I first came across the F&V SA80 Slider when I say it at BVE 2013 a few months ago and nearly bought it then. I got to have a little play with it and was impressed for the price of £270. I have previously used an Ignus based slider but wasn’t that impressed as once a bit of weight was added to it it would flex or wouldn’t run that well unless the centre of gravity was perfectly over the track. There are some great things about the Ignus sliders they are super quite and light to carry but the negative for me out weigh the positives
I came late to the whole slider thing and had an a project I though would benefit from some movement so I looked around for something that was good enough to do what I wanted but cheap enough to justify purchasing. As I was to shoot on a farm I needed something that would work both attached to a tripod and work on the ground, which I guessed would be very uneven so legs became a big factor to the decision making process. So looked around and it came down to a choice of four, the Cinevate Atlas 10, The Kessler Pocket Dolly, Konova K3 Slider and the F&V S80. Budget was also a factor so the Kessler was really out at this point in time as was the Cinevate. Kit for me has to pay for itself either longterm such as cameras or lenses or very quickly to be just used on two or three jobs, this was one of those times. This left the really choice between the Konova and the F&V sliders.
The Konova and the F&V are very similar in design but the F&V has what looked like more sturdy and adjustable feet, ideal for what I needed. Another difference is bow the roller bearings are kept clean, the Konova has little slides which required manually using to clear debris from the rails where as the F&V has bruises built into the slider carriage. The Konova does however have a larger stage for tripod head than the F&V one. A friend of mine recently bought the Konava version and I’ve seen it in action. It’s good, runs smoothly, doesn’t flex too much and is a little bit cheaper than the F&V one. But for me the choice came down to right tool for the right job and the feet and the flexibility they offered made all the difference. The other contributing factor to my choice was F&V themselves. I have two of their Z96 LED lights which I use a lot and got me out of main tricky situations.
The sliders winning features for me were and are its legs and feet which are both incredibly adjustable and strong, ideal for almost any terrain. The spirit level on the slider carriage is also a handy to level out the slider.
So how is it in use?
Well, it seems quite sturdy and doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart in the next five minutes but its not as smooth as I’d like and doesn’t run freely like I have seen other bearing based sliders. Like all new kit you are need to test it before taking it out on the road, so you know what is, and isn’t possible. As time was short I only got “play” with it for a few hours before taking it out on a shoot. I probably got a little too obsessed in using the slider for a good few hours on the first part of the shoot. Getting a fluid motion is hard. I have pushed a number of professional dollies in my time and they is much harder, probably due to lack on weight and inertia. Initially I am used a Manfrotto photographic ball head with it which is great for using the slower in “tower mode” but doesn’t allow for pans and tilts. Since then I have purchased a Manfrotto MVH502HA video head which allows extra control as well as allowing me to use my Zacuto Mini Pase Plate and my follow focus. This has made a dramatic improvement in control and the additional weight has taken out some of the bumps.
It’s OK for the money. There is better out there but they cost more. So ultimately you get what you pay for. I’m sure that at some pointI’ll upgrade but right now its doing me fine. But like all kit my you use it the better you get using it, well that’s the theory.
The F&V S80 Slider is available from Cinegearpro