Glidetrack Hybrid Slider Review

Note: Since October 2012 I’ve switched over to the Kessler Stealth slider.

 

The Glidetrack range

Over the last 2-3 years Glidetrack have been busy introducing new models to their range of sliders. I’ve been using two regularly, the ultra portable “Shooter SD” as well as the heavy duty  Glidetrack HD. These have been a mainstay product in my shooting over the last few years and the results can be seen in most of my films including the resent shorts, AdriftEndeavour.

the glidetrack range

All of the Glidetrack models to date have used a similar carriage technology that relies on metal blocks with plastic liners running on a metal rail. This works great if the camera’s balanced but sometimes a situation arises where you want the camera to be at an angle or you’re using a long lens that puts a bit too much pressure on one side of the carriage, this can cause an issue where one side of the carriage starts to bind resulting in camera shake.

Like most things in filmmaking this is just another thing that you learn to work with, you just need to spend a bit of time balancing the camera better and things run a lot smoother.

When I heard that the Glidetrack boffins had had come up with a new slider that eliminates the binding problem as well as adding some new features I was very excited to try one out so arranged a few days with the pre-production model and put it to the test.

Meet the Glidetrack “Hybrid Slider System”.

glidetrack_hybrid_slider

The new black carriage on the hybrid slider uses a combination of roller bearings and plastic liners that overcomes the binding issue by taking the weight of the camera on a set of bearings that work alongside the liners. The bearings are made of a self lubricating plastic material, which provide excellent performance whilst having the advantage over their metal counterparts of being washable if they get dirty. The carriage can be can be simply washed under a tap, dried and reassembled.

The bearings make a huge difference in the performance of the Hybrid Slider, Glidetrack report that it’s 4 – 5 times easier to move than the non hybrid variety and after using it I quite believe that. The thing you notice more than anything though is that the weight distribution of the camera no longer seems to be effecting how smooth and easy the carriage is to move.

The new Hybrid carriage also features a locking nut as standard which can of course be used for locking the camera off. This also works well for applying some friction to the slider to help slow downward slides or just apply some resistance if preferred.

It’s got balls!

The other notable difference on the Glidetrack Hybrid Slider is the funky looking protruding feet capped with rubber balls! Initially I wondered if these were the result of the latest Health & Safety initiative but after playing with the system it soon become very obvious that they too have a very important reason for being there.

glidetrack hybrid slider feet glidetrack hybrid slider feet glidetrack hybrid slider feet

The foot assemblies on the Hybrid are no longer attached via Allen bolts, instead each foot assembly is held in place by a knurled locking bolt. This makes it a lot easier to remove / attach the feet on location.

At the end of each foot is a sliding rod capped top and bottom by rubber ball ends. Each rod can be adjusted by loosening a locking screw on the end of each foot. This makes it very easy to level the Glidetrack Hybrid Slider on uneven ground. Anyone that’s used a slider will know that feeling you get at the end of a nice sliding shot when suddenly everything wobbles because one of the feet wasn’t in contact with the ground properly.

The rubber balls mean that you can use the Hybrid Slider at any angle and still make solid contact with whatever you’re leaning it agains or hanging it from. Whether the slider is at 45 degrees against a wall or even upside down, it’s still making contact with it’s rubber feet and providing a secure base for you shot.

By extending the top feet downwards you can even hang the Hybrid Slider from a door or other vertical object and achieve crane like shots with ease.

glidetrack hybrid slider glidetrack hybrid slider glidetrack hybrid slider

The addition of the adjustable feet is going to have a big impact on gorilla style filmmaking, the possibilities are endless where this thing can grip on to know and the results are going to be very interesting indeed.

Pimp my slide

The good news for owners of existing Glidetracks is that the Hybrid parts are going to be available separately and are fully retro fittable with the existing rails although there’s currently no date set for the availability of the retro-fit parts.

Pricing

The hybrid slider varies in price depending on the length of rail you order ranging from £299 for the 0.5m model through to £419 for the 2m model. The one shown in my review is the 0.75m version which retails for £319.

All prices shown are excluding VAT.

Prices for retro-fit parts are going to be announced when they become available.

Conclusion

The Hybrid slider is a big step forward for Glidetrack and a welcome addition to their line of products. The improvements in the new hybrid carriage are excellent and really do make a huge difference in performance.

The existing models are by no means outdated, it’s possible to achieve good results with the SD and HD models but you need to be a lot more careful with weight distribution and balancing your camera. The Hybrid just takes an already good design and makes it even better and easier to use.

If you’re thinking about buying your first sider then I’d say the extra cost is definitely worth it. If you’re an existing user then then value in the cost of upgrading will depend on how much you think you’ll benefit from the new features, I’ll certainly be going that route with my sliders.

Glidetrack sliders can be purchased in the US from B&H Photo Video. See the range.

For ordering in Europe and more information about all of the Glidetrack models visit www.glidetrack.com

Note: Since October 2012 I’ve switched over to the Kessler Stealth slider.

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  1. Paul, great video of the product. Thanks for letting me know about this one. I like its size and form factor however the pricing a bit too high for an amateur like myself. Even the Konova is a little pricey for me, but I have a review unit on the way and I will let you know how it works.

    Dave

    • No worries Dave, I always enjoy your videos so I will look forward to seeing your thoughts.

  2. The inventor of the Glidetrack Hybrid has hinted that an upgrade kit for SD rail owners is in the works. Hopefully we will express enough interest in this option for the SD upgrade to make it to market.

    • Jeremy
    • March 14th, 2011 5:57pm

    Hi Paul,

    I’m new to the Glidetrack and really considering a hybrid. What would be the best recommended length to get.

    I do mostly event coverages, weddings, mini documentaries and sometimes news. Some advice would be awesome.

    • It’s hard to say as i depends how you want to use it. If it’s any help I opted for the 0.75m Hybrid as I find thats a good combination of usability and portability.

    • Elsa
    • March 22nd, 2011 4:49pm

    Hi Paul,

    I am wondering how is this product compared to Cinevate Atlas 30? Certainly there is a huge price difference.

    I am a newbie shooting video for weddings and events. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.

  3. Hi Paul,

    just a quick question re using The Hybrid on a Manfrotto Tripod.

    Would you need an extra head?

    I will use with an Ex1r.

    Thanks

    Bryan

    • I don’t generally use the hybrid on a tripod but yes you would still need a head of some description on the slider. The EX1 on a hybrid is going to be quite a load for a tripod so if you need to use it in that configuration I’d definitely look at supporting both ends of the rail or it’s likely to cause the tripod to flex.

      regards

      Paul.

  4. Just finish watching a video Paul, great videos mate, very informative.
    Just wanted to drop a line and say thank you.

    • Thanks very much for taking the time to comment, much appreciated.

    • Shamshur Ali
    • May 17th, 2011 1:40am

    Hi paul, just a quick question. would you say that the hybrid 0.75m is enough for ‘weddings’ or would you advise me to get the 1 meter? im just abit confused on chossing the right length. thanks

    • I don’t shoot weddings so it’s hard to be sure, I haven’t come across many instances where the extra .25m would have made a difference though.

    • Kandace T.
    • October 24th, 2011 6:45am

    Hi Paul,

    This Glidetrack review led me to your blog and now I’m a big fan! Very informative stuff! I’m relatively new to shooting video with dslr and I’ve used a DIY slider before, but now I’m itching to get my hands on a Glidetrack product. I’m having a hard time deciding between the hybrid hd and the shooter sd. Both products have features that I find incredibly useful. For a newbie like myself though, would you recommend starting small with the shooter and working my way up to the hybrid? Also, is the 0.5m long enough for a decent slide?

    • Hi there.

      You don’t have to work your way up to a hybrid at all really, if you need portability go for the 50cm shooter, if not the hybrid would be better at .75 or 1 m

  5. Just checked out the Haley Vid. Sikkk. Love your productions and your blog about da hybrid. gonna get a .75 and team it up with the ex1 and t3i. Stoked. Merry Christmas…

    • Tim
    • May 24th, 2012 4:15pm

    Hi there

    Thanks for the video, it was really great to see it in use and get an honest review. I’m sold on the Hybrid!

    I would love to hear your recommendation on which sizes to get, if you could!

    I’m tossing up between the SD hybrid and HD hybrid, and whether to get a 0.5m or a 0.75m.

    I will be travelling and catching planes alot for the next few years, so for me weight is a problem, so my choice will be a trade-off between weight and quality of shots.

    1. I will be shooting on an XF300 (with no accessories), and using a Sachtler FSB4. Do you think that the SD model is durable/solid enough to comfortably support the XF with FSB4? Should I really be trading up to the HD, or would that be overkill?

    2. I plan to shoot real estate, product demos and kiteboarding. If I got the 0.5m, will I be kicking myself I didn’t get the 0.75m? Or is 0.5m still good enough to give you plenty of scope to move with?

    For me, price isn’t an issue, its more about the weight and portability!

    I would love to hear your opinion!

    Thanks

    Tim

    • Hi Tim

      The HD will definitely make it easier to produce steady tracking shots but as you say it is also a lot heaver than the SD. When I work overseas I use a 50cm Hybrid SD because it’s lighter but can still get the job done. I’ve recently used my C300 on it and to be honest it’s a little too heavy for the SD and it takes a lot of effort to get a steady track. If weight and portability are not a problem though I would take my 75cm Hybrid HD for bigger cameras like the C300 or the XF.

    • Thomas
    • July 29th, 2012 10:00am

    Hi Paul,

    Very informative reviews on the glidetrack HD. I’m really interested in getting one for myself, but does there happen to be a weight limit on them? I just have a canon xh-a1s for my main camera, but I’m concerned if I would have trouble with wobble or shaking with this camera. It weighs 5.3 pounds.

    Thanks

    • Hi Thomas. The XHA1 would be fine on the HD. The biggest issue is making sure the track itself on a stable support.

    • Ahmad
    • September 3rd, 2012 2:26pm

    Hi Paul,

    love this equipment. I use a sony z5, which glide track would you recommend? HD Hybrid or SD Hybrid

  6. In the interest of being open I need to add to this discussion that I’ve now started using a Kessler Stealth slider. I think the Glidetrack sliders are great value and would still recommend them for some uses but now that I’m using the C300 I find the Kessler slider works better for me both motorised and for use by hand.

    http://www.pauljoy.com/2012/10/kessler-stealth-slider-setup-and-first-impressions/

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