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Camera sliders are an incredible tool, and the variety of options out there means they are accessible for filmmakers across the board.
There are many slider options, with a vast variation in the price range.
You’ll need to consider the weight of your rig, the type of filmmaking you do, and your price range.
However, below are ten sliders that cover the abovementioned features, ranging from affordable to professional.
Table of Contents
1. Neewer Camera Slider Carbon Fiber Dolly Rail (Best Budget Portable Entry-Level Slider)
Weight: 2.11 lbs / 0.96 kg
Rail Length: 11.8 in / 30 cm
Material: Carbon Fiber
Load Capacity: 12 lbs / 5.44 kg
Strengths: This is a great entry-level slider. It is affordable, durable, and has a level. The lightweight and short length also makes it extremely portable. Finally, it can be mounted vertically on a tripod, giving you creative options.
Weaknesses: No method of smoothing out your push requires a steady hand. It is also very short, limiting its usage, and carbon fiber is not the smoothest material for rails. The feet are also not adjustable.
Description: The Neewer Camera Slider Carbon Fibber Dolly Rail is a great on-the-go slider at a very affordable price. With a load capacity of 12 lbs, it can work with most small camera rigs, though its short length and lack of features to smooth the shot will limit usage and make precision difficult.
2. GVM 24”/60cm Camera Slider with Flywheel and Light Carbon Fiber Rails (Best Budget Slider With Flywheel)
Weight: 4.2 lbs / 1.90 kg
Rail Length: 24 in / 60 cm
Material: Carbon Fiber
Load Capacity: 33 lbs / 15 kg
Strengths: This slider includes a flywheel under the mount to limit human inconsistencies. It is also two feet long, giving a decent range of motion, and has a level. With a carrying capacity of 33 lbs, this slider should hold any camera rig while still being lightweight.
Weaknesses: This slider has carbon fiber rails, which aren’t as smooth as aluminum or steel. Though it has a flywheel, there is no drive belt, which opens the opportunity for human error. This slider also doesn’t have adjustable feet, making minute changes in leveling difficult.
Description: This is an exception slider at an affordable price. The flywheel will help create a much smoother shot and is a portable size and weight. This GVM Camera Slider can also be mounted at various angles (and vertically), letting its user get creative.
3. Neewer 31.5 Inches/80 Centimeter Carbon Fiber Camera Track Slider (Best Affordable Slider With Adjustable Feet)
Weight: 4.88 lbs / 2.12 kg
Rail Length: 31.5 in / 80 cm
Material: Carbon Fiber
Load Capacity: 17.5 lbs / 8 kg
Strengths: This is the first slider we’ve looked at with adjustable feet (which can fold in and out and extend by 1.5 cm). It is also 80 cm long, allowing for a greater range of motion and usability at a relatively lightweight level. It is usable at any angle, including vertical placement.
Weaknesses: There are no mechanics to smooth your shot with this slider. Also, the length means that two tripods may be needed to prevent your rig from tipping over if you’re not using a table or other flat surface.
Description: The 31.5-inch Neewer Carbon Fiber Camera Track Slider is a great entry-level slider at a long length. Its load capacity should be adequate for most rigs, and its adjustable feet can be used vertically to allow for various shots.
4. Neewer Camera Slider Video Track Dolly Rail Stabilizer: 31-inch/80cm, Flywheel Counterweight with Light Carbon Fiber Rails (Best Budget Professional Slider)
Weight: 6.17 lbs / 2.80 kg
Rail Length: 31 in / 80 cm
Material: Carbon Fiber
Load Capacity: 17.5 lbs / 8 kg
Strengths: This slider includes a flywheel with a drive belt and crank, producing a smooth shot. It is also able to be inclined, not limiting your options. The 80cm length also provides an extensive range of motion, and the fully adjustable feet let you level the slider on surfaces that may not be completely flat.
Weaknesses: At 80cm with a flywheel and crank, this slider is not as portable as some smaller options. Its carbon fiber rails keep it from being too heavy. However, they also prevent it from producing the smoothest shot combined with cheaper bearings.
Description: This is a great entry-level slider with mechanics in place to produce a smooth shot. Paired with a tripod, achieving a huge diversity in shots is possible. Though it has a crank and flywheel, it will not prevent filmmakers from placing the slider at an incline or mimicking a jib.
5. Kamerar 31” Fluid Motion Video Slider (Best Alternative Budget Slider With Crank Wheel and Drive-Belt)
Weight: 6 lbs / 2.72 kg
Rail Length: 31 in / 80 cm
Material: Carbon Fiber
Load Capacity: 10 lbs / 4.54 kg
Strengths: This slider includes a flywheel and drive belt with a crank, allowing for steady and accurate movements. Its 80 cm length gives the filmmaker plenty of options, and the carbon fiber rails keep it relatively lightweight. Adjustable feet can also fold and extend, allowing for easy leveling.
Weaknesses: Similar to the Neewer, this slider is not super portable due to its length and wheel. Though affordable, using your hand is sometimes more useful than the crank.
Description: This slider is another affordable option with a flywheel in place. Its length allows for versatility, and it can be mounted vertically. At 10 pounds, this slider should be able to handle most cameras, though it carries less weight than most of our other options.
6. ZEAPON Micro 2 Camera Slider Rail (Best Affordable Slider For Travel)
Weight: 2.4 lbs / 1.1 kg
Rail Length: 13 in / 33 cm
Running Length: 21 in / 54 cm
Load Capacity: 11 lbs / 4.99 kg
Strengths: This slider expands as you slide, doubling the distance as the rail length. This is great for portability and push-ins and pull-outs without the slider in the shot. Its aluminum construction and dampening mechanics allow for a lightweight, sturdy, and smooth shot.
Weaknesses: There are a few weaknesses to this slider. Its length isn’t as long as some of our other options, limiting some of the shots you can pull off. Though you can tilt it on a tripod, you cannot attach it vertically. It also does not have feet, so a tripod is necessary for this slider.
Description: The Zeapon Micro 2 is an excellent slider for quite an affordable price. The extending rail allows for an impressive distance covered while remaining portable. The aluminum alloy rail keeps this slider extremely light, smooth, and sturdy, with a load capacity of 11 lbs. A tripod is necessary to use this slider, but it is a great choice if you have one.
7. GVM Camera Slider with Motorized Time Lapse and Video (Best Affordable Motorized Slider)
Weight: 5 lbs / 2.27 kg
Rail Length: 31 in / 80 cm
Material: Carbon Fiber
Load Capacity: 11 lbs / 4.99 kg
Strengths: This is the first slider we’ve looked at with a motor, allowing smooth shots and time-lapse. Additionally, you can set this slider to move straight, parallax, or 120-degree panning, meaning you don’t have to pan the camera as you slide it manually. The slider has adjustable feet and can be mounted at any angle.
Weaknesses: Being such an affordable slider, the build is not the most durable, so take care of the drive belt. Setting the motor and adjusting panoramas and parallax panning can also make your setup take extra time.
Description: This is a great choice for an affordable slider with a motor. It is versatile and can be mounted at a variety of angles. Additionally, pairing the motor with the parallax feature lets you achieve smooth, precise slides and pans that track a subject. If you need an extra camera for an interview, the motor can be set on a loop, and the slider can be set to keep the subject in frame.
8. GVM Motorized Camera Slider, 31″ Aluminum Alloy Track Dolly Rail (Best Professional Budget-Friendly Motorized Slider)
Weight: 11.55 lbs / 5.34 kg
Rail Length: 31 in / 80 cm
Load Capacity: 22 lbs / 9.98 kg
Strengths: This is another great motorized slider. The aluminum construction makes for a more durable and smoother shot. It also has a parallax feature, allowing a subject to be tracked as the camera moves. The motor can be set for a time-lapse or put on a loop for interviews. The slider is also functional at various angles, giving the filmmaker many options.
Weaknesses: There aren’t too many weaknesses to be found with this slider. The weight, as does the length, makes it a bit cumbersome (though a 48-inch version is also available). The user interface for the motor is not intuitive, and the controller isn’t very sturdy. Additionally, the motor can be heard in the audio, so the second sound source is recommended.
Description: This is a very sturdy motorized slider and very smooth. Setting up motorized sliders can be time-consuming, and this is no exception. Additionally, the motor is loud and will be audible if you use a mic on the camera.
9. Edelkrone SliderPLUS Long (21″) (Best Portable Professional Motorized Slider)
Weight: 5.55 lbs / 2.52 kg
Rail Length: 31 in / 80 cm (15.5 in / 40 cm on the ground)
Load Capacity: 10 lbs / 4.54 kg (40 lbs / 18.14 on the ground)
Strengths: Like the Zeapon Micro 2, this slider extends as you move the camera. However, the Edelkrone provides a much larger range of motion, up to 80cm. The aluminum and stainless steel construction ensures very smooth movements and high durability.
Weaknesses: This slider’s specs depend on whether you’re mounting the slider on a tripod or resting it on the ground. If on the ground, the range of motion is limited. Additionally, because of the extending rails, you can only mount them on one tripod. Ensure your tripod is sturdy if you use the full range of motion.
Description: The Edelkrone SliderPLUS is a professional-grade slider, and the price reflects that. It has a high load capacity, and extending rails makes them less likely to be in the shot. Additionally, Edelkrone manufactures a variety of mounts you can put on this slider, as well as motors so that you can have very smooth slides, pans, and tilts.
10. SYRP Magic Carpet PRO 3′ Medium Track (Best Professional Slider)
Weight: 5.5 lbs / 2.5 kg
Rail Length: 36 in / 91.44 cm
Material: Carbon Fiber Alloy
Load Capacity: 70 lbs / 32 kg (24.2 lbs /11kg vertical)
Strengths: The SYRP Magic Carpet Pro is a professional-grade slider. It features an integrated flywheel in the carriage and has a buttery smooth pan. Quick-release components offer quick and easy assembly, supporting insanely high load capacity even when used vertically. Unlike other carbon fiber rails, the SYRP Magic Carpet rails are smooth and durable.
Weaknesses: This slider has a few weaknesses outside of its steep price. It does not include a built-in motor but features a flywheel that will smooth out the shot.
Description: If you are shooting with heavy cameras and other sliders are not durable enough, the SYRP Magic Carpet Pro has you covered. It is remarkably durable and produces a great shot, holding a heavy load capacity even when vertical. Additionally, SYRP manufactures additional rails, so if the three-foot length isn’t enough, you can continue to extend the slider. This can give you some very long and impressive tracking shots if it’s within your budget.
There you have it. A range of sliders, from affordable entry-level sliders to professional-grade equipment, can handle a load capacity of up to 40 pounds.
From the mechanized to the manual, there are options for everybody, and various creative and visually interesting shots can be executed no matter the choice.
Sliders like the Edelkrone and Zeapon with extendable rails may suit your needs more than the GVM Motorized slider.
In the end, it comes down to personal preferences and needs. However, you can do more with all these products than if you’re stuck locking your camera down to a tripod.
I love seeing a slow tracking shot during an interview, though there are plenty of other applications for a slider.
What kind of shots inspire you? What slider do you use or want? Let us know in the comments and how you’ll use a slider in your next project.
Buyer’s Guide. What to look for and know before you buy a slider?
Sliders are a great way to get nice-looking stabilized footage.
Sliders are especially useful in establishing shots or reveals as a narrative filmmaker, and in documentary filmmaking, they are commonly seen in interviews, b-roll, and time-lapse footage.
The variety of shots you can achieve is limited only to your creativity.
A tripod or two will allow you to put your slider at an angle or even vertically, and a fluid head mount lets you pan and tilt the camera.
Because of this expanded movement, you can achieve more shots with a slider than simply a horizontal tracking shot or a simple push-in or pull-out.
A Camera Slider Allows For Many Creative Types of Shots
When using a slider with a fluid head mount, you can adjust pan, tilt, and focus while moving the camera smoothly with practice.
Whereas adjusting focus with a gimbal isn’t always an option or requires a second camera operator, doing so with a slider is entirely possible with a crew of one.
Furthermore, devices and motors exist to create a mechanized pan. Though we will cover this later, sliders with built-in motors, drive belts, and cranks are all options to create the smoothest tracking shot possible.
Sliders are a must to add smooth movement to your shots. Especially for the independent filmmaker operating with a small crew, using a slider with practice is one of the most efficient ways to create exciting and kinetic shots.
As with any camera gear, sliders exist to help you, as a filmmaker, tell your story.
By adding new camera moves and opening your filmmaking up to a variety of new shots, sliders can inspire us to be more ambitious with our content and achieve a level of production that makes us proud.
The Pros and Cons of Using a Slider vs. a Gimbal
As I mentioned, sliders are often wrongfully compared to other stabilization methods. Though you can achieve a smooth tracking shot with a motorized gimbal, the times to use one versus a slider depend heavily on context.
Sliders are often around only a meter in length. Therefore, you won’t achieve long tracking shots (when a gimbal would be useful).
However, sliders excel for settings such as interviews or establishing shots where you want to rack focus or reveal a subject.
Unlike gimbals, which require precise balance and often leave you unable to adjust the focus manually, with practice, you can rack focus while moving the camera on a slider. This can greatly increase the type of movements available to you.
What To Look For When Buying A Slider
Depending on what you hope to use your slider for, the main specs to consider outside of price include the material, the length, lens options, the feet, crank belts, motorization, and different mounts.
It is also important to understand what you want to use your slider for. What type of filmmaking do you typically do, and what do you hope your slider will offer you as a filmmaker?
The Material and Weight of Your Slider
Sliders are primarily made of four different materials: carbon fiber, aluminum, steel, and an aluminum/steel compound. These materials affect not only the durability but also the weight of the slider.
For some filmmakers, the weight won’t be an issue. If you shoot in controlled settings that are easily accessible, a carbon fiber slider might not make a huge difference.
However, suppose you’re hiking into the backcountry to do nature photography, carrying a steel slider and most likely a tripod to accompany it. In that case, it may cause you to regret your decision.
A carbon fiber slider can weigh as little as one kilogram (such as the 30cm Neewer Carbon Fiber Camera Slider (link to Amazon)), making them extremely applicable in remote settings.
However, double-check the load capacity since these lightweight models may be insufficient to carry much more than your standard DSLR.
The material of the slider also often affects how smooth it is. Though light and still useful, often carbon fiber won’t be as smooth as steel or aluminum.
Finally, if you plan on using a motor, the load capacity will vary, as will your ability to adjust the incline. We will discuss motorized sliders later on.
Ideal Slider Length and Travel Distance
Another important consideration when purchasing a slider is the length.
The first obvious impact of length is weight and portability.
You might want a short slider that can easily fit in your backpack if you’re traveling. Certain sliders, such as the Zeapon Micro 2 on Amazon, extend as you track, offering double the distance of the length.
But the second obvious impact of the slider’s length is the range of movement you will receive. Here, you must decide between portability and versatility. Especially when you apply more creative uses to your slider, shorter lengths can be inhibiting.
For example, if you attach your slider to a tripod and swing it to mimic a crane shot, a 30cm slider will not look as impressive as a meter-long slider.
If you’re using a meter-long slider, you may also need more gear to use it to its full ability.
Longer Sliders Require a Stable Base
Unless you always use a table, two tripods will be required to properly mount the slider and use its full range of motion without tipping over.
Especially if you’re working with a heavy camera, take caution to ensure your tripod and slider won’t tip over.
Whereas a shorter tripod can be mounted easily on one tripod or in unique locations like a bookshelf, a lengthy tripod is more limited regarding where it can be set up.
The Length of a Slider Affects the Type of Lenses You Can Use
The tripod length also may affect what kind of lenses you use.
Due to their greater field of view, wide-angle lenses make it difficult to do push-ins and pull-outs.
However, wide-angle lenses also give the illusion of more motion since the image isn’t compressed.
Conversely, a telephoto lens on a slider will compress the field of view and make any motion in dolly shots less dramatic.
The problem with wide-angle lenses on a longer slider is that you risk getting the slider in the shot. This is where having a fluid head (between the slider and the slider base) comes in handy.
Sliders and Fluid Heads
If you want to push in on a fixed slider, you may need to use a telephoto lens or have a head-mounted to increase the distance you can move before the slider comes into view.
A fluid head mount (between the slider and the camera) will add some much-needed inches to separate the camera from the slider.
Having a tripod head is extremely beneficial and allows you greater usage. The added height on the slider means your wide-angle lenses have an increased range of motion until the slider comes into view.
Tripod heads also offer much more control while you’re using your slider.
Combining horizontal motion with a pan or tilt helps significantly, and the handle on a fluid video head makes a smooth shot much easier to achieve.
Some sliders, such as the Zeapon Micro 2 on Amazon, extend while you’re moving the camera. Therefore, you can use a wide-angle lens and push in without seeing the track.
The Feet and Setting Up Your Slider on Different Surfaces
Another important facet of selecting any slider is the feet. This affects how and where you can set up your slider.
The feet will not be used if you intend to mount your slider on one or two tripods. However, the feet will play an important part if you mount your slider on the go on uneven surfaces such as logs or rocks.
Many sliders have fixed rubber stoppers for their feet. If we look at the GVM Motorized Slider here on Amazon, four rubber balls can extend but not rotate.
This is helpful for use on a table or a flat surface that may be minorly uneven, but something more extreme, such as a boulder, will be hard to make work.
Now, if we look at the Neewer 80cm Carbon Fiber Slider (link to Amazon), there are adjustable and secured legs that can adjust from 8.5 to 10cm, allowing a large scale of adjustment.
Removable and foldable legs are often beneficial, provide great control, and make leveling easy.
Motorization, Fly Wheels, and Drive Belts
Motorization, crank belts, and flywheels are different methods of mechanization that sliders employ to help achieve the smoothest shot.
Though getting a slider for a lower price is possible, these features are instrumental. They can allow you to get great time-lapse footage or add a second camera on an interview with movement without a second camera operator.
So they’re a great option if you’re a single shooter.
Motorization is an autonomous way to have movement in your shots, and you won’t risk bumping the slider and ruining a shot. If you still want manual control, most motorized sliders can also be controlled by hand.
Motorization is essential for time-lapse motion. And even for real-time shots, mechanization can be very helpful if you need precision.
Motorization for sliders can either be built-in or a modular attachment. Sliders such as the GVM Motorized Slider have a built-in belt and motor with a remote where you can adjust speed and direction.
When the slider has in-built motorization, this is often driven by a drive belt, whereas attachments are often moved by rope or wire.
A flywheel is another great attachment to your slider if you want to help ensure smooth movement. A flywheel is a counterweight that reduces force changes in inconsistent slides.
Unlike motorization, the mechanics of a flywheel work to limit the imperfections that may be found in a human push.
Often, flywheels work with a belt-driven pully system in which you crank a handle to move the camera, and doing so can give you manual precision without having to deal with an electronic interface.
Other sliders, such as GVM’s slider, which includes a flywheel, have it on the bottom of the camera mount. Though you still push the camera with your hand, the dampening from the flywheel takes away natural shaking, and its sensitivity can be adjusted.
Whether you pick up a motorized slider, one with a drive belt, a flywheel, or none of the above, there are strengths and weaknesses.
For example, drive belts, motors, and flywheels all add weight.
Additionally, though the smoothest option, the interface and setup behind a motorized slider can be cumbersome.
How To Use A Slider
The concept behind a slider and its usage are relatively simple. That being said, some specific tricks and issues may come up.
If you purchase a slider with no mechanized method of smoothing your shot, it’s pretty simple.
However, those that include motors all have varying interfaces and setup processes.
Sliding the base plate onto the rails and affixing the feet is essentially all that is needed for the simplest sliders.
Typically, the feet and base plate will detach for traveling purposes.
Once it’s assembled, you push the camera up and down the track.
The challenge with sliders with no mechanics is that nothing works against your human push, so having a steady hand and a stable surface is essential.
Make Sure the Drive Belt is Secure
Motorized sliders and ones with drive belts can be a bit more complex, and their setups depend very much on the brand and model you’re using.
However, one very important consideration is ensuring your drive belt is secure. This will ensure accuracy with motorized placement; if you use a crank, a secure drive belt means no slipping.
Many motorized sliders are also moveable by hand, but using the motor is preferred. How to do so depends on your motor, though it typically involves setting start and endpoints, durations, or loops.
A flywheel slider can be pushed by hand or crank if it has a drive belt. Setting these up can be more involved but is typically faster than setting parameters for a motorized slider.
It is important to remember that if your slider has a flywheel, you can adjust the resistance. This is essential to remember as it helps you adjust the speed and stability of your shot.
If possible, you always want some resistance against your hand.
When To Use A Slider
Perhaps the more important question to ask is when to use a slider.
Though sliders create smooth shots, it is important not to get carried away. Because they remove the human touch, repeatedly using sliders in the same fashion can be tiresome and look mechanic.
Sliders are great at doing reveals, establishing shots, b-roll, and time lapses (if they are motorized). However, you are not limited to horizontal movement only when using a slider.
Though the slider motors typically only allow for more or less lateral movement, different setups can allow great variation while successfully capturing smooth footage.
Tracking and dolly shots are great, but the possibilities greatly expand when you combine a slider with a tripod (or two) and a fluid head mount.
Creative Ways to Use a Slider
Below are some of the most common and useful shots you can achieve with a slider outside the typical lateral movements. The limits are truly up to the imagination; hopefully, this list will inspire your creativity to expand your usage.
If you have a fluid head mount on your slider, playing with pans, tilts, and manual focus are great ways to get inventive with your cinematography. So, here are some shot ideas to spark your creativity.
First is the pan-slide. This is a relatively simple shot that involves panning while sliding. However, the extra motion of the pan allows for a more dynamic image, and it can be great to change the subject of the shot.
Another way to play with your slider is to adjust the lateral tilt. In so doing, you will no longer be moving flat. If your subject is changing in height or you want to reveal something, this is an interesting way.
Many sliders, though not all, are also able to mount vertically on a tripod. Slipping up and down allows you to mimic a pedestal effect and is a type of shot often seen when people move from sitting to standing or vice versa.
This move can also be paired with a tilt if you want to change angles while staying on a subject.
One of the most interesting uses I’ve seen for a slider that pushes the limits of its usability is to attach one of the ends of the slider to your tripod mount while having the camera at the other end, essentially creating a long arm that can mimic a crane or jib shot.
Not all sliders have the necessary amount to execute this. Some sliders do not have tripod mounts or are short in length. However, adding a fluid head mount to any slider and playing with the incline is a great way to develop smooth shots.
You might also like our hands-on review of the Kessler Second Shooter Slider.