August 30, 2011

Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal / Macro Rail Review

Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal / Macro Rail overview
The 6.5" E031 Nodal / Macro Rail has the same robust double dovetail design and modular construction, (which permits to attach different quick release clamps), with its longer Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal/Macro Rail brother. However, its shorter length by 1.5" (3,81cm) may prove more convenient for some uses especially as a Nodal rail for a Multi Row Panorama Head, when wide to medium telephoto lenses are going to be used.

Saving a little space and weight sometimes proves valuable.

The Rail

Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal Rail top
The Hejnar Photo E031 Rail came in a padded package together with one 1/4"-20 captive screw, ½" (1,27 cm) long, One M3 screw attached to the plate, two dowel pins and two Allen hex keys, one for the M3 screw 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 13 cm). Its dimensions are 6.5" (16,51 cm ) long by 1.5" (3,8 cm) wide by 1/2" (1,27 cm) thick and weighs 105 gr (3.7 oz). There is a captive style slot 8cm 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, 4 small holes for clamp alignment.
Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal Rail bottom
On the bottom (back) side is evident that a lot of material has been removed making the rail a lot lighter than competition without losing its strength. The 1/2" thickness, the solid part where the QR clamp attaches and the wisely placed cross bar, guaranty that this rail can withstand a lot of torsional forces.
Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal Rail tapped holes detail
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 E031 Nodal Rail stop screw detail
On the front we can see the M3 screw that acts as safety stop in case the clamp is left loose by mistake.

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

Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal rail w/ F012 QR clamp
First choice between the Hejnar Photo 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 E031 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 E031 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.



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 E031 Nodal w/ F012 QR clamp & index bar
Ready to be used! Total weight 220gr (7.76oz)
Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal w/ F012 QR clamp reoriented
Nevertheless, the F012 clamp can very easily be reoriented and attached in parallel or perpendicular to the rail axis. Simply unscrew, relocate the pins...
Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal w/ F012 QR clamp reoriented 90 deg
...and screw at new position.
Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal w/ clamp reoriented 90 deg & index bar
Fully featured with an Index bar.

With F62A 2.375" (6cm) Clamp

Hejnar Photo E031 Nodal rail w/ F62a QR clamp & index bar
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 E031 rail as a Macro rail, then the new Hejnar Photo F62 clamp is a better choice. As you can read in my Hejnar Photo F62 Quick Release Clamp review, it has larger jaws and deeper 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 E031 Nodal rail w/ F62a QR clamp at 90 deg & index bar
Of course the F62 clamp can also be attached in vertical orientation at either side of the rail as the F012 above.

Note: This rail was kindly offered for review by Chris Hejnar of Hejnar Photo in order to complete the Panorama Set in my article: Create a Multi Row Panorama Head Ver. II
There you may find more details on the use of the Hejnar Photo E031 rail as a Nodal rail.


Update: Hejnar Photo E033 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 F62 Quick Release Clamp
Hejnar Photo E032 Nodal/Macro Rail
Hejnar Photo Index Bars

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