Focus Rails

DanP

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Dec 8, 2014
62
13
I recently acquired a Cognisys StackShot macro rail and am thinking I should get another manual focus rail to mount it on (at 90 degrees) to allow for lateral adjustments. However, I'm concerned about loss of rigidity in the system (i.e., Camera/Lens mounted on Cognisys, mounted at a right angle on manual focus rail, mounted on a ball head, mounted on a tripod). I'm looking at the Kirk FR-2 focusing rail for this purpose. If anyone has a set-up like this, I'd appreciate hearing from you as to how well it works, and if it negatively affects the quality of your results. I realize that rigidity issues can be managed by using a fixed (bench) set-up, but I want to have the flexibility to use the set-up out in the field.
 

Zeidora

EOS RP
Feb 15, 2015
668
10
I use an Arca clamp on top, then add a RRS rail, which has an elevated spacer in the middle (all one piece of machined Al!). Just tried to find it on the RRS website, but can't locate it. I remember I just stumbled upon it previously. That cross rail is not geared, but I don't find that an issue. The elevated cube allows me to rotate my 5DsR with grip on MPE65 without it hitting the StackShot rail. Because it is not geared, the arrangement has no play and is rock solid.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,264
1,302
DanP said:
I recently acquired a Cognisys StackShot macro rail and am thinking I should get another manual focus rail to mount it on (at 90 degrees) to allow for lateral adjustments. However, I'm concerned about loss of rigidity in the system (i.e., Camera/Lens mounted on Cognisys, mounted at a right angle on manual focus rail, mounted on a ball head, mounted on a tripod). I'm looking at the Kirk FR-2 focusing rail for this purpose. If anyone has a set-up like this, I'd appreciate hearing from you as to how well it works, and if it negatively affects the quality of your results. I realize that rigidity issues can be managed by using a fixed (bench) set-up, but I want to have the flexibility to use the set-up out in the field.
It is a big stackup, and any play in any of the components will be magnified.


With your camera mounted to the Cognisys, is there any play when you try to rock the camera from side to side? If everything seems locked down tight, adding the Kirk should not be a issue.

How well does the Cognisys work for you? the powered system with remote seems interesting.

I kinda started questioning them when I saw their photo (below) for the insect rig) Maybe they are trying to show that their rig will let a Nikon camera trigger Canon flashes??



 

Zeidora

EOS RP
Feb 15, 2015
668
10
There is no play in my Cogynsis set-up. Rock solid. Have done several hundred stacks, and no issues with motion blur, uneven stacking steps, or alignment. Most of my stacks are between 20 and 120 frames. The helical drive causes any dirt-specs on sensor to leave a helical mark. No problem editing that in Zerene or Affinity Photo.

My platform is a RRS TVS-34L with BH55 and AS QRs. No problems running a rather heavy set-up (5DsR with grip, MP-E 65 of Zeiss 100M, MT 24 EX), including in vertical orientation.

Re Nikon camera triggering Canon flash, notice that the flashes are connected by PC sync cord, which is much thinner than a Canon (or Flash Zebra) TTL cord. PC sync cords can trigger pretty much any flash from any camera. I trigger Canon flash from ArcaSwiss with various LF lenses in Copal shutters. Set flash to manual, and with fixed distance there is no problem getting exposure right.

I'm very happy with the StackShot, even using the StackShot motor to control the fine focus on my compound microscope (Zeiss Axioskop 2plus); my stereomicroscope (Zeiss Discovery V20) has motorized focus.

Don't have the external power supply and find the controller interface close to impenetrable. I use a laptop with Zerene to control the Stackshot. If I want a mobile version, I would go for the the 3 axis touch screen rather than the "standard" controller.
 

DanP

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Dec 8, 2014
62
13
Thanks to all for the comments.

Mt. Spokane - I haven't actually used the Cognisys yet, other than turning it on and checking that a programmed movement worked. It certainly feels solid to the hand with no play. Zeidora confirms this. The insect rig looks interesting, but too much money for me. I recall seeing a video on the internet where someone set up a dial indicator on the StackShot rail and the programmed steps were very accurate and consistent. I look forward to trying it out when I get some time.
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
CR Pro
DanP said:
I recently acquired a Cognisys StackShot macro rail and am thinking I should get another manual focus rail to mount it on (at 90 degrees) to allow for lateral adjustments. However, I'm concerned about loss of rigidity in the system (i.e., Camera/Lens mounted on Cognisys, mounted at a right angle on manual focus rail, mounted on a ball head, mounted on a tripod). I'm looking at the Kirk FR-2 focusing rail for this purpose. If anyone has a set-up like this, I'd appreciate hearing from you as to how well it works, and if it negatively affects the quality of your results. I realize that rigidity issues can be managed by using a fixed (bench) set-up, but I want to have the flexibility to use the set-up out in the field.
This is a whole new world of photography to me. Please post some pics.

Thx.

sek
 

Zeidora

EOS RP
Feb 15, 2015
668
10
For much more detailed info, check out the Photomacrography.net BB. For serious macro and stacking, this is where you want to get info. The owner Rik L has written ZereneStacker, and other main contributors seriously know their optics. No comparison to discussions here on CR. [sorry].