Gap Between Frugal and Chinese Cage Widens

It's funny how sometimes certain events seem to coincide with things you have done which may or may not have influenced those events. If you've been watching my videos, you know I've been in the process of pimping out my Frugal Cage Rig. I've setup the basic rig and added a lens shade, a cheap HD monitor and inexpensive follow focus. This week I'll be explaining how I set up external camera power and the last "Pimp Your Rig" episode will cover a hack I build for those external power battery cradles.

When I first posted about the Frugal Cage, I mentioned the cheap retail version from China, a rod-based rig with a top handle and lots of mounting points for $48. That was a pretty good deal and I could almost see picking that up vs. making the Frugal Cage--almost. Now, the price of those Chinese rigs has jumped $24, with the cheapest one going for $73 on eBay. Not a bad deal, but nowhere near what is was before. The Frugal Cage makes a lot more sense if you want to save $30-40 (depending on how you equip it).

I have seen this happen in the past, just not so quickly. Back when I built the Frugal Clamp, the DJ clamps that the system was based on were about $2.50. When people seemed to be snapping them up (I'm just speculating here) to make Frugal Clamps, eventually the price doubled to $5. Now a similar thing seems to be happening to those once really cheap Chinese cages. When demand goes up, so do prices.

Of course, the irony here is that Frugal Cage is made from cheap Chinese flash brackets. They are the new erector set of camera rigs. They have gone up in price a tiny bit since I've been using them, but nothing to make me look for an alternative. Which is good, because there isn't any.