The Tilta ES-T17 maybe the perfect fit for Sony A7 owners. We put it to the test

Product Overview

Tilta ES-T17-A Cage for Sony A7 Series cameras

Pros:

  • Extremely strong, but lightweight
  • Plenty of mounting points
  • HDMI cable grip
  • Perfect cage for both first and second generation Sony A7 cameras

Cons:

  • Quite expensive (but it is extremely high quality)

Product:

TiLTA ES-T17-A (Advanced) Cage for Sony A7 series cameras

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£442.80 (Advanced kit - including VAT)

We’ve previously tested the excellent Tilta ES-T13 cage kit for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera so were delighted when the ES-T17-A kit arrived for the Sony A7 series of cameras.

Many of the core features are the same. The main cage is made from machined aluminium and it fits snuggly around both the original Sony A7 cameras, and the Mk II versions. So whether you have the A7S, A7S II, A7R II or any of the other cameras, the ES-T17 cage will fit and still leave access for the all of the sockets and key access points, including the all important battery compartment.

Incuded in the ES-T17-A (Advanced) Kit

• 1 x Quick-release top handle
• 1 x Sony A7 series cage
• 1 x Sony A7 series quick release baseplate
• 1 x Lens convertor ring support
• 1 x HDMI plug protector
• 2 x 15*300mm rod
• 1 x Wooden handle

Unlike the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera cage, the handgrip for the Tilta ES-T17 is an optional extra, it is part of the Advanced kit that we are reviewing here, but it is well worth it. The handgrip is beautifully made from Brazillian rosewood and has a huge locking wheel that screws the handle securely in to position on the side of the cage. From here the handle can be locked at any number of angles, depending on your shooting position.

The handle does much more than add stability, thanks to the built in shutter button. Resting snuggly on the top of the grip, the button connects to the Sony A7 cameras via a lead that goes from the bottom of the grip to the multi interface (Micro USB to you and me) socket – in effect it acts as a remote shutter release button. The only annoyance is that the handle is the other side of the camera to the Micro USB socket so the lead has to curl around the bottom of the cage. It’s no biggie, but does lose a little of the amazing design and attention to detail.

It is the attention to detail that makes the Tilta cages stand out, and the ES-T17-A is no exception. From the clamps to make sure that the HDMI cables remain secure, without damaging the socket on the camera, to the fact that there are two positions for the baseplate, depending on whether you have a original or Mk II A7 camera, the Tilta cage is a quality product.

At the bottom of the cage sits a quick release base plate to which a set of rails and rail clamp sit, whilst on the top is a very neat machined aluminium handle, complete with coldshoe for a mic or small LED light. Then there are the mounting points, with 1/4 inch and 3/8ths inch screw thread sockets littering the cage and handle. I counted 96 mounting points, but sure I missed a couple. Regardless, if you have plenty to mount you wont run out of places, especially given that the rails can be used to clamp on even more.

In use the ES-T17-A can’t really be faulted. The battery compartment is easy to get to, as is the memory card socket, particularly in the original cameras with the rear mounted door, rather than the side mounted door, but both are accessible. The articulated screen of the Sony A7 cameras can be a bit tricky to pull out, but hey, if you are using a cage, chances are you also have a Atomos Ninja, or a Blackmagic Video Assist in use anyway.

Verdict

Overall it is a great bit of kit for any A7 series camera user looking for a cage, and I would highly recommend getting the Advanced kit ahead of the standard one. The additional shutter button and contoured handle are beautifully designed and really finish of the package neatly. A premium quality product, at a premium quality price.

Many thanks to UK distributor CineGear Pro for the loan of this review sample