In this article, I’ll be showing you how to mount the Sony a6300 onto a Smallrig cage for a versatile mobile camera rig setup.
Last month after much thought, I decided to buy the Sony a6300 mirrorless camera. So far it’s been a great camera with tons of options to get the results you want. I just love the overall photo and video quality it can produce (yes, it’s a million times better than the iPhone). For this reason, I’ll be using it as my main camera for all our future photo shoots and video work.
With that said, I wanted to find good and practical way for mounting extra accessories to the camera without having to add too much weight or bulkiness. Things like external mics, handles, monitors (if required) or dongles for HDMI output etc.
One product came to mind… the Smallrig cage for the Sony a6300.
Smallrig Camera Cage
SmallRig Camera Cage for Sony A6000 (ILCE-6000), A6300 (ILCE-6300 ), NEX7 with 1/4″ thread for Base Plate, Top Handle, EVF Mount, Tripod Plate.
CNC machined aluminum. Smooth, corrosion resistant and durable cage. Includes 1/4″-20 threaded holes for attachment option. Can be mounted on tripod plate
- Accessory Mounting Threads: 1/4″-20
- Material: Anodized Aluminum Alloy
Warm Tips: If your lens’ diameter is 70mm or above, please make sure to uninstall the lens first, then install the cage 1661.
Price: USD $45 – Buy now from Amazon – https://goo.gl/xpWcGx.
SmallRig Cheese Handle Grip/Top Handle
This top handle includes a Cold shoe base for DSLR camera monitor, LED light, microphone and other shoe mount accessories. It also features 1/4″ and 3/8″ holes along the entire length of the handle, for custom and versatile mounting of accessories in any position.
- 1x top handle
- 1x Hex Spanner
- 2x 1/4″-20 Screws
- Material: Aluminum Alloy
- Net Weight:160g
Price: USD $37 – Buy now from Amazon – https://goo.gl/3YNX7J.
No Audio/Headphone Out – No Problem!
One of the most disappointing thing about the Sony a6300, is the fact that it doesn’t feature a headphone/audio out jack. This is extremely annoying and painful, especially when you want to monitor your audio while recording or filming. Fear not, to fix this problem we used a micro HMDI to VGA converter (with audio out), just like the one below.
- No Software or drivers required
- Connect the MCHD2VGAE2 to the Micro HDMI output on your device
- Just plug in your 3.5mm headphones for instant audio output
- Connect your Display to the MCHD2VGAE2 using a VGA cable
- 1920×1200, 1920×1080 (1080p), 1600×1200 @ 60Hz
Price: USD $15-25. Buy now from Amazon – https://goo.gl/w9NT6Y
Extra Battery Life using USB Power Bank
As I mentioned earlier, the battery life on the Sony a6300 camera SUCKS big time! I get on average around 2-3 hours of shooting, which is just not particularly great. To get around this, I managed to attach a small power bank with a power rating of 3,330 mAh, (which is equivalent to 3 times the amount of battery life of the original Sony battery).
We use two zip-ties to secure the power bank to the Smallrig cage. It may not be the prettiest looking … but it will definitely do the job! I tried mounting it to the bottom, but it means I won’t be able to use the tripod. I also tried on the right side of the cage, but that also was a no-go, as I won’t be able to hold the camera properly. In the end, I had to mount the power bank to the left side of the cage, which incidentally was the best position, as it was very close to the USB port on the camera.
It provides a much-needed boost to your phone when you run out of power on the go.
- Fast-charging PowerIQ technology.
- MultiProtect safety system.
- Up to 1X extra phone battery.
Price for 3,300 mAh – USD $15. Buy now from Amazon – https://goo.gl/i2qKki
Price for 5,000 mAh – USD $18-20. Buy now from Amazon – https://goo.gl/Dbhqx8
The Finished Product – Standard Setup
What you’ll notice here, is that I’ve added a ball mount to the front of the cheese grip and attached a phone clamp. This allows me to use the a smartphone as a mini monitor via the Sony app. This allows me to do some vlogging on the Sony a6300, which many users find difficult without the flip-out LCD.
On the other side of Smallrig cage, you’ll find a very convenient cold shoe mount … perfect for attaching shotgun/mono microphones such as the Rode Videomic Pro.
This whole setup can be mounted on a tripod with easy access to all parts of the camera. What’s even better, is that you can attach even more accessories to the rig.
This my vlogging setup. As you can see, I removed the cheese grip and mounted the phone clamp directly onto the Smallrig cage (on the right). I then mounted a Sony shotgun microphone for good measure on the other side of the cage (there is a cold shoe mount ready and built-in on this cage).
This vlogging rig can be slightly heavy to hold with one hand, but you’ll get used to it. Alternatively, you can mount the whole rig onto a mini gorilla tripod, which will help with some stability and of course, it will give you less stress on your arms!
This whole setup cost me no more than USD $100-120. I now have a very versatile and highly usable camera rig for photography and videos (including vlogging)!
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