Steampunk Meets Retro With the Fuji X-T5

Steampunk Meets Retro With the Fuji X-T5

With Fujifilm's latest release of the X-T5, I knew it wouldn't be long before brackets and mounting rigs would begin appearing online. For my own cameras, it's always been Smallrig brackets due to the build quality and considered design. So, after purchasing the X-T5, I went directly to their site to see if any were available and promptly purchased one, but that's not all they had available.

For me, the retro-styled aesthetics of the silver X-T5 are a big draw beyond the quality of the camera and images themselves.

The Cage Styling

The handheld cage is advertised as retro, which could fall loosely into the visual category of steampunk, another aesthetic style I'm particularly fond of. When you look at the cage, you can possibly see how I came to this conclusion, but perhaps using the title of steampunk cage is not a good choice for marketing purposes. However, even with its brushed bronze styling and ergonomics, it has many more functions than just looking good.

Build Quality

The cage is solidly constructed metal weighing only 370 g and featuring an ergonomic cowhide handgrip that provides plenty of grip for even the biggest of hands. There is plenty of clearance above the dials, and the design of the cage allows for your thumb to rest comfortably on the cold shoe that's integrated into the frame behind the handgrip. The top handle has a nonslip rubber grip, and the handle is removable if you want to use the cage when solely shooting photographs. The cage and handle have plenty of connections points for maximizing your filming rig and include:

  • 21 1/4'' holes
  • 4 ARRI 3/8'' holes
  • 2 strap slots
  • A NATO rail
  • A sling strap bar on the underside

Included on the underside is a dual-head wrench to save you from foraging for the correct size Allen key to adjust everything. Although the cage weighs 370 g, I have to admit it didn't feel noticeable, and I think that has a lot to do with the very sufficient handgrip size. The dimensions of the cage are 145.8 mm x 63.2 mm x 103.4 mm. It doesn't add any discernible bulk to the camera due to the design, and I never felt that I suddenly had a bulkier camera when attached. I actually felt it protected the camera.

The removable HDMI and USB-C cable clamp is articulated through 90 degrees to allow for the port doors to open, and then, it sits back neatly in place with plenty of clearance for the door.

The shutter button adds to the overall retro look of the cage, and again, this is removable. Admittedly, I've still to get used to using it, but I can see its function in terms of the cage design, and it works very well in that respect.

The cold shoe spirit level can be attached to the front cold shoe mount, as per images, or on the camera itself, whatever your preference. 


Granted, this is where I fall down in terms of what this cage is capable of when it comes to filmmaking. I use it on a tripod, mounted to camera pieces and handheld b-roll shots for YouTube, so currently, I'm not getting everything out of the multifaceted functionality that the cage is capable of, but I will say that it has now got me looking at the various possibilities of it when used for filmmaking.

A full filming rig setup can be attached to this cage, including a side handle, monitor, microphone, power bank, lights, flash for photography, magic arm, focus pull. The list will go on, but I hope you get the idea.

For everyday photography with the top handle removed, it feels great in hand, and you have no restricted access to any of the top dials. I do remove the shutter button adapter, however, as I'm not quite used to that yet. The handgrip is sufficiently bigger than the bracket handgrip and actually feels better in the hand. That is not to dismiss the Smallrig, as it is a great functional bracket, but when I handed it to another Fuji shooter, apart from the steampunk comment, his first observation was the more substantial grip.

What I Liked

The build quality and multifunctional design of the cage, as well as the aesthetics.

What Could Be Improved

One add-on that I hope Smallrig creates for this cage is an Arca end plate to enable you to keep this on the camera and use it for photography when not filming. I did look for one on the site, but couldn't see one. This would serve two purposes. The first is the protection it would provide to your camera should it fall, and the second is that you would be able to mount it in portrait orientation onto your tripod without switching back to the bracket. I could easily attach a tripod plate, but that would defeat the purpose of this retro-looking cage.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps a majority of this article focuses too much on the aesthetics of the cage, and I ask no forgiveness for this, as it does look good, and it's meant to. The functionality of the cage is in no way to be ignored, as it does everything that you could hope it would and more, as it has everything for the filmmaker and photographer. It's well designed and manufactured and provides you with a myriad of attachment and extension possibilities to build up a complete filming rig, which I am now looking into, thanks to the cage.

Smallrig has been producing brackets and camera cages for different brands since 2009 and has consistently provided quality working with brands such as Fujifilm, Nikon, and Atomos. You can purchase yours here.

Gary McIntyre's picture

Gary McIntyre is a landscape photographer and digital artist based on the west coast of Scotland. As well as running photography workshops in the Glencoe region, providing online editing workshops, Gary also teaches photography and image editing at Ayrshire college.

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the pictures in this piece seem to be designed to obscure the subject. Not appropriate.

Pretty rad! And, I like the presentation and color grading. Totally appropriate for the vibe of the product.

Thanks very much,Eddie and yes the cage is great!

Love the images and review, Gary!

Really appreciated Pete, thankyou.

One man's essential is another man's bling, for me mere unnecessary bling but I wouldnt knock you for wanting one.

A great way of putting it Peter :) Thanks for reading.

Love your styling and photography on this!

Really appreciated Michelle, thank you.

This is so rad.

If this helps inspire you, then it is good.