As part of setting up the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, I have been trying to put together a solid, fairly low-cost set of accessories for the camera body.
I became aware of a low-cost Chinese cage for the BMCC/BMPC4K bodies manufactured by an outfit called “Xiamen Came Photographic Equipment Co., Ltd.”, which are available sporting both top and bottom 15mm rail mounts, along with the normal mounting options and handles present with most cage designs. The cage in question is available for $198, shipping included, from the manufacturer.
My unit arrived today, via DHL, in a box which seemed almost Ikea-esque in its packing. First thing to note, which is not indicated either on the website or the packaging: “some assembly required”. Secondly – no instructions. Thankfully, the entire assembly procedure seemed pretty obvious with the provided Allen wrenches. I noticed that there is a 5/8” mount on the bottom of the unit (as well as a 1/4”-20 mount) for attaching to the fluid head or quick-release plate of your choosing. This wasn’t indicated on the website, but I had my suspicions, which were thankfully confirmed.
The first major issue I encountered was the lack of four of the required screws for assembly. Undaunted, I took a quick trip to the nearest “home improvement” store, and purchased four M4-.70 x 12 bolts with phillips heads (in packs of two), which worked like a charm.
The second slightly annoying issue was that one of the included 30cm 15mm rods was completely unthreaded, so it wouldn’t be possible to attach it to any other rods, should it need to be extended. The inclusion of the rods was a bit of a plus, so I can’t really be too upset about that.
The build quality, once assembled, is quite good. The CAME-06 cage is machined properly, and does not interfere with the operation of the BMPC4K unit at all, and has enough mount points to allow me to put handles, arms, and other accessories on it, which was the secondary purpose of purchasing the cage, after being able to properly mount the camera on a decent QR plate.
Additionally, it has a set of Hirth joints on either side, ostensibly for attaching handle mounts. I have no use for them at the moment, but they seem to be workable.
As the next step up in price is another 70$, and this unit arrived from China in less than four business days from my initial order, the annoyance of a $1.00 bolt purchase seems miniscule, considering the usability of the cage itself. It isn’t a full system, like the Tilta, Lanparte, and others, but can be built into a system incrementally.
Verdict: Know what you’re getting yourself into. If you want a pre-assembled unit, next day shipping, and would rather pay more money for the lack of inconvenience, you should avoid the CAME-06. It’s a good deal for the price, however.
Postscript: The manufacturer offered to reimburse me for the missing screws within a day of me writing to them, so they do seem to be relatively responsive whenever there is a mixup.