gh4 cage (1 of 1)

I’ve been using the Varavon Armor GH4 Cage with the Panasonic GH4 for the last 5 months. When I first saw it at NAB last year I thought it looked like an interesting design and a pretty decent little unit for both mounting and protecting the GH4. Five months is a long time to work with a cage, in that amount of time you get to know your gear pretty well.

It’s easy to fall in love with something as an idea and at first many of these cages look like they could solve all of your mounting and connection needs. When I first saw the Varavon GH4 Cage I thought it was just that, a solution to a problem I had yet to run into. I hadn’t really spent much time with the GH4 at that point and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that it’s tiny form factor would require a mounting solution of some kind and the Varavon GH4 Cage looked like a great place to start.

Varavon GH4 Cage03

Lets start with the Varavon GH4 Cage’s flip out screen and port cut outs. As you can see there is a nice rounded section that allows plenty of room for the screen to fully rotate in any direction you choose. Above that you have a cut out section for the microphone 3.5mm input. It’s hard to see from the picture but there are two screws located above and bellow the audio input jack that were designed to tighten down no the audio cable from the top and bottom to hold it in place. These screws are mostly useless and unless you plan on fiddling with them every time you connect a 3.5mm stereo cable to the GH4 you may as well take them out and put them somewhere safe. If you don’t they’ll eventually rattle out and you might loose them somewhere that something like that could really get into trouble.

GH4 Cage flaps (1 of 1)

Looking closer at the cut out you’ll see that there’s plenty of room for the micro HDMI port as well as the micro USB port. The two large thumb screws behind the cut out also give you a little pocket to feed your cables through that works very well to clamp the cable down. I’ve been using it with this micro HDMI to HDMI female adapter so that I don’t have to un-clamp a cable if it’s needed for something else.

Where I run into problems with this portion of the cage is at the headphone jack. Notice how little room there is for a headphone cable. It’s just enough room for the type of 3.5mm plug you find on ear buds but any larger and you have to shove the rubber headphone jack cover back under the Varavon GH4 Cage’s frame. If you leave the rubber cover stuck between the camera and the frame for to long it starts to distort and becomes difficult to get back into place on the headphone jack when you need it.

While I understand they made this section round in order to accommodate the flip out screen, it would have been nice if Varavon would have cut a bit more out of the top end of the curve for the headphone jack. If you use earbuds you’ll probably be fine, but if you like to use nicer headphones like the Senal SMH-1000 (one of my favorite mid priced headphones) the lack of space at the headphone plug can be very frustrating.

Varavon GH4 Cage05

On the grip side of the camera you have a nice easy to use cut out for the memory card. It works perfectly and provides you with the exact about of room needed to get memory cards in and out with no problem.

Besides all of the 1/4 20 threaded holes, you’ll also notice slots at the top and bottom of the cage. These were originally used to attach a fairly nice leather hand strap. At first I thought I’d really enjoy the hand strap, but after a few weeks of use, I opted to remove it. Don’t get me wrong it can be nice if you only shoot hand held and I might look into some kind of quick release for a hand grip in the future, for the most part it was in the way when I used it. I tended to use the top handle when I was shooting hand held and the hand strap would catch on things while generally getting in the way of memory card replacement.

Thought it would be great. Turns out I don’t like the hand strap.

Varavon GH4 Cage06

I have absolutely no complaints with the top of the unit. Dials are easy to get to, the ISO button is easy to reach, and the wifi button though slightly covered up, isn’t to much of a problem. The cold shoe works fine and Varavon has used any extra space to insert a 1/4 20 threaded whole just in case you need them for mounting. I found  the on/off toggle switch hard to get at when I first started using it, but even that works ok on the Varavon GH4 Cage once you get used to it.

Varavon GH4 Cage07

One issue I did run into almost immediately though is the top handle mount. You’ll notice mine is nice and shiny, unlike the sales photos. That’s because I had to take a sander to the otherwise nice looking powder coat in order to get the dang thing to fit into the top cradle of the cage.

It appears to simply be poor planning on the part of Varavon’s designers. They didn’t account for the extra thickness powder coated aluminum would gain and designed the top mounting plate with to little space to compensate. It’s not the end of the world, but it is extremely frustrating when you have to take a grinder to a brand new piece of hardware.

Varavon GH4 Cage08

Other than the DIY repair to the Varavon GH4 Cage, the rest of the handle design is decent. There’s just enough room to mount a Juicedlink RM333 audio adapter and still leave room to grip the handle. Notice however the white strip between the RM333 and the Varavon GH4 Cage’s handle. That’s 5 or 6 layers of grip tape used as padding. The Juicedlink RM333’s screw sits sort of loose inside the adapter and bit of padding was required to get the thing to snug up tightly against the cage’s top handle.

Varavon GH4 Cage02


  • Lots of mounting points
  • Solid construction
  • Access all controls
  • Full support of flip out screen
  • Leather hand grip
  • Top handle


  • Top handle requires sanding to fit
  • Mic input lock down screws are useless
  • Headphone port needs more room
  • Leather hand grip can be cumbersome


I’ve been using the Varavon Armor GH4 Cage with the Panasonic GH4 for about 5 months now and I haven’t gotten rid of it. While it does have some rather annoying “features”, like the useless mic input lock down screws and the lack of room for a full size headphone cable it also has perks.

As a hand held camera the Panasonic GH4 is tiny. You are definitely going to want a cage of some kind for both mounting and ergonomics. While the Varavon GH4 Cage has some weaknesses, it’s still one of the best options I’ve seen on the market. At $270 it isn’t cheap, but it’s also not 5 or $600 like some of the cages out there.

There are some much cheaper clones out there like this one for $89, but none of those cheaper clones are machined from a single piece of aluminum with no bolted joints around the camera. Because of that you end up with bolted on top and side panels, these end up making the whole cage wobbly. That might not be a problem for light use, but if you plan to put a field monitor, LED light, and audio gear on your cage (with friction arms for adjustment), you might want to consider spending the extra on the Varavon Armor GH4 Cage.

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