All of these kits were made in close collaboration with Panasonic. I wanted to have a closer look at the options available from Tilta for kitting out and expanding the functionality of your GH6.
One of the appeals of the GH6, like most mirrorless cameras, is that it is relatively small and compact. However, if you do want to mount some basic accessories it is extremely hard because you are pretty much stuck to just attaching something to the cold shoe.
My personal view when it comes to mirrorless cameras is that the last thing you want to do is to make them larger and heavier. This always presents challenges if you want to use a mirrorless camera for professional video applications. If you want to add some accessories you don’t want to make the camera twice the size to do so.
The GH6 does have quite a few buttons, and like almost all mirrorless cameras it does have quite a few connectors on the left-hand side. With a cage you want to make sure that it doesn’t interfere with the way you use and operate the camera.
For this review, I will be looking at the Tilta Full Camera Cage Kit for Panasonic GH6 (Pro Kit), however, as this includes all of the components you can buy individually, you will get a good idea of how all of them work.
What do you get?
In the Tilta Full Camera Cage Kit for Panasonic GH6 (Pro Kit) that I was reviewing you get the following items:
- Tilta Full Camera Cage for GH6 (Black)
- Tiltaing Compact NATO Top Handle (Black)
- Tilta HDMI Clamp Attachment for Panasonic GH6
- 2.5mm Allen Key
- Tilta 15mm LWS Baseplate Type I (Tilta Gray)
- 2 x Tilta Threaded 15mm Rod (Black, 8″, Single)
- Tilta Left-Side Advanced Power Handle with Run/Stop (F570, Black)
- Tiltaing Advanced Side Handle Run/Stop Cable for Panasonic GH Series Cameras
- Tiltaing Advanced Left-Side Handle Adapter Type VI (Black)
- Allen Key
- HDMI Extension Cable (8.7″)
Essentially this kit gives you everything you need to be able to attach and work with various camera accessories, matte boxes, follow focus units, etc. The nice aspect about the Tilta Full Camera Cage Kit for Panasonic GH6 (Pro Kit is that you can build up or greatly minimize your setup depending on what is required.
The build quality of the camera cage is the same as you will find on all of Tilta’s camera cages across the board. I have found the build quality and general workmanship of Tilta camera accessories that I have reviewed over the last few years to be very consistent.
The camera secures down tightly and it is held in place by a single screw and a guide screw. This is nice because the camera won’t move or twist around.
The Tiltaing Compact NATO Top Handle top handle, Advanced Left-Side Handle Adapter Type V, and Tilta 15mm LWS Baseplate Type I are all solidly made. I didn’t find anything in regards to build quality that raised any concerns.
Based around a cage
The Tilta Full Camera Cage Kit for Panasonic GH6 (Pro Kit) is based around a streamlined protective lightweight cage. The concept behind the cage is to improve the functionality of the GH6 while not dramatically increasing its size.
The cage is made out of Aluminum Alloy and it only weighs 6.56 oz / 186g. The GH6 is fairly hefty for a M4/3 camera, but the weight of the cage doesn’t make it feel any heavier. Having a lightweight cage is always nice with a small-sized camera because you don’t want to add any additional weight where it isn’t needed.
The sides of the cage feature multiple 1/4”-20 threaded holes for mounting accessories.
There is also a cable clamp attachment mounting hole for protecting the port while mounting an HDMI cable.
Tilta also gives you a small HDMI Extension Cable (8.7″) that you can secure to the cage and plug your monitor/recorder into. The only issue with this extension cable is that there is only really one place where you can attach it to the cage, and that spot makes it almost impossible to use the cold shoe on the far left-hand side. It doesn’t cover where the cold shoe is, but you can’t mount a lot of accessories because they won’t fit with the HDMI Extension Cable attached to the cage.
On top of the cage, there are a few more 1/4”-20 threaded holes and three cold shoe mounts.
The whole concept behind how the top part of the Tilta cage has been designed is so that the user has easy access to all of the controls. As the top of the cage is slightly offset back from where the camera body is you don’t have to go digging under cage parts to access any controls.
The base of the cage also provides a few mounting options for attaching your camera to different quick-release plates.
The plate that comes with the kit that you attach to the bottom of the cage natively fits the Tilta 15mm LWS Baseplate Type I.
The cage gives you full access to the battery compartment.
The cage can be used in conjunction with Tilta’s optional Adjustable Top Handle so that you switch between horizontal and vertical shooting configurations.
The Tiltaing Compact NATO Top Handle can be attached to the top of the cage. You can move it anywhere along the top of the cage you like.
The handle has multiple 1/4-20″ and 3/8″ mounting holes, as well as a cold shoe mounts.
You can also reverse the handle around to place it in a different configuration, however, you are limited to where you can place it because of the lockdown mechanism.
It is reasonably nice to hold onto and use. What I like about all of the accessories, such as the top handle, is that they are interchangeable with other Tilta camera cages for various cameras. This means that if you already owed a Tilta kit for another camera, you may only need to buy the base cage because you could use it with accessories you already have.
Also because the cage has two NATO rails you could just mount accessories from other manufacturers that you already own.
Tilta Left-Side Advanced Power Handle with Run/Stop
The Tilta Left-Side Advanced Power Handle with Run/Stop mounts to the left side of the cage via a NATO rail connection.
This handle features a 12V Micro DC Port (3.5/1.35mm) and an 8V USB-C port for powering your camera body or other accessories like the Tilta Nucleus Nano Wireless Lens Control System.
You power the Advanced Power Handle using a Sony F570 style battery. This isn’t included in the kit.
The handle is also able to start/stop recording on the GH6 by using the included Run Stop Cable. What you need to be very aware of is that this Run Stop Cable only works if you have a Tilta Nucleus Nano motor. You need to attach the cable to the motor and then use another cable that goes from the motor to your camera. You can’t just plug the included Run Stop Cable from the handle directly to the camera.
A regular USB-C to USB-C cable from the handle to the GH6 will supply power, however, I couldn’t work out what power source the camera prioritizes. If you turn off the camera and the handle is still turned on, it will charge the battery inside the GH6.
Once you add the Advanced Power Handle the footprint of the GH6 does increase quite substantially.
Tilta 15mm LWS Baseplate Type I
The Tilta 15mm LWS Baseplate Type I is a nice solid platform to mount the cage too. You can slide the camera cage to find the correct balance.
I like that you can use the included 15mm rods which is useful if you need to run a matte box or attach a wireless follow focus motor.
The bottom of the baseplate is compatible with standard Tilta dovetails.
Is it easy to put together?
Yes, it is. You just slide your GH6 into the cage and then insert two screws and one small screw into where one of the eyelets for the camera strap goes. This does make it reasonably quick to take your camera out of the cage or put it in.
Once it is in you can attach the included Arca Swiss bottom plates onto the cage.
The base of this cage can also natively connect to the DJI RS2, when not using the additional bottom plate.
The cage features multiple mounting points for the optional 15mm Single Rod Holders, which are a great lightweight solution for securing accessories such as follow focus motors via a 15mm rod.
I found that usability really depends on your requirements and needs. The Full Camera Cage Kit for Panasonic GH6 (Pro Kit) is easy enough to use and it allows you to build up your camera if you need to add multiple accessories.
With any small camera, you need to think very carefully about how and where you can mount accessories. There is only going to be so much real estate available so often you will end up having to make a compromise.
The Tilta rig allowed me to set up multiple configurations depending on how I needed to use the camera. I like having the ability to be able to go from a basic cage configuration all the way up to having a monitor, multiple audio components, and a matte box.
As I already mentioned earlier, it is nice that you can mix and match accessories that Tilta makes and switch them between various camera cages. This saves you from having to buy components that only work with that particular cage.
Price & Availability
There are quite a few cage solutions out there for the GH6. Below are some of the other options that are available:
- SmallRig Full Camera Cage for Panasonic Lumix GH6 $69 USD
- SmallRig Black Mamba Series Camera Cage for Panasonic Lumix GH6 $99 USD
- SmallRig Full Camera Cage Kit for Panasonic Lumix GH6 $129 USD
- Zacuto Camera Cage for Panasonic GH6 Camera $280.25 USD
- Zacuto ACT Recoil Rig for Panasonic GH6 $1,450 USD
- 8Sinn Camera Cage for Panasonic Lumix GH6 $149 USD
- 8Sinn Camera Cage and Scorpio Top Handle for Panasonic Lumix GH6 $257 USD
- 8Sinn Camera Cage and Top Handle Pro for Panasonic Lumix GH6 $288 USD
Camera cages are inherently difficult to review. How you use and operate a camera is going to drastically determine what sort of cage setup best works for you.
I don’t think there is any such thing as the perfect cage, because different cages are going to suit different people’s requirements. The Tilta Camera Cage for Panasonic GH6 Pro Kit is a solid offering. You can build it up or strip it down depending on what your requirements are.
All of the controls are easy to access and use, and the Pro Kit doesn’t get in the way of how you operate the camera. I didn’t come across anything that would raise a red flag.
I think most GH6 owners will be happy with what Tilta has done and it is nice that they offer a wide range of options depending on what your needs may be.