Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fancierstudio Camera Track Slider Review

When I purchased this slider six months ago, it went under the name "JRFoto Slider," but that name is no longer being used for this it seems. While that may seem like an issue, the truth is that there are a number of different "versions" of this slider on Amazon and eBay at the moment. They all look to be identical, so this review would likely be a good one for those as well.

I have been in the market for a decent slider for a long time now, but I've never pulled the trigger on it. I have a dolly system that I've used to great effect for commercial work, but there are a lot of things that I've been working toward that required a lighter solution. Specifically, I started doing some shoots in areas where a dolly track (at least my PVC version) is useless. Places like uneven, hummocky forests and brushland are awful for track dollies like that, so I decided it was time to get a slider.

One thing that stands out about this 32" slider is that it's super cheap and NOT friction-based. Almost 100% of the sliders you find on the market today at this price point are friction-based sliders. This sucks because these sliders are very hard to get smooth motion with. There's always some spot where oil, water, grease, whatever has gotten onto the track to create uneven friction at the surface, creating jags in the footage. The Fancierstudio Camera Track Slider uses a ball-bearing carriage that eliminates that problem.

The carriage tightens up nicely using the provided Allen Wrench. The whole body is built out of solid metal. Even the feet are made out of a very tough die-cast aluminum (it feels like it at least). All of the components feel super solid on this thing, which is in stark contrast to what you usually find on cheap filmmaking gear. For example, the hardware on the stands that came with the light kit I reviewed earlier were fucking terrible. They felt chincy and awful. This slider, on the other hand, feels just plain wonderful.

The slide was originally kind of lurching, but that was an issue of uneven tightness on the ball bearings. Once that was adjusted the lurching stopped entirely.

One of the great things about having a slider like this is that there are a number of uses for it.

You can use it as a boom to get nice overhead shots:

 There are also many other things you can do with it such as get in close to people with wide lenses while using a tripod. In some cases (like with sitting in a chair or something), you have to switch to a longer lens to get in tight on someone while having the camera on a tripod. But what if you don't want that? What if you want the distortion provided by a close wide lens? WELL NOW IT'S YOURS.

Anyway, all in all I'm very happy with this slider. It is ridiculously well-built for the amount of money it costs and it does the job. There are some things that could be better (the ability to easily add cranks and other accessories for one), but overall for $100 you really can't complain. In a world where a jerky DIY slider is a 1 and the Kessler CineSlider is a 10, this would rate at I'd say a 6 or 7. 7 only if you're feeling generous (as I was in the video).

This is the best I've found so far for the price, but please don't assume I'm saying this is the best thing ever. It's cheap and it does the job far better than the comparably-priced friction sliders. Take that however you wish. If you've used something better, then shut me up and lay it on me. I'm interested in trying out some different ones.

The Slider (affiliate link)
fancierstudio Camera Track Slider Camera Silder Video Slider 32" With Ball-Bearing Slide Mechanism By fancierstudio JS32

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