- App control for speed, timelapse, loop mode and more
- Automatic shutter control to start and stop recording
- Brand: Smartta
- Motorized: Yes
- Slide Distance: 8 inches (20cm)
- Horizontal Load : 33lbs (15kg)
- Vertical Load: 2.76lbs (1.25kg)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth LE, shutter trigger cables
- Speed: 0.1mm/s to 1mm/s
- App control for speed, timelapse, loop mode and more
- USB-C charging and simultaneous use
- Compact design
- Non-replaceable battery
- Tiny LED indicators are difficult to see outdoors
Want to know how to level up your video productions? That one secret YouTubers don’t want you to know about!
Camera movement. Even the most subtle ofmovement in your shots can dramatically improve the interest and quality of your video.
Butcamera movement istricky to get right, and easy to spot when you get it wrong.The SmarttaSliderMini 2 is a motorized 20cm slider that produces the most incredible smooth motion. It’s now an essentialpart of my camera bag, and I hope to show you why it should bea part of yours, too. Be sure to watch the review video for plenty of sample footage.
Thanks to Smartta, we have a SliderMini 2 one to give away as well. You’ll find the entry widget at the end of the review.
Box Contents and Design
The Smartta SliderMini 2 arrives fully constructed as a single unibody metal design, thougha quick-mount plateis supplied separately.Weighing1.25lb (560g), and measuring little more than 10 inches in length (with a travel distance of 8 inches), this is one truly compact device.
The SliderMini 2features a 1/4″ large male screw on the carriage. If you just want to attach a camera straight away, you’ll need an adaptor or the quick-mount plate, which offers a more standard 3/8″ screw mounting point. You won’t be able to mount your camera directly to the slider.
Underneath is a smaller 3/8″ thread, allowing it to be mountedatop atripod. Four small rubber feet in the corner also mean you can simply place it on a flat surface, camera weight allowing.
On the side is a single button, as well as four small LEDs to indicate current battery, though these are impossible to see outdoors in any level of sunlight.The button is used to both power on and initiate a slide at the default 10mm/s speed.
One minor point: the SliderMini 2 is certainly quiet, but not silent. Even at slow speeds, if you’re recording using your camera’s microphone indoors with little ambient noise, it will definitely pick up on the motors.
The stated capacity for horizontal movements is 33lb (15kg). Vertical motion is also possible when mounted on a suitable tripod and ball joint, thoughfor a significantly less maximum capacity of just 2.76lb (1.25kg).
There are no stabilizer legs though, so for most DSLRs you’ll likely need to use this mounted to a tripod at all times. I don’t have any massive lenses for testing, buthad nothing but smooth video frommy Lumix G4 and 18-35mm zoom. Other reviews have noticed a slight wobble in the resulting footage with very long lenses, though this should be easily corrected during editing.
Vertical shots that you can see in the review were taken using the new Insta360 One R 1-inch Mod (review coming soon!), a stablized action cam that shoots at 5.3K resolution.
Camera Connection Cables
Three types of cable are included in the package. By connecting these to your camera’s shutter control, the slider itself will start and stop recording in sync with the motion. It sounds like a simple quality of life feature, but I found it to be incredibly useful in practice,where I often forget to hit record or end up just shooting one long shot out of sheer laziness.
For finer control, you’ll want to download the Smartta Go app.
Smartta Go App Features
Pairing almost instantly over Bluetooth as soon as you launch it, the Smartta Go app adds some useful features. Primarily it allows you to control the speed of the slide anywhere from 0.1mm per second, to 10mm per second (the latter being the default if you just use the button control on the side). It also allows for automatic speed ramping via Curve Mode, though I found this wasn’t nearly as dramatic as I’d hoped.
To capture the perfect shot, you might need more than one attemptthat’s where loop mode comes in. Justset the desired speed and the slider will loop back and forth.
Utilizing the shutter cables, the app can shoot in various timelapse (and “nightlapse”) modes, moving the slider as appropriate and taking photos at set intervals. It does as it says on the tin, and you needn’t keep the app connected. Of course, you’ll want to ensure your camera has enough power to last the whole shoot.
It’s also worth pointing out that you’ll still need to process the photos yourself into a video timelapse: the slider just hits the shutter button for you and moves the camera. In reality, I found this to be far more effort than cameras such as the Insta360 One R that include specific timelapse modes and will output the video file for you. But for thosewith the patience to actually process photosinto timelapses, you’ll definitely enjoy the added element of motion that the Smartta SliderMini 2 can bring to your shots.
The internal 1500mAh battery can be used for a stated 14 hours of continuous sliding, though this will likely vary according to the weight you place on the motor, so we can’t quantify this with real-world tests. Should you run out of power mid-shoot, the USB-C charging port means you can recharge fully from any portable power bank in around 90 minutes; and you can continue to use the slider while it charges. In other words, battery life should never be an issue.
Should You Buy the SliderMini 2?
At $400the SliderMini 2would probably be classed by most of us as a premium accessory, but in the world of portable motorized sliders, it’s actually great value. The impact it has on your videos will be immense. It’s incredibly versatile, portable, and great for nearly every type of camera; whether that’s a DSLR, smartphone, or action camera.
While 20cm doesn’t sound like a huge amount of travel distance, for most close to mid-range shots it should be enough to make a dramatic impact. Itwon’t add much towide-angle or landscapes shots unless you have something closer in the foreground.
The app connectivity is reliable and offers some really useful features not found elsewhere. If you’re ready to level-up your video production, whether you’re on the move or mostly shoot at home, a vlogger or amateur filmmaker, the Smartta SliderMini 2 will be a worthwhile addition to your camera bag.
How Else Can You Get Camera Movement?
$400 is a lot to invest in a bit of camera equipment: it’s about as much as an entry-level DSLRalone. But an automated slider isn’t the only way to get camera movement into your videos.
The simplest way is to use a tripod with a fluid head. This allows you to dopan and tilt movements, and many have a variable amount of resistance, which helps somewhat to smoothing out your motion. Expect to payaround $100 for a good video tripod.
If you’d prefer more freehand, fluid motion, consider a gimbal. Gimbals use powerful servo motors to counteract unwanted motion while smoothing out the intended motions. A DSLR-capable gimbal can cost around $500 to $1000 (such as the Zhiyun Crane 3 Lab), while a decent smartphone gimbal can be had for less than $100.
Alternatively, you can just buy a stabilized action camera, like the Insta360 One R. It shoots a larger frame of video than needed as a buffer, then uses the built-in gyroscope to stabilize the shot without any extra equipment.
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