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crf59
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Focus rails


Hi, wondering what folks find are good focusing rails. Seems like solid stability and weight are good attributes. There is a huge range in prices - about to $100 to $700. Obviously I like the best value, but don't want junk.

Chuck



May 30, 2022 at 05:21 PM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Focus rails


crf59 wrote:
Hi, wondering what folks find are good focusing rails. Seems like solid stability and weight are good attributes. There is a huge range in prices - about to $100 to $700. Obviously I like the best value, but don't want junk.

Chuck


I'm not aware of anyone here using one. Try here:

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/index.php?sid=da730063756c46b6b5ae680847f25034

Harold



May 31, 2022 at 01:25 AM
crf59
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Focus rails


Thanks Harold. I am surprised. Many years ago (film days - so a LONG time ago) I used one. Allowed minute adjustments in focus and therefore focal point. I even tried primitive "focus stacking" by underexposing frames and then overlapping them. Worked OK, but digital allows so much more flexibility. Anyway, thanks.

Chuck



May 31, 2022 at 06:03 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Focus rails


crf59 wrote:
Thanks Harold. I am surprised. Many years ago (film days - so a LONG time ago) I used one. Allowed minute adjustments in focus and therefore focal point. I even tried primitive "focus stacking" by underexposing frames and then overlapping them. Worked OK, but digital allows so much more flexibility. Anyway, thanks.

Chuck


Yes, I used one in film days with 25 ISO film and a tripod.

Harold



May 31, 2022 at 09:08 AM
charlyw
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Focus rails


Sorry for the late reply but I rarely visit this forum anymore as these guys are quite obsessed with using flash - anyone using natural light and thus rquiring a tripod and macro rails is beneath their „level“, not using the correct technic!

I would recommend looking at the Castel macro rails from Novoflex - just be aware that their gear thread mounted to the metal body is made of quite weak plastics - it‘s the sacrificial part of the rails so that the screw that locks into the thread is protected from damage in case of it being hit or when dirt is trapped in it. I go through about 2-3 such plastic threads, you can order spares from Novoflex, per Season, some being my own fault (I had my tripod topple after removing the camera and the fall was broken by the macro rails, shearing off several of the teeth) and the rest down to the environment when sand and mud blocks the thread and when you adjust the position with the screw you easily can strip the thread. The latter never happened to the old Castel ones because the hread was mounted in a quite protected position in a corner of the main metal body, he newer build type doesn‘t build as high but the plastic thread is exposed on the top of the metal body of the rails.

Stay clear of the ebay/amazon el cheapo chinese 2 way macro rails, they are crisp and well adjustable for exactly as long as it takes for the copious amount of grease they are packed with to either escape or mix with pollen and mud - they wouldn‘t last more than a few days for anyone using them outside a studio setting.

The Kirk, RRS and especially Hejnar seem high quality but are even more expensive if you - like me - want to combine two to create a cross macro rails.



Jun 05, 2022 at 04:22 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Focus rails


charlyw wrote:
Sorry for the late reply but I rarely visit this forum anymore as these guys are quite obsessed with using flash - anyone using natural light and thus requiring a tripod and macro rails is beneath their „level“, not using the correct technic!


Good going, not visiting but knowing all about the forum.

Give some links to where you saw such opinions expressed.

I have been photographing insects every day for the last few days and not used flash once.

A tripod is not practical when the subjects move around. There is nothing wrong with it in principle but it limits your choice of subjects.

The main purpose of flash in macro is to freeze subject movement (often caused by air movement) not camera shake.

Harold



Jun 05, 2022 at 04:32 AM
 


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charlyw
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Focus rails


Just going to cite you: "I am not aware of anyone using (macro rails) here" - guess why? Because those hand held "I can't be bothered to use a tripod because of reasons" have been rampant here on this forum for ages. You can't seem to fathom that there are people who can and do use tripod for all macro shots, even if the subject is mobile. So now you know a macro rail user. I don't need to take 100 subjects a day half baked, I am happy to give one subject my attention and if it doesn't work out, so be it, my livelihood doesn't depend on it and I don't believe yours does either...

Knowing your subject plays a big part of that, I have taken photos of bees emerging from their night resting place inside native orchids - and while the photos were taken only during 3-5 seconds at high shutter speeds they would have been impossible without a tripod (and a macro rail as you had to finely adjust focus while the bee gradually emerged and unfolded its antennae which would have thrown off any attempts at using autofocus) as you had to wait up to 5 hours for this to happen. Similar with sand bees cleaning themselves up after they fell into a lady slipper orchid and emerged with the pollen on their backs... Or the pair of phymata crassipes courting. Or the hill topping swallowtail that always returned to the same perch where you only would have had a chance if you were a contortionist to take a shot without a horrible background. I have shown some of the aforementioned images before but the "I can't stand tripods and they are useless and whoever uses a tripod is a nitwit" faction here in this forum have discouraged me from ever doing so again.

I could take shots without a tripod but why bother if that means I need to compromise on background, border patrol, composition, sharpness, ISO, DOF placement or having to forgo to use my diffuser/reflector to take control of the lighting situation. So usually even for the quick documentary shot I use one of the two tripods I usually (when I can't fully predict the height I may need) carry with me on hikes...



Jun 05, 2022 at 08:09 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Focus rails


charlyw wrote:
Just going to cite you: "I am not aware of anyone using (macro rails) here" - guess why? Because those hand held "I can't be bothered to use a tripod because of reasons" have been rampant here on this forum for ages.


Where is the justification for you comment on flash?

Can't be bothered? Who wrote that? It's not the same as having reasons not to.

Harold




Jun 05, 2022 at 09:19 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Focus rails


Well, I'm using a Novoflex macro bellows system - the one with the tilt-shift standards, and adapters for various lenses and camera bodies. The rack and pinion focusing is very precise and super fine. Absolutely zero backlash but it's in the $2K range by the time you get all the bits you need to make it work. The next step up from there I think would be a Cambo Actus system which, decked out would be about double the price of the Novoflex. If it's something you're going to use once a year you can probably get away with the cheap stuff, but if you're going to really put it to work, well, you get what you pay for.


Jun 12, 2022 at 05:17 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Focus rails


Peter Figen wrote:
Well, I'm using a Novoflex macro bellows system - the one with the tilt-shift standards, and adapters for various lenses and camera bodies. The rack and pinion focusing is very precise and super fine. Absolutely zero backlash but it's in the $2K range by the time you get all the bits you need to make it work. The next step up from there I think would be a Cambo Actus system which, decked out would be about double the price of the Novoflex. If it's something you're going to use once a year you can probably get away with
...Show more

That should enable you to do a great job. As I understand, from several years on photomacrography.net, " The rack and pinion focusing is very precise and super fine. Absolutely zero backlash" is absolutely essential for serious stacking.

Harold



Jun 12, 2022 at 05:47 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Focus rails


e6filmuser wrote:
That should enable you to do a great job. As I understand, from several years on photomacrography.net, " The rack and pinion focusing is very precise and super fine. Absolutely zero backlash" is absolutely essential for serious stacking.

Harold


Actually just paid the import duty on a new Digaron 105 Float from Linhof Studios in the UK. That'll be arriving DHL on Wednesday. Not cheap but you only live once, if that.




Jun 12, 2022 at 02:26 PM







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