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Novoflex Castel-Mini

The primary function of this device is as a focusing rack. A focusing rack is used to allow the camera to be positioned to the correct position for focusing and getting the correct depth of field, by moving it at micro-millimetres. It's primary function is for use in Macro photography allowing you to get closer to the subject and is recommended for use with macro lenses. It is small and lightweight enough that it can travel with the photographer out in the field.

This device is fitted to the tripod and the camera is fitted to the rack.  Its dual locking geared system is controlled by two sets of knobs controlling the two focus drives, working on a double rack system that allows it to achieve a movement of 135mm (5.3") when the device is only 133mm long. The control knobs can be locked into position, so once set up will not move by the impact of pressing the shutter release on the camera or any other minor movement until you unlock it to move the camera to a new position.

There are other uses for this small amount of movement, as well as macro and that is in taking panoramas and for use in 3D photography. Let's take these in turn.


Panoramas, unless you have a specialist camera for panoramas, are achieved by taking a series of overlapping photos and then within either specific software or editing packages like Photoshop, the images are 'stitched' together to create a final image. To take good panoramas the camera needs to be mounted on a tripod and the 'nodel' point of the lens needs to stay in the same position throughout the series of images taken. This not only gets the perspective of the final image right, it also cuts down the amount of work required in the editing stage. You can use the Novoflex focusing rack to help with this. By mounting the Novaflex on your tripod, straight on, and then the camera on to this you can use the rack and pinion to position the 'nodel' point (usually the aperture ring) at the correct position on the tripod for the image you are taking.

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3D Photography

3D Photography requires a minimum of two photos, for those that can be viewed with the colour glasses, where they are overlapped slightly to crate the image. For this reason the two images need to be exactly parallel and the camera should be on a tripod. The effect of what you are doing with the camera is mimicking your eyes and particularly if you have only one camera this can be a difficult thing to achieve. The positioning of the camera to achieve this is also dependent on what image you are trying to make 3D, and therefore how far way you are from the subject and the focal length of the lens has an impact. For example if trying to do 3D of a macro image they amount of camera movement between the two images is only about .25inch, whereas typically the distance is 4-5 inches. However using the Castel-Mini placed in a horizontal position on the tripod and it's ability to move at very small increments it is possible to take two images at the correct distances apart. To do live action 3D you need to use two cameras and to do this you need to use a Multi camera bracket  and a Cable to parallel 2 cameras  together to be able to take the picture at the same time.

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  • Movement of 5.3" despite overall length of 5.1".

  • Both 3/8"x16 & 1/4"x20 threaded tripod mounts.

  • 5.1"L x 3.2"W x 2.2"H, 0.63 pounds.

  • Costs 115 from Speedgraphic in 2009.

A very useful and versatile accessory for the photographers bag. When looking for this item in catalogues or on the internet it will usually be under the close-up and Macro items and may be with bellows and tubes systems.


See Also:

Fotomate Sliding Plate 

Multi camera bracket 

Cable to parallel 2 cameras 


By:  Keith Park Section: Key:
Page Ref: novaflex_castel-mini Topic: Accessories Last Updated: 05/2009

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