I was looking for a really simple non-motorized slider for a shot that would require the camera to move three feet in a horizontal steady movement, after looking around I came a across Proaim’s three feet Linear slider.
ProAim isn’t exactly a high end brand, and doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability and built quality. While I tend to naturally go for more reliable and trusted brands, but I have absolutely no problem trying out new things as long as the purpose is served, in this case all I needed was to get the camera from one end to the other in a steady motion.
The packaging was perfect; the slider came properly protected with a double layered padding and a plastic cover that covered the entire slider.
I was very surprised at how heavy the slider was, and immediately understood the reason why it’s recommended the use of two tripods to balance the weight.
The built feels very robust and professional, the only plastic elements of the slider are the two support pieces that are attached at the end of the rails, and it’s proper plastic, they don’t feel fragile at all.
The platform looks like it’s made of aluminum, and it has the perfect weight to balance out the weight of the camera and lens against the rails. I have not tried to use a Fluid Head on the platform, but it shouldn’t be a problem.
The big issue that I have with this rail system is the four plastic pieces that serve as a connected between the camera platform and the rails. They are very fragile, don’t seem to fit properly in its place holder, and do seem to wear down very quickly. It’s beyond me why a company would go through the trouble of engineering a robust heavy duty slider and then disregard one of the main parts of the unit.
This also explains why you are given spare plastic connectors, as using the slider for a day with a reasonable load on top of the platform created an obvious wear on the plastic.
The assembly couldn’t be more straight forward; screw the camera on the platform, assemble it on top of the rails, connect the two plastic supports to the end of the rails and you are done.
The rails and platform provide a smooth and linear movement, but making a steady shot isn’t easy, and it takes time to master a steady consistent camera movement. Unfortunately it’s the case for all manual sliders, moving the camera without dramatic changes in speed takes practice, a lot of it.
Shifting the lens position to a straight camera movement is simple, but a three feet slider requires a camera elevation so that the rails are not in the field of view. Placing a tripod head on top of the platform should provide enough height to make a shot like this work.
The unit will set you back 280 USD plus the shipping charges, comparatively with the other sliders out there it’s a giveaway, the build quality is more than reasonable and it does its job properly, so if you’re looking for an affordable slider with very long rails this is definitely a good choice.