Kamerar Tank Cage, Follow Focus, MatteBox Review

http://Kamerar.com was recently relaunched with an entirely new line of high quality affordable products tailored for DSLR Video shooters. I actually have access to the entire product line because it's being distributed by PhotographyandCinema.com (which I design some products for), but I try to only answer comments about the products instead of doing my own reviews.

So here, Rick Owens shares his first impressions after receiving a few products [Thanks Rick]. I was waiting to see how others review the http://Kamerar.com products, and i'm happy to hear how impressed Rick was with the combination of build quality and price.

The Tank Cage uses P&C Swiss Rod designs to provide a ridiculous amount of mounting options (overkill). The MatteBox is great for a single ND filter use (non-rotational), and the Follow Focus can swap positions of the gear in case you plan to use a longer or shorter lens. With the exception of the Matte Box (for weight reasons), all materials, including the little clamp knobs are of metal construction with anodized coating. You can find these products and more over at http://Kamerar.com

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find-price-button Kamerar DSLR Video Products Follow Focus Matte Box Tank Cage

 55 Comments





55 thoughts on “Kamerar Tank Cage, Follow Focus, MatteBox Review

  1. Emm

    Post author

    @Allen - I don't think that's would be a good modification. The Tank cage is not similar to the Wooden cage and is used quite differently. Something link this may have been a better start for a half cage (found here).

  2. Allen

    Thanks for posting this. I just received my Tank and I'm setting it up. I'd love to get your advice... I'm using a 5DM3

    1st - I'm looking for something that would attach from the hot shoe on top of the camera to the top of cage. I'll probably end up making something, but I wondered if you guys had come across something that would fit.

    2nd - Any thoughts on the use of a quick-release plate inside? Mine fits ok, but it's a little cumbersome to get in and out. Might not be worth it.

    3rd - Is anyone else having trouble accessing the ports on the left side, particularly for a monitor output?

    4th - This may sound crazy, but I'm trying to make myself a poor-man's version of the wooden camera cage. I took the two cheesesticks out of the right side (my hand wouldn't fit in there to operate the camera anyway), and I'm thinking of cutting the right side off the bottom and possibly the top. With the camera mounted directly to the cage (without a quick-release) my right hand isn't able to grab the camera comfortably. I'm starting to think I have fat hands. If I could mount the hot shoe to the top of the cage, I think I might cut the right sides off. Anybody have any screaming red flags to that idea?

    Thanks for the insight

  3. Walski

    Quick question - which quick release plate in the Camera Cage is best to quickly remove & attach the body inside? I have the Manfrotto 3433 PL 577 quick release plate, but the tightening screw hits the bottom of the cage and I end up manually removing the whole quick release to remove the camera - which defeats the purpose of the quick release plate function… Can anyone help me in finding the best one?

  4. MAGEtv

    ...got my mattebox max kit with the donut
    works a treat...only issue i have is that when i have my carryspeed VF3 plate on the camera, the camera is not centered to the mattebox...I wish it had lateral adjustment to go along with the excellent vertical adjustment...

    are there any suggestions on how to work with it aside from removing the VF3? I really like the functionality of all the bits together...plus the LOOK is super DUPER badass...

  5. Juan

    As is called the accessory that fits between the matte box and lens?

    Because light can come back. Am I correct?

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Matthew Connerton - That's something i'd have to try but it is also based on what camera and lens you are combining this with. A GH3 with a stock lens is way lighter than a 5D mark III with huge L glass.

  7. michaelb

    just noticed this on the site: For a limited time, get 50% OFF your Matte Box MA-1 order with Kamerar.com. Just enter promo code: GET50 during your checkout with this product.

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @Vrals - Who is the invoice from? If it's from customs because of the country you are located in, then that is something outside of Kamerar. At the bottom of the SD-1 product page it also notes:

    'Import duties, taxes and charges are NOT included in the item price or shipping charges. These charges are the buyer's responsibility. '

  9. Vrais

    I just received the Kamerar slider dolly, SD1.
    Bought it on "sale" for $129.
    The package came from Shanghai with an invoice inside for $30!!!
    The invoice is in my name, with my address, from a shanghai company, not Kamerar.
    Congratulations Kamerar, the highest markup ever for a "USA based company".
    So as much as the products are OK, Kamerar itself is a... What's the word?

  10. Rob

    Just got the Tank 2 for Christmas. I love it on its own! I'll be using the FF and Matte Box I already own, but I really want a top handle on this thing. Has anyone found a good top handle for this?

  11. Eric

    I am on the fence with purchasing the GearBox GB-2 w/ 15mm rod adapter to use with the Kamerar FF and matte box. My question is, what size 15mm rod extensions should I get for a snug but roomy fit for a Canon T2i w/ a Battery Grip ON a Quick Release Plate? 3in, 4in, or 6in?

    Do you know if the Kamerar FF works with T2i's on Battery Grips?

    What do you think of these rod extensions?
    http://www.berkeysystem.com/store/15-mm-series/rod-extensions/

    Thanks!

  12. I second what @Lainol said...you rock dude. That worked just fine and absolutely no play on the FF whatsoever. Kamerar support team needs to brush up on their own product cause they told me the same thing.

    Thanks Emm!

  13. Emm

    Post author

    @Lainol - Glad I could help. That video you sent earlier was very excessive, so it was obvious something wasn't quite right.

  14. Lainol

    HOLY SHIT EMM, I LOVE YOU :DDDD

    This little fix "fixed" totally de backlash, practically 0.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12bp-mJ0PnE&feature=youtu.be

    The funny thing is the answer of kamerar's support:

    Dear customer,

    We are very sorry for this, but our Follow Focus is design like this.We will try our best to improve the design. Please allow us some time to redesign and improve the product.

    Meanwhile we strongly recommend you to register our newsletter, so that once there is any news coming out, we are able to notify it too you at first time.

    Thanks for your suggestion and your support to us, and we highly appreciated your business.

    Again Emm, thanks for your blog, support, patience, etc.

  15. I'm having the same issue as Lainol. It's a whole lot of throw. Though I expected maybe a little but this is another level. Did anyone else try Emm's fix and get good results?

    BTW thanks Emm for all the great tips and gear reviews. It's guys like you that help us all out and we all need to take time to appreciate that.

    -Ed

  16. Emm

    Post author

    @Lainol - That seems to be very excessive play. Check carefully to make sure the little screw is not loose on your knob. Remove the marking disk and look through a tiny hole at a very small allen bolt. Tighten this up and then check again.

  17. Emm

    Post author

    @VG - I would return it if you have any doubts at this point. There could be something wrong with that particular one.

  18. VG

    I purchased this Follow Focus FF-3 . Build wise its well made. I was very impressed when I first held it UNTIL I turned the focuing knob

    There is something either seriously wrong with mine or the overall design of the gearbox. I can't focus smoothly.

    It's goes maybe a quarter turn before is gets slightly stuck. SO it has this stop and go feel while im focusing. Never had this issue before on a follow focus.

    I'm hoping its just mine, but it makes me rethink whether too keep it or not, because even if they send me another I wonder how long it'll be before it starts exhibiting the same issues.

  19. Emm

    Post author

    @Rob - Yes you can add a quick release baseplate to the Kamerar Tank Cage. Keep in mind that it will reduce the space to mount the camera inside, so you may have to use longer 15mm to extend the height of the Tank Cage.

  20. Rob

    Is the camera mounting thread long enough on the bottom to add our own quick release plate? I have a quick release plate that I'm absolutely in love with and can't see myself living without it!

  21. Dan

    The follow focus is terrible. Perhaps I got a dud, but there is a ton of play in the gearbox. The gears are not smooth on the inside, and I can feel the teeth. Granted, this is a $100 follow focus.. but I was expecting something a little more smooth. The build is great, the feel is nice on the outside, but my D|Focus is smoother with the drivetrain.

  22. imgpro615

    @rick, once again, awesome review...

    ...i like the Kamerar tank cage but am very pleased with my GearBox setup...

    ...the follow focus is pretty bawse looking so i ordered that straight away...always wanted a single rod unit for my DIY target shooter...

    love the mattebox but i wonder if kamerar will offer some donuts or some type of [Genus] nun's knicker for it...now i wanna try to DIY one of those...

  23. Emm

    Post author

    @Casey - It should be 15mm rail compatible so the rods can be switched out. I can try this later.

  24. Emm

    Post author

    @mad - Technically the Tank Cage uses 15mm rods on the side, and if you don't need the Swiss Rods, you can replace them with taller 15mm rails.

  25. Emm

    Post author

    @Mark - Possibly, but keep in mind that would also drive up costs on the item. They are always looking to enhance current offerings.

  26. Mark

    I saw this on Amazon before reading your post and was already interested because of the price. I'm a little concerned about the one-rod mounting approach and how solid that will be in the field, but I'm willing to give it a try.

    Any chance of adding hard-stops to backing plate?

  27. the Tank seems to be built using the swiss rods, could those be replaced with longer rods to accommodate a 5d mkiii with a battery grip?

    I've been looking for a while for a cage that would fit a gripped 5d. Its like trusmt is about the only one out there that I can find.

  28. Jigs

    hmm, wondering what lenses other would work on this particular setup, seems like the barrel needs to be long enough because the FF-3 can only go in towards the camera so far. or have you done any work-around?

    thanks!

  29. Emm

    Post author

    @birchblaze - It does not have the same top and bottom plates as the Tank uses 15mm rods on the sides with a clamp.

  30. @Devon... With the viewfinder plate that I have on the 5D MKIII, I still have about 1 and a half inches from the hotshoe to the top plate on the cage. I'm sure that number will vary depending on your mounting system to the cage. If your wireless doesn't require the hotshoe, you will have NO Problem finding a mounting point on this thing!

    @coons30... There wasn't a donut, but it will definitely be required. I have the Canon 24-105mm lens on the video and it has a 77mm diameter, so we will need various opening configurations to work with various sized lenses. Kamerar will also need to list and sell the rubber variable focus ring as well.

    @MCMedia... A top handle for this rig would be awesome. I too would love to see Kamerar making their own matching top handle attachment for this system. So much potential here.

    Thanks to everyone for watching the video. I don't usually do reviews, but I couldn't find any before I purchased this gear, and I rely heavily on these before making a purchase, so I decided that I would make one of my own. Now that I have seen this gear and own it for myself, I'm glad that I did. This really is great gear guys! And you can't beat the price for this quality.

  31. What about donuts for the matte box? Is Kamerar planning on releasing these as an add on or are there compatible ones out there for sale?

  32. Does the Tank use the same top & bottom plates as the Gearbox ? I wish I had known about the Tank before I bought the GearBox, seems a bit more professional and versatile.

  33. Devon

    @Rick How's the clearance along the top? I have a G3 Wireless receiver I run directly into my Markiii there. Would you say there's a good 2in above the camera?

  34. The cage holds the 5D MKIII without an issue. There is a ton of room on this thing to access memory cards and battery without a problem.

    As for play in the FF... Virtually zero. It has a little drag and it stays focused as it should. The whole system is built solid and worth every penny. Sorry I didn't clarify a few of these things, I was just excited.

  35. Derek

    No mention of the play on the gearbox of the FF? The video on the kamerar website looks like there's a lot of play.

  36. I bought the original gearbox and it certainly seems well made and reasonably priced, especially at the introductory price. This "tank" one seems pretty interesting as well, with all the mounting options of the "swiss rods." However, in my opinion, they have one serious omission. I would like to be able to use this going from shoulder to tripod quickly. The underside of the plate has only one 1/4-20 hole, (it actually has three side by side, and not a couple across the length of a tripod plate) which is not enough to keep an unbalanced DSLR rig stable if you want to put a standard Manfrotto two-hole tripod plate (like the 501/503 etc) under it. So, if you want to be able to go from shoulder to tripod quickly you have to add another base plate on the rig. Not sure how difficult or costly would be to do this, but you might want to look int making that base plate a little longer so it has a couple of holes for those standard "two-hole" plates.

  37. 3rdfloorfilms

    Looks great. Have been waiting for a company to make something decent, at a decent price. Some companies have done the same, and been very successful. Black Magic Design came out with top-shelf video cards for an affordable price, and changed the industry. According to some at that company, they even received death threats because of it. Noe they're very successful. Nice.

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