Kondor Blue Canon C70 Rig Review – Smart Design at a Realistic Price
The Canon C70 is seeing renewed interest with the addition of Canon RAW to this mobile cinema camera with an adaptable RF lens mount and built-in NDs and a form factor that resembles a larger DSLR. So, I’m taking a look at the camera accessory options and tackling my first Kondor Blue review at the same time. Check out my full Canon C70 Kondor Blue accessories review below:
Kondor Blue, a newcomer to the camera accessory market, first piqued my interest during the pandemic, and I watched their products release and occasionally adopted a few for use on my sets (like their articulated arms and tilting monitor cage). However, I’ve never had the opportunity to really do a deep dive on a camera-specific rig.
For almost a month spread out after Cinegear 2022, I used the Canon C70 (see our update on RAW here) on a variety of shoots in tandem with the Kondor Blue Canon C70 “Ultimate Rig” along with a few other a la carte accessories like the remarkable Kondor Blue swivel and tilt monitor stand and various affordable cables.
The Canon C70, from a price point of view, seems like a perfect marriage between the price of Kondor Blue accessories and the camera itself. It’s always difficult for consumers to spend up to 50% of your camera’s value on accessories for that same camera. At a cost of around $1,000 to $1,500 for the full set of accessories in the C70 “Ultimate Rig” I review here – the price seems right.
If you’re looking for comparable products, Wooden Camera has a C70 rig in the ballpark of $1722.00 and Shape has an accessory kit that adds focus tracking, a matte box, and dual handles to the global platform for $2,287.00. 8Sinn also offers a few à la carte options for the Canon C70.
Matching another brand’s cost exactly is tricky because it’s a bit like comparing apples to oranges, but Tilta seems to land in a similar place to Kondor Blue in price alone.
I get why we push for matte black in the camera industry – it doesn’t reflect light as easily and doesn’t show scratches as often, but having a platform with hints of blue mixed in with some space gray (the platform is also available in classic black) is undeniably stylish. Let’s not pretend that there isn’t customer perception at play when it comes to our gear – good looking gear on the shelf sometimes makes customers feel like their money is well spent.
The Kondor Blue Canon C70 drilling rig just looks good.
I also feel like the Kondor Blue C70 Rig was developed through conversations with real filmmakers. Thanks! Funnily enough the Canon C70 just doesn’t have too many mounting points out of the box – you have a cold shoe and a 1/4 20 on the side, but that’s about it – not enough mounting points. Space for things like wireless video and even adding an external monitor is a hassle. Speaking of which, an external monitor is 100% necessary, with the fragile C70 monitor being one of the cameras’ real weak points.
Almost all of these problems are solved from the start by adding a top plate, an improved Kondor Blue grip (the native Canon grip wiggles a bit), a side plate, and then a base plate for 15mm rods.
I also like that the Kondor Blue cage doesn’t cover the whole camera with metal and honors the minimalist feel of the C70 in general. What’s the point of buying a mobile cinema camera and covering it with so many accessories that the whole thing is huge? I never understand doing that with small body cameras.
Having used products from almost every competing brand in this segment, I was interested to see how the Kondor Blue kits compare in terms of overall build quality, and I wasn’t disappointed. All the C70 Kondor Blue’s parts rely heavily on metal components, and the knobs all lock everything securely in place without fear of slipping.
The LANC smart handle in particular, especially not in a place where you want a breakdown, has a safety latch and is designed in such a way that you have to loosen the lock, fail the latch, then slide the handle quickly to the left for something to happen – not a likely scenario.
There is a 15mm perpendicular point in the handle which might give you another mounting point for a slightly offset monitor or other accessory.
Finding a location for the shotgun mic mount on the Canon C70 supplied grip is another dilemma as it easily impacts your hand during operation and Kondor Blue handles this well – they separate the mic mount providing another point of mounting just above the Mini XLR ports on the camera itself. In fact, the shotgun mic is now so close to the Mini XLR ports that I wouldn’t mind an even shorter XLR cable option in the future.
The “Ultimate Rig” for the Canon C70 currently seems optimized for tripod or handheld and un-shouldered use. The Air Shoulder Padrecently announced by Kondor Blue at NAB 2022, is looking to change that, and unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to review this accessory here, but the shoulder pad mounts to any pair of 15mm rods and would work well here once the base plate is removed from the dovetail system – I just can’t speak to the level of comfort it provides.
Another noteworthy accessory not included in the base kit, but worth mentioning, is the Kondor Blue Swivel Tilt Monitor Stand. Just add a nato rail (like this 5″) on the monitor of your choice, and you have a tilting connection between the small external monitor and the camera that is impossible to shake.
There’s a lot to like about the Kondor Blue Canon C70 drilling rig right out the door. Let’s dig into the details.
One segment that I was pleasantly surprised to see Kondor Blue support is camera cables. For this review, I tested the Full Size HDMI Cable, the D-Tap to Barrel Cable, the Full Size Mini XLR to XLR Cable, and the LANC Cable. The Mini XLR, D-Tap and HDMI cables are all wrapped in a knitted fabric that makes them resistant to pulling or cutting – the LANC cable that triggers the camera’s record button from the grip n It’s not quite as sturdy, and you might actually want to pick one up and add one in case it takes a hit.
Most cables from Kondor Blue are priced excellently, with the HDMI cable I tested here only costing around $15.00 and the mini XLR cable reaching a price tag of $20.00.
Kondor Blue also has a number of other popular cinema cables that I haven’t reviewed here, such as the Lemo and LP-E6 2-pin D-Tap battery options and Sony L-Series Dummy which all go up to 50% cheaper than some of their competitors. I love that Kondor Blue is striving here to lower the barrier of entry for filmmakers – I’m so used to paying over $100 for cables, and Kondor Blue’s price tag makes more sense to me considering the materials involved.
Only time will tell if there’s a long term quality issue here, but all connectors are touch safe, and I’m very optimistic for all cables from Kondor Blue having a long life on my cameras. Check back with me in two years on this one.
The Canon C70 lasts for hours on the BP battery (A30 or A60), but if you want to power additional accessories like a wireless monitor or video, you’ll need a battery plate like the gold mount at 159, $00 (pictured above) or V -mounting plate.
You have a variety of output options like 5, 7.4/8.4 and 12 VDC Barrel with the battery plate as well as a single 15V D-Tap output. Two blue knobs allow you to rotate the battery plate up and down, and the plate has no play during shoulder operation or during quick pans or tilts.
I wish I had a few more D-Tap output options with this battery plate and have become dependent on a fuse warning light from other brands (not present here), but this plate gives you great flexibility to power external accessories or, of course, the camera itself. A WH 90-ish battery will keep the Canon C70 running for hours and hours.
There are many outstanding design features with the Kondor Blue “Ultimate Rig” for the Canon C70, but I always come back to the reasonable overall cost of their already wide range of accessories. I just feel like they hit a sweet spot between price and functionality, which is hard for other accessory makers to replicate.
The Canon C70 may be in the midst of its own mini-renaissance and Kondor Blue’s accessories make it a realistic filmmaking rig with the ability to add audio receivers, timecode, pro batteries more large, wireless video, built-in monitors and more.
I used to often leave the C70 at home, although it has the same sensor as the C300 MK III, just because of its real lack of mounting points and luckily my trusty C70 now gets more use than before thanks to her new blue – fringed accessories.
Link: Kondor Blue website
What do you think? Have you tried Kondor Blue’s range of accessories in general? Will you be adding their C70 platform to your kit in the future? Let us know in the comments below.