8Sinn to the Rescue: Panasonic Lumix GH5 and GH5S Camera Cage Updated with Wrist Strap Eyelets, Remote Cable Access

I have been preparing for a possible article on the very first feature film to be shot on with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera and have been researching some of the other gear the director used such as an 8Sinn  camera cage, handle, rod and Metabones support. 

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8Sinn GH5/GH5S cage version 2 with Scorpio top handle and new provision for mounting wrist strap and remote cable
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The first version of Polish accessories maker 8Sinn’s cage for the GH5/GH5S did not include two eyelets for wrist straps nor provision for attaching a remote release cable to the cage-clad camera’s remote port.

Until Panasonic officially announced the GH5, I was unaware of 8Sinn, a Polish camera accessories maker, and from what I saw of their products at their website, I was impressed.

I have yet to see or try any 8Sinn accessories in real life, though, so anything I write about their products is tempered with that fact.

The first version of the 8Sinn GH5 camera cage looked intriguing with apparently high quality design and manufacturing, but the reason I did not follow up on that initial impression was it lacked provision for easily attaching camera straps and the Panasonic DMW-RSL1 remote release.

Camera cages fall into either of two camps, body-hugging wrap-around ribbons or squarer protective enclosures with makers of the latter type including Seercam and makers of the former type including 8Sinn, MovCam, SmallRig and a host of other companies around the world.

The prime virtue of body-hugging wrap-around ribbon cage designs is that they allow the cage to be attached 24/7, for use when shooting stills or video, when handheld or tripod-mounted, triggered via shutter release button or remote remote cable.

The ability to attach camera straps helps ensure better grip and security against dropping, and so I always attach two or three Peak Design camera straps to every camera I own or borrow.

Peak Design Clutch and Cuff, and Panasonic DMW-RSL1 Remote Shutter Release

Those three Peak Design camera straps are Clutch, Cuff and Slide Lite, with Clutch and Cuff permanently attached to every camera whether caged or not, and with two Slide Lite straps in reserve when I am covering events in the time-honoured two-camera, two-lenses documentary photographer manner.

I keep two Peak Design Anchor Links attached to each camera’s camera left strap attachment eyelet for when I need to attach a Slide Lite, and have slightly different Anchor Link attachment arrangements depending on the cameras’ and cages’ specific designs.

None of the Motion9, Seercam or SmallRig cages I have currently are equipped with strap eyelets so I sometimes must resort to attaching Anchor Links via the now discontinued and rather oversized predecessor to the slimmer, neater Peak Design Anchor Mount.

8Sinn cage for GH5 and GH5S, version 2, with wrist strap eyelets and remote cable access

The 8Sinn cage for GH5 and GH5S, version 2, with built-in eyelets and CNCed indent for remote release cable access is an elegant solution for attaching Peak Design Clutch and Cuff, and the Panasonic DMW-RSL1 Remote Shutter Release as well as third-party alternatives.

8Sinn cage for GH5 and GH5S, version 2, complete kit

Whether assembled into a complete cage-based rig for GH5 or GH5S, audio adapter and Metabones-adapted non-native lens, or something much smaller, version 2 of 8Sinn’s GH5/GH5S camera cage is an intriguing choice given it has now solved the two problems found in version 1 and I hope to see and try it out for myself sometime soon.

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Image Credit

Header image concept and quick hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 with Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery Grip, a necessity for photography or moviemaking with the GH5 and GH5S, though most cages are unfortunately not designed to accommodate it.

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Panasonic Australia: Snap up A Summer Bonus Summer Promotion

http://promotion.panasonic.com.au/snapupsummer/

“Purchase a participating product from the Lumix G Series, Lumix Lenses, Compact or Panasonic Video Camera range from a participating retailer between 13 November 2017 and close of business on 14 January 2018. Please ensure you retain your original tax invoice/purchase receipt showing a $0 balance for verification purposes….

Q: When does the promotion start and end?

A: Purchase period opens at 8.01am AEDST on 13 November 2017 and ends at close of business AEDST on 14 January 2018

Q: How long do I have to complete my claim form?

Claims and corresponding proof of purchase must be submitted and received within 22 calendar days of purchase and by no later than 11.59pm (AEDST) on 5 February 2018….”

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The Panasonic Lumix GH5 & Some Notes Before Upgrade to GH5 Firmware Version 2.0 – UPDATED

I was lucky enough to try out the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 recently and quickly came to the conclusion that it really is the top-quality Super 16/Micro Four Thirds documentary video and stills photography camera that I have been hoping for.

Looks like a previous reviewer forgot to re-attach the GH5’s rubber eyepiece.

As reported in a previous article, the GH5 loaner at right arrived in a stripped down state, minus its rubber eyepiece, HDMI port protector and the lens hood for the provided Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric kit zoom lens, so there were some minor challenges.

Sadly, the loan period expired before Panasonic released its feature-packed firmware version 2.0 so I have yet to experience all that the GH5 can do now, firsthand, so no HLG HDR or ALL-Intra for me for the time being.

Top of the wishlist

The GH5 and associated accessories have been living at the top of my video camera hardware wishlist for some time, but purchasing must be put off until our self-financing effort via land subdivision and sale is finally finished sometime early next year, after getting through the multiple gauntlets of high-priced consultants, three levels of bureaucracy, recalcitrant tradesmen and the inevitable cost overruns tying up all our savings until completion.

Seercam’s Cube GH5 cage with Classic Handle Plus and Extension Kit is terrific for bigger rigs on or off tripod or stripped down to cage alone for smaller and more mobile assignments. Seercam is currently working on a battery pack, seen at right behind and below the microphone. As a fan of Panasonic’s battery packs, I look forward to Seercam’s coming cage-savvy battery solution.

When I do get my own GH5, one thing is certain – I will be adding a battery grip and XLR adapter and I am hoping that Olympus will have released its M.Zuiko Pro 17mm ultra-fast prime lens by then along with the 42mm and perhaps a 12mm or 14mm focal length.

Although I do love my Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens for stills and video, I always feel safer supplementing it with a fast prime to account for available darkness situations and find a moderate wide-angle more versatile than a so-called normal focal length of 25mm in Micro Four Thirds.

I am hoping Olympus’ excellent pro-quality M.Zuiko Pro lens range will achieve a full complement of well-spaced fast primes and zooms by early to mid-2018.

Although I own and use several non-M.Zuiko Pro Olympus and Panasonic lenses and find their lack of manual clutch focus annoying, their focus-by-wire challenging but workable enough via back focus button, I am far more comfortable with lenses I can manually focus fast with repeatable and predictable results.

Stills made with the GH5

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is a fine stills camera made more so with the absence of an anti-aliasing filter to combat moiré.

I am adding photographs here as I reprocess them in the latest versions of some raw processors and image editors.

Most have been done in DxO Optics Pro Elite as that is the very first raw processor I ever used and remains my reference for all camera types other than Fujifilm.

DxO products are built on a codebase that supports only Bayer sensors, not non-Bayer sensors such as Fujifilm’s X-Trans.

Video still frames shot with V-Log L, processed with Leeming LUT One for V-Log L 501 rc2

Leeming LUT One is being updated to version 501 to get even better results from GH5 V-Log L footage at the moment and will be released soon along with LUTs for Cinelike D and HLG HDR.

In the meantime, here is a gallery of GH5 V-Log L video still frames minimally graded with Leeming LUT One version 501 RC 2 with the occasional addition of a second LUT from Paul Leeming’s free Leeming LUT Quickies 1 version2 set.

I found that the combination of V-Log L plus Leeming LUT One with the GH5’s in-body stabilization is a powerful one, granting me the confidence in knowing I am able to shoot almost anything anywhere.

As a result using the GH5 was, quite simply, fun.

Of course neither IBIS nor V-Log are the answers to every shooting situation and there are times when I will want to carry a monopod, a tripod or one of the new generation of gimbals like the Zhiyun Crane 2.

Video still frames shot on GX8 with Cinelike D, processed with Leeming LUT One for Cinelike D 501 rc2

I was so taken with the GH5’s V-Log capability that I quite forgot to shoot enough Cinelike D footage, but here is some footage from my GX8 by way of comparison.

According to professional documentary cinematographers like Rick Young of Movie Machine, the GX8’s sensor is not dissimilar to the one in the GH5 and produces similar results to the point where they use both cameras on the same projects.

I don’t think I am going to have any problems editing footage from the GH5 and GX8 together in the same project when using the appropriate Leeming LUT One for each.

GH5 first impressions

Straight out of the box and in its shopworn state, as it were, the GH5 impressed me with a solidity and ease of handling well beyond that of the GH4 and even the GX8.

The GH5 packs so much more processing power in than its GH4 predecessor and GX8 sibling, and that extra hardware has to go somewhere so a slightly bigger and heavier body it is.

The GH5’s hardware ergonomics has advanced beyond that of the GH4 and Panasonic has done so with great balance and a solid feel in the hand.

Some reviewers have complained about its size and weight but, as always, I prefer small cameras to be a little weightier for better balance and achieve that by adding battery grips, cages and other accessories as appropriate.

Naked or mounted in Seercam’s excellent Cube GH5 cage with Classic Handle and Extension Kit, the GH5 felt just right and neither too heavy nor too light.

Other users may differ but I prefer a little extra weight due to permanent injuries received on the job some years ago as it helps with my own sense of balance and ability to move.

There were, as always, annoyances with the GH5 but they were minor and have now been accounted for in Panasonic’s GH5 version 2.0 firmware release.

Foremost was the positioning of the Display button in precisely the worst location possible, with one solution being adding a Sugru collar around it and the other, courtesy of firmware version 2.0, switching the button off via a menu item.

The other annoyances were so minor that they have escaped me now, sorry.

With the GH5’s stablemates

Panasonic Lumix GX8 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro and Røde VideoMic Pro+ attached via no-brand 3.5mm-to-2.5mm adapter that I have since replaced with a Beachtek SC25 coiled adapter cable.

While the GH4 and GX8 retain their places in my heart for advancing the small camera moviemaking promise that Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II waggled so prominently about, the GH5 gives me the best of those two Lumix stablemates along with other fine qualities from more recent Panasonic releases, the G7 and the GX80/85.

I have not had the pleasure of trying either of those two latter cameras, but there are clear similarities between the GX8’s sensor and the GH5’s, something I deduced when applying Leeming LUT One for the GH5 to footage from the GX8.

The GH5 and its siblings show that the self-funded independent moviemaking road ahead belongs to mirrorless hybrid cameras, with an array of professional-quality features DSLR-users can only dream of and that may never come to DSLRs of either traditional major brand.

Pro-quality video features

Foremost of these features is the GH5’s ability to shoot 4K UHD and 4K DCI video in 10-bit 4:2:2 with the V-Log L flat logarithmic photo style, the closest thing to raw that can be achieved in a non-raw video camera.

The first thing I did when the GH5 review loaner arrived was to install indie documentary moviemaker Griffin Hammond’s GH5 camera settings file, but after comparing his Natural-based custom photo style with others offered by the GH5, it was clear that V-Log L was what I really wanted.

I had passed on V-Log L for the GH4 after downloading and trial-grading 8-bit 4:2:0 log footage that early purchasers were sharing.

Macro colour blocking and other strange behaviours indicated Panasonic was reaching too far with too little colour depth and that 10-bit 4:2:2 was the way to go.

Then there was the unfortunate still-current issue of the way in which Panasonic sells the V-Log L licence.

Sending a slip of paper in a cardboard box packed with synthetic filler around the planet so one can complete the transaction online before throwing box, filler and little bit of paper away – sheesh.

Sorry but time to wake up and smell the coffee of global environmental responsibility, Panasonic.

Getting the best out of non-log footage prior to the GH5

Paul Leeming’s GH5 rig in 8Sinn cage and Scorpio handle, rod riser, Shoot35 follow focus, and Manfrotto Xume magnetic filter attachment system on vintage Zeiss Contax prime lens.

Instead of Natural or any other Rec. 709 photo style, I chose a Leeming-customized Cinelike D photo style for my GH4 and GX8, and have been happy with the results even though they both only shoot in 8-bit 4:2:0.

Then and now, 4K 8-bit 4:2:0 flat footage shot at 400 ISO satisfies a fair percentage of my short movie shooting needs.

Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT One for the GH4 brought the best tone and colour rendering I had achieved in small camera video by combining Mr Leeming’s custom Cinelike D settings with his Leeming LUT One for the GH4 applied to my footage in Final Cut Pro X, Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve or, even, Adobe Photoshop’s Motion workspace for short video projects.

Paul Leeming testing Panasonic Lumix GX8, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, Samsung NX1 and Digital Bolex D16 cameras for versions of Leeming LUT One for each.

I have achieved good results on the GX8 with the GH4 and now more recently using the GH5 version of his Cinelike D LUT to the point where I am happily combining Cinelike D and V-Log L footage from all three cameras into the same movie project.

Mr Leeming tells me he will be updating some of his LUTs after having completed work on several feature film projects to approach the results he has obtained with the V-Log L photo style version of his LUT for the GH5.

Work is in progress right now on that and he will be releasing recommended camera settings for all Panasonic cameras along with two Leeming LUT One versions that will work for all off them, for Cinelike D and V-Log L.

Versatility and 15 photo styles options

I set the GH5 loaner up with Mr Leeming’s Cinelike D and V-Log L photo style customizations, but shot most of my video on V-Log L and have been very happy with the results and the one to two stops extra dynamic range that it bestows.

The GH5’s 10-bit 4:2:2 V-Log L and ISO range from a base of 400 up to 1600 or 3200 depending on how prepared one is to apply de-noising in post-production gives me the confidence to take on pretty much any subject or common lighting situation.

Panasonic has gone to town with photo styles on the GH5.

As well as four custom settings slots, eleven readymade customizable styles are available when shooting video and one has a choice of nine when shooting stills.

The Panasonic Lumix GH5’s 15 Photo Styles:

  • Standard
  • Vivid
  • Natural
  • Monochrome
  • L.Monochrome
  • Scenery
  • Portrait
  • Custom1
  • Custom2
  • Custom3
  • Custom4
  • Cinelike D
  • Cinelike V
  • Like709 – video-only
  • V-Log L – video-only

The new ability to shoot JPEGs in Cinelike D or Cinelike V is an interesting one. I bought my GX8 as a backup video camera as well as production stills camera, and the addition of both customizable options to the GH5’s stills photo styles list improves its usefulness as a production stills camera, alongside of its 6K and 4K Photo capabilities.

Shoot Cinelike D or Cinelike V JPEG stills for fast, easy integration into the video edit without raw processing or painstaking colour matching.

If the video has been shot in Cinelike D customized for Leeming LUT One, create a matching customized Cinelike D for your JPEGs, hand them over to the production company then archive your raw files for post-processing later.

For years I relied on two Leica M4-P rangefinder cameras and a set of Summicron lenses for documentary, magazine and newspaper photography assignments and personal projects, along with cameras in other formats.

Movie production stills photographers traditionally rely on DSLRs encased in blimps, an unwieldy and costly solution to the need for shooting silently when the cinema cameras are running.

However, the production stills photographers of my early acquaintance carried Leica M rangefinder cameras that they used in between takes, not while movie film was rolling.

Although I did not enter my colleagues’ esteemed ranks working on feature films, I took on the occasional small production stills assignment and relied on my Leicas, 120-format rangefinder cameras and 4”x5” sheet film cameras, all mirrorless and close to silent when shooting.

Now, I might choose from an array of mirrorless cameras each with the native ability to shoot silently via their electronic shutter options with my current personal preference being rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras in Micro Four Thirds and APS-C sensor sizes.

Sensors, sizes and camera shapes

In the long lead up to the arrival of the GH5, some documentary moviemakers of my acquaintance added a GX8 to their tool kit and raved about how good its video is and speculated that the GH5’s sensor may have similar qualities.

Their guesses were close to the mark especially in both cameras’ megapixel ratings. 20MP has become the new mirrorless base standard, and picky clients have even fewer reasons to demand their photographers shoot only with so-called “full format” or “full frame” cameras.

Until I invest in a second Fujifilm X-Pro2 rangefinder camera or more likely the coming OVF-less X-E3 for second-camera duties on documentary stills projects, I carry my 20MP GX8 alongside my 24MP X-Pro2.

Despite its lack of an OVF, the GX8 handles in a similar way to the rangefinder camera especially in allowing me to shoot with both eyes wide open and brain displaying wider and narrower images side-by-side.

Better yet, the GX8’s unique tilting EVF allows me to shoot as if using a waist-level viewfinder camera like the sadly discontinued Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex cameras.

Full articulation and HDR bracketing

The GH5 and other DSLR-style cameras do not, or at least they do so with some difficulty.

I was not a dedicated SLR photographer during the analog era, preferring rangefinders and the sheet film cameras with which I learned photography in art school.

However, I find that DSLR-style cameras like the GH5 and GH4 are my best option for two forms of photography for which I once relied on sheet film and roll film technical cameras – architecture and product photography.

The key feature tipping me over into relying on both cameras for both types of subject of matter is their fully articulated monitor.

The one or two-way tilting monitors on Sony’s and Fujifilm’s cameras do not come close in utility value. If a monitor is to move at all, please, give me full and not partial articulation.

I often shoot HDR architectural exteriors in our famous Australian laser beam sunlight that makes squinting into an EVF a challenge.

A fully articulated monitor can be tilted and swung away from the camera body and shaded or shielded with a hood.

It allows me to hold the camera high or low without the old news photographer’s Hail Mary guess at what the camera is actually seeing.

Product photography in my cramped little kitchen-cum-studio is next to impossible without a fully articulated monitor allowing me to set up and make a shot while standing off at left or right of the camera and Panasonic has my eternal gratitude for this.

Much of my product photography is shot in HDR these days, a habit I took up when I discovered my GH4 allows up to 7 bracketed exposures.

I stayed away from High Dynamic Range photography for years when HDR appeared to be all about hyper-surrealism and the extreme exaggeration of colour and tones.

All that changed with Macphun’s Aurora HDR 2017 and now Aurora HDR 2018 used in combination with Macphun’s Luminar raw processor-cum-image editor, allowing me to produce architectural and product shots that look and feel more realistic than single-shot photography permits.

Recently I have found myself shooting 5 to 7 brackets at 2/3 to 1 stop apart, combining them in Aurora then exporting them to Luminar for export to JPEG after the most minimal of tweaks.

On lenses and the Leica kit lens

GH5 with Panasonic Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 kit zoom in its Seercam Cube GH5 cage with Røde VideoMic Pro and Peak Design Clutch and Cuff camera straps, making for a versatile, protective handheld rig. Breakthrough Photography ND filter attached via Breakthrough Photography brass step-up ring.

The loaner GH5 came with the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens, one of two kit zoom options with the other being the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/.8 II Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens.

The Leica zoom lens’ optical qualities are a pleasant reminder of my beloved Leica M-System prime lenses and its 12mm to 60mm is a more versatile improvement on its Lumix sister’s shorter 12mm to 35mm focal range.

The rationale for kit zooms is that they should provide enough focal lengths to cover most stills or video situations that one might encounter.

The Leica zoom is a promising solution for photography given the GH5’s ability to leverage the lens’ Optical Image Stabilization with the camera’s In-Body Image Stabilization via its Dual IS capability.

Its low effective maximum aperture of f/4.0 at the long end is more of a problem for documentary video where shooting in unpredictable lighting is common despite the increasing availability of small, portable LED lights.

While carrying the GH5 plus Leica zoom throughout the day within a range of lighting conditions, I often found myself yearning for a faster maximum aperture or a longer maximum focal length as well as a more usable manual focussing system than focus-by-wire.

I would love to see Panasonic’s optical engineers take a leaf out of the Olympus lens design book.

The manual clutch focus feature in Olympus’ ever-growing M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lens range tipped the balance for me in buying two Olympus zoom lenses and I have more on my wishlist.

Ditto the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro f/2.8 zoom lens maximum aperture and f/1.2 prime lens maximum aperture.

Many times even f/2.8 can be a stop or two too little and having one or two f/1.2 prime lenses in one’s video camera kit proves to be a wise investment.

If f/2.8 or f/1.2 and upper ISOs of 1600 or 3200 are not enough then time to consider carrying a Rotolight Neo 1 or Neo 2 to supplement that available darkness with some beautiful available light.

Enough for now?

I had intended this article to be much more in-depth when commencing writing, but being at the end of the review loaner queue tends to steal one’s thunder after so many brand ambassadors and early adopters have already published such excellent videos and articles.

What, I often wonder, would I have to add that is new and interesting to an already mature conversation?

I have removed the video still frames and photographs used to illustrate the first version of this article as software and LUT makers have now added or improved GH5 support to their products or that support will be be coming real soon now.

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Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris. Product shots made as single shots or HDR brackets on Panasonic Lumix GX8 or GH4 with Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Aspheric lens then processed with Macphun Aurora HDR 2018.

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  • Atomos Ninja Inferno 7″ 4K HDMI Recording Monitor and accessoriesB&H
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  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only)B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 8-18mm Lens KitB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-35mm Lens KitB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-60mm LensB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-XLR1 XLR Microphone AdapterB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery Grip – B&H
  • Panasonic V-Log L Function Activation Code for DMC-GH4, DC-GH5, and DMC-FZ2500B&H
  • Seercam GH5 CageB&H
  • Seercam Cage for GH5 with Classic HandleB&H
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Wex Photographic: Deserted in Paris – A Film Self-Shot on the Lumix GH5 with Just the Lumix 25mm F1.7 Lens

“Filmmaker Daniel Peters directed and self-shot this short film using just the Lumix GH5, 25mm F1.7 lens, and the XLR1 audio adapter. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, Daniel really shows in this piece that you can get out there and create some great content with limited gear and crew….”

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RYMovieMachine: Shooting with the Panasonic GH5

“On location in Perth, Australia testing out the Panasonic GH5. This entire report was filmed using 2 GH5 cameras. The Panasonic GH5 has earned a reputation of being a serious filming tool for those who need to be portable without compromise on quality….”

Lenses for GH5 recommended by Rick Young

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Camera, Kits, Battery Grip and V-Log L

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  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 8-18mm Lens KitB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-35mm Lens KitB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-60mm LensB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery Grip – B&H
  • Panasonic V-Log L Function Activation Code for DMC-GH4, DC-GH5, and DMC-FZ2500B&H

SDXC V90 cards

  • Angelbird 64GB AV Pro UHS-II V90 SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Angelbird 128GB AV Pro UHS-II V90 SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Panasonic 128GB UHS-II V90 SDXC Memory CardB&H

L-Plates

  • Really Right Stuff L-Plate Set for Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Camera Body  – B&H

Camera Cages

  • Movcam Cage for Panasonic GH5B&H
  • Movcam Cage Kit for Panasonic GH5B&H
  • Seercam GH5 CageB&H
  • Seercam Cage for GH5 with Classic HandleB&H
  • Seercam Extension Kit for CUBE GH5 CageB&H

Gallery: Mockups of Movcam’s Complete Magnesium Cage, Handle and Rod Riser Solution for the Panasonic Lumix GH5


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  • Movcam Top Handle for GH5 & a7 II Series CagesB&H
  • Movcam Universal LWS Base Plate with Quick Release for Panasonic GH5 B&H

Panasonic GH5 Cube Cage Extension Kit by Seercam Arrives, Seercam Now Working on Further Enhancements

Seercam’s Cube GH5 has gained an Extension Kit to account for the Panasonic Lumix GH5’s optional DMW-XLR1 audio adapter and more accessories are in the works. The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies to moviemaking as much to any other field of human endeavour and none more so than to camera cages. They are as much a form of insurance, protecting precious cameras and lenses, as they are a way of efficiently carrying your gear while rapidly attaching and detaching the myriad of accessories demanded by a range of moviemaking scenarios.

Seercam Cube GH5 camera cage for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 with Extension Kit for Cube GH5, cold shoes attached to the Classic Plus quick-release handle and a tripod plate beneath.
Seercam Cube GH5 camera cage for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 with Extension Kit for Cube GH5, cold shoes attached to the Classic Plus quick-release handle and a tripod plate beneath.

While awaiting a review loaner GH5, Seercam’s Extension Kit  for Cube GH5 arrived and I took a look at it from various angles and with some third-party accessories attached.

As these photographs show, the thoughtfulness, innovation and quality of Seercam’s product design and manufacturing are high. Although I have yet to put Seercam’s Cube GH5 to the test with an actual GH5 inside, hours of handling it with and without the Extension Kit and comparing it to its predecessor for the GH4, Motion9’s CubeMix GH4/3, show each is comfortable in the hands and feels good to the touch.

My more macho moviemaking colleagues may dismiss such concerns as well as that of the cage’s ability to safely protect the camera, but the fact remains that documentary moviemaking can demand that rigged and unrigged cameras stay in the hand for minutes if not hours on end and comfortable grip and pleasant surface feel is essential in my opinion.

Another common point of contention is weight. Aluminium is lightweight in nature and is the most common metal used for cage construction though magnesium is used by one or two accessories makers now. There is not a huge difference in weight between cages that wrap around the camera like a strap and those that enclose the camera like a box.

Given choice between the two, and experience of both, I opt for enclosure than strapping, more weight rather than less, for stability as well as protection and mounting options. I find that well-balanced weightier camera rigs work better for me than lighter ones, whether camera and lens have stabilization built-in. In fact I often add weight to my rigs’ underside via a Manfrotto PIXI mini tripod-cum-handle,  field recorder like the Tascam DR-70D or a quick release tripod plate.

Seercam Cube GH5 camera cage with Extension Kit and third-party accessories

Documentary moviemaker Sol March of Suggestion of Motion has been exploring rigging up his GH5 with rods, handles, clamps and a minimalist strap-style cage on his Facebook page. I began thinking about two-handed camera grip alternatives when I discovered that Manfrotto had discontinued its unique Fig Rig device, invented by movie director and digital video pioneer Mike Figgis.

Stripped down to its basics, the Fig Rig concept relies on handles either side of the camera as well as above and below. I have written about Mike Figgis’ Fig Rig here.

Meanwhile I have been looking at affordable alternatives that do not rely on gimbals, constantly balancing and rebalancing weights and that involve the body in a way that shoulder-mounted rigs cannot.

Seercam kindly sent over the 250mm and 350mm 15mm diameter aluminium rods from its 15mm Rod set to go with the 150mm rod that is part of the Extension Kit for Cube GH5 and I have been trying different rod and handle combinations that I will be exploring further when the review loaner GH5 arrives.

Seercam Cube GH5 cage with Extension Kit, 350mm rod and imaginary handles

One of the many benefits of Seercam/Motion9’s CubeMix GH4/3 cage was its three handles – top round handle, cable clamp and finger support – that could be supplemented with Peak Design’s Cuff and Clutch camera straps, adding to the safety and comfort of using it.

Seercam’s Cube GH5 cage could benefit from from handles in various configurations. Here are some ideas. Apologies for my crude mockups.

I have been thinking about how to better handle cage-mounted cameras since discovering that Manfrotto’s Fig Rig has been sadly discontinued and that there is no direct replacement for it.

I am not a fan of Steadicam and gimbal motion stabilization, due to the cost of these devices and the fact that I find their stabilization unnaturally smooth. I find less-stabilized footage more naturalistic, more human and better suited to independent documentary moviemaking whereas heavily stabilized footage clearly has a place in fictional narrative feature films.

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 apparently does an amazing job of stabilizing footage in several different ways, to varying degrees, but I also use cameras that have no such stabilization built-in and so have been thinking about affordable devices as in these illustrations to add some steadying to those cameras as well as the GH5 when I obtain one.

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Image Credits:

  • Product shots lit with Rotolight Neo and available light, made with Panasonic Lumix GH4 and processed in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop using VSCO Films 7’s Ilford Pan-F 50 presets with selenium split-toning applied via Macphun Tonality CK.

Cage Maker 8Sinn Releases Top Handles Extension Adapter for Panasonic Lumix GH5 XLR Audio Adapter

Polish video camera accessories maker 8Sinn has released a top handles adapter extension adapter for its GH5 camera cage. The adapter is designed for use with Panasonic’s DMW-XLR1 microphone adapter that sits on the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5’s hotshoe. The DMW-XLR1 adapter enables GH5 users to input audio into their GH5 via XLR-cabled microphones in the same way that camcorders have for some years now. 

8Sinn currently makes three different top-mounted handles for its cages and the top handles extension adapter works with all three including the Scorpio, my favourite due to its more enclosing design and versatility as a top or side handle able to be mounted at any angle via its Arri rosette and optional Arri rosette mount and NATO safety rail.

8Sinn’s Top Handles Extension Adapter appears to be the second such adapter designed to accommodate the DMW-XLR1 audio adapter by raising cage handles forward and upwards. Seercam’s Extension Kit for Cube GH5 made for its Cube GH5 camera cage and Classic Plus Handle was the first such device to market so far as I know.

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Seercam’s Brilliant New Cage for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 Available Soon, Extension Kit to Follow

My favourite cage for my Panasonic Lumix GH4 camera was made by Motion9, now trading internationally under the Seercam brand name. The only GH4 cage I had ever seen in real life was Motion9’s CubeMix GH4/3 and if the company’s other GH4 cage, the CubeMix GH4/3 Pro had been available at the time, then I would most definitely have bought that model instead, for its NATO sliding handle and one-touch cable clamp.

Now, Seercam has revealed its cage for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 and it looks like it will be the cage I buy for my GH5, when one finally finds its way into the country and into my hands.

Seercam’s newly-revealed Cube GH5 cage and NATO handle. Extension kit to accommodate the GH5’s DMW XLR1 audio adapter is coming soon.

I took a well-researched gamble on Motion9’s CubeMix GH4/3 and it paid off handsomely. I will be keeping my GH4 as second camera to my GH5 when it eventually arrives and it will be wearing its cage even more then than it does now.

My GH4 will continue to be equipped with its Cube Cage Round Handle, in my experience the most secure design of the two Motion9 top handles, though it does not have the convenience of fast-on, fast-on via NATO rail or the ability to balance the camera’s weight via sliding to and fro.

I would love an updated round handle in the style of the one on Canon’s Cinema EOS cameras, but Seercam’s NATO rail-mounted CubeCage Classic Plus Handle looks tempting as does its quick-release Rod Riser 1565.

I would consider replacing Seercam’s NATO rail with SmallRig’s Quick Release Safety Rail 7cm 1195 though, for its spring-loaded pins to prevent accidental removal. It is the little things that count.

Pity both items are out of stock. Quick-release mechanisms, so long as they mount tightly and securely, are key to working fast and efficiently as an independent, self-funded documentary moviemaker who cannot afford crews and wasting time screwing and unscrewing camera rigging when needing to move fast.

8Sinn’s GH5 cage and handles, especially its Scorpio top handle that can double as a side handle, was the first custom cage for the GH5 to appear online and it has several attractions including its elegance, small size and camera-right hand grip-hugging design.

I have another camera cage now, SmallRig’s 1844 cage for the Panasonic GX8, and through it have come to appreciate the small size and light weight of minimalist camera cages, but for regular through heavy-duty moviemaking when I need to attach a range of accessories to the rig, Motion9/Seercam’s beautifully conceived, brilliantly designed and expertly manufactured cages are my go-to standard.

You can see why in the photographs below. For your product comparison convenience, links to other current GH5 cages are listed at the base of this article.

Seercam’s Cube GH5 body and handle

Coming soon: extension kit for placing handle over DMW XLR1 audio adapter

Of all the GH5 cages listed below, those by 8Sinn and Seercam remain at the top of my wishlist.

If I were shooting features as part of a small crew alongside a camera assistant and audio recordist then I would choose 8Sinn’s cage along with Veydra or Duclos’ Voigtlaender ciné-modded native M43 prime lenses and follow focus device.

While Veydra cinema primes deliver a more standardized look that gets out of the way of the story, Voigtlaender’s faster optics produce quirkier looks that can enhance certain types of stories.

If shooting documentaries as a doing-it-all-myself one-person crew then hands-down I would chose Seercam’s GH5 cage along with Olympus M.Zuiko Pro zoom and prime lenses though I may add one or two Panasonic lenses for the benefits of extra stabilization and DFD – Depth from Defocus.

I really like M.Zuiko Pro lenses’ repeatable hard-stop manual clutch focus mechanism, build quality, durability and colour consistency across the range, and can sacrifice some stabilization for the sake of all that. They are terrific for video as well as stills photography.

There was some consternation about the Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8’s inability to accept screw-on filters when it first appeared, as there was about Panasonic’s Lumix 7.14mm f/4.0 lens, but some third-party filter adapter solutions for square or rectangular filters have appeared:

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