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Bright Tangerine Left Field Cage for Canon C300 Mk III & C500 II Review

Bright Tangerine C500 MKII Cage

Adding a cage to a camera adds much more flexibility. Especially when adding external devices such as a monitor or wireless audio and video transmitters. Mountable space gets used up quickly. On the C500 MK II, the top handle is the only option, and that can accommodate, maybe two devices.

One important factor in a cage is how heavy it is. Here is where the balance of more mounting options versus adding more weight comes in. Bright Tangerine has done an excellent job in keeping their cage option lightweight while also adding a lot of mounting option.

Bright Tangerine has extended its cage lineup for the Cinema EOS cameras. I reviewed the Bright Tangerine C200 Left Field Cage kit last year and I liked the design. The good news is they took the design and refined it even further. Making it over 30% lighter, more streamlined and now has the new Open•UP baseplate for quick-release on any ARRI standard balance plate.

New & Improved

Kits Available

They make it easier by having three kits to choose from. Base, Advanced, and Expert. They break down as follows

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Base Kit $987

Bright Tangerine Left Field Cage Basic
  • Compatible with Canon EOS C200, C300 Mk III & C500 Mk II
  • Canon C500 II/C300 III/C200 Baseplate (includes dovetail plate)
  • Canon C500 II/ C300 III/C200 Top Plate (includes dovetail plate)
  • Top Handle
  • LA-V1 Bracket Adapter

Advanced Kit $1,383

Bright Tangerine Left Field Cage Advanced Kit
  • Compatible with Canon EOS C200, C300 Mk III & C500 Mk II
  • Canon C500 II/C300 III/C200 Baseplate (includes dovetail plate)
  • Canon C500 II/C300 III/C200 Top Plate (includes dovetail plate)
  • Top Handle
  • LA-V1 Bracket Adapter
  • Left Field ARRI Dovetail Balance Plate (300mm/11.8″)

Expert Kit $1,828

Bright Tangerine Left Field Cage Expert Kit
  • Compatible with Canon EOS C300 Mk III & C500 Mk II
  • Canon C500 II/C300 III/C200 Baseplate (includes dovetail plate)
  • Canon C500 II/C300 III/C200 Top Plate (includes dovetail plate)
  • Canon C500 II/C300 III Side Plates
  • Top Handle
  • LA-V1 Bracket Adapter
  • Left Field ARRI Dovetail Balance Plate (300mm/11.8″)
  • 15mm Drumstix Pair (12”/30.4cm)
  • ARRI 3/8″ Accessory Mount to 15mm Rod Adaptor

Open•UP Quick-Release Baseplate

Bright Tangerine clamp

The new baseplate uses a patented Open•UP Quick Release system that works with any standard ARRI dovetail. In previous reviews, I have noticed a wide range of tolerance when it comes to ARRI dovetails & balance plates. Balance plates that are slightly out of tolerance can cause issues, causing slight wobbles or worse, cause your camera to come loose. With Bright Tangerine’s patented design, it compensates for any tolerance in the dovetails so that it is always securely mounted on to the plate.

It also works with the included low profile Left Field ARRI Dovetail Plate. The Dovetail system is very secure and designed for heavy loads, but that is not to say a lighter setup won’t benefit from the solid platform.

Another benefit of the ARRI Dovetail design is the amount of space it has to slide the camera up and down for optimal balance. This is especially handy when changing lenses from a small compact prime to a larger heavy zoom.

The three-stage lever lets you drop it onto the dovetail, flip the lever in the second position to engage the safety stops so the camera won’t slide off either end while adjusting the balance on the dovetail. The third position locks it in place.

Bright Tangerine locking clamp

A retractable foot engages with the safety button on the balance plate but to prevent the foot from interfering with rod height standards when being used on a 15mm/19mm Studio setup, the foot retracts into the base.

Another safety lock on the lever itself prevents accidental unlocking. This feature makes it harder to unlock, as you have to push the small metal stop forward then pull the lever. I think it might be too secure. I never thought I’d say that! While I like the security of the locking lever it does take some time to get used to working with it.

Using the quick release on the small dovetail plate

If you don’t use the ARRI Style standard dovetail system, the included Left Field dovetail plate can be mounted to a platform or fluid head QR plate.

Bright Tangerine top plate 2
The Left Field ARRI-Style Dovetail Plate is covered in taps

Another option would be to mount the fluid heads QR plate to the Left Feild plate and slide it on the head. Either way, including the dovetail plate, gives you several mounting options when you don’t require a full-size ARRI balance plate.

B4005 0006 Canon C500 ii C200 Baseplate 03 web
The C500 II/C300 III/C200 Left Field Universal 15mm LWS Baseplate

The Left Field QR Baseplate uses an interchangeable riser adapter that is interchangeable to use with other cameras. There are slots for two 15mm rods for mounting accessories like a follow focus and lens support. They are secured with one kip lever on for the front & rear. Handy if you want to combine two smaller rods to create a long rail surface.

The baseplate is actually compatible with the Canon C200, C300 Mk III, C500 Mk II & C700. Currently, there are four riser plates available which set the baseplate for a wide range of cameras including the Sony VENICE, FX9, FS7, FS5, Varicam, EVA-1, URSA Mini & older Canon models like the C100 I/II, C300 I/II & C500.

image 6
Swap out the riser plate to use the baseplate with various cameras

Quick-Release Top Plate

Bright Tangerine top plate and handle
Top plate with handle

This is my favorite feature. The Left Field ARRI-style dovetail plate gives the Cinema EOS camera a lot of mounting options. I love the ARRI 3/8″ accessory mount, and we are seeing more hardware including them.

The ARRI accessory mount is a 3/8″ screw with one-pin on each side which prevents the attachment from twisting out. Therefore, it stays put and won’t unscrew easily if the hardware is moving around in different positions, like a magic arm or monitor mount. Plus, you don’t have to go Superman on tightening the hardware down as the pins keep it in place.

Bright Tangerine top plate off
Quick to remove and slides fore and aft for balancing.

Being a separate plate means that the top plate can slide back and forth, letting you set the optimal balance. Since the C300 Mk III & C500 Mk II are such modular cameras, with the extension units, this will help find a good balance point for the top handle.

The top plate has several 3/8″ and 1/4 20″ mounting options. However, it’s got another trick up its sleeve. The top plate uses an ARRI dovetail style clamp. so you can quickly swap it out to different configurations. This also helps when packing down the camera for transport as you can quickly remove the top handle or other top-mounted accessories.

Canon C200 C300iii C500ii top plate quick release
Compatible with the C200, C300 Mk III & C500 Mk II

Top-mounted rod supports are also nice when you don’t want a full base plate setup just to mount rods for a lens motor, EVF bracket or another accessory.

Additional dovetail plates can be purchased at $79.

Top Handle

Bright Tangerine Handle 2

The Top Handle has several mounting options. It mounts to the front of the Left Field plate. This is the only position that lines up on the plate. You can change the location of the handle on the mount as it has three options. The Top Handle can be reversed and still use the ARRI accessory mount with the Canon LCD hardware.

LCD Hardware Mount

Bright Tangerine monitor mount

On the front of the handle is where the LA-V1 Bracket Adapter goes to hold the stock LCD hardware. This Canon hardware is hit and miss for many users, and I think it’s much better than the dreaded clamshell design of the older C300 and C500 design. While it isn’t perfect, it’s better.

The LA-V1 Bracket Adapter is very solid and lets you attach it to the handle or anywhere else on the cage using the ARRI accessory mount. Clean and simple.

Sometimes the little things make a big improvement. While the Canon stock LCD hardware is unpopular with some, I happen to like it and using the Bright Tangerine handle with the mount for the LCD arm is a simple, clean upgrade. The LCD hardware attaches just like it does on the stock handle, letting you also use the stock microphone shock mount if you need to record audio on the go.

Bright Tangerine monitor mount front

Side Plates

Bright Tangerine Left side plate

Included with the Expert Kit are the side plates for the C300 Mk III & C500 Mk II. The minimalistic side plates complete the cage, creating a completely rigid structure around the camera. The C500 Mk II and C300 Mk III have a lot of buttons on the side of a very small body. This makes it more difficult to cage as you don’t want to block any of the buttons on the camera. It attaches to the base plate and top plate to complete the cage. The left side includes two 3/8″ ARRI accessory mounts as well as six 1/4″ taps.

You could even mount the dovetail plate on to the side plate for vertical shooting if you needed to.

Bright Tangerine right side plate

On the right side, you have seven 1/4 20″ taps and one 3/8″. To mount the stock Canon grip, an ARRI standard rosette is available. The bottom three 1/4 20″ taps are blocked when the grip is installed.

One difference between the original C200 side plates is that the new side plates have fewer screws for mounting because they have interlocking pins on the baseplate & top plate. This is a very small detail but something that makes a big difference in the speed of setting it up if you ever needed to take the side plates off since you can insert & remove the camera without disassembling the whole cage.

B4005 0008 Canon C500 ii Sideplate Kit 02 web
Fewer screws are needed for mounting the side plates with interlocking pins

Drumstix, Light & Strong

Bright Tangerine Drumstix 12

The Drumstix are very nice and super lightweight yet strong due to the use of Sterling Titanium. Compared to other stainless steel rods, Drumstix are a quarter of the weight. That will help keep the front weight down a bit for better balance, and if you use the lighter is better mentality, these rods deliver. They are extremely light and strong. It’s nice to see a set included with the Expert kit.

Future Expandability

Bright Tangerine has also mentioned that they are working on a number of new products to further expand the Left Field system including a shoulder pad & EVF bracket. 15mm & 19mm Studio Bridgeplates which feature the same Open•UP sideloading quick-release are also about to start shipping.

Conclusion

If you have picked up the new C500 Mk II or are planning to get the C300 Mk III, the Bright Tangerine Left Field options tick a lot of boxes. It doesn’t add a lot of extra weight but, adds a lot more versatility in mounting hardware and accessories to the camera.

Many people think that a cage adds protection from drops & dings, but that is not their main purpose. They are really protecting the camera from the physical stress of supporting various accessories. The design of the newer Canon cinema bodies also doesn’t allow for a lot of surface coverage without blocking access to the various buttons & dials.

Bright Tangerine Left Feild Top Plate and handle combo
Helicoil inserts are used for increased durability

The top plate is very nice, and I like the idea of adding an extra one for different configurations. Along with these full kits, the modules can be bought separately.

If I had could only pick one, The Left Field Sliding Top plate and Top Handle would be my choice. Well, I suppose that’s two choices 😀 This gives me a lot of options for mounting my bits and securely attaches to the camera. It also works with the C200. This one might not make it back into the box.

Price-wise, it’s not the cheapest, however, the machining and overall quality are top-notch. In this instance, you get what you pay for. If you have issues Bright Tangerine will take care of you with great service & support. All in all, a good investment to either the C300 Mk III or C500 Mk II.

For comparison, here are a few other options and their pricing.

Bright Tangerine Expert Kit (C300 III/C500II) – $1,827 USD
Wooden Camera Unified Accessory Kit for Canon C500 Mk II (Pro) – $2,105 USD
ARRI Pro Set for Canon C300 Mk III/C500 Mk II (New Version) – $3,795 USD

For C200 users planning to upgrade to either the C300 Mk III or C500 Mk II, they also have the same kits for the C200, the Base & Advanced Kit could also be a good option since the only difference is the side plates giving you an easy upgrade path.

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Bright Tangerine’s Canon C200 Left Field Cage uses the same baseplate & top plate as the C300 Mk III & C500 Mk II

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