. But then again, I’m reminded of the dangers of getting what you wish for.

Once you have fully set up your 5DII DSLR with the cage, hefty in its own right, a battery, mattebox, the camera and lens itself, and all the cables going in and out, you have a setup that from afar might as well be a fully rigged RED One camera setup. It’s heavy, awkward and with all parts together, rather expensive relative to the camera. While the cage itself retails for $899, I estimate that I spent around $1500 on the Cage and associated accessories and cables. This price, obviously, does not include the mattebox, camera, lenses, battery and monitor.

The problem really isn’t even in the cost. After all, if it works as advertised and allows you to produce professional quality work, it’s worth it. The problem is that the solution makes moot the very thing the that makes the 5D useful — it’s small, lightweight, maneuverable in tight spots and inconspicuous. Once you put the entire cage setup together, the 5D is none of those things. Plus, considering its cost, you’re going to be married to the cage for a while. You need to ask yourself how long the 5D will be the best option out there for DSLR video. In this fast-paced tech world, probably not very long — and the 5D cage is unlikely to fit future generations.

Having said all of that, if you really want to use your 5D for professional shoots, this product is a must have. Without it, the 5D is almost useless for professional purposes as a sole camera. With it, you can easily produce stunning imagery with all the bells and whistles your client demands.

So, is the 5D cage a factor?

Absolutely, as long as you understand that you will be transforming your once portable, inexpensive and lightweight camera into a beast. Though I have to say, once you put everything together, it looks cool as hell.

The new Contineo 5D MKII powered cage from View Factor Studios seeks to remedy the problems associated with 5D productions.

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