Polaris – the Ultimate Time Lapse Head?

We have taken a look at the Polaris Kickstarter, a smart tripod head and its capabilities for creating time lapse films.
Stefan Domnanovich

Stefan Domnanovich

Member of Filmspektakel and author for TimeLapseMagazine
Website: FilmSpektakel.com

Behold the next smart-astrophotography-gadget-Kickstarter-launch: Polaris, an electric tripod head combined with a smart camera controller. Shaped like an oversized, traditional tripod head, this smart device comes loaded with features. We have taken a look at its options for creating time lapse films.

The Polaris tripod Head in all its glory, © Benro

What can it do?

The splasproof (IPX6) Polaris module connects to a tripod and lets you control your camera remotely. It supports smart parameter settings, live previews, data transfer and pre-programmed pan and rotate movements. It has a built-in 10,000 mAh battery and can establish remote connections via Wi-Fi and cellular signal (with an expansion). So far, so good! But let’s focus on the feature specifically targeted at time lapse enthusiasts.

Keyframing and Exposure Settings happen remotely via Smartphone App, © Benro

Time lapse features

Polaris claims to make your time lapse photography workflow easier and more efficient. All you have to do is find a nice first and final frame, dial in your settings, choose an interval and you’re done. You can adjust all your settings and keyframes in real time, change your exposure triangle and even your focal length from anywhere. The exposure smoothing function promises to handle “overexposed or underexposed scenes when shooting time lapse videos in manual mode. This function also avoids jitters in the brightness of time lapse videos due to exposure changes over time.” Sounds stellar! Speaking of which.

Astrophotography with a clear view, © Benro

Astrophotography with AI support

This is where Polaris offers its most innovative features, like the astro map. With the help of AI and your smartphone’s sensors, the app will superimpose an image of star constellations (or the sunrise) onto your screen. Just point your phone at the sky, push a button and Polaris will do the rest.

Say goodbye to star streaks and blurry skies in time lapses

Star streaks are caused by the rotation of Earth. They appear in different intensities on most long-exposure time lapses that are not aligned with the equatorial mount. Polaris uses a built-in GPS, accelerometer, an electric compass and a high-precision hall angular sensor to track stars, thus preventing star tailing or streaks:

This means that we can capture the stars with a longer exposure and get the same result as you would get with a 2.5-second exposure. Your shots will be clear, sharp, and leave out the blurry star trails.

© Benro

Models and pricing

The Polaris basic set starts at $500 (around €415). The Pro package will set you back $860 (around €715). And that is with a massive Kickstarter discount. The final price of the Pro package could be around $1,459. Or not. We all know marketers love to manipulate us with their pricing strategies. But we will see how this will turn out!

That being said, we think that if the features and build quality hold up to their promises, Polaris could be a very useful addition to your camera bag. Especially for time lapse and astrophotography nerds, such as ourselves, this product could actually make our lives easier. Check out their kickstarter-page here.

You’ll soon know whether that is really the case or not, because we have already ordered our Polaris. Check out whether this gadget can help us shoot for the stars when we’ll release our review on timelapsemagazine.com! And make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to never miss an update.

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Time Lapse Magazine is a platform for the growing community of time lapse photographers and enthusiasts.

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