Every now and then someone tries to bring some innovation in the field. Take the Speed Booster. When the first rumors about the adapter came around, many thought it was a scam. So, unearthly was the idea of increasing the amount of light and lowering the f-stop that the alternative to being a scam was jokingly accused to be that it used some kind of black magic. The “voodoo” one, not the “Pocket camera” one.
Anyway, we could be in front of a similar leap, and only time will tell if Moza has christened a completely new piece of gear that’s going to be in everyone’s backpack, or if it’s going to be a useless gimmick. While waiting to know, we can hear what Greg Farnum of LensProToGo thinks of it.
But what is a Slypod? It’s, simply put, a variant of the slider. Specifically, it’s a motorized slider but condensed inside a 2ft telescopic carbon fiber and aluminum tube. The idea is quite clever.
The whole gear, motor, and shaft itself are enclosed inside the rigid carbon fiber tube, so there’s less risk of damage. The whole thing is sleek and easy to carry on, not only for the compact size but also for the weight.
Being completely hidden inside the tube means that its easy to operate and there’s no assembly required. In fact, the whole system has only a couple of buttons to crank up the speed or to change the direction of the movement.
Even the battery is locked inside, and you can either charge it (19 minutes for a full charge) or use it on a power outlet with the USB-C input. By the way, the USB-C carries some minor functions to the camera through the Moza app.
The Slypod is rated on 9lbs horizontally and 20 vertically, but there are respectively a maximum load of 20 and 40lbs per axis. That is quite a lot!
And that is on a full extension of 11 inches, that can be covered in more or less 10 seconds, but you should consider that when on full throttle it becomes quite noisy. If you’re shooting with audio, your sound guy will surely have a few complaints about the Slypod.
One key aspect you’re probably not so used will be balancing the thing. Being so off-axis, it’s going to be of the utmost importance to have proper weights and sandbags on your tripod, or you’ll easily end up with a fallen Slypod, and probably, a broken camera.
But what can we do with this Slypod? Well, mostly all that you can already pull off with a slider, and a couple of things more. First of all the ball head and the quasi-Arca-swiss plate allows users to rotate completely the orientation of the camera in seconds, creating completely new movements easily.
On top of that, and besides the classic dolly movement, you can easily have a top-down shot. On normal sliders having the camera facing downwards is not so easy, while with the Slypod it’s just a matter of how you rotate the head.
Probably the most unusual shot you can take with the Slypod is the Boom Up. Slowly moving upward the camera in perfectly vertical take, it’s not a shot you see every day, and that’s because it’s no joke to get it, even more, if you’re shooting on a budget.
The name of this device suggests that it’s part slider, part monopod. That is actually the only shortcoming (pun intended) we can see. The whole thing is in fact too short to be used as a monopod in almost all use cases. An extension tube screwed at the base could change everything, though.
As always it’s a matter of keeping scores between the pros and cons. At the moment this first iteration is clearly a great concept, but we’ll see how many creatives will be willing to jump over the fence and try a completely different approach. In any case, it’s always nice to have more choices available to us, and that’s why we hope it will go well.