Smart electric tripod head

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Glenn McCreery, Mar 10, 2021.

  1. To date, I have been happy with my sixty year old Tiltall tripod. However, this Benro tripod head, being introduced as a kickstarter project at, Polaris - Smart Electric Tripod Head, promises to do things that my Tiltall does not have the brain power to do, such as timelapse control, automatic panoramas, WiFi connection, star tracking, automatic leveling, remote control, etc.

    This is an alt-azimuth mount and for very long exposure (over a minute or so) star tracking, I would worry about field rotation as compared with an equatorial mount, such as my Sky Watcher Star Adventurer mount, although they state that they will introduce an expansion kit that will control movement along the polar axis and thus account for field rotation. I would also worry about the ability to balance a camera plus long focal length lens, such as a 400mm, that is easily achievable with an equatorial mount plus counter-weight.

    This tripod head is kind of expensive, even with a kickstarter discount, but would certainly be a fun toy to play with. I predict that it will take a couple of versions to work out all the bugs.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
    Moving On and tonybeach_1961 like this.
  2. Surely 'Goto' CPU-controlled heads have been available as astronomical telescope accessories for years and years?

    What makes this Benro fundamentally any different?
  3. Quite true. I think that this tripod head might make sense, in it’s more basic, and less expensive model, without polar alignment, for terrestrial use. The ability to self level, to automatically take panoramas, and remotely control head movement, might be useful to some photographers.

    As for astronomical use, there are less expensive and probably more accurate solutions. For example, my Sky Watcher polar aligned mount is both accurate, when properly aligned, and capable of mounting both a heavier camera and longer focal length lens, when used with a counterweight. This mount costs about $400. The Benro head, with the automatic polar alignment option, will cost in the neighborhood of $2,000. That is a lot to pay for the convenience of automatic alignment, and I see no option for balancing a heavy camera plus lens with a counterweight.
    Moving On likes this.
  4. Phewww!
    No sale.
  5. Take a look at they have a tripod head that can pan and tilt and be operated remotely. It’s used with their camranger app and remote control unit. I have one of their older models and it’s quite an amazing device. Haven’t bothered with the fancy head. Prices are also fairly reasonable.
  6. I use remote controlled PTZ cameras for live-streaming events. Whle the image quality is generally good enough for that application, it well below that of a mirrorless camera, and the motions are relatively jerky. The Smart Electric Head looks like something I would be interested in. The price may seem high for earth dwellers, but it is actually mid-range for video applications.

    It's use for astrophotography would be limited to location seeking, unless the principal axis were tilted to be parallel to the earth's axis.That's a lot of junk to be operated that much offset without proper counterbalancing. A motorized German equatorial mount for that kind of load would cost $1500 and up, depending on features.

    An electric alt-azimuth drive is rather specialized for ordinary photography. However a fluid video head, even an inexpensive one, makes using a long lens or shooting panoramas much easier than with a ball or 3-way head.
    Glenn McCreery likes this.

Share This Page