The Smartta SliderMini 2 is a compact and portable motorised slider for mirrorless and DSLR cameras, as well as smartphones. The motorised nature of the slider allows your footage to have movement and motion, without needing to be behind the camera.
The slider is formed of an aluminium alloy construction, which feels very nice and of good quality, with the entire unit being coated in black paint. As the name SliderMini may suggest, the slider is extremely compact and lightweight, making it easy to use in a variety of places and chuck into a camera bag at around 26cm long and weighing 570 grams.
There’s not too much to the design, across the top is the slider rail which gives you up to 20cm of horizontal movement for your shots from left to right. The left side has the power button, which can also be used to perform some basic slide manoeuvres without the need to use the phone app – which can be extremely handy on a shoot as well as a battery life indicator which uses some very small LED’s which can be difficult to see in bright daylight, I found that they were easy to see indoors.
The front side is home to ports, there’s a USB Type-C port for charging up the slider. The slider can also be charging when it is active, so if you have a particularly long shoot you can keep filming. There’s also a shutter release port, the slider can trigger your camera shutter for time lapses or when you begin a slider motion, there are a collection of shutter release cables included in the box but third party cables should also work as long as there is enough clearance for the slider to move above the cable.
I think it could’ve been beneficial to have the ports on the right-hand side as this would prevent any worry about cable clearance with third party cables when using the slider.
On the base of the slider is a 1/4-inch tripod thread mount, the slider carriage shares the same thread in a male variation which allows you to place a tripod head on the slider. This does mean that a camera cannot be mounted onto the slider without a tripod head, but luckily Smartta has included a low-profile head adapter with orders, so if you don’t have your own tripod head you’re not out of luck.
You’ll want to make sure any knobs and dials on your tripod head have enough clearance to rotate, luckily my Manfrotto tripod heads worked without any issues. The slider carriage, like the rest of the slider, is metal, which has led to some of my Manfrotto tripod heads scratching the paintwork on the slider.
Overall, the design is very nice and compact. If you want to use a large camera such as a DSLR on the slider, you’ll likely find yourself, like I did, needing to mount the slider on a tripod due to the camera throwing the balance of the slider and is unable to hold itself up – but other than that I’ve had no problems with the design.
I have found the SliderMini 2 to perform well, one of the biggest things with a piece of filmmaking gear is learning what shots the piece of equipment will and won’t work for, I’ve been capturing a collection of different shots in different orientations and focal lengths to see what does and doesn’t work as well.
Smartta claims the SliderMini 2 can transport a payload up to 15kg when it is level, as the incline the slider needs to traverse increases, the weight limit drops to 1kg. The maximum payload I’ve tested was around 2.4kg consisting of my Canon EOS 90D, Sigma 18-35mm lens, which is quite a heavy lens, and Manfrotto video head.
I found that with my heavier 18-35mm lens, some of my clips would sometimes have a little bit of shaking in them. This was most noticeable at zoomed-in focal lengths as the focal length exaggerates small movements, shots that used a wide focal length looked best. This only happened on a couple of shots, with most of them looking smooth and turning out well – but I did think it was worth a mention.
Luckily, with a bit of editing magic, I was able to easily remove the shaking in Adobe Premiere Pro using the Warp Stabiliser effect. This is reassuring as it means that even if one of your shots does turn out to have some wobble, it can be resolved in the edit.
If shaking is a worry, I found that lighter lenses such as the Canon EF-S 24mm and Canon 50mm lens to work well and there was no wobble as the slider did not have to work against the weight of the lens.
Aside from the few shaky shots, I managed to capture some genuinely nice smooth and fluid shots, I’m very happy with how the footage turned out. I think it’s very impressive how a motorised slider can be in such a small form factor so it can be easily be transported and set up and rolling in around a minute.
The slider supports a wide range of speeds that can be set within the companion app, the fastest speed is 10mm/sec, it can slow all the way down to 0.1mm/sec. It is fantastic to see such a wide range of speed support as it means the slider will be great for both time-lapse and regular speed shots.
I only experienced one hiccup where the slider was not able to identify it’s position but this was easily resolved by restarting the app on my phone and turning the slider off and on.
The slider’s companion app isn’t required to make use of the slider, but if you want to set up custom speeds, time-lapses or tweak additional settings, the app makes it easy to get full use of out the slider.
The app is intuitive and simple to use, the initial options allow you to remotely begin moving the slider and setting a custom speed. I quite like how you will be informed how long a certain move will take depending on the speed, I can easily find out a move at 100% will take 20 seconds and a move at 37% will take 53 seconds, being able to find out this information can help ensure that shots can be planned and thought out.
The app also has a variety of modes built-in, allowing for custom speed curves, time-lapses and stop motion. There’s a collection of pre-sets for different time-lapses or you can create your own, this works in tandem with the shutter release cable, the slider will trigger your camera when appropriate at the interval specified, allowing you to capture time-lapses that may last multiple hours over a single fluid motion.
Additionally, there’s also a loop mode which will keep the slider continuously moving left and right, I can imagine this being quite useful for an interview or if you need to leave the camera to capture footage over a long shoot without needing to man the slider constantly.
The app is available for both iOS and Android devices and it is well polished, it’s extremely easy to use and get a grasp of.
The battery life with the slider is very impressive, with a claimed 52 hours of normal use and 14 hours of use when it is sliding. It will take around 1½ hours to charge up the slider, but it can also be powered over USB Type-C and still function, which is certainly handy.
Of course, there are variables to battery life so it can depend on your shooting environment to how long the battery will truly last.
The Smartta SliderMini 2 is a compact piece of filmmaking and photographic gear that can be easily taken on the go to get footage with movement and motion. The slider provides a good experience for making it easy to get sliding shots without too much hassle.
The only issue I would highlight is the experience of using heavy lenses with the slide, so I do think that would be something that you would want to be conscious of when using the slider and ensuring that your camera isn’t too front-heavy.
The Smartta SliderMini 2 is available to purchase from Smartta’s website.
Smartta SliderMini 2Smartta SliderMini 2
- Compact design
- USB Type-C Charging
- Useful modes and features
- Battery is not swappable
- Wobble with heavier lenses
- Camera cannot directly mount