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Old Apr 17, 2011, 7:35 AM   #1
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Default Which macro rail do you use?

Which macro rail do you use? Is it important to buy an expensive one? How should I decide which one to get?
Thanks!
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Old Apr 17, 2011, 10:13 AM   #2
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My macro support solution consists of the following:

Velbon Super Mag Slider Macro Rail
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ag_Slider.html
Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod
http://www.manfrotto.com/product/0/055XPROB/_/055XPROB_Pro_Tripod_(Black)
Manfrotto 486RC2 Ball Head
http://www.manfrotto.com/search?intl...y=0&t=products

The macro rail is very solid and supports a Nikon D300 with a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro very well. I take the MB-D10 grip off for more stability.

Tripods are a money pit! The more you pay the more solid they are.

I also use a Nikon R1 Remote Speedlight Kit for lighting
http://www.nikon.ca/en/Product.aspx?m=14562

Last edited by Bob Nichol; Apr 17, 2011 at 10:21 AM.
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Old Apr 17, 2011, 10:53 AM   #3
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I'm a firm believer in "cheap." I use the Adorama budget focusing rail, which I find perfectly adequate for my needs: http://www.adorama.com/MCFRS1.html FWIW
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Old Apr 17, 2011, 12:22 PM   #4
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I don't have macro rails, often think about getting one. I WANT the Really Right Stuff macro rails, they are beautifully engineered, would last forever but are way over my budget for how little I would probably use them.
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Old Apr 17, 2011, 1:40 PM   #5
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Stackshot automated stepper rail for focus stacking
http://www.cognisys-inc.com/stackshot/stackshot.php

You are around 650$us by the time you have the stackshot unit, clamp, battery, and adapter cables.

Another piece of gear on my wishlist

Until then just using a relatively inexpensive Manfrotto 454 micro-positioning plate.
http://www.manfrotto.com/product/454

And eying the RRS B150-B
http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductD...-focusing-rail
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Last edited by PeterP; Apr 17, 2011 at 2:40 PM.
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Old Apr 18, 2011, 6:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Nichol View Post
My macro support solution consists of the following:

Velbon Super Mag Slider Macro Rail
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ag_Slider.html
Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod
http://www.manfrotto.com/product/0/055XPROB/_/055XPROB_Pro_Tripod_(Black)
Manfrotto 486RC2 Ball Head
http://www.manfrotto.com/search?intl...y=0&t=products

The macro rail is very solid and supports a Nikon D300 with a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro very well. I take the MB-D10 grip off for more stability.

Tripods are a money pit! The more you pay the more solid they are.

I also use a Nikon R1 Remote Speedlight Kit for lighting
http://www.nikon.ca/en/Product.aspx?m=14562

I love the remote speelight kit. The most important question: Is it worth $600? If yes! I will get it! Do you have samples of photos you took with the macro light?
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Old Apr 18, 2011, 6:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterP View Post
Stackshot automated stepper rail for focus stacking
http://www.cognisys-inc.com/stackshot/stackshot.php

You are around 650$us by the time you have the stackshot unit, clamp, battery, and adapter cables.

Another piece of gear on my wishlist

Until then just using a relatively inexpensive Manfrotto 454 micro-positioning plate.
http://www.manfrotto.com/product/454

And eying the RRS B150-B
http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductD...-focusing-rail

Do you think the B150 would be a great improvement? In what respect is it different from the Manfrotto one?
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Old Apr 18, 2011, 7:49 PM   #8
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I bought a third SB-R200 and mostly use them off the camera for more dynamic lighting. I use an old Bolex Macropod as a light stand!
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Old Apr 19, 2011, 8:52 AM   #9
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Build quality. The Manfrotto plate is OK, but it is a mass produced lower cost product,
The RRS equipment is all top end, but comes with a price to match.

Sort of like the difference between a Manfrotto tripod and a Gitzo tripod.
They both work well, but one costs a lot more than the other, and is a higher quality product, even though they come from the same Vitec Group family of companies..
http://www.vitecgroup.com/OurBusines...gDivision.aspx

Also the Manfrotto 454 has a tripod socket hole on the bottom and a camera screw on top. You have to get your own plate and clamp if you want quick release.
The RRS rail looks shaped to fit an arca-swiss clamp, and it comes with a RRS arca-swiss lever clamp on top for your camera.


Quote:
Originally Posted by miami photographer View Post
Do you think the B150 would be a great improvement? In what respect is it different from the Manfrotto one?
Another rail I have heard good thing about, but never actually seen one is the NovoFlex Castel-Q
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...sing_Rack.html
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Last edited by PeterP; Apr 19, 2011 at 9:16 AM. Reason: fixing errors
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Old Apr 19, 2011, 9:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterP View Post
Sort of like the difference between a Manfrotto tripod and a Gitzo tripod.
They both work well, but one costs a lot more than the other, and is a higher quality product, even though they come from the same Vitec Group family of companies
I have a Gitzo carbon tripod that with head cost me $750. I find it very disappointing, and my ancient aluminium Velbon performs at least as well at not much more than 10% of the cost. Granted it's heavier, but not by that much.

Changing topic slightly, longevity and performance are not synonymous. Some "agricultural" equipment, whilst not very refined, will last long after its more sophisticated (and costly) peers have bitten the dust. Praktica cameras were fairly crude, but lasted longer than most Japanese equivalents. And the best binoculars are Russian - heavy, cheap, superb.

Nor is "weight" synonymous with build quality. I often see comments about cameras that suggest heavy models are intrinsically tougher than lighter ones (the D700 - 5D2 comparison comes to mind). Not so.

Back on topic. I'd say the job a macro rail has to do is pretty basic, and there's absolutely no reason for it to be expensive. If you want light and tough it may well become expensive, though even then an aluminum casting isn't intrinsically costly, but if you're prepared to put up with a bit more weight it can be strong, durable, accurate, AND cheap. I'd always look at both expensive and cheap ones, and would probably end up buying cheap. Heck, you could make one yourself quite easily if you were a bit handy with metal working.
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Last edited by peterbj7; Apr 19, 2011 at 9:36 AM.
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