Smooth as a baby butt – First hands on the Polly Slider

I have a ton of sliders. The first 2 or 3 of them, I build myself (we been all there), but actually they never really cut it for me. I just don’t have the necessary machines to do it right, so it was always something, that I was able to assemble right out of Homedepot. The next sliders I bought, where professionally build, and a step in the right direction. I also have a ladder dolly, that I use with heavier setups. One thing that always bothered me, was the fact, that the easier, and the smoother the slider works -the harder it is, to get this nice slow, and consistent slides we all want. Let alone soft starts and stops.

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If you are lucky, your slider has some sort of brake, so that you can adjust the drag level a bit. But that actually never really worked for me ether. When I heard from the Polly Slider the first time, and that it uses the inertia of a flywheel, I was really interested, especially since I know how great that works on the Polly Dolly.

But on a second thought, I was worrying about the weight that would be necessary, to do the job. Especially since I already knew, that wight will be on one end of the slider – not good for balance on a 75 bowl tripod. Little did I know.

The flywheel is surprisingly small and lightweight, and so is the whole slider (1.5 kilos).

I would almost say, it weights next to nothing, even compared to my other sliders, that are all way heavier. Pollysystem achieved this, by bringing a little gearbox into the game, which – more than – doubles the “virtual weight” and inertial effect of the flywheel.

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The rails are made out of carbon fiber, the sled has super precise and tight rolls, the rest is mostly CNC machined aluminum, with an excellent finish, everything is very well thought and executed. Exactly what you expect from something that is designed and made in Germany.

The slider is also loaded with a lot of “gadgets” (think Swiss army knifeisch), some of them are so unique, that Polly holds a patent on them.

First of all there is the mounting System, called “Polly Connector”

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It features 3 standardized connections: 1/4″, 3/8″ and 75 mm bowl. To bolt the slider on a 75mm bowl, the third foot serves as the counter-nut.

The camera plate also sports three build in attachment options, which you can flick through, like a jack knife. No more loosing/missing bolts.

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The feet fold out, and just click in place. No tightening or anything needed. They are adjustable in high, with integrated anti-slip elements. Also there is a bubble level on board, that aids in aligning the slider.

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Okay, but how about that flywheel thing?

I have to say, that I was shocked how well it works. Starts and stops are super smooth, but most of all, the sliding itself is totally consistent, like on a motorized slider, or motion control rig. You can even do a super slow crawl on a long lens, and there is no jittering, no wobble, no stutter – just smooth like a baby butt.

I was never able to achieve something, even close to this sort of movement, on any other manual slider I ever used. Did I mention, it’s pretty awesome?

 

 

How about load capacity?

It worked very well with my BM Pocket and my BMCC, also all sorts of DSLRs will of course work just fine. I even had a full loaded Ursa Mini on it (8+ kilos – just because), and it actually worked to some degree, but I would not recommend it on a tripod, cause the 75mm bowl is just not made, for that sort of wight. But the slider can handle the Ursa, when it stands on its feet.

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sorry for the crappy phone photos, but you get the idea

Verdict:

I was amazed how well that light wight slider works. If you are shooting in remote locations, or as a one man band, and you have tho carry all your gear, this slider is for you. But also if you want super smooth, crawling shots, without spending a fortune on a heavy motorized slider, that is cluttered with a ton of cables, extra batteries, controllers,  andwhatnot on location or in a studio, this is your best bet.

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Wishlist:

I would love to see a larger heavy duty version of the Polly Slider, on a 150mm bowl and interchangeable rods in different lengths, that can handle up to 25-30 kilos (my beloved Vinten 20 head alone is 8 kilos), without breaking a sweat. I can imagine heaving a relative short version of it (like 50 cm) on my tripod all the time, and use longer rods, for shots that require longer travel.

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