Long known for solid, stable sliders, Rhino wants to make smooth camera movement much easier for everyday use and travel, with the RŌV series. Taking all the brilliance of its EVO sliders and Motion controllers and condensing it down into a single unit—with the added benefit of Bluetooth connectivity—Rhino created something truly amazing. Going hands-on with the RŌV made it clear to me that it is one of the most intuitive, portable, and capable sliders on the market today.
RŌV is a new series for Rhino, and it makes sense to break down the various options before we get started. Two main versions exist: the RŌV Mobile and RŌV Pro. The Mobile version is exactly what it sounds like, a slider designed to work with your smartphone. DSLR and mirrorless shooters should opt for the Pro, because that supports your standard cameras and can connect via a cable for time-lapse control, much like Rhino’s larger motion controllers. The Pro will also work with smartphones. You can pick up either of these in the 8" Everyday or 16" Traveler size.
Working with any of the RŌV models requires a connected smartphone and the RŌV Motion app for iOS, and there is an Android version, as well. The app is straightforward, opening with a couple of connect options so you can choose the type of slider you have, and then it drops you right into the controls. I’m going to talk about the Pros controls and get back to mobile a bit later. When you connect, a function that is quick and problem free, you are given two operation modes: Live Motion and Timelapse.
Live Motion is your basic camera move for video capture, moving the camera smoothly over the length of the slider. You have control over duration of the slide, the ramp speed in percentages (which will impact the possible slide speed previously mentioned), and whether to set it on a loop. You can also move the camera to one end or the other and set which side is home for each movement. There is then a “Preview” option and a “Start.” It is everything you need and want to be able to do with a slider.
Timelapse is a much more advanced mode, but still manages to keep things simple, for the average user. You choose your clip length, how long you want the time lapse to shoot, and a shutter speed for a connected camera. Then the app figures out the match and tells you how many shots, and the interval. If you are super specific with your time lapse, you may miss some precision because some rounding is applied, but the aim of the RŌV is to make things quick and easy, which it does. One thing I want to mention about RŌV Mobile is that the app will provide full manual control over your smartphone’s camera—a very nice benefit.
For our test, we were fortunate enough to receive the biggest and most capable of the bunch: the RŌV Pro Traveler. It comes with a ball head able to hold camera systems weighing up to 5 lb, which is good enough for most mirrorless and DSLRs these days, though maybe not with super telephoto lenses. I opted for my Sony a7 III and a7R III, along with an assortment of native glass, and didn’t have any issues. I do wish the head could be more easily replaced with something of my own, since the included head, while perfectly serviceable and very compact, wasn’t the best in the world. One other thing is that there are components built into both ends that extend the overall length, making it just large enough to not fit in my carry-on bag.
Using the slider was a delight. Connecting via the app was super simple, and it worked flawlessly, though it is a little annoying that due to the design, you always must use the app. You can’t just perform simple hand-controlled slides. Fortunately, the app is quick and responsive. For live motion, it is super easy and effective. Just set the parameters and hit go. Anyone should be up and running in no time at all. Loop is a great feature for letting it run during longer shoots and interviews.
Now, time-lapse was also very good, especially since the camera connection and performance were flawless. However, it did have some odd bugs when I tried to push the settings to their limits. The number of shots could sometimes be off (setting 5 seconds and it registering 133 shots instead of 120) and sometimes it would display the wrong time remaining if I disconnected and reconnected mid-lapse. Nothing terrible, but jarring if you open it up to check the time and it says you have hours to go instead of minutes. This didn’t impact the actual shooting process, so that was a relief. The RŌV Pro finished up the move in the originally allotted time frame. Overall, performance is what you would expect from Rhino.
Live moves were smooth, time lapses were accurate, and the device is easy to use. Positioning the RŌV at an angle is possible, though heavier setups are not recommended if you are going very steep. On rare occasions, with the a7R III and a 24-70mm f/2.8, which is not exactly a light setup, when going steeper than 45 degrees I encountered some occasional slipping. But, to be fair, it isn’t exactly designed to handle that much weight at that type of angle. It’s a lightweight product for a lightweight kit.
Smartphone photographers will love the RŌV Mobile (or RŌV Pro in smartphone mode). Everything is sync’d up when using the app, so when you hit record, the slider starts moving. You can set a delay if you need absolute stability. Beyond being just a great way to control the RŌV, the app provides outstanding manual control over the smartphone’s camera, including ISO, White Balance, shutter speed, and focus. A Loupe function will zoom-in to ensure proper focus. It also provides a standard video mode, slow-motion setting, and time lapse. The Mobile kits come with a clip-on Variable ND Filter for Smartphones for enhanced quality.
The physical design of the RŌV is excellent. The built-in legs unlock and can be spun around, as needed, for different terrain. A large button is easy to find and operate, even with gloves, and the micro-USB and 2.5mm camera connection ports are readily available on the side. It also has a very clean design, which made it easy to strap onto the side of my pack when I didn’t opt for Rhino’s own dedicated bag. The proprietary bag is quite nice, able to hold a small tripod, a few accessories, and the slider. It doesn’t have much room for expansion, so perhaps it is best saved for running out and doing occasional shoots and not as an everyday carry option, unless your main camera is your iPhone, in which case it might be a perfect slimmed-down pack.
One thing I never had to worry about was the battery. It charges via a micro-USB port for a few hours and then will last for a day with live motion, or longer, using time-lapse. If you are only doing a few moves or time lapses a day, it will easily last for more than a week. Of note is that the RŌV is only capable of side-to-side moves—no pans or Arc-like shots are going to be possible with it. A small limitation, but if you need that, it is worth checking out the bigger EVO Sliders and the Arc (though recent announcements do indicate an Arc 2 is coming with an even greater feature set).
As a compact, lightweight system, the RŌV Slider is incredibly successful. It doesn’t quite hold up to the more traditional EVO in terms of overall features, but that is to be expected. This is perfect for shooters constantly on the move, vloggers, and those looking to expand their video skills or advanced time-lapse capabilities without breaking the bank or needing to take an ultra-deep dive into the world of sliders and camera motion. I would even recommend this as a pared-down option for owners of bigger systems—I know that’s where I am going to slot this in my kit.
Have any thoughts or question on the RŌV Series or any other sliders? Make sure to leave the info in the Comments section!