Building the Ultimate Panasonic S5 II/S5 IIX Cinema Rig

Now that the Panasonic S5 II and S5 IIX are out in the wild – and a looking like worthwhile upgrades for filmmakers—it’s time to start looking into how you can get them kitted out.

That is always a critically important step for any “hybrid” camera that uses an often less-than-ideal body design for filmmaking. Fortunately, plenty of companies have come out with solutions and rigs to make using mirrorless cameras a much more enjoyable experience.

If you want some inspiration on how to build your own S5 II cine rig then you can turn to filmmaker Arber Baqaj who put together his own “ultimate” setup.

The base of this rig is a cage, as is usually the case. It is the Black Mamba series cage from SmallRig designed specifically for the S5 II series. They do make some great equipment for very reasonable prices.

This cage kit comes with a very nice top handle which Arber prefers for most of his shoots, though for more tripod-ready setups this rig actually forgoes a top handle.

Panasonic Lumix S5 IIX Mirrorless Camera

Image Credit: Panasonic

At the front of the kit is the SmallRig Mini Matte Box Pro. It’s compact and lightweight which makes it a good choice for a portable kit. He also tacked on the SmallRig F60 Follow Focus. It’s an affordable, manual follow focus but it is very adjustable and probably the best in this price range.

Everyone here is probably already familiar with the Atomos Ninja as it is one of the top monitor/recorder options around. It’ll give you the ProRes RAW option and it is just a nice monitor.

He has it mounted in a SmallRig Cage and picked up the newer SmallRig 3601B Monitor Mount with HawkLock Quick Release system to make it easy to pop on and off.

Atomos Ninja Recorder Monitor

Image Credit: Atomos

Sometimes when he is shooting from the hip he adds a handle to the front of the rig using the rods to make it easier to hold while operating the camera from its own handgrip.

For power, you’ll want a bigger solution. He picked up the ZGCINE VM-VP2 V-Mount Battery Plate. It’s relatively small and he picked up one of the ZGCINE Batteries to go with it. This setup will power up the camera and all your accessories so you don’t have to worry about multiple types of batteries and chargers.

The plate has D-tap, barrel, USB-C Power Delivery, and more. The coolest part is that this plate can serve as a charger for the V-mount battery since it takes USB PD in.

ZGCINE VM-VP2 V-Mount Battery Plate

Image Credit: ZGCINE

He does use a baseplate with a quick-release system for when he wants to swap out his setup or move from a tripod to a handheld setup during a shoot.

There isn’t a full audio solution on this rig as he generally leaves this to a separate system – usually a good call. You could easily add a mic for scratch audio or a receiver.

Otherwise going with something like an XLR adapter will mean reconfiguring the rig in some way.

Sachtler Ace M Aluminum Tripod

Image Credit: Sachtler

As for a tripod, a part we don’t often discuss, he went with the Sachtler Ace M. This is a very reliable brand and the Ace M is part of their relatively affordable series.

I say relatively since it is more expensive than a good chunk of those mid-range options, but Sachtler is a very trusted brand in the industry.

That’s it. Anything you would add?

[source: Arber Baqaj]

Order Links:

  • Panasonic Lumix S5 II Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • Panasonic Lumix S5 IIX Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig Black Mamba Cage Kit for Panasonic S5 II/S5 IIX (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig Mini Matte Box Pro (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig F60 Modular Follow Focus (B&H, Amazon)
  • Atomos Ninja Recorder/Monitor (B&H)
  • SmallRig Cage for Atomos Ninja (B&H, Amazon)
  • SmallRig 3601B Drop-In HawkLock Quick Release Monitor Mount (B&H, Amazon)
  • ZGCINE VM-VP2 V-Mount Battery Plate (B&H, Amazon)
  • ZGCINE V160 142Wh V-Mount Battery (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sachtler Ace M Aluminum Tripod (B&H, Amazon)

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate partner and participant in B&H and Adorama Affiliate programmes, we earn a small comission from each purchase made through the affiliate links listed above at no additional cost to you.

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