SmallRig makes a ton of mods and rigs for cameras. Recently, I began a small business on the side shooting wedding, special occasion, and promo videos. I had a shoulder rig from Neewer and while it was a good product, it was a bit bulky and not designed specifically for my new Sony a6500. Small Rig makes a cage customized to fit the Sony a6500. Once the cage is set, the rest falls in place.
The custom DIY mods I chose to build upon costs under $300. The kit includes the following:
1 x CoolHandles V5 for 15mm DSLR Shoulder Rig 998
1 x SMALLRIG Top Handle (Rubber) 1446
1 x SMALLRIG Shoulder Pad (15mm Railblock) 1485
1 x SMALLRIG 15mm Rail Support System Baseplate (Arca Swiss) 1687
1 x 15mm Carbon Fiber Rod-22.5cm 9inch (2pcs) 1690
1 x SmallRig A6500 Cage for Sony A6500 1889
If you’re looking to get a rig like this I would recommend getting two more rods, as I already had what I needed to complete this shoulder rig setup.
The purpose of this setup is for a multifunctional rig. I want to be able to mount this on a tripod, remove the cage and use the handle, and be able to use as a shoulder rig without a hassle.
SmallRig Top Handle
Bare minimum you could just use the cage and top handle to get a small sized stabilizer setup, which is again one of the reasons why I like this setup. If I need to go handheld and ditch the whole rig, I can do so. With that said, the top handle is very comfortable to hold, amazing grip, and has cold shoe connections at the end. The handle is perfect for what I was looking for.
Shoulder Rig Handles
The Coolhandles feel just as good as the top handle. Obviously, the Coolhandles are made for the shoulder rig part of the setup. The rods from the shoulder mount slide into the mount holes, tighten up, and provides various positions to suite your needs.
Rail Support System
The 15mm rail support system is the heart of this whole rig. The support system allows me to easily attach/detach the cage from the shoulder mount and go handheld. This support also is what allows the rig to mounted on a tripod. Making this a versatile kit!
The rods ordered for this kit are carbon fiber and are used for a backup set. Carbon fiber a lighter in weight than the standard iron rods.
Can’t have a shoulder rig without a shoulder pad. This is one of the lower cost options, but still high quality and has features. For one, it’s comfortable. The pad is contoured to fit on the shoulder just right. It also has a place to add accessories like a recorder. There’s two velcro straps that can used for various reasons.
Last but not least, the cage. The cage is the star of the show for this rig. SmallRig designs cages custom fit for cameras. This particular cage is made for the Sony a6500. Be sure to check out their other models as well because you can use other mods with those cages as well.
The cage is AWESOME! The cage allows tons of connections for cold/hot shoes, other mounts, adapters, and more. Since the Sony a6500 does not have an articulating viewfinder screen, it’s almost essential to have an external monitor to be able to see what you’re shooting if shooting outside the viewing area of the built-in screen.
Along with a monitor, I like to have a shotgun mic connected.
There’s really a ton of options that can be used with the cage. What I like a lot about the cage is access to the battery and memory card port without removing a thing. There’s also access to the audio and data ports.
Nothing gets in the way of any features or functions of the camera. Not to mention the cage adds a great amount of protection!
This rig has been a great addition to my camera gear collection. The minimal design and full feature functionality is perfect. There’s tons of options and mods to add to the rig. For under $300, this is a great way to get started with a rig system.
The only thing recommended to change would be the mounting screws. In order to twist on, you’ve got to use a coin or something like that to tighten the parts together. The easiest type of screw to use is a quick release.