From a technical standpoint, macro photography is one of the most rigorous types of camera work. Here is a case where your field of view is limited to shallow depths and long shutter speeds at a very tight working angle. Therefore, you need to familiarize yourself with the best macro-focusing rail.
The electronic focus stacking rails are specialized pieces in the field of photography that is why very few companies are specializing in making such products. This review will take you through some of the most reviewed and used items so that you can also gauge what rail will work for you.
Table of Contents
- Macro Focusing Rail 2020 – Comparison Table
- The Best Macro Focusing Rail – Reviews
- What is a Macro Focusing Rail?
- Why Use a Macro Rail Instead of Just Rotating the Focus Ring on the lens?
- The Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Which One is the Best?
- Final Thoughts
Macro Focusing Rail 2020 – Comparison Table
The Best Macro Focusing Rail – Reviews
1. Kiwifotos Deluxe Rail Slider
Kiwifotos Deluxe Rail Slider has one of the best design for photographers who want a way to position their cameras precisely on the X and Y axes. The device can take sensitive and smooth adjustments to the camera position without losing its stability and accuracy. Has an Acra Swiss Quick Release plate that works with cameras as well.
2. iShoot All Metal Focusing Rail
The iShoot Focusing Rail is an all-metal slider with millimeter precision and perfect focusing. Has an RSS Standard Fit Acra Swiss clamp for quick release and adjustments. The product is sold as a package that includes the slider and a quick release plate.
3. CamerePlus 4-Way Slider
A CamerePlus 4-Way Slider is a perfect tool for an avid macro photographer. It has a single fine focus adjustment and uses a screw as its clamping knob. This slider is also compatible with Acra style plates. It is also worth noting that the camera and the tripod ball head are not included.
4. Oben Macro Focussing Rail
Oben Macro Focusing Rail is a lightweight design for a precise 4-way camera alignment. The product accepts fine adjustments to give the best close up photo, tilt, shift seen in photography. The rail offers maximum back movements and 1.25 inches. The durable aluminum construction enables smooth operation if being used in a busy environment.
5. Manfrotto Positioning Sliding Plate
The Manfrotto Positioning Sliding Plate has a smooth micrometer adjustment to give precise position. Using the tool by releasing the lever means setting a quick position. The precise and accurate adjustment is what helps in the creation of a perfect frame shot.
6. SHOOT 4-Way Rail Slider
The SHOOT 4-Way Rail Slider is compatible with most film and Digital SLR cameras with a ¼-inch screw hole suitable for close-up shooting photography. The rails contain a raised gear system that enhances accuracy and speed of adjustment. Rail adjustments take place within the two double scales and allow precise distance modification.
What is a Macro Focusing Rail?
Simply put, it’s a slider that enables you to move your camera left and right in very small but precise movements. The rail attaches to a tripod which allows you to move the camera forward and back whilst it’s mounted.
Generally, it can be hard to achieve precise focus with a macro lens because of the depth of view is very thin. So, this is where a macro rail comes in. The rail helps you to fine-tune the specific point of focus with ease.
What’s more? With a macro rail, it becomes easy to shoot in a repeatable manner using the measuring scale on the slider. That said, there are two types of macro rails including manual and automated focusing rail.
Manual focusing rail
As the name suggests, this type of macro rail is designed to be manually controlled. As such, manual rail makes it easier to execute the most consistent step size. Another advantage of using this type of rail is that you don’t have to worry about focus breathing.
Best of all, manual focusing rails are relatively affordable and easy to bring into the field. On top of that, they work very well for magnification ratios up to 5x.
Automated focusing rail
This is considered to be the most advanced type of macro focusing rail. Unlike manual rail, an automated focusing rail allows you to electronically control the step sizes. As a result, you’re guaranteed a perfect stack.
Ideally, automated focusing rails can be found as pre-assembled products or DIY kits. However, they are a little expensive compared to their manual counterparts.
Why Use a Macro Rail Instead of Just Rotating the Focus Ring on the lens?
As it turns out, some macro lenses feature a tiny focus throw that may adjust the focus position too much. This happens even with just a small adjustment in the focus ring position. Such lenses require you to use a macro rail for the best results.
Additionally, most lenses tend to exhibit large amounts of focus breathing. This causes a change in the actual focal length while turning the focus ring. To avoid this, you must use a macro focusing rail.
The Buying Guide
Instead of going around shops looking for the best and the most precise focusing rails for close-ups and macro shooting, the review has now made it easier for you to know what a focusing rail should have. You will realize that most of these rails have a ¼-inch screw at the top and bottom, which may not favor a person who is already comfortable with quick-release clamps. The screws as opposed to adjustment clamps increase instability and make the device prone to vibrations
Here are Some Considerations
Some rails have two stages going forward, backward, and side to side. Some will say that have two extra movement meeting at a right angle adds to instability
You should also look at the number of layers you are likely to screw during setup. If you prefer not be screwing and unscrewing your camera for every focus, then look at the possibilities of using a quick-release clamp.
Weight can either be useful concerning being light and can move from one place to another. Whereas the other aspect is to have a weighty rail that can act as a damper for the camera and mirror release. You can try to get a slider that offers a solid base to set the camera
Vibrations affect rails using a knob or when the shutter release. To control these vibrations, make sure that whatever you are using a low, heavy, and thick rail assembly.
The different approaches used in the design include the use of hollow tubes, using solid frame construction and a central screw assembly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we conclude, here are a few frequently asked questions about the best macro focusing rail that are worth checking out.
What accessories do you need for macro photography?
Besides the focusing rail, you also need a tripod, filters, extension tubes, reverse lens, DVD lenses, and double lens. More importantly, you need good macro lenses.
What exactly is macro focusing?
It’s a setting on digital cameras that allows photographers to focus on subjects that are very close to the camera lens.
Can macro lenses be used for normal photography?
Yes they can be used to shoot subjects at normal distances. With a 60mm or 105mm macro lens, you can even shoot portraits.
Which One is the Best?
The iShoot All Metal Focusing Rail is in our opinion the best macro focusing slider in this review. We love that it comes with a millimeter precision for perfect focusing. On top of that, it allows for micro-adjustment focusing and boasts a spirit level to ensure camera levelness.
The most realistic and the best macro-focusing rail for your shoots can be either the SHOOT 4-Way Rail Slider due to its compatibility with all digital cameras or the Oben Macro Focusing Rail due to its precise camera to subject focusing.
Let the focus set the standards of your camera work by choosing the best rail assembly. Please share with us what you picked and how it has made your life more comfortable through the comments sections.