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Syrp Timelapse Genie Mini | Initial Thoughts

By Matthew Saville on March 2nd 2016

Sometimes a new product arrives at the studio for review, and I’m so excited that I take it out for a spin the very next morning, rain or shine. No, literally. You’ll see what I mean! (Thank you, El Niño).

The Syrp Timelapse Genie Mini is an ultra-compact, simple, affordable , timelapse motion tool for photographers. It’s a tad larger than a can of tuna, weighs only 230g / 8.1oz, and retails for just under $250. But, does it achieve the impossible by also delivering quality construction and an awesome interface / user experience? Read on to find out, and watch our quick initial opinion video below!

syrp-genie-mini

[RELATED: ORIGINAL SYRP GENIE FULL REVIEW]

INITIAL THOUGHTS ON the syrp genie mini

As I stated in the video, timelapse photography has been around for a long time, but adding motion to your timelapse has often been a very expensive and laborious task. A few products have recently begun to overcome these obstacles by being both affordable and simple to use.

About two years ago, Syrp, based in New Zealand, produced the original Genie which is a bigger device that can do both panning and sliding, though not both at once. About one year ago, another company called Alpine Labs (based here in Southern California) created the Radian, a compact and affordable device that broke the sub-1lb barrier at 15 oz.

There have been other new timelapse devices worth mentioning, however, I believe everything can be clearly put into one of two categories: Either they’re advanced, complex, and a bit pricey, or they’re compact, affordable, and effortless to set up. Unfortunately, aside from the two devices I mentioned, the “compact and effortless” category has been rather neglected up until now. Fortunately, the Genie Mini is a great leap forward in this regard!

SYRP GENIE Mini Specs

Syrp Genie Mini Specs

Price: $248.95
Dimensions: 40mm x 92mm (1.57″ x 3.62″)
Weight: 230g (8.1 oz)
Panning Load: 4kg (8.8lb)

Tilting Load: 3kg centered (6.6 lb)

Max Speed: 360° in 33s
Minimum Resolution: 0.005°

Li-Ion Rechargeable battery
Timelapse: 48+ hours
Video: 5+ hours
Charge Time: 3 Hours

Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy – to Syrp App (iOS, Android)  
Camera Port – 2.5mm
Accessory Port – 3.5mm (Dual Genie mode + IR cable)

Genie Mini Track And Pan

SYRP GENIE MINI Pros

  • The overall quality is great, it feels strong and supportive even when mounted with two ball heads! (But, a sturdy tripod is recommended!)
  • The rubberized exterior feels nicely resistant to the elements and grippy.
  • The interface is amazingly simple and intuitive to understand, and effortless to set up.
  • At ~8oz and less than 4″ wide, you have no excuse to leave it at home!
  • Compatible with additional Syrp timelapse products for advanced movements.
  • Includes necessary cables for standard USB charging, at least one type of camera cable, and one 1/4-20 tripod thread adapter, plus a lens cloth.

Syrp Timelapse Genie Mini Review 3

Syrp Timelapse Genie Mini Review 4

SYRP GENIE MINI-Cons

  • I’m not sure how long-lasting the cork finish on top and bottom will be, depending on repeated mounting and un-mounting of plates and tripod heads.
  • I’d like two 1/4-20 thread adapters depending on the intended use, or just to have one as a backup. (They’re easy to lose, especially in a sand dune! I strongly advise doing any such setup work back at your car / basecamp, because in-the-field fiddling with plates or screw adapters is a show-stopper).
  • I could use a built-in bubble level, like the original Genie, or a separate accessory bubble level, like the Alpinelabs Radian.

Syrp Timelapse Genie Mini Review 2

Initial Verdict

Considering that so far my cons can easily be negated by a couple dirt-cheap accessories and/or being mindful of how I work with tripod plates and heads, my initial opinion is that the Syrp Genie Mini will be a great buy for any beginning or serious photographer who wishes to get into timelapse photography without the intimidation of complicated equipment setup. It will also prove useful to outdoor photographers who need something compact and lightweight, that they can carry with them anywhere for quick timelapse B-roll, or astro-landscape photography while backpacking in the wilderness.

Syrp Timelapse Genie Mini Review 1

[REWIND: NIKON D810A ANNOUNCEMENT: THE FIRST FULL-FRAME ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY-DEDICATED DSLR]

Stay tuned for our full review and final verdict coming soon! As always, with any type of gear that is intended for outdoor use, I like to heavily use (abuse?) any equipment that is given to me, before offering up my final verdict. So although I’m confident that the Syrp Genie will prove to be a winner, I’m excited to take it on some more adventures and see how it holds up over time.

Take care,
=Matt=

Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge.

Follow his personal wilderness adventures: Astro-Landscapes.com

See some of his latest wedding photography featured on: LinandJirsa.com

7 Comments

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  1. Sean Goebel

    – How is the gear backlash on this? Is the device suitable for shooting in winds?
    – Are you able to do bulb exposures? What is the minimum interval time?
    – Does it look like it would be easy to open up and access the internals if, for example, I wanted to replace their electronics with my own? Or is it Apple-ified where everything is glued together?
    – Is the only way to program it via bluetooth to a phone?

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    • Matthew Saville

      * There’s no “jiggle” whatsoever in this device; it’ll be as solid as the tripod + ballhead you mount it on. :-)

      * Bulb exposures are doable, for 60+ sec exposures for example. The minimum interval time appears to be 1 sec, and I’m not yet sure how that works when doing bulb mode. Will report back on that.

      * It is quite Apple-like in it’s build. Which I’m sure is seen as a very good thing by most of the folks interested in this.

      * It uses “low energy” Bluetooth, so apparently it’s pretty efficient. If you want wired setup, the original Alpinelabs Radian has that, using a phone. AFAIK, there is no timelapse device that can be programmed by itself, that weighs this little. (For example, the original Syrp Genie, which is $780 and 3.3 lbs, versus the Genie Mini at $250 and 8 oz…)

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  2. Hannes Nitzsche

    I used the original Genie a few months ago for a timelapse video I created of our region in the southwest of Western Australia. It was the first time I used it and my first ever venture into making a 5min timelapse movie. Luckily I was able to borrow the unit off a friend.
    I found the functionality of the original Genie quite good but it had a few limitations: For starters, I found that my camera wasn’t sitting very firm on the setup, I guess it was due to the rotational mechanics inside the device. Even smaller breezes caused the camera to wobble and thus created more work in post. Secondly the user interface was overall quite good but a few shortcuts would have been nice. If shooting 5-6+ locations per day you want to access the setup menu rather quick so you can dial in your parameters and be done with it. Especially when shooting sunrises/sunsets where you might have to act quick.
    These two things I found rather bothersome on the large Syrp but I hope Syrp was able to address these issues in the Mini. Looking forward to the complete review because I’m currently considering investing in the Mini!

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    • Matthew Saville

      Hannes, Having reviewed the original Genie myself, I have to say that you must have had a busted one; the original Genie was solid as a rock. The only time I ever experienced any wobble was when using lighter weight tripods, or sliders that had wobble themselves.

      Regarding the interface, I’ll have to expand on that in the full review. IMO the interface is just so dang simple on a smartphone, it’s almost effortless to set up.

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    • Hannes Nitzsche

      Cheers for your reply, Matthew! Maybe you’re right – I was quite surprised how wobbly it was but maybe something wasn’t as supposed. I have an induro CT313 tripod which is solid as a rock.. Looking forward to your review!!

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  3. adam sanford

    Nicely done, sir. I haven’t caught the timelapse bug yet, but I was always curious about this product.

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    • Matthew Saville

      If the bug does catch you, all you need is a small device like this and you’re set.

      Timelapse montages are one of the more over-done things in photography these days, admittedly but to me that just makes it more exciting. I like going out in crazy weather and seeing what can happen.

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