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Review: Beachtek MCC-2 and Kamkit DSLR Accessory Mounting and Control Brackets

The Beachtek MCC-2 and Kamkit allow users to mount, control, and connect various accessories to their DSLR with ease.

Beachtek has been around for many years, long before the DSLR video craze, and their XLR adapters have made all kinds of cameras more usable than they would have been without. But DSLRs bring along their own set of challenges, including a new form factor. The Beachtek MCC-2 and Kamkit allow users to mount, control, and connect various accessories to their DSLR with ease.

In the Beginning

Before DSLRs, there was interest in using small handicams for production, particularly Canon HDV cameras that could shoot 24p with very high quality. The trouble was getting good audio into these camcorders. Beachtek solved this with a series of narrow, under-camcorder XLR adapters that could mix, eliminate hum, provide phantom power, and also make monitoring easier for those camcorders that lacked headphones.

DSLRs, however, have more width than depth, so these narrow adapters didn't fit as well. With the success of the Canon 5D for video, Beachtek created an audio adapter that mimicked the 5D's footprint and mounted underneath. Nowadays, people are using any number of large-sensor cameras, so the need to match just the Canon 5D has fallen by the wayside. This has allowed Beachtek to develop numerous solutions for DSLR audio.

Having used a couple different accessories to handle the audio into my Panasonic GH2, and now GH4, including the JuicedLink I reviewed previously, I was interested in something smaller, simpler, and might solve two problems at once. The MCC-2 (Figure 1, below) not only allows adjustment of two channels of audio, but it also turns the camera's one hot-shoe into three cold shoes for accessories. It was a win-win.

Figure 1. The Beachtek MCC-2. Click the image to see it at full size.

Beachtek has also expanded its line of accessories and developed the Kamkit, which includes the Top Mount Handle, the Boom Mic Shock Mount and the Multi-Mount Accessory Bracket. I wanted to see how these accessories might augment my DSLR kit as well.

Kamkit

The Kamkit includes all three accessories in one package. And it can be useful if you have the specific needs that the Kamkit (Figure 2, below) is designed for, specifically needing to attach many accessories to your camera, needing to mount a long shotgun mic, and needing a handle to carry everything.

Figure 2. The Kamkit package includes a handle (top) and a mic holder (bottom).

Let me get one thing out of the way first: The handle is comfortable, but when I rigged up my camera, lens, wireless receiver, shotgun mic, camera light, and the MCC-2, the plastic that the handle is made out of flexed noticeably and this made me worry. Plastic doesn't stretch or bend; it just snaps. I didn't want my gear to crash to the floor, so I did not use the handle. If it were metal, I would have much more confidence in it. If you wanted to be able to hold just your bare DSLR from above, like for skateboarding videos, it could be fine. But the plastic handle was not for me.

The boom mic shock mount (Figure 2, below) solves a key size/space problem. If you use a traditional XLR shotgun microphone like the Sennheiser ME66 with the K6 power module, you have over 15" of microphone and cable to somehow mount on you camera. Unless you want the front of the microphone and windscreen to intrude on your shot, you need to move the mounting point way back from the front of the camera. (Holding the microphone along the openings affects audio performance.) The Boom Mic Shock Mount does this admirably.

Figure 2. The Kamkit Boom Mic Shock Mount.

It also has a rubberized mount to help isolate button pressing on the camera from being picked up by the microphone. It has several inches of travel, and you can move the mount along the microphone several inches, so getting a good balance with even my long microphone was actually pretty easy. The video that accompanies this article demonstrates what I mean.

Lastly, there's the Multi-Mount Accessory Bracket (MMAB) (Figure 3, below). This rather large oval (as big as my GH4 actually) enables you to mount at least six different accessories with its 6 cold shoe mounting points. It also has two screws and several screw holes so you can also mount accessories directly, without needing a shoe.

Figure 3. The Kamkit Multi-Mount Accessory Bracket can mount up to 6 accessories.

SIX, you might ask? Well, most other multi-adapters (and I have several) hold three. And if you want to have a wireless microphone, a short shotgun, a light, and a little audio mixer, you need four. Did you want a little monitor? How about a wireless HDMI transmitter? or numerous other accessories? Yes, you can easily go past needing just three.

Some people do not want to "rig up" their DSLRs with a rail system which, when you use accessory arms, can hold all these accessories. The MMAB is about the easiest way to do it. It's rock solid, crafted out of a solid piece of aluminum. I'd have no problem using this as a handle if I didn't fill it up with accessories.

For instance, Beachtek's MCC-2 fits inside the middle of the MMAB, light on top, shotgun on one side, wireless receiver on the other side, and I still have two shoes free, plus the two screw holes for other accessories. You could fill this up and make it heavier than your camera if you're not careful.