The Blackmagic Pocket, both in the 4K and 6K version, has acquired a loyal fanbase, and there’s more than one reason. It’s an amazing camera, capable of delivering a beautiful image, with a nice cinematic grain. It offers a huge resolution and a compressed raw (for lack of a better term).
For many indie filmmakers, it has been the perfect deal. But as-is, the camera has some limitations. Unlike other rivals, its form factor is not ideal for narrative productions, it’s much more DSLR-esque, so many have been using cages to make the cameras more set-friendly. There are two main competitors on the market in that regard: TILTA and SmallRig. Each has its fair market share, so which one should you choose? Let’s confront both rigs with Arber Baqaj and sort the pros and cons of each cage kit.
What do we know of the two brands at hand? Well, both have plenty of history in making third-party accessories for cameras. They offer a whole variety of cages and gear, but both are well renowned for their cages.
TILTA has kind of the upper hand since most people feel like it’s a “higher-level brand” in comparison to SmallRig, usually labeled as a cheap Chinese brand.
We’re not going to say that TILTA is a low-quality brand, but neither is SmallRig. Both the cages have a great build quality and good materials: SmallRig’s may lack the flair and color options of TILTA, but still, they are very good products.
The biggest difference that immediately catches the eye is that TILTA has parts with electronics inside. The TILTA Nucleus is the world-renowned wireless follow focus system, but that’s not all. In fact, TILTA offers battery plates for Sony NPF and even a plate for V-lock batteries with power distribution.
However, the most impressive piece is the side handle. It has two compartments ready to hold both a Sony NPF battery and a Samsung T5, plus it has a dial to control focus on the Nano wireless follow focus – another handy feature, indeed.
SmallRig does not offer anything similar, although it seems that they are developing such an add-on. Their accessories are much simpler but still effective. The beautiful wooden handle can accommodate a Samsung T5, and they have some nifty adapters, like the 90° bracket for the HDMI output, very useful to avoid bending the port on the camera.
There is a similar adapter for the USB-C cable if you’re wondering. TILTA offers also a rod baseplate, very useful if you’re going to mount follow focus, but it does not seem that one of the brands has a clear advantage over the other. In fact, many parts can be used with products from the rivals, meaning that you could franken-rig a concoction of both cages to create a product that is perfect for your needs.
You could unite the elegance and durability of SmallRig handle and brackets with the dark steel beauty of the TILTA cage, or vice-versa. One detail, however, that is a clear winner for SmallRig is the adoption of NATO rails. We’ve been praising this standard before, but for those who missed it, we can recap.
Basically, the NATO rail is a system developed by the military to have a quick-release system for guns add-ons, like scopes and other gadgets. The same system is used by SmallRig to expand the cage with accessories in a very rapid and simple way. Just a couple of touches and you can mount or remove almost anything – handles, monitors, whatever you need to.
TILTA’s system simply can’t compare in speed with the NATO rail. We hope that in the future more manufacturers would switch to this mount, it would be so great.
As said before, you can easily use SmallRig’s rails and mount them on TILTA’s! That could be a perfect solution – just take the best of both worlds and create the exact rig that suits perfectly your needs.