What Is a Macro Focusing Rail and How to Use One

Macro photography can be very tricky. If you’re shooting insects, flowers and other tiny things, it’s not uncommon to need a tripod and a good macro lens to get a sharp image.

One of the problems with macro photography is that your subject is usually only about an inch in front of your lens — so even the slightest movement will make your picture blurry. A focusing rail can help solve this problem by keeping your camera steady as you focus on your subject.

What Is a Macro Focusing Rail?

A focusing rail is basically a sliding platform that lets you move the camera back and forth while keeping both hands free for operation. Focusing rails are especially useful when photographing insects or other subjects that tend to move around a lot.

Macro focusing rails are an essential tool for macro photographers. A macro focusing rail is basically a set of rails attached to a tripod mount with a motorized movement system. You can move the camera along the rail with the press of a button, which makes it easy to focus on small subjects like insects or flowers without having to stand there and hold it still yourself.

There are many different types of macro focusing rails, but most have similar features. They usually have several different settings for different focal lengths (usually 50mm, 100mm and 150mm) as well as different speeds of movement (slow and fast). Some also include LED lights for illuminating your subject in low light situations.

Macro focusing rails are very useful for taking photos of small objects. You can use them with any type of lens, but they are especially useful when you are using a macro lens because they allow you to quickly and easily move the lens closer or further away from your subject.

A macro focusing rail is made up of three parts:

A base that attaches to your camera body – this part slides into place on the bottom of your camera and locks into place with a lever. The base has an attachment point that allows you to attach other parts of the macro focusing rail system.

An adjustment knob – this allows you to move the rail up and down as needed. The knob also has markings on it so that you can easily see how far away from your subject your lens is at any given moment.

A sliding platform – this platform attaches onto the base using a small screw mechanism that allows it to slide back and forth along two rails at once.

How Do Macro Focusing Rails Work?

Macro focusing rails are simply extension tubes that connect between your lens and camera body. They allow you to move the lens farther away from the camera than is normally possible, allowing you to get closer to the subject. This allows you to capture sharp images of very small subjects.

The most common macro focusing rails are made of aluminum, but some manufacturers make their models out of brass instead. The advantage of brass is that it does not corrode like aluminum does when exposed to moisture in the air for long periods of time; however, brass is also heavier than aluminum, so if weight is an issue for you, then you may want to stick with aluminum.

When using a macro focusing rail, it’s important that it fits both your camera mount and your lens mount properly. If there are any gaps between these mounts and those on your macro rail then light will leak into them and cause vignetting (dark areas around edges) in your photos.

How To Use A Macro Focusing Rail

Here’s how to use one:

1. Attach the macro focusing rail to your lens. If you have an older lens, you may need an adapter so that it fits securely onto your camera body. If your camera has multiple mounts (such as Sony E, Canon EF or Nikon F), then choose the mount that matches up with your camera body.

2. Turn on Live View mode on your camera so that you can see what you’re shooting through the viewfinder or screen while looking through the lens at an angle toward your subject (which will look like a mirror image).

3. Once attached, simply pull the macro focusing rail toward your subject until it is close enough for you to focus on what you want to photograph or record video of. The further away from your subject that you pull on the focusing rail, the better quality your picture will be when taken from far away distances like 10 feet away from your subject or more depending on how much distance is between the camera and object being photographed.