Building the Ultimate Handheld Camera Rig with Smallrig

by | Jan 26, 2023 | Gear and Reviews, Tips and Tutorials

As a filmmaker and content creator, I’m always on the lookout for ways to enhance my gear to suit my shooting style. In my latest video, I delve into the intricacies of building the ultimate handheld camera rig, specifically for the Sony a7S III. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of my setup and why each component is crucial for my work.

The Core Setup

Camera and Lens

  • Camera: Sony a7S III
  • Lens: Sigma Art DGDN 24-70 F2.8 – A versatile choice for handheld, run-and-gun shooting.

Base and Quick Release Plates

  • Manfrotto 200PL Quick Release Plate: Essential for compatibility with various tripods and ball joints.
  • Arca Swiss Style Plate: Offers flexibility for different mounting options.

Cage and Mounting

  • Full Cage: Provides additional mounting points and security for the camera.
  • SmallRig Camera Tool: A multi-purpose tool for quick adjustments and rigging.

NATO Rails

  • SmallRig NATO Rails: Implemented for ease of attachment and quick adjustments.

Side Handle

  • SmallRig Wooden Side Handle: Offers a comfortable grip and includes a cold shoe mount for additional accessories.


  • Atomos Shinobi: A 5.5-inch monitor that enhances focus and exposure control.
  • SmallRig NATO Monitor Mount: Allows for easy attachment and angle adjustments.


  • Provides security for the HDMI connection, preventing damage to the camera.


  • Rode VideoMic NTG: Chosen for its stepless gain control and safety track feature.

Additional Components and Considerations

Cable Management

  • Utilizing Velcro strips for neat cable organization.

Top Handle

  • SmallRig NATO Top Handle: Useful for low-angle shots, with the flexibility to change orientation.

Power Options

  • Sony MPF 970 Batteries: Offers USB power for emergency situations.
  • Considering a V-mount battery for extended shooting sessions.

Future Additions

  • Matte Box: For better light control, though it may affect the ease of using ND filters.
  • Balancing the rig’s functionality with its weight and portability.

Final Thoughts

Building this rig has been about finding the perfect balance between functionality and simplicity. While it’s tempting to add every possible accessory, it’s crucial to consider the overall weight and ease of use. This setup allows me to quickly adapt to different shooting scenarios, ensuring that my camera is an extension of my creative vision.

For more details on the specific components and their utility, check out the full video. And if you have any suggestions or your own rigging experiences, feel free to share in the comments!

Products Used

Sony A7siii –
Smallrig cage # 2999 –
Manfrotto 200PL base plate –
Sigma Art 24-70mm lens –
Quick release plate for 200PL –
Manfrotto base plate –
Smallrig side handle # 2915 –
Smallrig nato monitor mount 2906B –
HDMI lock (for a7siii) # 3000 –
Atomos Shinobi monitor –
HDMI cable –
Rode videomic NTG –
Smallrig nato top handle HTN2362 –
Smallrig nato rail 70mm –
Smallrig Nato rail small –
Velcro strips –

This blog post accompanies my YouTube video on building the ultimate handheld camera rig. For a visual guide and more in-depth explanations, watch the full video here.

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I'm Will Chidlow, passionate about creating visually captivating content that tells a story. Whether it's through video production, photography, or content creation, I'm here to help you share your ideas with the world. Learn more about my work. Follow me on Instagram and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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