The following is my complete guide to HDMI locks for your DSLR. The mini HDMI port is a weak connection. Basically its a row of pins that can be bent without much effort. And if the HDMI cable gets yanked out of your camera there are two negative results: One is that your feed out of your camera will get interrupted, disrupting your shooting. Second, there’s a very good chance it will damage the HDMI port on your camera, something that is very expensive to repair (repairs can run up to $1000!). Not to mention, the loss of income while you wait many weeks for your baby to return.
Along with HDMI protection, some of these products also offer anti-twist. When you start using a follow focus, the turning of the gear can cause your camera and lens to twist slightly, especially if it is attached to your rig or tripod with only one 1/4 20 thread. Only a couple of the HDMI protection plates I’m going to review also offer anti-twist but there are other solutions for this (I’ll discuss in a future post).
Here’s the list of all known HDMI port protection products that I have been able to find. If I miss any, please chime in under comments.
1. iDC SYSTEM ZERO Camera Plate with HDMI Cable Stabilizer $138 (No longer available) (Watch video)
4. Original SmallRig HDMI Protector $65 (No longer sold):
6. Red Rock Micro wireLock HDMI Protector $35 Requires UltraBase $300 (No video, RRM wouldn’t send me one, boo!)
7. Bandc Cable Lock Hdmi Saver $38 (video soon)
8. Tether Tools JerkStopper $17 (video soon)
So as I said earlier, comment on this post if there is an HDMI lock I missed. Now let’s go over my pros and cons about these products. Again, a thanks to those who sent me freebies to review!
1. IDC System Zero:
Pro: Accepts IDC Viewfinder as well as Zacuto Z-Finder plate. Has anti-twist. Canon and Nikon versions. 1/4 20 mounting holes.
Con: Should ship with two thumbscrews in stead of one + a fixed bolt. Tightening the screws will drill into your cable head a bit.
2. Zacuto Z-Pincher:
Pro: Adjustable to any camera. 1/4 20 mounting holes (with required Gorilla plate)
Con: Takes time to adjust to position. Only works with Zacuto HDMI cable. Cable can still be yanked upwards.
3. SmallHD 5DMK3 Port Protector:
Pro: Very good quality materials. Protects HDMI and USB ports. Comes with a mini HDMI to HDMI cable (that doesn’t work with Zacuto EVF).
Con: A little hard to attach. Can’t use camera strap with it attached.
4. SmallRig HDMI Protector:
Pro: Price. Anti-twist. Adjustable to any camera. Use with any HDMI cable. 1/4 20 & 3/4 mounting holes.
Con: Small con here but I wish the anti-twist thumb screws were smaller. Also the teeth can munch on your cable head a bit, but they help hold it.
5. LockPort HDMI Protector:
Pro: Thinnest plate. Available for many camera brands.
Con: Thumb screw makes plate not flat on bottom – a problem for some cages. HDMI cable can still be pulled out of right-angle connector.
6. Redrock Micro wireLock Protector:
Pro: Not sure, didn’t review this one, but very similar to LockPort.
Con: Requires expensive UltraBase or UltraCage. HDMI cable can still be pulled out of right-angle connector.
7. Bandc Cable Lock Hdmi Saver Rod Clamp:
Pro: Use with any cable.
Con: Overpriced. Must have a 15mm rod near your HDMI port. The clamp is perpendicular to the 15mm rod hole, which means you need to bend the cable to clamp it. I believe if the clamp was perpendicular to the rod hole it would work better.
8. Tether Tools JerkStopper
Pro: Use with any cable. Inexpensive.
Cons: It’s not as good a solution as the above, but it does a decent job.
And the winner is, IMO? SmallRig! Great protection. Use any cable. Anti-twist. Adjustable for any camera. Lots of mounting holes. Inexpensive.
My runner up? Zacuto Z-Pincher. Lacks anti-twist and you can yank the cable upward, but we’re talking a freak happening.
I want to note that some DSLR cages have built-in HDMI locks such as the Trumst Cage, which has a pinching mechanism similar to SmallRig.
Please check back in April as I will be updating this thread once I get SmallHD’s protector. Now that is kind of a different animal than the other plates I reviewed, but well worth a look.