A Portable Motion Control Head
Motion control gear for video and timelapse isn’t known for its portability. Motion control heads have been getting smaller, and more portable, in recent years. Yet, finding a solid, small, but easy to use motion control head isn’t, well, easy.
New to the fray is the Syrp’s Genie Mini. Priced at $249, it’s relatively inexpensive for a feature-rich single-axis motion control head that can handle 8.8lbs panning and 6.6lbs titling (more than enough capacity for most camera bodies) . It’s also small (really small). It’s Just take a look at how it compares to its big brother (sister?) the Syrp Genie, Radian from Alpine labs, and an iPhone 6s.
At 3.6” x 1.56” it doesn’t take up a lot of room in my camera bag. It’s also pretty light (8.1oz/230g) and doesn’t add much weight to my gear bag. That’s awesome for long hikes making it easy to want to bring it along.
It also sports an attractive design aesthetic. The rubber shell is thick, yet smooth, and soft, to the touch. I was initially put-off by the cork top (preferring the minimalist black rubber top of its larger sibling,) but the mini’s cork retro styling grew on me. From a feel perspective, it feels solid and has a nice heft to it. There’s also no wiggle/play in the head which makes it well suited for captures on windy days (something the Alpine Radian struggled with.)
Looking at the Genie mini from a features perspective, one stands out: and that’s Bluetooth programmability (with the free Syrp provided iOS and Android apps). All programming, including firmware updates, is handled by your phone/tablet. The app even tells you how much battery you have left- a nice touch.
If you’ve used the Genie, the Genie mini will be very familiar to you from a programming perspective. You can use the app to create a timelapse sequence or video. You can decide where the mini begins the sequence and ends it. You also have options for easing-in and easing-out and, when shooting timelapses, you can specify how long the mini will hold the shutter down (allowing for an HDR sequence to be captured.) Also, if you get confused along the way, Syrp included tutorial videos in the app. So if you’re setting up a timelapse and get a bit lost, just click on “More Info” and watch a video to figure out what you need to do.
Take a look below at the app screens. I have screens below for timelapses and video to give you a feel for how the app works.
Single-Axis is cool, but Multi-Axis is Cooler
The mini is a capable device in its own right, but pair it with its larger sibling and you can pan and track. Syrp even offers an interface cable allowing the two heads to talk to one another.
That’s pretty cool, but add another Genie mini, and Syrp’s Pan and Tilt Bracket, and you’ll be able to create multi-axis sequences. Both Genies will pair with your phone and the app will identify one as the pan head and the other as the tilt head. From there, you can program your sequence and be off shooting. Take a look at the video from Syrp explaining all this. It’s seriously cool.
Should you buy it?
Put the Genie mini in the highly recommended category. It’s small, elegant, feature-rich, and can be used as part of an ecosystem of devices allowing for a wide range of multi-axis captures. Start with one device and add-on as needed.
Syrp has been around for a few years now and has been releasing one solid, well-thought-out, product after another. The company has an eye for design and it shows. The genie is an amazing little device for your gear bag.
Where to buy