Wide Open Camera Combat Cage Review
A while ago, I helped fund Jared Abrams and Wide Open Camera’s Kickstarter campaign for the “Combat Cage.” Check out the campaign here: kickstarter.com.
The cage itself is made out of one solid piece of milled aluminum and has a matte black finish.
Mounting options for the cage are abundant and easily accessible. The top has 2 1/4-20″ mounts. Both sides have a 1/4-20″ and a 3/8″ mount. And the bottom has 3 1/4-20″ mounts and a 3/8″ mount. The back also has 4 1/4-20″ mounts.
I have a similar cage for the Hero and Hero2, but it only features 1/4-20″ mounts, so having the 3/8″ mounts is a major bonus. It allows for some more inventive ways to mount the GoPro: like taking the shock mount off a boom pole and being able to raise the camera up above a crowd to be used like a periscope.
When the camera is placed inside the cage, you still have easy and quick access to all the buttons. And you can easily open the bear trap to change a card or battery.
The cage is really well designed, with industry professionals in mind. The lock screw that holds the camera in place makes use of a hex key; whereas other cages I’ve seen use a flat-head screw.
On top of the usual usage on set, I took the cage (with camera mounted inside) and did some distance tests. Here’s the video:
I wanted to see how well it performed when dropped from various heights, and on grass and cement. I ended up tossing the cage up to about 20 feet on the grass with no problems. I was still a little worried about dropping it on cement. But that fear is gone. Aside from some minor scratches on the body of the cage it’s in perfect condition. The reason I stopped at 7ft on the cement was because I was worried about the GoPro housing breaking, not the cage.
But, this brings up the first downside to the cage. In order to allow easy access to the camera, the cage leaves the top open. Meaning that the bear trap on the housing isn’t protected 100% (which is why it popped open on the 7ft test). An easy fix to this is to just gaff down the bear trap, but then you lose accessibility.
The cage is also designed for the GoPro itself. But, if you’re using the Battery BacPac or LCD BacPac, the housing sticks out an extra half-inch. I didn’t notice any flaws with this, but it is something to note.
The only other downside I found to the cage was when trying to mount to the GoPro Suction Cup Mount. The GoPro mount is designed for the housing to plug right into the mount. But, when using the cage, that connection is covered. So, if you don’t have a separate car mount, you won’t be able to use it. It wasn’t a big issue for me, I just used a different car mount. But, again, it’s something that could become an issue for some, so it’s worth noting.
Overall, this cage is awesome. It’s solid build and number of mounting options makes for a great tool to add to your Hero3 kit. You can pick it up on Wide Open Camera’s site here: wideopencamera.com. It’ll run you about $135 with shipping, but if you’re looking for different ways to mount your camera, or need to add peripherals using 1/4-20″ or 3/8″ mounts, then this is the best option I’ve found.