Manfrotto MVS100A Camera Slider 100CM Snap Verdict
Camera sliders look simple, which isn’t a surprise, as fundamentally all they’re designed to do is enable a camera to slide back and forth along a rail.
However, making a good camera slider requires high-precision engineering, and the Manfrotto MVS100A Camera Slider 100CM is as good as they come, with Manfrotto’s vast experience in producing camera supports shining through in various design touches.
It’s robust, easy to mount and portable; and, most importantly, it provides a super-smooth slide for your camera. The slide can be adjusted via friction control, so you can tailor it to your needs, and you can lock the slide for transportation, and safety in-between shots.
At a touch over £450 for the 100cm version the MVS100A Camera Slider is by no means cheap, but any slider is an investment that will add a professional sheen to your video production. If video is core to your business then you really should be using one, and for the price there’s nothing that matches the quality of the Manfrotto MVS100A.
For Manfrotto MVS100A Camera Slider 100CM
- Decent length
- Super-smooth slide
- Friction control
Against Manfrotto MVS100A Camera Slider 100CM
- Solid build adds to weight
- No carry bag included
- Doesn’t include feet
The first time I used a slider I couldn’t believe the difference such a simple device could make to the quality of my footage. It enabled me to capture shots that I would never have thought possible without a larger dolly and track system, and once I’d tried it, I had to have one.
It then took me a good year before I found one that was right in terms of both length and quality. Of course, along the way I found plenty that provided a slide, but not the quality and smoothness that I wanted. Eventually I did find one, and ten years on it’s still going strong.
The Manfrotto MVS100A Camera Slider 100CM is the next level up from the slider I found a decade ago, and in the ten years since I purchased mine much has changed, despite the inherently simple nature of these devices.
If you haven’t come across sliders before, essentially they’re just a simple solid bar with a tripod head attached. The head, with a camera mounted on it, can slide the full length of the bar to capture a simple panning shot.
All sounds very simple, but visually the effect is stunning – it’s commonly used in cookery programs, although it’s hard to see any program these days that doesn’t drop in a slider shot at some point.
As mentioned, there’s very little to a slider, with the primary beam incorporating rails for the sliding plate to which you attach the tripod head and camera. It’s all very simple, but the key is in the quality of the design and engineering.
Length is an important consideration, and at 100cm the Manfrotto MVS100A Camera Slider is one of the longer models out there. It weighs in at 2.95kg, which is pretty hefty but just light enough to carry around as long as you don’t have far to go or carry too much other kit.
It’s constructed from aluminium and steel, and has a solid and robust feel. When fully loaded it can take a payload of up to 10kg, enough for almost any head, camera and lens combo you can think of.
The base plate features a 3/8-inch screw thread, which is standard for mounting any tripod head you might wish to add, and there’s a rubber pad to help secure the head and avoid it from slipping once in place. On the plate is a bubble level that helps make it easy to set up.
The plate is attached to the rail using four PSU high-performance polymer wheels, and on the side are two knobs: a red one that locks the movement of the plate, and a black one for adjusting the friction.
The rail is a single machined piece of aluminium, with two end stops to prevent the plate from sliding off and three mounting plates underneath, with 3/8-inch and 1/4-inch threads giving you plenty of mounting options.
Being aimed at videographers, the entire slider has been designed so that it can be taken apart for cleaning and adapting as needed.
Both end stops can be removed so that further sliders can be attached to extend the length of the run and adapters or electronic motors can be added for remote control over the slide.
Build Quality & Handling
The build of the slider has been designed to be both serviceable and adaptable, depending on the intended use. All parts are held in place by Allen key screws, so if anything has to be moved, replaced or adapted the process is relatively straightforward.
The full metal design gives a good precision feel to the entire slider, and reinforces the overall quality.
The slider plate is attached to the rails by the four grooved polymer wheels, which all feature steel bearings. These wheels and bearings give an ultra-smooth slide, and due to the nature of both components produce little to no vibration or noise that could interfere with audio tracks.
The stop feature is a pretty standard addition for most sliders, and here it takes the form of a simple rubber foot, which once tightened into the side of the slider holds the plate nice and tight. The black knob provides the friction control, with a felt pad providing the friction as it’s tightened into the slider body.
When it comes to a slider’s performance there are really three key things to consider: how easy is it to mount, how well it slides, and how much control you have over the slide.
Manfrotto has made the first part, mounting, really easy. On the underside are three mounting areas, each with a 3/8-inch or 1/4-inch screw thread that can be attached directly to a tripod or other support.
To enable easy levelling the plate features a bubble level, so getting the slider set up and ready for use is relatively straightforward.
Once the slider is in place and level you bolt on your choice of head, and then it’s just a case of attaching your camera and you’re ready to go.
To start using the slider you can unscrew both knobs to enable complete free movement of the plate from end to end; the movement is ultra-smooth, and while there is a slight noise from the wheels, it’s barely audible.
Although you might assume that enabling the plate to slide as freely as possible would be the best solution, dialling in just a touch of friction does help with the control of the slide, especially if the slide is being controlled manually.
If you’re controlling the slide by hand then that added friction just enables you to control the pace a little more easily. If you’re using a motorised solution then it can help to stop the head from running away along the length.
Sliders vary in price hugely, with that difference mostly coming down to the quality of the design and the materials used. In the case of the Manfrotto MVS100A Camera Slider 100CM the quality is apparent from the outset; this is a product that’s designed to do a relatively simple job, and it does it extremely well.
The quality of the materials and the engineering ensure that the slider provides the best-quality motion and controllability.
What elevates the Manfrotto MVS100A above other sliders in its class is that it can be adapted to any shooting situation. It’s been built to be adapted, modified and used in the way that you need to use it.
If I was to find a fault with an otherwise perfect product, I’d say that it’s a little on the weighty side, and it doesn’t come with a carry case – just a thin protective bag – or its own legs, but really that’s just being picky.
Sliders are a essential piece of kit for videographers, and we can’t recommend one more highly than the Manfrotto MVS100A.