Smartta SliderMini 2 Review | A fully motorized, ultra-portable slider for under $400!
If you’re looking for a portable, affordable, and fully motorized slider to capture videos or time-lapses with, then you’re in the right place!
The Smartta SliderMini 2 is a smart, pocket-sized (almost) motorized camera slider. It’s solid, smooth, and works like a charm. Need we say more? Of course, don’t take our word for it, let’s actually review this thing!
The Smartta SliderMini2 has a simple construction with basic physical sliding controls, and more advanced controls that you can operate from your smartphone via the free app. Plus, there are four specialty modes to help you create unique footage.
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find it a perfect companion to the rest of your gear/kit, for those times when you need just a little bit (200mm/8in) of slider motion.
All in all, what’s not to like? Considering the price tag of $399, (for the slider alone) it’s easy to sum up this entire review with one spoiler: It’s a great product, but with a very short range of motion. (Again, just 200mm) That is the only drawback, and yet, that’s also an advantage. In short, (no pun intended?) if you’re OK with this, then there’s basically no reason not to get the Slider Mini 2.
Smartta SliderMini 2 Product Demo
Smartta SliderMini 2 Specifications
- MATERIALS – aluminum alloy
- WEIGHT – 0.57KG/1.26LB
- LOAD CAPACITY–HORIZONTAL: 15kg/33lb
- LOAD CAPACITY–VERTICAL: 1.25kg/2.76lb
- TRAVEL LENGTH: 200mm / 8 in
- DIMENSIONS: 30.5mm*84.8mm*264mm
- MAX SPEED: 10mm/sec (0.4 in/sec)
- MIN SPEED: 0.1mm/sec (0.004 in/sec)
- BATTERY: Built-in, li-polymer, 5V/1A
- 1500mAh capacity
- 52 hours (normal use)
- Up to 14 hours’ active sliding
- Charging Time: 1.5 hours
- PRICE: $399
- COMPATIBILITY w/ Mobile/Phone Apps:
- iOS: Above 10.0
- Android: Above 5.0
Smartta SliderMini 2 Review | Who Should Buy It?
All types of video can benefit from the addition of motion, whether you’re just a product review vlogger making Youtube videos, or you’re creating a cinematic storytelling masterpiece.
But, what types of video might specifically lend themselves to such a portable, compact slider? The obvious answer is, anyone who is unable to carry a bigger, longer slider, of course. It’s more complicated than that, of course, because some types of video might absolutely demand a longer range of motion, while others could get more than enough motion out of the SliderMini.
A vlog, or any type of Youtube video, can run the gamut from nothing but hand-held cell phone selfie clips, to high-production content with a very cinematic feel. On the one end, a Smartta is a perfect addition to a minimal, cell phone video setup. On the other end of the gamut, you could certainly get by with only 8 in. of slider motion, but you might still want to also own something measured in feet instead of inches, for at least some more elaborate shots.
Here’s what it comes down to: if you were planning on not bringing a slider at all in the first place, but could possibly find space in your bag for something that is just 264mm long in total, here you go. This is one of the smallest sliders in its “mini-class” of sliders.
If you think you might need more motion, but you also think you’d still like to have something ultra-portable around, then why not just get the Smartta now, and worry about adding to your collection later? My rule of thumb is, always start with whichever piece of equipment or accessory you’ll use the most often.
If you’ve never made a “vlog” before, and have always aspired to do a lot more advanced, cinematic looking video, with maybe a fluid head mounted on top of a slider and a very large, heavy-duty tripod, then you might not think twice about such a short slider.
That could be a mistake, because in reality there are a lot of things you can accomplish without a full-size slider.
Professional Cinematographers / Movie Makers
If you’re doing more wedding & event type videography, then portability is always a huge plus, and often times clips that benefit from a sliding motion don’t last more than 3-5 seconds anyways. Thus, a short slider might very well be all you need, for those quick B-roll clips, or the faint, slow, back-and-forth motion of a professional interview setting.
Having said that, if you’re a paid professional, let’s be honest: You’re going to also want a longer slider, at least every now and then, or maybe even quite often. So, consider an 8-inch slider to be your travel kit, if not your main primary tool. It’s perfect for when you need quick and easy, motorized control that can easily fit into even the smallest camera bag or suitcase, but it won’t be most working professionals’ ONLY slider.
Time-Lapse Video Shooters
Most time-lapse motion does admittedly benefit from having a good ~3 feet (1m) of motion at their disposal. As such, these types of ultra-portable sliders might not be worth it, or they might not be your first purchase.
In other words, even if you think you could put an ultra-portable slider to good use some of the time, you’re probably better off investing in a longer slider first, and adding something like this to your kit later, when the time comes and you actually need something very compact and portable.
Smartta SliderMini 2 Review | Pros & Cons
- Solid, durable build quality
- Simple, easy design
- Highly portable
- Supports weight of full-frame cameras and some full-frame lenses
- Impressive battery life
- Simple, intuitive interface
- Advanced functions possible
- Only 8 inches (20 cm) of usable travel
- Short travel distance will affect your style of shooting a little, and your time-lapse potential even more.
- Cannot run a smartphone timelapse without the use of a 2nd phone (or some quick manual trickery. You need two phones to complete this operation – One mobile phone is used to shoot video, the other is used to control the camera slider.
(The time-lapses mode in the Smartta Go app is only for camera use. Because our SliderMini 2 needs to be connected to the camera through a shutter release to shoot video, so our app can help the camera achieve more shooting modes. The mobile phone only needs a mobile phone holder for video shooting. When shooting with a mobile phone, the SliderMini 2 can only help it move left and right.)
Clearly, there is a lot to like about this slider, and the only drawback is also an advantage: the ultra-compact size means it is both highly portable, but also limited in total range.
We’ll get back to that in a minute, but first, let’s just reiterate that yes, this is a very well-made product. Considering the price tag of $399, there’s an impressive overall level of quality to both the physical build, and the overall design of the interface, physically and with the mobile app. This is not a “knock-off” product made cheaply, it is a solid, reliable piece of equipment.
It’s also impressive to see how much weight the SliderMini 2 can support; if you judge the device by its diminutive overall size, you might assume that the motors and bearings inside just aren’t good enough to smoothly move a heavy full-frame camera back and forth, let alone up or down. Just looking at the Smartta, indeed we must admit that we just assumed it was intended to be used only with smartphones, or a “tiny” camera like the Sony Z-V1. (Review here!)
Surprisingly, we were able to get very smooth operation while mounting a full-frame Nikon Z5. It’s not a heavy monster of a camera like a DSLR would be, but it’s also not a lightweight champion, either.
While the movement isn’t total butter when moving at a very steep angle with a heavier full-frame camera, at the very slowest speeds, it’s only noticeable if you’re shooting at telephoto focal lengths without any stabilization.
Speaking of slow, the SliderMini 2 can go as slow as 6μm/s. That’s so slow, you won’t even be able to really see it actually moving! I actually use these slowest speeds to capture “quick and dirty” time-lapse clips, with cameras that have a built-in interval timer, because at most shutter speeds I don’t need to worry about the slider stopping for each picture.
This makes for a very simple workflow when it comes to setting up a time-lapse: All I do is set the slider to slowly crawl its entire length in, say for example, 20-30 minutes, and then I set my camera’s built-in interval timer or time-lapse mode to capture 240-300 frames within that same window. It works perfectly!
Having said that, its short range of motion does make time-lapse opportunities a bit more limited, because with time-lapse photo/video, you need to exaggerate the amount of motion, otherwise it won’t be very noticeable at all. What we found to work well is to simply get your foreground a little closer than usual, so that the motion is exaggerated relative to all the distant subjects and the background, where a mere 200mm of motion won’t be very noticeable.
Honestly? It usually isn’t a problem and forces you to think more creatively, resulting in more unique, cool-looking time-lapse video clips.
Either way, as we said earlier, this is more of a run-and-gun slider, or a BTS slider that you use to create content about you actually doing something else, …such as BTS of another, longer slider to create more dramatic motion:
All in all, it’s about finding the right balance of portability and affordability. What type of video or time-lapse content do you create? You might find that 8″ is more than plenty for BTS footage, or close-up foreground “reveal” shots, etc.
In other words, this is the slider that you bring when you otherwise wouldn’t be able to bring a slider at all, or if your entire shooting style just isn’t conducive to the bulk of most sliders, period. However, some folks will find that they either prefer a longer slider, or they at least like to have both options available.
Smartta SliderMini 2 Review | Compared To The Competition
Okay, let’s cut right to the chase: Most other sliders out there are not this compact. Then, within the small collection of alternatives that might have a similar price tag and/or a similar form factor, there are just too many “totally cheap junk” options from no-name camera accessory brands for us to even mention any of them. In fact, off-brand names in the photography accessory market seem to come and go like perishable produce- A new name pops up all of a sudden, and then in 6-12 months it vanishes and is replaced by something else. (Probably because those companies are literally stealing their designs from “legit” brand names!)
So, here’s the bottom line: the only alternative you should even bother looking at is, of course, the Edelkrone SliderONE v2. It’s a very similar design to the Smartta, at first glance, and also has an identical 200mm/8in of travel.
So, here are the key differences and similarities:
- The Edelkrone SliderONE v2 is a bit thicker in terms of its height. (This might not be a big deal if you’ve got just a tiny bit more space in your bag.)
- Instead of a built-in battery, the SliderONE v2 accepts Canon LPE-6 style batteries, which can be interchanged. (Considering the Smartta battery is rated to last up to 52 hrs, we’d almost prefer not to have the battery so exposed, for when we shoot in harsher conditions!)
- They are both operated via Bluetooth and a mobile phone app, and both interfaces are very easy to understand and set up.
- The SliderONE comes in two capacities, one for ~$500 and one for $900, the latter being a very heavy-duty model that can smoothly slide even the heaviest cinema-oriented cameras.
- The SliderONE is capable of being added to other Edelkrone products, namely the HeadONE, for 2-axis and even 3-axis motorized motion, all within the same app interface.
So, what do you really get for that extra $100 for the $499 Edelkrone versus the $399 Smartta? If you’re working with medium-sized or smaller cameras, and if you won’t ever need to add another axis of motion to your portable setup, then you shouldn’t really need to spend that extra money. Plus, the Smartta is just a tiny bit slimmer, and the battery is internal, which we see as a plus although some might see it as a drawback…
Smartta SliderMini 2 Review | Conclusion
All in all, for $399 it’s the best choice we can find in its class. If you’re looking for something simple and highly compact, and if you’re not interested in sliding ultra-heavy setups, or adding another axis to your motion control system, then the Smartta SliderMini 2 is perfect for you.
It might be the first slider you ever buy, if portability is going to be a very common constraint/requirement for you, but it might also be your 2nd or 3rd slider, if you often need more sliding length, and only need such portability on occasion. As we’ve already said, 200mm doesn’t seem like a lot of motion for some more distant subjects, or time-lapse, but for any subject decently close-up, and for quick B-roll clips, you might find it to be perfect!
If you think you’re going to get more advanced, then go ahead and save up for a more advanced, complicated setup first. Just remember that the learning curve gets steeper as you go, and there is certainly a lot of benefit in making a simple, easy-to-use tool your first investment.
So, what kind of video do YOU shoot, and do you think this is the type of slider you’d be interested in? Leave a comment below, especially if you want to mention a specific type of subject, or a style of shooting, that would (or wouldn’t) work well with the SliderMini 2.
Smartta SliderMini 2 Check Pricing & Availability
Currently, the slider is on sale for $359 and you can get an additional $10 off by using the coupon Black10 from now until Nov 30th.