September 16, 2012

Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 5/8 Multi Purpose Rail Review

LLSB w/ camera support Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 Rail+F60+F61 clamps+G15-60 rail+LSB-R2 overview
Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 Multi Purpose rail is the pioneer and first model of a new Hejnar line of 5/8" (1,6cm) thick rails. G20 series shows some improved attributes as well as some modifications based on the experience gathered from the shorter G15/G16 series' and G14 longer series.

Although my initial intention was to test this rail as a base for my new very Heavy Duty Panorama Head, the extra features of the G20-10 brought up some more nice ideas.

The G20 series Rail

Manufacturer Specification:
Length:254 mm (10")
Width:1.50" (254 mm)
Weight:187 gr (6.6 oz)
Metric Scales:On both sides
Tapped Holes:2 X 1/4"-20 both in front and back
Mounting Slots:3 X Captive Stylee
Mounting Holes:2 X Threaded, one 1/4"-20 and one 3/8"-16
Safety Stop Screws:2 X M3 one on each side
Material:CNC machined 6061-T6 Aluminium
Color:Black hard coat anodized
Hardware:Stainless Steel
Made in :USA

Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 Rail top + screws + tools
G20-10 is 10" long by 5/8" thick, has three captive slots, one 1/4"-20 threaded hole and one 3/8"-16 threaded hole.  There is the usual to Hejnar rails front 1/4"-20 tapped hole, but on this rail there is also an 1/4"-20 tapped hole at the back. A laser engraved decimal scale from 0 to 22cm with 1mm increments, runs along both sides. One other common characteristic to recent Hejnar rails is the 12mm bubble spirit level close to the front.
The rail comes accompanied by two 1/4"-20 captive screws, two M3 safety stop screws (already fit), two 5mm dowel pins and two Allen hex keys for the M3 and 1/4"-20 screws respectively.
Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 Rail bottom
On the bottom side, the G20-10 rail has two cross bars which add anti-torsional strength to it and comes fitted with two M3 stop screws, one at each end, protecting from accidental drop off, from a non fully closed clamp.
Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 bottom mounting holes detail
Closer look of the cross bars with the two threaded holes 1/4"-20 and 3/8"-16 respectively. This is a new attribute  of the G20-10 series permitting the direct mounting of the rail directly on a tripod top-plate stud or any other gear with a 3/8"-16 thread screw.
Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 front mounting holes detail
Common to the G13, G15, G16 and now G20 series of rails is the front 1/4"-20 tapped hole accompanied by two 5mm dowel pin holes on its side. These holes permit the proper alignment and attachment of Hejnar clamps or other accessories like a Long Lens Support bracket.
In the photo above you may see more clearly the decimal scale running on the side of the rail.
Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 back mounting holes detail
The difference with the G20-10 series comes with an 1/4"-20 tapped hole and two 5mm dowel pin holes also at the back of the rail, permitting the rail to have more applications.
One more obvious attribute in the above photo, is the carved line at the end of the back slot designating also point 0 of the decimal scale on the side(s). This is very useful when a quick release clamp is mounted on the rail. The center of the clamp will coincide with point zero of the scale, permitting a precise measurement of the focal plane distance for example.

Used as a long LLSB
As I mentioned in the beginning the original purpose for using this clamp has to do with my tests of heavy duty panorama head where thinner rails had a twisting distortion problem under loads of toque.
Anyhow, this is a very versatile multi purpose rail that can have more than one uses.
Due to its length and sturdiness it is perfectly suited for a Long Lens Support Bracket for long telephoto lenses that lack a collared foot.

Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 bottom view w/ F60 QR clamp
In this case an extra small clamp is needed, like Hejnar PHOTO F60 1" QR clamp with its flat head 1/4"-20 screw. The dowel pin and hex keys are supplied with the rail anyway. 
Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 bottom view front hole w/ M3 screw
Somehow, there is a small issue with the front M3 safety screw on my prototype rail. Its length is not appropriate for the purpose as it protrudes in the 1/4"-20 threads not allowing any 1/4"-20 screw to be inserted. All it needs is to be unscrewed a bit so the 1/4" screw can be screwed in. Since the clamp mounted in the front acts also as a safety stop there is no need of a safety stop screw, so the M3 screw may be removed completely without any problem whatsoever.
Nevertheless, I have contacted Chris Hejnar on the matter, who confirmed that the issue will be resolved with production rails.
Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 + F60 QR clamp on front hole
Using the dowel pin and the flat 1/4"-20 screw the F60 QR clamp is aligned and secured in the rails's front hole.
Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 + F60 QR clamp on front hole w/ F61b & F012 QR clamps
Next step is to assemble a pair of quick release clamps back to back and perpendicular to each other, as described in my  Hejnar Photo F012 1,5" (3,8cm) Quick Release Clamp review. For this purpose I used Hejnar PHOTO F61b and F012 1,5" QR clamps and an extra 3/8"-16 to 1/4"-20 thread conversion bushing.
LLSB w/ Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 + F60 QR clamp + F61b & F012 QR clamps back to back
And you have a very sturdy LLSB, where you can clamp your camera at the back and lay your long lens at the front.
This has as a prerequisite, that your camera is equipped with an Arca Swiss® compatible base plate.
It is a very versatile solution, especially for long lenses without a collar foot.
LLSB w/ Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 + F60 QR clamp + F51 subtend clamp
An alternative solution is to use a subtend clamp at the back, like the Hejnar PHOTO F51 Dual  Subtend QR clamp.
This is perfect for really long telephoto lenses equipped with a collar foot and an Arca Swiss® compatible lens plate.

Used as a heavy duty LLSB with height regulation
The existence of tapped holes both at the front and the back of the rail, permits for even more complex solutions, that would accommodate, stabilize but also regulate the height of a camera base mount on a very long lens.

LLSB w/ Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 + F60 QR clamp w/ F61b QR clamp
Apart from the QR clamp attached in the front hole, we need another small clamp to be attached in the back hole. It may be identical to the front one, but here I use the Hejnar PHOTO F61b 1,5" QR clamp for demonstration purposes.
LLSB w/ Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 + F60 QR clamp in front + F61b QR clamp at back
The rail part is ready with one QR clamp at both ends.
LLSB w/ Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 + F60 QR clamp in front + F61b QR clamp at back w/ G15-60 rail - LSB-R2 - F012 QR clamp
In addition we need another small QR clamp (here I use an older Hejnar PHOTO F012 1,5" clamp), a short rail with 1/4"-20 tapped hole and dowel pin holes like the  Hejnar PHOTO G15-60 6" Multi Purpose Rail and a Lens Support Bracket like Hejnar PHOTO LSB-R2. 
LLSB w/ camera support Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 Rail+F60+F61 clamps+G15-60 rail+LSB-R2 overview
After the small F010 QR clamp is attached perpendicularly in the front hole of the  G15-60 rail, you may insert it in the back clamp as a camera vertically regulated base. Next insert the Lens Support Bracket in the front clamp. And you will have a very versatile and very sturdy solution for a Long Lens Support Bracket. This solution is best suited for cameras without a battery grip mounted on long lenses with or without a lens foot.

Used as horizontal base rail for a panorama head
A "sneaky" preview shot from my heavy duty panorama head tests. More details in the upcoming Create a Heavy Duty Multi Row Panorama Head article.

Heavy Duty Panorama head w/ Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 Rail as horizontal
Hejnar PHOTO G20-10 rail used as a horizontal base rail, proved sturdy enough to heavy loads (more than pictured above) without any torsion or vibration.
Canon EOS 50D+BG-E2N +EF-s 17-85 IS USM with Hejnar PHOTO G16-60+F61b as nodal, Benro PC-1 Panorama Clamp as vertical rotator, Hejnar PHOTO F51 Dual Subtend QR Clamp as vertical height regulator, G15-80+G103+F68 as vertical rail. Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Panoramic Indexing Rotator as horizontal rotator on Sunwayfoto XB-44 ball head, supported by Benro A-298 EX Versatile Tranforner Tripod.

Very nice design and machining.
Very good finishing and anodizing.
Excellent versatility for limitless uses.
Excellent strength and torsional behavior.
Very good value for money.

Small issue with prototype rail front hole, that will be resolved in production units.

A very strong and sturdy rail, with attributes that make it a real multipurpose rail. There is a lot more of implementations to be coming based on this MPR rail in future articles.

I hope you found the article and ideas useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos © 2012 S.C.Vlachos

Note: The G20-10 rail presented in this article is a prototype / first-production unit, kindly offered for evaluation and review by Chris Hejnar of Hejnar PHOTO. Therefore, there may be some small visual or functional differences from the final production units. For final products you may visit the "Multipurpose Rails - 5/8 Thick Rails" section in the Hejnar PHOTO online store.

Price and Availability:
Current price for the G20-10 rail is US$ 75.00 (+Shipping where applicable) and is available from Hejnar Photo online Store

If you are interested in the product, do check the Recommended Sellers page for a valid Hejnar Photo discount coupon before ordering.

Referenced Articles:
Hejnar PHOTO G15-80, G16-80 and G15-60 Multi Purpose Rails
Hejnar PHOTO F60 1" Quick Release clamp
Hejnar Photo F012 1,5" (3,8cm) Quick Release Clamp
Hejnar PHOTO F51 Dual Subtend QR Clamp Review
Benro A-298 EX Versatile Tranforner Tripod Review
Benro PC-1 Panorama Clamp Review
Sunwayfoto DDP-64MX+DDY-64 Panoramic Indexing Rotator Review

Relevant Articles:
Ideas for a Long Lens Support Bracket (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
Create a Heavy Duty Multi Row Panorama Head

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