Focusing rail

Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
25,052
Location
SW Virginia
I'm considering purchasing a focusing rail for my around-the-house macro photography, and would appreciate recommendations.

I'm considering this Oben device. Anyone have any experience with it?

Thanks for looking.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
1,288
Location
England
Real Name
Leif
I owned an identical product that was sold under the Velbon brand. It’s fairly well made, albeit a bit wobbly, and the control knobs are made from a cheap plastic. It is much more stable if you remove the base so you only have one axis. The screw was pretty smooth. You might find the same item on ebay at a lower price. In the UK it is about £75. I wasn’t keen on mine, it just felt a bit cheap to be honest.

I sold mine and bought a Sunwayfoto macro rail which in my opinion is a far superior product. It’s CNC machined from aluminium, and really quite beautiful. It’s not great for focus stacking where you move the camera in step by step, but it’s good for getting the required magnification ie subject distance.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
25,052
Location
SW Virginia
I owned an identical product that was sold under the Velbon brand. It’s fairly well made, albeit a bit wobbly, and the control knobs are made from a cheap plastic. It is much more stable if you remove the base so you only have one axis. The screw was pretty smooth. You might find the same item on ebay at a lower price. In the UK it is about £75. I wasn’t keen on mine, it just felt a bit cheap to be honest.

I sold mine and bought a Sunwayfoto macro rail which in my opinion is a far superior product. It’s CNC machined from aluminium, and really quite beautiful. It’s not great for focus stacking where you move the camera in step by step, but it’s good for getting the required magnification ie subject distance.

Thanks, Lief. That's good information and may have saved me from a bad purchase.
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
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1,021
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
I would prefer one with more L/R travel, like this one:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1549544-REG/neewer_10033981_pro_4_way_focusing.html
There are many different 4-way rails, this is just an example that was at the bottom of the B&H screen.

The idea is, if you just need to move the camera 1/2 inch to the side, it is easier to move the rail, than pick up the tripod and move the tripod 1/2 inch. I am not good at moving my tripod just a tiny bit.

You don't always need that L/R travel, but it is NICE when you do.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
25,052
Location
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The idea is, if you just need to move the camera 1/2 inch to the side, it is easier to move the rail, than pick up the tripod and move the tripod 1/2 inch.

I agree, that would be nice to have. The Oben I originally linked to does have that feature, but I don't want anything that feels cheap, respecting Leif's impression.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
25,052
Location
SW Virginia
And it could be made by the same factory that made the Neewer rail.
Looks VERY similar.

I would contact B&H and ask where the Kaiser rail is made, Germany or China.

Interesting point; they do look virtually identical. One costs $240, the other $36!

I'm tempted to order both and compare. B&H is good about returns.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
25,052
Location
SW Virginia
I use a motorised rail for those times when I want to use one.

For a few years now I've been using NiSi filters, including their closeup ones. I find the quality to be very good. They also have a rail

https://nisiopticsusa.com/product/nisi-macro-focusing-rail-nm-180-with-360-degree-rotating-clamp/

The NiSi rail does look very good.

It appears that the 2-way rails of high quality cost about 4X as much as the 1-way of similar quality.

Looks like with the NiSi one could buy two, mount one on the other to get 2-way adjustment and save half the cost of the better-quality 2-way systems.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
25,052
Location
SW Virginia
And it could be made by the same factory that made the Neewer rail.
Looks VERY similar.

I would contact B&H and ask where the Kaiser rail is made, Germany or China.

From B&H online chat:

Unfortunately, I do not see much difference between the two items. The best I can state is the two items are distributed by two different brands, and Kaiser is an older German company that was founded in 1945, while Neewer is a newer company that was recently founded in 2010. Neewer is known for making economically-priced photographic items. Due to the price difference, I would simply recommend purchasing the Neewer item, and if it does not work for you, you may return the item within 30 days for an exchange or a refund. But I do not see any large differences between the two items listed above
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
7,192
Location
Sandpoint, Idaho
Jim, I have the RRS rail, I’m not sure I have ever successfully used it. I thought the in camera focus stacking in the D850 would replace it, but I haven’t gotten around to trying it.
 

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