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Elevate your movement: Cinetics Axis360 review

By Mike Perlman on Feb 25, 2014 at 22:00 GMT

Panning, tilting and sliding are essential actions in both photography and video. To elevate the quality of camera movement, particularly in video, you need professional-grade equipment, and it's usually very expensive. But the folks at Cinetics aim to bridge the gap with the Axis360, an affordable, motorized tripod head and slider to help photographers create dynamic video and time-lapse photography. 

Comments

Total comments: 55
William Wilgus
By William Wilgus (3 weeks ago)

Does it come with a prepaid assistant to carry all this stuff?

0 upvotes
jande9
By jande9 (4 weeks ago)

How does this compare to the $500. SkyWatcher Allview?

http://ca.skywatcher.com/_english/02_mounts/02_detail.php?sid=63

0 upvotes
star shooter
By star shooter (2 weeks ago)

The Allview mount will have ALL the movements that Cinetic, MotiMo and Dynamic Perceptions have, for a fraction of the cost later this year. I have this in writing from SW themselves.

0 upvotes
star shooter
By star shooter (2 weeks ago)

The only thing this mount will not have, is the travel rail. So it's limited by the user's input. What it will have however, will allow the camera to slo-mo in tilt up or down (Altitude) whilst panning in Azimuth. But for those who wanting a true 3-stage Prof. rig, go for the Cinetic's Axis 360 or other similar rigs.

0 upvotes
Michel J
By Michel J (1 month ago)

For the whole system, an "Highly competitive price point" ...hum, really? Some DIY solutions cost slightly less than US$ 1500 I believe!
But yes, it's really nice!

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Fri13
By Fri13 (1 month ago)

When I bought a battery grip to my Olympus camera, first thing what I thought when attaching it was that why Olympus doesn't make their own 3-axis motion grip to their OM-D series? They have so many pins available at bottom of the camera that they can't all be used only for trigger, dual wheels and two extra buttons.

So I am waiting from Olympus to release new attachments under cameras, from 3-axis timelapse/video motors what are programmable with it (what is almost size of the battery grip like HLD-6/HLD-7), a tethering plate from where USB/RJ-45 cable is possible to attach well (you don't want to use any MicroUSB ports) and all kind different sensor inputs from IR to motion, lightness etc.

0 upvotes
Elix
By Elix (1 week ago)

I think you will be waiting for a very, very long time.

0 upvotes
TheInfinityPoint
By TheInfinityPoint (1 month ago)

This is great. I was hoping someone would eventually design a cost-effective solution to motion panning. One question however: In your list of kits (left image in the article), it says for the "Pan" kit you need the controller, tripod, and ballhead, and the kit cost ("rewards") is $395. However on the right column of that image it has images of the controller, tripod, and the the *actual* axis360 unit itself, but no ballhead. On the page with all of the component costs (right image in the article), the cost of the controller + tripod + ballhead is $295.

In conclusion: Am I correct in assuming the Pan kit will include the controller, Axis360, and tripod (or is it ballhead)? Thanks.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Cinetics
By Cinetics (1 month ago)

Thanks for the question! The pan kit, Axis360 Basic, includes the Axis360 motor, controller, tripod and ballhead.

0 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (2 months ago)

I didn't see it in the specs, but can this do Sidereal Rate for longer term night sky exposures? With a so-so Polar axis alignment a person could probably take in some decent short exposures (15-30s) without much star trailing.

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Cyrille Berger
By Cyrille Berger (2 months ago)

On the other hand, for that kind of price, you could go for iOptron SkyTracker, or an entry level goto telescope that should be strong enough for just your camera.

0 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (2 months ago)

Not that I don't currently own a nice go-to equatorial mount. I wouldn't personally mess with Alt/Az due to my astrophotography requirements. I was just more curious if Sidereal was an included speed rate with this product.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (1 month ago)

they say the accuracy is about 0.1 degrees. multiply that with 1300 for lowest resolution we get 130 degress FoV or one should be able to use it with fisheye lenses.

for very sharp images (8-10 MPix) the allowed error in arcseconds will be about horizontal FOV in degrees, then we get 360 degrees (haha).

btw, I think equatorial mounts usually has a maximum error of about 3-30 arcseconds or less than 1/12 of Ais360.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
arvinoculus
By arvinoculus (2 months ago)

Awesome. I just preodered on Kickstarter. Very excited!

1 upvote
Fri13
By Fri13 (1 month ago)

Kickstarter isn't a shop from where you order stuff.

It is a brainstorming shop where you can invest money to ideas and they get the money if their request limit fills.
But kickstarter projects has no promise to ever even see any development so it is like giving money to a man at corner of street saying he will keep you safe.

0 upvotes
HoffY
By HoffY (2 months ago)

Would anyone know if a single axis has the capability to do a rotary style move of a full 360 degrees divided by "n" number of times? For example.. i'd want to be able to have a camera rotate a full 360 degrees in total... but stop 12 times (or 4.. or 8.. or 24 times) to take a shot. And possibly have a "pause time" of a specifiable amount? Can't seem to find any info in this regard.

0 upvotes
CineticsDesign
By CineticsDesign (2 months ago)

The controller is capable of this using a shoot-move-shoot command. It is very flexible in that it allows you to choose recording time, number of shots, exposure time, etc. It can also achieve this using a manual run command (e.g. run 20 degrees, take shot, run again, take shot...).

1 upvote
HoffY
By HoffY (2 months ago)

Thank you very much for the response! That is excellent!

0 upvotes
Cinetics
By Cinetics (2 months ago)

Justin Jensen from Cinetics here. Just wanted to give a huge thank you to Mike for reviewing Axis360. He made some great photos and video with it, and the article looks to be way helpful for people wanting to learn more about it.

And thank you all for checking out our new product and for your comments. We'll do our best to answer any questions!

6 upvotes
fenceSitter
By fenceSitter (2 months ago)

Two questions actually: First, I understand that I can do everything that I can do with a Gigapan Epic Pro when I purchase an Axis360 Plus Package, and in addition a second Controller and Axis360 Stepper, correct?

Second, what are the powering options? On Kickstarter there's only mention of a "long-lasting battery", but what type? I hope it's somewhat commoditized, because I would hate it if I were dependent on one sole supplier. It would mean that the gear becomes an expensive doorstop when that supplier goes belly up. A standard 4-pin Hirose connector (or indeed any connector) would or should be another powering option. So, what are the powering options?

0 upvotes
CineticsDesign
By CineticsDesign (2 months ago)

You are correct. Buying the Axis360 Plus with an additional Axis360 and controller will allow you to simultaneously pan and tilt.

The battery is a lithium-ion that is built into the controller, which means it will be difficult and unreasonable to replace on the go. However, the charging port accepts 12VDC. So if you have auxiliary 12VDC power source, connecting it to the controller will allow it to charge/last longer.

0 upvotes
Tapani Tarvainen
By Tapani Tarvainen (2 months ago)

I've used a Really Right Stuff MPR-CL nodal slide for balancing, it or something similar shoud work well here, too:
http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.A/id.4529/.f?sc=26&category=620

0 upvotes
Cinetics
By Cinetics (1 month ago)

No need for additional parts, the components included with the Axis360 Plus and higher rewards can accomplish the same thing as the nodal slide rail you linked to :) Thanks!

0 upvotes
Paul Richman
By Paul Richman (2 months ago)

How does this compare to similar products from Edelkrone?

0 upvotes
Matt White
By Matt White (2 months ago)

I have the same question

0 upvotes
maximuscr
By maximuscr (2 months ago)

Very interesting.

Is it able to rotate at the speed of the earth? So one turn in 23 hours and 56 Minutes? How precise is it and how precise can you point the axis at the polar star?

Can you test if one is able to do star and deep sky with this?

0 upvotes
CineticsDesign
By CineticsDesign (2 months ago)

It is definitely capable of one revolution in 23 hours and 56 minutes, although it may require extra power to last that long. The angular resolution is 0.1 degrees when set to its highest resolution.

0 upvotes
maximuscr
By maximuscr (2 months ago)

Thank you for your reply.

It does not have to last that long, one hour or a half is totally enough, the speed precision is critically though.

It has to be 360°/23.9345h, so the stars remain dots and not stripes. I would aim at exposure times of 30s to 5 minutes, depending on the used focal length.

Is there a possibility to mount an aiming sight , for precisly adjusting the rotation axis to the one of the earth?

0 upvotes
CineticsDesign
By CineticsDesign (2 months ago)

With some trial and error, it should be no problem. As far as an aiming sight goes, it really depends on its shape and mounting. There are some accessory 3/8"-16 and 1/4"-20 mounts that may be of use.

0 upvotes
Cinetics
By Cinetics (2 months ago)

Hey guys, we've got a star tracking example in our Kickstarter video, it's one of the first shots - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jj1/axis360-modular-motion-control-for-cameras
It can certainly move slow enough, and the battery can last for 6 hours if moved continuously. Using interval (shoot - move - shoot) moves and motor sleep, we're still testing, but should easily go longer than 24 hours.
I don't know much about aiming sights, but I don't see why you could not attach one!

0 upvotes
BNapa
By BNapa (2 months ago)

Is the controller capable of programming multi-row panoramas?

0 upvotes
CineticsDesign
By CineticsDesign (2 months ago)

To motorize both panning and tilting axes for a multi-row panorama, you would need 2 axis360's. But yes, it can be programmed with the controller.

0 upvotes
tecnoworld
By tecnoworld (2 months ago)

It would be nice to control the Axis360 with an android device, instead of the 250$ controller...

5 upvotes
Sean Nelson
By Sean Nelson (1 month ago)

The controller is going to be required because it's what sends the control pulses to the stepper motor. By the ability to PROGRAM the controller from a USB-connected phone or tablet would be a hige plus, IMHO.

2 upvotes
tecnoworld
By tecnoworld (1 month ago)

The best imo would be the possibility to direct connect an android device (or even a PC) to the motorized head, via USB, and send the impulses by this interface.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (1 month ago)

Sadly Android devices aren't equipped with the ability to send control pulses to stepper motors.

It is a real shame there's no way to hook up to the controller via USB though. It seems counter-intuitive in this day and age, when pretty much everyone has a smartphone or tablet with them everywhere, not to use this ideal device for user input but to go with an an old-school LCD instead.

0 upvotes
KzE
By KzE (1 month ago)

If you read the kickstarter page, it says you can hook it up via USB and controll it with softwares like dragonframe.

0 upvotes
Cinetics
By Cinetics (1 month ago)

The controller does have a micro usb port that can be used to connect to external devices :) You can currently connect to a Mac or Windows computer to update the software, and you can connect using Dragonframe software to control the unit from you computer. We are looking at other options to add compatibility for other software and/or Android/iOS devices. Thanks!

0 upvotes
Richie Beans
By Richie Beans (2 months ago)

What's the plan for compatibility with cameras that don't have remote shutter capability, i.e P&S cameras or the Sony NEX and new Alpha line?

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (2 months ago)

From the review: "The shutter release cable is not necessary if your camera has its own built-in time-lapse mode, but life is easier using the cable."

0 upvotes
Richie Beans
By Richie Beans (2 months ago)

I can see how that would (likely) work....but seems like a half-baked solution. At least Gigapan has a mechanical shutter-press for mirrorless camera integration. I recommend a similar solution as MILC are far lighter (for your smallish ball head) and present a smaller profile to wind for outdoor time-lapse shooting.

I absolutely love this concept but it's useless to shooters like me who bought a MILC so that we could make use of our legacy tools. Make an integrated mechanical plunger and I'll buy a unit right now!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mike5076
By Mike5076 (2 months ago)

This seems a lot more flexible than the gigapan. Any thoughts?

1 upvote
Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (2 months ago)

A useful review, however, why the extreme wide angle with all of it's distortions in all of the videos?

I can understand the need in really small spaces but not outdoors etc.

Thanks

1 upvote
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (2 months ago)

Honestly, I spent three straight days testing the ever-loving lights out of this thing, and happened to have a 14mm on without even thinking. Sorry about that. If I had more time, I would have tossed on different lenses. I'm also a self-proclaimed wide-angle junkie, which can be abrasive to some.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (2 months ago)

would like see test with a long one 200mm for example,
to check smoothness and resistance to wind.

2 upvotes
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (2 months ago)

Check the Kickstarter page for the Axis360. They have more samples.

1 upvote
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (2 months ago)

Any panning looks smooth with a 14 mm. Hmp.

1 upvote
CarVac
By CarVac (2 months ago)

Is there a way to align the panning around the entrance pupil of a lens so that you can be free of parallax errors?

1 upvote
miiicho
By miiicho (2 months ago)

Like a panorama head?
From the pictures (schematics), it looks like the PLUS version should be able to do that (look at the L shaped piece) - this should fix the pan. Not sure about the tilt movement though.

0 upvotes
richardplondon
By richardplondon (2 months ago)

No reason not to introduce an additional "nodal slide rail" between the L-shaped bracket and the camera, and then to slide the camera backward on that, adjusting everything until the right point along the lens axis is located to intersect the rotation axis.

This could also be your quick-release point maybe, to take the camera on and off the assembly altogether, without upsetting the parallax adjustments for a given lens setup.

2 upvotes
Cinetics
By Cinetics (1 month ago)

Yes, every Axis360 kit besides the basic one enables you to balance the camera and lens using an L bracket. We also just proposed the idea of including an additional plate to help with this in Kickstarter update #2. It looks like this component (a 120mm long arca-type plate) will be included with each kit also. Thanks!

0 upvotes
brittonx
By brittonx (2 months ago)

Um... What about GigaPan? They are pretty affordable...

5 upvotes
mike in london
By mike in london (2 months ago)

yes thats what I thought..

0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (2 months ago)

No need to wait for Kickstarter. If you need it now: http://www.kesslercrane.com/Default.asp

0 upvotes
Mike Perlman
By Mike Perlman (2 months ago)

Look at the Kessler prices compared to the Axis360.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 55