Some are better than others. Not surprisingly, you get what you pay for. The cheap, inexpensive sliders are usually not stable or smooth enough for my taste. They are also quite bulky and heavy. The high-end units tend to be plenty portable, stable and smooth, but many of them are simply not very user-friendly. I’ve written about this before. The folks who make grip gear are simply surprisingly out of touch with their audience. They send photographers a box which amounts to a bucket of bolts with a warm wish for success and expect the photographer to know how the thing goes together. Photographers who shoot video or time-lapse simply don’t tend to possess the experience with grip that most video people do. And I’ve been looking for a company that gets this. I found one – Kessler.
When I ordered the Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly™ Kit (Traveler Length) $1,095.95 from Kessler I was pleasantly surprised – no make that shocked – to find out I didn’t have to put anything together. The dolly comes in a very nice, very compact, very well-made fabric case. Everything you need to get started is in this bag. The only thing you have to install is the strap on the bag. The pocket dolly itself is set up and ready to use right out of the box. THANK YOU KESSLER! I hope other grip makers take notice. This is the way to do it.
I also ordered the All-Terrain Outrigger Feet to add stability outdoors, and the motor and Oracle control system with all the trimmings necessary to automatically move the camera platform without human touch.
All told, the box came to $2640 and change. Spendy to be sure, but in my opinion, very well worth it. This is a portable, rock solid, easy-to-use slider that can fit in the overhead of any airplane. It’s quick to set up, comes with everything you need to both bolt it to a tripod and to mount a ballhead or other camera mount to the slider’s camera platform. If you just need a slider, this kit as is will do the job just fine with nothing to add.
The unit is surprisingly lightweight for as sturdy as it is. It includes a full-adjustable arc diameter handle and drag control so you can make moving the camera platform easier or harder to move. The Kessler people say the unit is designed to support camera systems up to 15 pounds. I used a Nikon D7000 with various lenses and never got close to the 15 pound limit.
I ordered this setup because I want to do time-lapse photography that includes motion. I wanted smooth, unattended operation so I included the motor. For those without the budget or the interest, the slider by itself will serve many purposes. If you’re going to use it primarily on a tripod, you don’t need the special outrigger feet either.
I have just experimented with the motor so far. I’ve spent more time just using the slider as is, without the motor and I’ll say without a doubt, this is one of the best compact sliders I’ve ever used. I also like the Cinevate sliders, but this particular Kessler product offers something I haven’t yet tried from any other manufacturer – i.e., a complete, user-friendly, ultra-portable kit that includes a travel-length slider and motor. It’s the perfect setup for remote or travel-based time-lapse work and I look forward to testing it more in depth later this year at Bosque del Apache.
Other than the price, I have nothing negative to say about this product. It works well, is smooth, stable, easy-to-use and transport and didn’t take a PHD rocket scientist to put together. Highly recombined.
- Length: 29.5″ (74.9cm)
- Weight: 6 pounds (2.7kg)
- Travel: 23″ (58.4cm)
The Philip Bloom Signature Series Pocket Dolly™ comes as a kit with the following items.
- Philip Bloom Signature Series Pocket Dolly™ (Standard or Traveler)
- Self-Adhesive Measuring Tape
- Outrigger Feet
- Flat Mount Adapter (provides 3/8″-16 threaded mounting stud)
- Custom Padded Soft Case
(NOTE: This review is for the travel size. There is a larger unit with the following specs:
- Length: 41.5″ (105.4cm)
- Weight: 7 pounds (3.2kg)
- Travel: 31″ (78.7cm))