SmallRig cages compared — Olympus E-M1III vs. OM System OM-1

Like many photographers in the Olympus / OM System world, I’m in the process of upgrading my photography gear from the E-M1III to the OM-1. Fortunately, SmallRig just started shipping a camera cage for the OM-1, since their long-unavailable cage for the E-M1II (which also fit the E-M1III) does *not* fit the OM-1.┬áBefore I sell off the old cage, I thought it might be helpful to compare the two models for anybody that may be in the market for one or the other.

At a high level, there are some key changes: some mounting points went away, or moved; the overall shape changed just slightly (in the process, access to body-front buttons is improved); and the new cage has a built-in Arca-Swiss mounting plate and captive attachment tool.

Front views comparedLooking at the front (E-M1III cage on the left, OM-1 cage on the right), you can see the family resemblance, but also that the old cage’s front mounting holes have been removed. I never used them, hopefully they’re not irreplaceable for anybody that *did* use them.

Old and new cages, seen from below

There’s a hole lot going on (sorry, bad pun) on the bottom of the new cage. All the holes got reconfigured, there’s explicit provision for mounting on DJI RS2 / RSC2 gimbals, and there’s now a captive attachment tool (a.k.a. a screwdriver) — courtesy of 3 tiny rare earth magnets.

Old and new cages, seen from side

The changed arrangement of the cage’s side is more of an impact to me — I used to use those bottom 3 holes for a digital video cable clamp, but I can adjust (and the fact that they went away to make room for the Arca-Swiss mount makes it a fair trade for me). Also, this side of the new cage is shaped as a NATO rail — so, another way to attach stuff here.

Upper corner, old and new

The cage’s upper corner now sports a cold shoe in place of two mounting points. This may / may not be an improvement, depending on your use cases. For me, it simplifies mounting a microphone.

Top view of old and new cages

You can see that the mounting points on the top rail changed pretty dramatically from the old (above) to new (below) cage. This won’t impact my rig, but you may / may not have issues with it.

If you look closely at the above image, you can also see a rubbery pad that was added to the inside of the cage’s bottom rail — this gets clamped against the bottom of the camera body when the cage is mounted, and so should help stabilize the cage / camera interface.

Comparison shot of E-M1III and OM-1 camera bodies with cages installed on each

All-in-all, I’ve got to say that I’m impressed (as always) by the build quality of SmallRig’s new OM-1 camera cage. A few mounting points have changed, and that will likely cause a person or two a bit of heartburn while they adjust their setups. But the new Arca-Swiss baseplate will simplify life for a lot of users, and the cage’s mounting points should do the job for most people. Also, while the old cage is incompatible with the new OM-1 body, the new cage is backwards-compatible with the E-M1II and E-M1III — so photographers with a mixed camera body setup will be well-served by upgrading to the new cage (that is, if they only need a single cage).

If you’ve got 20 minutes to spare, The Narrowband Channel over on YouTube has a good discussion of some ways you can set up this cage.

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