The Syrp Genie II is a brand new timelapse motion control system. The New Zealand based company sent me their brand new gear ahead of the release date to get input on their software and hardware. I took this opportunity to film an unboxing and hands on video (watch that one here) as well as a complete gear review video. The article you're currently reading will talk about the features of the devices, how you can use them and my thoughts on it all. Should you get these devices? Read on to find out!
Just in case you're not up to speed with some of the terms I'm using in this article, allow me to explain a few key words:
- Timelapse: A photography technique where you shoot a series of images over a long period of time. The result is a video that shows time passing by in high speed.
- Pan and tilt: ‘Panning' is a camera move in which the camera rotates on the horizontal axis. Think of the word panorama and how a camera has to move to capture one. Tilting is when the camera ‘looks up or down', just like your head.
- Linear: A camera sliding on a track or slider is performing a ‘linear' move.
- Three axis move: Combining these three moves at the same time is what we call a multi axis move. Panning and tilting without sliding is a two axis move.
- Motion control: Using mechanical devices to move your camera very accurately.
- Keyframe: A certain position from or to which your camera moves.
- Shoot/Move/Shoot: In this shooting method the camera will shoot a photo after which the motion control rig will move the camera to it's next position then stop moving. The camera takes another photo then moves to the next position.
- Continuous: With this shooting method the motion control device moves at a continuous rate while the camera is shooting. This adds motion blur to your sequence, which can be desirable or distracting. I prefer shooting in the continuous mode.
A timelapse motion control device is a machine made to create next level camera moves. The ‘moco' device elevates your shot from the basic ‘static camera on a tripod' to a more sophisticated production. I prefer my motion control shots to be quite subtle, not wanting to distract from the scene in front of the camera. That being said, you can go as wild as you want. Classically you set two keyframes at the start and the end of your sequence. Once you start shooting the camera will move slowly from the one position to the second. The Syrp Genie II is the latest high quality motion control product to hit the market.
The Syrp Genie II system consists of two separate devices. Pictured above is the Genie II Pan and Tilt head. Pictured below is the Pan and Tilt head mounted on the Genie II Linear which itself is mounted on the Genie Magic Carpet carbon fibre rail.
Let's talk about the Pan and Tilt head first. It can be used as a standalone unit using the built in screen and joystick/buttons. You can mount it on a tripod and use it as a two axis motion control device both for timelapse and video. I shows you the device's position in degrees for the pan and tilt axis separately. It is accurate down to 0.01mm (the so called resolution) You also have the option to connect to the device wirelessly (both wifi and bluetooth 4.2) using your phone to further change your settings and transfer imagery (transfer coming soon). The Genie II app is incredibly well designed and user friendly. It comes preloaded with shot settings or you can set up a new one by selecting ‘new shot'. It is a very quiet device and carries a lot of weight (up to 3.5kg or 7.9lb). I can successfully mount my Canon 1DXMkII and a lens on there. It clearly uses a bit more juice to tilt the camera up and down the full 90 degrees but it works. I love how small yet sturdy this device is. It is heavy enough to not be wobbly yet light enough to add to your camera bag (it weighs 1.4kg or 3.1lb). It has 3 USB-C ports to connect to a charger (yes it works while charging and you can charge it with an external battery), trigger your camera and control your camera (feature coming soon via firmware upgrade).
The Syrp Genie II Linear is another very well designed device. It uses a rope system to move itself across any slider on the market, be it a Syrp brand or another brand slider. You can also mount it on a skateboard, a dolly or a cable cam. It has a quick release plate at the top with a swappable thread size to mount a ballhead or a camera or the Pan and Tilt head. It features two USB-C ports and also features a joystick to move the device manually. You can set up the moco move using the Genie II app. This device will be compatible with the Genie Mini rotating devices. The modularity of this whole system is something I really love. The Genie II Linear is strong enough to lift your camera on an incline or vertically. For vertical moves you can add a counterweight to your slider, removing the weight limitations (I highly recommend checking out my video if you haven't already by now).
Watch the result of the above shot in the below video. My friend Stefan Kunz and I spent 6 hours lettering on this beautiful Ford Mustang.
Both devices are very easily upgradeable via the Genie II app. Future firmware upgrades will include: panoramic photos, live preview and camera control, bulb ramping for holy grail timelapse shots, more keyframes and more. Now a little side note. Please consider subscribing to my email list to support my work and website. Review goes on below!
Some of the frequently asked questions I received after publishing the unboxing video are below. If you haven't seen the unboxing video yet you can click play below.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Can it perform incline and vertical moves? Yes. The Genie II linear is powerful enough to lift up to 2.5kg vertically. A ballhead and normal sized DSLR are no problem for this device.
- What is the battery life like? You can expect to get up to 24 hours of timelapse moves out of a single charge. You can extend this by plugging in an external battery to charge the internal (and removable) battery.
- Can the Pan and Tilt head move a 1DXMkII? Yes. I wouldn't recommend it though, as it will drain your battery faster and I could hear the internal gears struggling with the weight load.
Now for the pros and cons. This list is very much out of balance. Let's talk about the pros first:
- The devices are small and fit into virtually any camera bag without issue.
- The Genie II Linear can be mounted on any slider in the world thanks to the rope drive system and the supplied rail mounts.
- Both devices are very well designed. You can tell they spent year fine tuning the designs.
- The mobile app is very user friendly and makes it easy to set up complicated moves.
- The devices are modular. Use them together, separately, or combine them with other gear (compatibility with the Genie Mini should be coming soon).
- Fast to set up. The devices power up quickly and move around quickly. This saves you time in setting up your motion control move.
The list of cons is.. not a list. It's a single point. The devices are expensive. The Genie II Linear comes in at $899 (USD) and the Genie II Pan and Tilt head comes in at $1599. That is a fair amount of money. That being said, you get what you pay for. These devices allow you to create a ton of different styles of content. The user experience is great, more functionalities will be added to the devices through firmware upgrades in the future and they are future proofed with their USB C ports. You get what you pay for.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading this article about the new Syrp Genie II motion control system. If you decide to buy one please consider going through the following affiliate link: http://geni.us/3XU0lDp I make a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. This is part of my income and allows me to create more product reviews and timelapse tutorials for free. If you'd like to support me and my channels directly you can click the Patreon button below! Be a part of my timelapse community and get early access to all my content, a timelapse cheat sheet, high resolution wallpapers and more.
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