Over the recent years, tracking or ‘sliding’ movements have become a popular technique in both video production and time-lapse photography. Every videographer that has worked with a slider will know that it requires a lot of practice to get smooth sliding movements manually. And for time-lapsers, it is virtually impossible to use a manual slider. The solution to achieve those ultra smooth movements is using a professional-grade motorized camera slider.
There is actually quite a number of manufacturers that sell motorized camera sliders and panners nowadays, but it can be difficult to choose the right one for your specific purpose. There is much more on the market that you can look at and the price will depend on the make of the system and what you will use it for.
In this article, we will be looking at the 6 best motorized sliders for time-lapse and DSLR video production. We will compare features, specs and prices, so you can make a well informed decision.
Types of Motorized Sliders
There are several ways of motorizing your slider movements. Some manufactures sell complete kits that include the slider rails and a motor. Others sell only a motor / control unit that can be mounted on an existing slider. The more advanced units even provide a function on the motor to automatically rotate and / or tilt your camera for more functionality.
We will discuss severall types of motorized camera sliders:
Overview: 6 Best Motorized Camera Sliders for Time-lapse and DSLR Video
- The slider calibrates itself before each automated move.
- The controller has a separate battery in, it can be used without the AC power.
- Easy to assemble and to operate.
- Belt may catch at a spot but will even out after a couple of runs.
The Rhino Slider EVO is made up of carbon fiber rails that make it a lot lighter than the previous Rhino slider that is made of steel rails. It is easy to assemble and you also receive the motor, the controller and a power adapter in the package. The motor slides into place and it tightens with two screws. A single cable runs from the motor to the controller.
On the controller you will find a scroll wheel that scrolls through the settings and to select the setting suited for your shot, you just press it. There is one other button, it will take you back to the previous screen. When you are happy with your setting you can magnetically attach the controller to the side of the motor.
he Rhino Slider EVO supports loads up to 7Ib, if you are using a heavier load, additional steel rails can be purchased for a more sturdy frame. This is a belt driven slider that is perfect for various shooting needs. Rhino gives you the option to upgrade this slider to a motorized system by purchasing the Rhino Motion. The Rhino Motion captures ultra-smooth, live motion and amazingly precise time-lapse shots with this single motor.
- All you need in one purchase.
- Excellent price for a decent sturdy quality system.
- Ability to make auto-pan / parallax movements
- Relatively quiet operation (for typical uses)
- Excellent battery life
- Pan function doesn’t always work smooth
- User interface could be improved
- Poor documentation
The A&J Motorized Camera Slider is a compact and lightweight slider used for dynamic video production and time-lapse photography. It consists out of the slider itself, a control unit and a foam padded carrying case.
The construction of the slider feels very sturdy. The rails are made of high-grade carbon fiber and allow the camera platform to travel for a maximum of 31.5 or 47.2 inches (depending on the length you choose to purchase). To ensure a smooth movement, the camera platform features 4 high precision bearings. The slider can support camera-lens combinations of up to 5kg and offers several mounting options. Note that a camera ball-head is not included and needs to be purchased separately.
The control unit, that connects to the motor using a cable, offers a variety of settings to optimize the motion that you require. The slider can be used in continuous mode (most useful for video use) or in step mode (for time-lapse use).
It has to be noted that the user interface of the control unit feels a little awkward and can definitely be improved upon, but it is workable. When using the slider for time-lapse shooting, it is also possible to connect the unit to your camera body (in order to synchronize the motion to your specific time-lapse settings). There are 6 different multi-pin cables included for this, covering almost every major camera brand.
The stepper motor moves along the track using a permanently attached rubber belt. The motor is very quite compared to other sliders in this range, making it a good choice for shooting interviews.
Another great feature of this slider: you can set the camera up to make a panning movement while sliding. This can be an inward pan, for example to keep a certain subject in frame. It can also be an outward pan, to create a panoramic sweep of up to 120°. There is a diagonal bar in the middle of the rails that can be adjusted to set up the panning movement. Truth be told, the movement doesn’t always feel very smooth. But with a little bit of practice you can definitely create some amazing shots with this slider.
All in all, the A&J Motorized Camera Slider is an excellent camera slider that offers a lot of value for very reasonable price. I would recommend it to those who are looking to use it mostly for video work and the occasional time-lapse.
- An easy to use menu.
- Panning and linear motion control with one device.
- 3-hour battery charge gives you up to 12 hours run time.
- Need a good quality tripod with sturdy ball head.
- Doesn’t come with a slider included
Syrp brought out this incredible motion control time-lapse device called Syrp Genie. This Genie is a simple, portable solution for time lapse photography and real-time video. This device is designed to be part of your regular camera kit. The 116mm x 102mm cube takes up very little space and it weighs only 3.3Ib. You don’t have to struggle with any wires, batteries or a controller. The Genie comes with standard preset settings such as stars, people, clouds or you can enter any amount of custom work settings into its memory.
The Genie allows for panning and linear motion control and can be attached to tripods, dollies, sliders or jib arms. Panning 360-degrees takes approximately 5 seconds and linear movement of 36” takes round about 23 seconds. Although it is lightweight and small in size, it’s compatible with 130 different cameras from nine major brands. It is powerful enough to handle a camera that is up to 44Ib. Inputs include both USB for firmware and a sensor input. The free firmware upgrade enables bulb ramp-in and ramp-out functions and HDR (High Dynamic Range).
- Benefiting small or single-person crew.
- Quick set-up and easy to use.
- Rubberized corner feet for tabletop or ground use.
- Includes Redrock Heavy Load Tilt Head, AC Adapter, D-Tap DC battery cable, one set of adapters for mounting the slider on light stands or c-stands, and a padded carrying case.
- Need more intuitive control system for changing the modes.
The One Man Crew Director is the latest motorized parabolic slider from Redrock Micro. It will transform your static shot into beautiful cinematic motion with unique features. This system will improve your interview and your documentary work without a dedicated operator. The new design has a low noise drive system with aluminum rails for smoother, quieter motion with loads weighing up to 22Ib.
You are able to download the Redrock OMC remote app onto your IOS or Android device for remote control functionality. The app can control the slider and with compatible cameras control the start/stop function, putting its full range of features at your fingertips with new remote-based capabilities.
Unique functions such as “reset for next question”, speed up, and slow down allow you to sync the One Man Crew Director to your interview tempo. A special gesture mode enables solo interviewers to control it without taking your eyes of your interviewee.
- Packaged in a soft carry case with custom foam interior.
- Soundless movements.
- Excellent for day and night time-lapse photography.
- Systems are bought separately.
The Benro MCA01 is bought separately but it works hand-in-hand with the Benro MoveOver 12 slider. The Benro MCA01 or else known as Benro MoveOn 10 brings motion to the MoveOver 12 camera slider.
The MoveOn 10 can be programmed to do repeatable movements from A to B. The motor has a soundless smooth movement that is ideal for time-lapse shots. Its slow setting gives you a 1-meter movement over a period of 24 hours whereas the fastest movement travels 1 meter over 15 seconds. It comes in a convenient carry case that is small enough to go into your kit bag. In the foam interior carry case you get a control unit, motor, motor tray, cables and a power adapter.
The Benro MoveOver 12 can be purchased as a complete kit, equipped with two travel flat tripods, two leveling bases, one S8 flat base video head, one carbon fiber slider, a flywheel with belt driven control and a deluxe rolling case all ready for capturing smooth sliding shots. It’s also possible to only purchase the slider part. The rails are made out of carbon fiber ideal for strength and support. Pulled along by the rubber track belt drive is the carriage that operates using 4 quiet operation bearings that run along the carbon fiber slider rods.
When pairing these two systems together you get the perfect motorized camera slider for time-lapse and video. The soundless movements of the MoveOn 10 and the MoveOver 12 will help you make excellent video productions with audio.
- A Strong motor.
- Works at 45 & 90 degrees with a weight of 8Ib.
- Attaches easy to SlideCam or Varavon sliders.
- The slider is not included in the kit.
- No battery pack included, only the power adapter.
The Motorroid is solid motorized slider system made by South-Korean company Varavon. It includes a motor with an integrated controller and all the parts necessary to mount it onto a slider. In this kit, you have a motor, pulley system and a saddle that you attach the included belt to the camera carriage. The motor is designed to fit the slider rails and allow the legs to move.
The unique saddle provides an easy installation for the belt and connects to the slider without any problems. The belt tension can be adjusted with only a twist of the finger. You have built in limit switches on the motor, and limit clips that you can place on the belt. The limit clips don’t interfere with the slider legs and provides shorter repeatable movements. The limit switches or otherwise known as sensors stops the motor when the camera carriage reaches the end of the rail.
There is a switch that allows you to control the left, right and stop movement, and the speed can adjust between fast and slow. A Timeroid controller can be purchased as an add-on for more programmable movements. The kit has an AC power adaptor but a battery power pack is optional to add-on.