The Kickstarter project for photographers called Astro, is a time-lapse / motion control to allow cameras to easily take time-lapses or panoramas. Today the creator Oscar Ramirez posted an update on the project explaining there has been some changes.
Overwhelmed by the success of the project (now more than 1500 pre-orders), the initial plan of buying off the shelf motors and tweaking them became unpractical. He then searched for alternative motors that would serve the need of Astro.
Fortunately he found one. While there’s no details on the brand, he does go on to explain the benefits of the new motor mechanism. “It’s a stepper motor that has the same angular resolution, but much more torque and way better energy performance”.
This extra torque is important as it will now allow Astro to hold much bigger (heavier) cameras than originally planned. Another great benefit is that the new motor essentially sits dormant while not in use meaning battery life is dramatically improved.
Astro will now get around 100 hours of use, up from 15 hours. This testing was done using a 3 hour, 120 degree, 3 second interval shoot. This goes a long way to answering calls for an external power source to be added. Ramirez calls this “a much more elegant solution”.
Naturally all these benefits can’t come without some consequence. The speed at which Astro can move is now reduced to 6 degrees/sec down from 30 degrees/second. Personally I don’t see this as an issue, I backed this project mostly to take time lapses that’ll usually involve the head staying in the same position. When it comes to panoramas, this either means you’ll need to let Photoshop stich more shots or increase the duration to give the head enough time to move.
In my mind, this is definitely a case of the benefits outweighing the negatives and is a great evolution of the product. If you want an Astro you better be quick as they are also closing pre-orders off at 2,000 to make sure they hit the timelines. Leave it too late and you’ll be met with a “sold out” sign.
More info @ Kickstarter