By technical editor Matt Allard:
It was just under a year ago that Edelkrone announced their original Slider+. A brilliant concept and one of those designs where you instantly think why hasn’t someone thought about this before? It was designed to solve a problem that every camera user on-the-go faces when using a slider – how do you get a compact slider that has a good length of travel? The clever Slider+ design almost doubled its own length due to a retracting design. This made for a slider you could genuinely fit in your backpack. You could also do interesting dolly moves facing forward down the length of the rail, where with a regular slider you would normally see your own rails in shot. It also came at a very attractive price tag.
I have used the original Slider+ for almost 12 months now. Its small size meant I could put it in a backpack or suitcase and take it anywhere. On many occasions I would just leave it on my tripod as it gave me the ability to have a slider or dolly move at my disposal at all times. I got some great results but it had limitations.
While I love the portability, design and ease of use there where a few things that really frustrated me. The belt mechanism tends to come off quite often especially during transport. It was designed so you can put it back in but that’s not a quick thing to do when your in a hurry – you can miss shots all too easily. The locking mechanism that stops the slider from moving was also designed in a way that when used with some tripod heads you couldn’t put the locking mechanism down far enough to release it. This would cause a slight bump when the slider was traveling across the centre of your tripod head. The original slider+ was also only able to be used on a tripod due to its design – putting it on a table or the ground was just not possible. For me the most frustrating problem though was the weight limitation. I use the Sony FS700 and other cams which are really too big for the Slider+.
Edelkrone addressed some of these problems with their Slider+ Version 2, released just a few months after the original. In the process though they managed to upset many owners of the first version who felt fixes offered by the newer model should have been offered to them without having to pay again.
That all said, I have always been impressed by innovation of the guys at Edelkrone. They really do seem to listen to customer feedback about design. The Slider+ has been a very popular product and they could have just sat back and made small incremental improvements. Instead they have launched the new Slider Plus Pro. A redesigned version that has been developed for the user who requires a heavier pay load. There are three new versions. A Medium (50cm 1.6ft of camera travel, 14kg 22lb weight capacity), Large (70cm 2.3ft of camera travel, 12kg 26lb weight capacity) and Extra Large (90cm 2.9ft of camera travel 10kg 30lb of weight capacity). The Extra Large version is only 63cm long which is impressive given its 90cm of camera travel. They have also redesigned the trays so that they are a lot lighter, stronger and also adjustable. There is also a new locking mechanism which looks to be a big improvement over the previous design. You can now use it on the ground or the table but with the caveat that the camera travel is reduced by 50% compared to when it is used on a tripod.
The new versions are also comparable with their Target and Wizard modules for creating parallax shots and repeat movements. For many news and documentary shooters where speed, weight and portability are major concerns these improvements seem to tick a lot of the boxes. Its worth noting that for users with smaller cameras such as a DSLR or BMPCC, I think the Slider Plus Pro will be overkill and they should look at other alternatives.
How the Slider Plus Pro works in practice is what I want to test – I’m not sure how stable a 14kg camera on the Extra Large version would be on top of a good tripod head (note in Edelkrone’s Youtube demo they only show it mounted direct to a half-ball and not on top of a head as most news shooters will want to do for speed). Most other sliders like the popular Kessler or Glidetrack ranges can be supported with a tripod at either end – I can’t see how this is possible with the Slider Plus Pro design without redistricting the travel distance. In the past I had instability problems using the FS700 on the original Slider+ and a Sachtler 20P head, but I was probably pushing the weight limits of that slider. I’m very curious about how the Slider Plus Pro will cope and hope in the same situation and to test in out in person at NAB 2014.
The Slider Plus Pro looks to be an impressive product on paper. The pricing is definitely in the professional range but that’s fair enough given the target market.
The prices are as follows:
Slider Plus Pro Medium: $799
Slider Plus Pro Large: $899
Slider Pro Plus Extra Large: $999
All three sliders will be shipping worldwide in 3 weeks with free shipping to the USA now being offered.