July 14, 2011

Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal / Macro Rail Review

Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail overview
After trying Hejnar Photo G010-80 Rails for Creating a Multi Row Panorama Head with exceptionally good results, the next step was to incorporate Hejnar Photo E032 8" (20cm) Nodal / Macro Rail into my gear.

Its robust double dovetail design and modular construction which permits to attach different clamps, gave me a lot of ideas for various implementations, beginning as a Nodal rail for my Multi Row Panorama Head, but also as a Macro rail and others which we'll see in detail.

The rail

Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail top view w/ accessories
The Hejnar Photo E032 Rail came in a padded package together with one 1/4"-20 captive screw, ½" (1,27 cm) long, Two M3 screws attached to the plate, two dowel pins and two Allen hex keys, one for the M3 screws and one for the 1/4"-20 screw.
As all Hejnar Photo products it is machined from 6061-T6 Aluminium and is black hard coat anodized with an engraved metric scale in mm (from 0 to 17 cm). Its dimensions are 8" (20,32 cm ) long by 1.5" (3,8 cm) wide by 1/2" (1,27 cm) thick and weighs 123 gr (4.3 oz). There is a captive style slot 12cm long in the front, next to it an 1/4"-20 tapped hole that permits it to be mount directly on a tripod or attach any other gear, another 1/4"-20 tapped hole for mounting Arca compatible clamps and around this 5 small holes for clamp alignment.
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail bottom view w/ accessories
On the bottom side we can see the two M3 screws that act as safety stops at each rail end. This is quite an advantage because many other Nodal rails have only one safety stop in the front.
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail bottom view holes
Looking closer we can see that the tapped holes extend all the way from top to bottom of the rail. However , the alignment holes have a different diameter on top and bottom so as to hold the alignment dowel pins in place.
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail top view dowel pins
When the provided dowel pins are inserted for the clamp alignment, stay half way in the rail with no slack at all.
Here we can see that the tapped hole intended for securing the clamp is at point zero (0 ) of the metric scale.

Adding a Quick Release clamp...
With F012 1.5" (3,8cm) Clamp

Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail w/ F012 QR clamp
First choice between the Hejnar Photo F010 & F012 Clamps is the F012 1.5" clamp, for its lower weigh and compactness.
This is a perfect choice when the rail is going to be used as a Nodal slide rail.
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail dowel pins on F012 QR clamp
The two dowel pins fit on the side holes of the alignment groove at the bottom (or back side ) of the clamp. In this way the clamp will completely align with the rail and avoid any twist under any load.
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal w/ F012 QR clamp attached
The F012 clamp is secured with an 1/4"-20 screw (which is provided with the clamp) on the rail. 
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal w/ F012 QR clamp bottom
The 1/4"-20 screw goes far enough to secure the clamp and leaves the bottom side clear.
Hejnar Photo E032 w/ F012 QR clamp full length - perpendicular
Completed! Total weigh 208 gr (7.33 oz)
Hejnar Photo E032 w/ F012 QR clamp - parallel
Nevertheless, the F012 clamp can very easily be reoriented and attached in parallel or perpendicular to the rail axis. Simply unscrew, relocate the pins and screw at new position.

With F010A 2.375" (6cm) Clamp

Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail w/ F010a QR clamp
If the F012 clamp is too small for your camera, e.g. you have a camera with an L plate attached which has an opening for cables or your lens center does not coincide with the attached plate center and need more space in order to align the lens center with the rail center, or you want to use the E032 rail as a Macro rail, then the Hejnar Photo F010 clamp is a better choice. As you can read in my Hejnar Photo Clamps Review, it has larger jaws and deep safety stop screw relief grooves giving a lot more versatility. Personally I prefer the F010A short knob version, as it makes the whole setup more compact, especially for use in a multi row panorama head where anything extending behind the camera counts.
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail dowel pins on F010a QR clamp
In this setup the provided dowel pins have to be inserted in the two adjacent holes on the rail and the clamp respectively.
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal w/ F010a QR clamp attached
Then the F010A clamp is secured with an 1/4"-20 screw (which is provided with the clamp) on the rail.
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal w/ F010a QR clamp bottom
Bottom view...
Hejnar Photo E032 w/ F010a QR clamp full length - perpendicular
...and ready ! Total weigh 238 gr (8.4 oz)
Hejnar Photo E032 w/ F010a QR clamp closeup - parallel
Hejnar Photo E032 w/ F010a QR clamp full length - parallel
Once again, the F010A clamp can very easily be attached parallel to the rail at either side. Simply unscrew, relocate the pins and screw at new position. However, in this case only one dowel pin can be used, but as the tolerances are exceptionally minimal there is no problem whatsoever with alignment or twisting of the clamp.



Adding Hejnar Photo Index Bars

Hejnar Photo Index Bars
Hejnar Photo Index Bars are equipped with two soft tipped screws and the appropriate Allen hex key. This proves a convenient solution for marking the exact nodal point for the lense in use for future reference. It is very light and will only add 9 gr ( 0.3 oz) to the total weigh.
Hejnar Photo Index Bar on E032 Nodal rail
Due to the double dovetail design of the clamp, the Index bar can be attached on the top dovetail of the rail and secured by the soft tip screws.

With a clamp set

Hejnar Photo F012 QR Clamps set perpendicular on rail
As I mentioned in my Hejnar Photo QR Clamps Review, using two clamps attached back to back in vertical orientation on the Hejnar Photo E032 rail will prove very helpful, if someone wants to shoot using a very wide angle lens. In such a case the front of the rail would be in the picture. One can avoid that by just sliding the clamp set to the front. Another advantage is that the top clamp is elevated by 1,1cm (7/16") above the Nodal rail giving more headroom for really wide lenses without any need for spacers.
Hejnar Photo F012 & F010A QR Clamps set perpendicular on rail
The same can be done with the F010A clamp.

Used as Macro Focusing rail

Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail on Benro HD-38 head w/ F010A QR Clamp

Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal rail on Benro HD-38 head w/ F010A QR Clamp top

For more details in using the Hejnar Photo E032 rail as a Nodal or as a Macro rail you may have a look in Hejnar Photo F62A Quick Release Clamp Review

Update: Hejnar Photo E034 Nodal / Macro Rail Update

I hope you found this review useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos: © 2011 S.C.Vlachos

Availability:
Hejnar Nodal Slides are available from the Hejnar Photo online Store. 
Check the Recommended Sellers page for a valid Hejnar Photo discount coupon.

Referenced Articles:
Hejnar Photo F010A and F012 Quick Release Clamps
Hejnar Photo Index Bars

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