The Astro Rotator
I have just heard that the Astro rotator/time-lapse head I supported last year through Kickstarter is on its way. More than a slight time overrun—something like 10 months!
I was asked to beta test two of them, one for horizontal rotation and one for vertical, and I was hoping to automate multirow panoramas. However, they have dropped me back to one Astro, promising the second when they have made some money from their existing stock. It’ll be a bit late for beta testing by then, of course! Despite over-subscription to their project, they ran out of funds before they had finished final production details, and have been delving into their own pockets. Regrettable development and wholly commendable response, no doubt, but the kind of thing that can happen when people have bright ideas but no manufacturing experience. Kickstarter supporters, beware!
I look forward to testing the Astro with my Pentax K-30. Unfortunately my favourite panorama camera, the mirrorless K-01, doesn’t allow you to combine remote control with bracketed exposures. The K-30 does, thank goodness, via a wired remote that uses an audio-type pin plug. Since the Astro should give accurate, stable control of the angles at which shots are taken, I had planned to use my 12-24mm rectilinear zoom, an excellent lens, but that would require a second or maybe even a third row. Too bad… I’ll try it with my Pentax 10-17mm fisheye zoom instead, and will report back here.
The mechanism is reportedly quite strong, using worm gears to drive the rotation. The trade off is rotary speed, rather slow, I’m afraid. Modest gigapans should be possible, not Jeffrey Martin class, but we shall see.