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Kondor Blue Canon C70 Rig Review – Clever Design at a Realistic Price Point

Kondor Blue Canon C70 Rig Review – Clever Design at a Realistic Price Point

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 ND’s and a form factor that feels like a larger DSLR. Thus, I’m taking a look at accessory options for the camera and tackling my first Kondor Blue review at the same time. Check out my full review of the Canon C70 Kondor Blue accessories below:

Kondor Blue, a relative newcomer to the camera accessory market, first piqued my interest during the pandemic, and I’ve been watching the release of their products and occasionally adopting a few for use on my sets (like their articulating arms and tilting monitor cage). I’ve never had the opportunity to really do a deep dive on a camera specific rig from them, however.

Over nearly 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” with a few other à la carte accessories like the standout Kondor Blue Swivel and Tilt Monitor Mount and various affordable cables.

Kondor Blue Canon C70
Kondor Blue EF port cap — it’s like snazzy jewelry for your camera. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

The Canon C70, from a price point perspective, seems like a perfect marriage between the pricing of the Kondor Blue accessories and the camera itself. It’s always a tricky ask of consumers to spend as much as 50% of the value of your camera on the accessories for that same camera. At a cost of roughly $1,000 – $1,500 for the full set of accessories in the C70 “Ultimate Rig” I review here — the pricing feels 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 follow focus, matte box and double hand grips to the overall rig for $2,287.00. 8Sinn also has a few à la carte options for the Canon C70.

Exactly matching cost from another brand 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 terms of price point alone.

First Impressions

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 rig with splashes of blue mixed with space grey (the rig is also available in classic black) feels undeniably stylish. Let’s not pretend that there isn’t client perception at play when it comes to our equipment — good-looking gear on set sometimes makes clients feel like their money is being well spent.

The Kondor Blue Canon C70 rig just looks good.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

I also get the sense that the Kondor Blue C70 rig was developed in conversations with actual filmmakers. Thank you! Oddly, the Canon C70 just doesn’t have too many mounting points straight out of the box — you have one cold shoe and one 1/4 20 on the side, but that’s about it — not nearly enough real estate for things like wireless video and even adding an external monitor is a chore. Speaking of which, an external monitor is 100% necessary, with the flimsy C70 monitor being one of the cameras’ true weak points.

Nearly all those issues are fixed out of the gate by the addition of a top plate, improved Kondor Blue handle (the native Canon handle wiggles a little), side plate and then a baseplate for 15mm rods.

Kondor Blue Canon C70
The C70 side plate that adds a few more mounting points, but also protection. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

I also like that Kondor Blue’s cage doesn’t cover the entire camera with metal and honors the minimalist feel of the C70 in general. What’s the point of purchasing a mobile cinema camera and then covering it with so many accessories that the entire build is huge? I never understand doing that with small bodied cameras.

Kondor Blue Canon C70
The handle is a standout in the whole kit. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Having used products from nearly all competitor brands in this segment, I was interested to see how the Kondor Blue kits compares in general build quality, and I was not disappointed. All the C70 pieces from Kondor Blue are heavily reliant on metal components, and the knobs all lock everything down securely without fear of slippage.

The LANC smart handle specifically, particularly not somewhere you want a failure, has a safety catch and is designed in a way that you’d have to loosen the lock, have the catch fail and then slide the handle quickly left for anything to happen – not a likely scenario.

There’s a perpendicular facing 15mm spot in the handle that could give you another mounting point for a monitor that is offset slightly or another accessory.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Finding a spot for the shotgun mic mount on the stock C70 Canon provided handle is yet another dilemma as it easily impacts your hand during operating and Kondor Blue handles this well — they separate out the mic mount by providing another mounting spot for it right 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.

Kondor Blue Canon C70
Kondor Blue Arri Dovetail. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

The “Ultimate Rig” for the Canon C70 currently seems optimized for tripod use or handheld and not shouldered. The Shoulder Pad Air, recently announced by Kondor Blue at NAB 2022, looks to change that, and I unfortunately didn’t have a chance to review that accessory here, but the shoulder pad mounts to any pair of 15mm rods and would work fine here once the baseplate is removed from the dovetail system — I just can’t speak to the level of comfort it affords.

Another standout accessory not included in the core kit, but worth mentioning, is the Kondor Blue Swivel Tilt Monitor Mount. Simply add a nato rail (like this 5″ one) to your monitor of choice, and you have a tilting connection between small external monitor and camera that is impossible to shake.

There is much to like about the Kondor Blue Canon C70 rig right out of the gate. Let’s dig into the details.

Cables

Angled mini XLR cable. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

One segment I was pleasantly surprised to see that Kondor Blue is supporting is the camera cables. For this review I tested the full sized HDMI Cable, D-Tap to Barrel, Mini XLR to Full Sized XLR Cable and LANC cable. The Mini XLR, D-Tap and HDMI cables all have a knit fabric around them that makes them resistant to pull or cutting damage — the LANC cable that triggers the record button on the camera from the handle isn’t quite as robust, and you might actually want to pick up and extra one of these in case it takes a hit.

The pricing on most of Kondor Blue’s cables is excellent, with the HDMI cable I tested here running only about $15.00 and the mini XLR cable hitting a $20.00 price point.

Kondor Blue Canon C70
I don’t love HDMI in general, but Kondor Blue has an excellent protector built into the baseplate. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Kondor Blue also has a number of other popular cinema cables that I didn’t review here like the D-Tap to 2-Pin Lemo and LP-E6 and Sony L-Series Dummy battery options that all range as much as 50% cheaper versus some of their competitors. I love that Kondor Blue is making an effort here to lower the barrier of entry for filmmakers — I’ve become so used to paying $100+ for cables, and the Kondor Blue’s pricing makes more sense to me given the materials in play.

Only time will tell if there is a long term quality issue here, but all the connectors feel secure to the touch, and I have a lot of optimism for all of Kondor Blue’s cables having a long lifespan on my camera rigs. Check back with me in two years on this one.

Power

The Canon C70 lasts hours with the BP battery (either A30 or A60), but if you want to power additional accessories like a monitor or wireless video you’re going to need a battery plate like the $159.00 gold mount (pictured above) or V-mount plate.

Kondor Blue Canon C70
Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

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 pivot the battery plate up and down, and the plate doesn’t have any play while shouldered operating or during quick pans or tilts.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

I wish we had a few more D-Tap output options with this battery plate and I have become reliant on a fuse warning light from other brands (not present here), but this plate gives you plenty of flexibility for powering external accessories or, of course, the camera itself. A 90-ish WH battery will keep the Canon C70 running for hours and hours.

Conclusion

There are plenty of standout design features with the Kondor Blue “Ultimate Rig” for the Canon C70, but I keep coming back to the overall reasonable cost of their already wide range of accessories. It just feels to me like they have hit a sweet spot here between pricing and functionality that is tricky for other accessory manufacturers to replicate.

Kondor Blue Canon C70
Image Credit: The Kondor Blue C70 Rig. Graham Sheldon/CineD

The Canon C70 may be in the midst of its own mini renaissance and Kondor Blue’s accessories make it a realistic filmmaking platform with the potential for adding audio receivers, time code, larger professional batteries, wireless video, onboard monitors and more.

Previously, I’d often leave the C70 at home, despite it having the same sensor as the C300 MK III, just because of its real lack of mounting points and thankfully my trusty C70 is now getting more use than before thanks to its new blue-fringed accessories.

Link: Kondor Blue website

What do you think? Have you tried Kondor Blue’s line of accessories in general? Will you be adding their C70 rig to your kit in the future? Let us know in the comments below.

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