macro rail

A forum to ask questions, post setups, and generally discuss anything having to do with photomacrography and photomicroscopy.

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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 7:07 am

macro rail

Post by prashanteju »

I'm looking for a macro sliding rail. Down to two options, Kirk (LRP1) or RRS( Now if I'm correct, then I can use this pano package for macro too. It can serve dual purpose of pano and macro photography. Which one do you suggest?
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Charles Krebs
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 10:50 am
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

Post by Charles Krebs »

If you use "Arca" style mounting plates and clamps I suggest you also take a look at the Novoflex "L" ... &item_no=5

The base is the "Arca dovetail" and it has a geared platform that is wonderful for macro work (the others you mentioned are excellent as well but they are "sliders" and not gear driven.) It could be used as bpart of a "pan" setup as well when used with a rotating base.

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Post by rjlittlefield »


From the model numbers you quote, I can't tell for sure what you're thinking about buying. So I will reply in general, then get down to specifics.

In general...

Rule 1: the requirements are different for panoramas and macros.

For panoramas, the key is to get the optical center of your lens positioned at the physical pivot point, and keep it there. 1-2 mm of accuracy is fine, and positioning is typically done by setting it once and locking it down so it doesn't move.

For macros, you need quick and easy repeated adjustments of positioning, with good control in the sub-mm range for high magnifications.

Judging from the photos and descriptions, the RRS pano components have "nodal slides" that are designed for set-and-lock, not repeated fine movements. I don't see knobs for adjusting the position, only for locking, so these rails won't help you for macro work.

Also judging from photos and descriptions, the Kirk LRP-1 ( has the same issues.

Both RRS and Kirk do have focusing rails that look great for macro. Kirk's FR-1 is geared and appears pretty similar to the Novoflex (price too). RRS has the B150-B that is lead-screw driven, very precise but even more expensive.

As Charlie mentions, a macro focusing rail can also be used for panos, with a rotator under the rail. That will work OK for single-row panos. For multi-row or full spherical, you need two rotators, such as shown on the reallyrightstuff pano page. That's assuming you bother with a pano head at all. A lot of pano shooters prefer to work more freehand, using monopod or plumb bob, particularly with fisheye lenses. The tradeoff there is faster and lighter equipment, versus accuracy of stitching.

If you want to know more about pano heads and alternatives, I suggest posting a question or two to the Yahoo PanoTools group. A bunch of friendly, helpful, opinionated folks -- I like them a lot. :wink:

Bottom line, look very carefully at what you want to do, versus what you're buying. Getting the right features is more important than which manufacturer you go with.