Post Magazine

July 2013

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review Rhino Camera Gear Slider By Erik Vlietinck Penryn, UK "One great piece of kit. weighs 10 pounds. When I unpacked the test equipment, the first thing I noticed was the care that went into the design of the Rhino Slider. The carriage has two locks that you can handle with gloves on. The two "preload" knobs that define the drag on a slide are so small you VITAL STATS R hino Camera Gear, a small company of young people who are passionate about photography and video, has a weak spot for Kickstarter. They just launched a project for battery holsters (http://kck. st/11MY0OZ) and the development of their flagship product, the Rhino Slider — complete with options like the Slider Pulley and Rhino Armor case — was funded by it. To me Kickstarter projects used to shout "amateur," but since I've learned the BBC and NBC have ordered their Rhino Slider, I have adjusted my views: it all depends on the people behind it. And since I've been given the opportunity to test the Rhino Slider, I've learned that Rhino Camera Gear definitely isn't a club of amateurs. Rhino Camera Gear sent me a box with the following equipment: One complete carbon fiber system (4ft./120cm. long), the Rhino Slider Carbon; one solid-steel travel system (2ft./60cm. long), Rhino Slider Pro; one pulley system, Slider Pulley; and one carrying bag, RhinoArmor. PRODUCT: Rhino Camera Gear Slider WEBSITE: PRICING: The basic camera slider (up to 7 pounds), $400; and the Rhino Slider Pro (up to 35 pounds), $550 · Inexpensive but high quality and robust · Expandable, with a motor and extension rails soon · Butter smooth and adjustable drag A CLOSER LOOK The Rhino Slider Carbon is a system based on two exposed carbon fiber rails capable of carrying loads of up to 10 pounds. The rails are mounted on a cleverly-designed pair of feet that can be placed at any angle to accommodate for uneven terrain. You can mount, fix and remove everything on this slider by hand. won't inadvertently change their setting — in addition, you can't change the setting unless you also unscrew two larger knobs. The Rhino Slider is a highly-flexible system in terms of usage. For example, the entire Rhino Slider Carbon can be mounted vertically on a tripod using one of the 3/8-16 inch tripod mounts at either side. These mounts also allow you to "hang" the slider off a tripod head. The possibilities are endless. The smoothness or softness of a slide can be changed with the preload knobs. The nicest part about the preload adjustment is that The heart of the system is a hard-anodized aluminum carriage with six nylon rollers filled with 12 sealed ball bearings. You can buy one complete system and mount the carriage on any other Rhino Slider rail, e.g. the travel rails the company sent me. Except for the carbon fiber model, the Rhino Slider comes in two other versions: the basic camera slider that loads up seven pounds and the Rhino Slider Pro that loads up to 35 pounds. The weight/load ratio of the Rhino Slider Carbon is good, but that of the Pro version is exceptional: this slider only 48 you can change equipment from let's say a GoPro Hero3 to an eight-pound camera setup and quickly make the firmness of the slide a bit tighter for the heavy gear without introducing hesitations or choppiness. The noise the slider's swoosh makes is only apparent when there is very little weight on the carriage (a GoPro scenario). Even then, it doesn't interfere with a normal on-camera voice recording. For vertical slides there's a great option: the Slider Pulley.The pulley, the steel cable and the tool-less mounting screw come in a coun- Post • July 2013 ter balance weight bag. The bag can be filled with ballast and should be used to assist vertical pulls, as it is the secret to smooth slides with heavy equipment. The pulley is installed on one of the two 1/4-inch tripod mounts at either side of the camera slider. You just screw it in. The other side goes into the 1/4-inch thread on either side of the carriage. The steel cable that comes with it is eight-feet long and rated to hold about 400 pounds. The pulley itself can support up to about 20 pounds of load when vertically mounted. I thought the pulley would make vertical slides totally effortless, but that wasn't the case. You still need considerable force and concentration to get a smooth ride. The pulley helps, but if it were attached to a servo or stepper motor, it would be perfect. Unfortunately, that is not yet available. I also tried out the two-foot Pro travel version. Pro rails are mounted on a central aluminum base plate, designed to mount the system on one tripod. The Pro rails are robust enough to carry a fully-equipped Red Epic or another pro video camera and are much heavier and stiffer than the carbon version. However, a professional high-end video tripod is needed to mount the system with equipment loaded. Cheap tripods/heads can't hold the combined weight. Finally, the Rhino Slider is easy to clean using a moist cloth or in many cases just by rubbing the rails with your bare hands. FINAL THOUGHTS In my opinion, there are just two things that would make this relatively cheap slider blow the competition off the charts: extensible rails (promised to be available this summer) and a stepper or servomotor. But even without those, the Rhino Slider is one great piece of kit.

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