Although Sunwayfoto has a long term involvement in producing macro/nodal slide rails or low level shooting tripods for macro use, a real macro focusing rail was missing from their arsenal until now.
But not any more, since the introduction of their MFR-150 Macro Focusing Rail with a Wormdrive also known as Lead Screw mechanism featuring some innovations, changes that.
The Sunwayfoto MFR-150 is a dual dovetail rail which features a carriage (stage) with an integral adjustable Arca compatible lever release QR Clamp set perpendicularly to the rail length. Which carriage travels sliding along the upper dovetail by means of a Lead Screw.
The Rail structure
|Total Length:||217 mm (8.54")|
|Rail Length:||160 mm (6.29")|
|Effective Length:||150 mm (5.90")|
|Total Width:||53 mm (2.09")|
|Rail Width:||39 mm (1.53")|
|Heigth (Thickness):||33 mm (1.3") w/ clamp|
|Weight:||279 gr ( 9.84 oz)|
|Quick Release Clamp:||50 mm (1.97") Adjustable Lever Release|
|Max Load:||7 Kg (15.43 lb) Varies with angle of load|
Construction of the MFR-150 complies with the Sunwayfoto standards as it is CNC machined from T6061 Aerospace grade Aluminium alloy. Its military specification Type III hard anodizing ensures abrasion and corrosion resistance for many years. Thus covered by an extended 6 year Warranty from Sunwyafoto upon registration.
The design concept is not so new but there are some innovations that make it a good candidate when looking for a Macro Focusing Rail. All at a very attractive price for the quality.
Besides the Arca compatible QR clamp with the large lever which dominates the surface of the MFR, there is also something very prominent, seen immediately at first glance. It's its first innovation where the lead screw is equipped with a Hand-Crank on one side while it has a normal Screw Knob on the other side.
It is obvious that Sunwayfoto engineers tried to create a low profile MFR, considering the distance of only 24 mm (0.94") between the lower dovetail and the carriage (clamp) platform; thus maintaining a low center of gravity. On the other hand this low profile probably made them kill a lead screw release mechanism. So the innovation of a Hand-Crank comes to solve the problem of quick relocation of the carriage.
|Sunwayfoto MFR-150 Macro Focusing Rail with lever release clamp and innovative hand-crank|
Now the Lead Screw specs show that the MFR can provide some quite fine adjustment considering its 1.25 mm travel per each revolution of the knob, at a fraction of the cost of many Lead Screw macro rails..
|Lead Screw Specification:|
|Adjustment Range:||111mm (4.37")|
|Total Adjustment Range*:||256mm (10.08")|
|Travel Per Revolution of knob:||1.25mm (0.05")|
|Thread Pitch:||12.5mm (0.49")|
*Total adjustment range takes into consideration also the dovetail length which enables for a rough fore-aft adjustment within a quick release clamp.
Another feature of the MFR-150 as mentioned in he beginning is its Lever Release Clamp with a large Lever to facilitate tightening and releasing of the Clamp when space is tight under a camera. Further than that the width of the clamp can be adjusted by the end user with the included Torx driver to much exactly the width of individual QR camera plates or L brackets.
|Sunwayfoto MFR-150 Macro Focusing Rail lever clamp adjustment detail.|
The MFR-150 is also equipped with a brake on one side of the carriage. By tightening the Knob the carriage is immobilized for utmost stability during macro shooting.
|Sunwayfoto MFR-150 Macro Focusing Rail carriage side brake lock knob detail|
|Sunwayfoto MFR-150 Macro Focusing Rail damping adjustment of rotational tension details|
Using the Macro Focusing Rail
The MFR-150 is illustrated below mounted on the top Sunwayfoto XB-52 Ball head. The deep red color of the XB-52 is not mainstream however. It is mostly created for illustrations but makes a good contrast indeed.
Next illustration shows a typical macro setup for single axis fore-aft micro adjustment. A Nikon DSLR camera equipped with a macro lens is clamped on the MFR-150 via a universal DPL-02 L bracket. The set is in turned clamped on a robust XB-52 Ball Head combined with a Sunwayfoto T120A low level shooting tripod. Both able to carry lots of weight at any angle, making them ideal for macro photography.
|Nikon DSLR with macro lens clamped on MFR-150 then mounted on XB-52 and T1A20 Tripod.|
Accordingly a Nikon DSLR / macro lens combo is clamped on the top MFR-150 taking care of the fore-aft adjustment, while the bottom MFR-150 unit is responsible for the lateral adjustment.
According to Sunwayfoto the MFR-150 is compatible with (but not limited to) Really Right stuff® (RRS), Wimberley®, Jobu Design®, Arca Swiss®, Kirk Enterprises®, Markins® and others.
For the record, I have received a pre-production unit of the MFR-150 for evaluation, which after some thorough testing I shall present in a more extensive review in order to see how it behaves under load and how it stands against competition. Stay tuned.
I hope you found the information useful, thank you for viewing.
All Photos: used by permission © 2016 Sunwayfoto.com
Price & Availability:
Current retail price for the MFR-150 is US$ 99.95 (+Free Shipping where applicable) and is available from Amazon as well as from eBay listed in China for around US$ 112.00 or the UK for GBP 89.99.
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Update April 4, 2017
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