Most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras require some rigging to be properly used as a video camera. A cage maybe, or at least some kind of handle is very useful for ergonomics. And in the case of the Volta Top Handle you can also overcome a common problem with these small cameras: the lack of sufficient power supply.
The Volta Top Handle
The man behind British company Volta Cinema, Tudor Chirila, started an indiegogo campaign back in November 2019. The so-called Volta Top Handle is a plain old top-mounted camera handle but with a twist. A removable 36Wh battery makes use of the hollow shell and it provides a steady 7.2V output through the handle’s built in D-Tap port.
The above original campaign launch video was a first look but keep in mind that an early prototype is being shown in the video. The actual product’s design changed a bit. Sadly the indiegogo campaign failed to reach its goal but, and this shows Chirilas dedication, it still came to market.
Rarely do successfully funded campaigns actually deliver a product, but we’re propably one of the few that deliver a product without a fully funded one.Tudor Chirila
The Volta Top Handle can be used without the internal (and exchangable) battery of course. The whole design is made out of 7075 aluminium, resulting in a pretty lightweight accessory. All you need is a standard Nato rail for attaching the handle to it without the need for any tools. The Volta Top Handle comes with three 1/4″ screw holes around the front of the handle.
Once you inserted a fitting 36Wh battery, the built-in D-Tap port comes to life and you can juice your camera or any other 7.2V accessory with it. 36Wh translate to 5000mAh @ 7.2 V (a standard Canon LP-E6 battary clocks in at 1800mAh @ 7.2V), so you get approx. 3x longer runtimes with the Volta Top Handle.
You also can purchase a variety of dummy batteries for different camera makes and models. Just be aware to use these ONLY with the D-Tap port on the Volta Top Handle since it outputs the required 7.2V. If you connect one of these dummy adapters to an unregulated D-Tap port found on standard V-Mount batteries you most likely will blow your camera!
Pricing and Availability
The Volta Top Handle can be ordered directly from the Volta Cinema Website here. The full kit, containing the top handle itself, a short Nato rail, two 36Wh batteries and a dual charger cost £140 plus tax & shipping. The handle alone clocks in at £100. Dummy adapters are available for Canon LP-E6 (£23), Sony FZ100 (£30), Sony FW50 (£23) and Panasonic DMW-BL19E (£22).
Since this handle/powerbank can handle a variety of accessories, it would be nice to have two D-Tap outlets for powering both, the camera and a remote focus motor or a video transmitter for example. But then again, powering more devices would result in a bigger, heavier Volta Top Handle and since a slim, lightweight design was a goal here just one outlet seems reasonable.
One other piece of gear you might want to look at when it comes to powering the camera and a bunch of accessories might be the Power Junkie by Blind Spot Gear. It uses standard Sony NP-F batteries and it has more than just one power outlet. However, not only it isn’t a top handle but it also kind of blocks the spot where you would attach a top handle to the camera. So if the aspect of having a top handle with a twist seems appealing, the Volta Top Handle might be the better choice here. Another alternative is the Soonwell PH70 which follows a similar concept as the Volta Top Handle.
links: Volta Cinema
What do you think? Might this device make it into your gear bag? Let us know in the comments below!