Steve Ringwood writing for Astronomy Now Magazine
"Here is a tripod head with attitude - and I mean temperamental, not celestial!
As well as supporting your DSL camera, the Benro Polaris Electric Tripod Head Astro Edition controls it. Not only that, it interfaces with your imaging equipment via WiFi.
This electronic pan-head provides you with remote control of camera actions and image previews - although once it knows what you want it simply takes over. The problem of taking astro-images with an alt-azimuth mount does not exist here. This tripod head incorporates GPS, so it knows where it is and therefore where Polaris is. There's no need to worry about field rotation or stars being stretched out into streaks because it compensates for these motions itself. It leaves me beginning to wonder what there is left for the astronomer to do!
It can also do something really cool (as if it were not already doing so!). Once the Polaris app is up and running, you only need to frame a piece of the sky with your smartphone, press a button, and the tripod head will move to frame the same piece of sky in readiness for imaging.
The claimed tracking accuracy for the Polaris is just 36 arcseconds, but with additional measures even this impressive achievement can be improved to nine arcseconds.
The camera even uses Al for focus stacking, ensuring that you reach the very best focus every time."
About this product
Benro Polaris Electric Tripod Head WIFI Astro Edition
The World’s First Electric Tripod Head with Camera Interface Controller, Remote DSLR Preview & Configuration through WiFi - ASTRO EDITION.
Remote Shooting From Anywhere
As the world's first electric tripod head with camera interface controller, the Benro Polaris enables remote precision - whether you're adjusting the composition of a photo - or programming the geared head and camera to capture a series of photographs to create a high resolution motion timelapse. The head also supports WiFi or Cellular connection (depending on which version you buy) - you can preview, review, and download files quickly and from anywhere.
Easily Capture The Best Moments
The intuitive app based pre-programming and electromotion system allows you to customise your own shooting schedule or routine. Simply frame the shot by adjusting your pitch and pan angles - then check and input your parameters like ISO, aperture, shutter and more. After that - let Polaris take care of your pro-level shooting without the need to even snap the shutter. Moreover, the Benro Polaris is so smart that it analyses your shots and automatically dials in exposure values and sharpens details in your creations, saves you from the time consuming hassle of image retouching like focus stacking and time-lapse, etc.
Smooth And Precise
More than just a remote head, the Benro Polaris contains high-precision brushless motors that allow you to have control over micro adjustments to framing both vertically and horizontally. Even a novice can tune in the perfect composition by adjusting the head through the app or manually using the physical knobs. Make the fine details in your photos even finer and capture enrapturing videos without missing a degree of what you were trying to capture.
Also, the built in GPS & compass can easily determine celestial paths and adjust the camera angles for you to capture your perfect starry sky shot or hone in on a breathtaking time lapse of a stunning landscape during sunrise or sunset.
Strong From Inside Out
Engineered to withstand the harsh elements outdoor shooting presents, the Benro Polaris is made with aluminum alloy that endures severe working environments. Having a bad weather day? With an IPX6 waterproof level, Polaris resists water and dust even when it comes as a splash, light rain, or a heavy storm - your inspiration is no longer limited. Polaris's weather resistance makes every event you want to capture possible.
Moreover, driven by a high-efficiency power supply system with low consumption, Polaris ensures you an outdoor shooting experience that is both concise and reliable; The unique power-saving design further prolongs Polaris's battery life for ultra-long outdoor shooting.
The Benro Polaris makes setting up for starry sky shooting quick and easy. Normally, a long-exposure is needed to capture the brightness of stars, even on the clearest of nights. However, due to the rotation of the earth, the stars in pictures often show tailing or streaks. Before Polaris, the equatorial mount was typically used by photographers, knowing it could not rotate freely and severely limiting composition in hopes of getting a clearer image.
When capturing the night sky – Polaris uses the built-in GPS, compass, and astromaps to move the head precisely to prevent tailing or streaks. This feature will allow you to capture perfect shots of the Milky Way or your favourite constellations. Using the built-in features you can also adjust your shooting angle at will.
We know that most stars are very hard to spot with the naked eye, and even harder to spot when looking through a camera viewfinder. To help frame your shot - the Polaris app uses Astro maps, AI, and the sensors in your mobile phone to make framing a breeze. Just point your phone at the sky. Move it around to see every star your camera could capture. Once you see the shot – press the shutter button – your Benro Polaris will automatically rotate and begin capturing the area your phone was framing.
How does Polaris track stars?
NO TRADITIONAL POLAR ALIGNMENT NEEDED.
The Benro Polaris has a built-in GPS, an accelerometer, and an electric compass. By using these in concert Polaris can get its latitude, longitude, and orientation data. With this data, the processor inside Polaris can calculate the rotation of the polar axis. This means there is no need to do a polar axis calibration - which is a critical and time-consuming step when using traditional equatorial mounts.
CALCULATION AND AUTO TRACKING
In order to enable the Benro Polaris to trace stars, we designed more inside, not only just those sensors.
Even exposures as short as 20 seconds can cause the final image to be blurry due to a mix of the earth’s rotation and the magnification effect of the camera lens. Since the rotation angle of the earth in 20 seconds is relatively small - the electric compass and GPS aren’t able to necessarily determine the change. In order to properly trace the stars and prevent streaks - a high-precision hall angular sensor inside Polaris, together with a reduction gearbox structure, can reach an extreme control precision of up to 0.01˚ (36 arc seconds) - which is equal to the amount the earth rotates in 2.5 seconds. This means that we can capture the stars with a longer exposure, and can get the same result as you would get with a 2.5-second exposure. Your shots will be clear, sharp, and leave out the blurry star trails.
INCREASED TRACKING ACCURACY
After additional verification - the tracking accuracy of Polaris is able to be increased by four times. That is 0.0025 ° (9 arc seconds). This is achieved by increasing the deceleration ratio of the transmission structure.
We have added a visual correction function to Polaris. When you use Polaris for long exposure deep-sky shooting, the Benro Polaris will take a set of photos, each of which is a long exposure. After each photo is taken, Polaris will recognise the precise position of each star in the frame and correct for the movement/direction of the camera. This helps to avoid shooting for tens of minutes or having to continually reset positioning and restarting shots for hours. After the shooting is complete - Polaris will align and stack the photos captured to create an ultra-long exposure photo.
People / Pedestrians Remover
Every notable landmark seems to have one thing in common: tourists, and lots of them!
Removing tourists or any unwanted moving objects from a photo used to be incredibly slow and tedious work. With the Scene Retouching feature built into Polaris, all you have to do is to take several shots of the same scene, and Polaris will automatically remove tourists or unwanted objects from photos and finally generate a clean photo as if they were never there
Being challenged to capture a landscape or subject with a day-to-night (or vice-versa) timelapse? Instead of sitting next to your camera all evening checking and adjusting exposure, and then carefully adjusting and tweaking exposure in a post-production studio for hours - use the built-in "Holy Grail" mode.
"Holy Grail" tackles this extremely technical and time-consuming scenario by automatically analysing every photo and adjusting the exposure between every shot. Your camera can easily get perfectly exposed and smooth transitions without any manual work. Use Polaris to make your day-to-night timelapse standout!
Preview Your Shot Even Before You Take It
When shooting a sunrise or sunset, photographers need to choose the most suitable shooting location and angle for the best composition, but sometimes the search takes too long. In conjunction with the mobile app, Polaris can simulate the sun's movement, and you can compose the picture before the sun has risen or is close to being set. The composition is simulated by using the mobile phone’s accelerometer, camera, and AI. You only need to select where you want the Sun framed above the horizon and send it to Polaris. Polaris will take photos at the exact time the sun hits that desired angle.
Polaris uses your camera’s autofocus abilities to the max. The smart controller can take a set of photos with different focal points, and using the AI can synthesise these into photos without blur. This means that every photo will have perfect focus throughout the image, and you can get creative with it or choose your optimal focal point later.
Both RAW and HDR files are designed to preserve details, but these technologies sometimes fail to meet requirements during long exposures. the Benro Polaris will review each photo after an exposure is complete, and adjust the camera parameters if needed. If the photo is partially overexposed or underexposed – Polaris will shoot until every part of the image is properly exposed, synthesising one perfect picture for you!
Multi Exposing & Auto Stacking
Let the camera automatically take multiple shots and then auto stack them to compose a bright and sharp night scene.
Timelapse photography is one of the more eye-catching shots to integrate into a video, and they help immensely in storytelling. Polaris uses the smartphone app to make setting up the interval between shots, duration, and exposure easy. Polaris can even adjust the timelapse settings during capture to ensure that the timelapse comes out exactly as you hoped it would.
Polaris allows you to bring even more creativity into your timelapse photography. Thanks to the built-in programming functions, everything about your camera is controllable. Use this expanded ability to record timelapse videos with dynamic changes in the direction of view and speed. At the same time – dial in your ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and even your focal length from anywhere.
During the capture of time-lapses, you can freely set the key frames of a timelapse video to highlight the subject by changing the ramping up or slowing down speed.
Polaris also has an exposure smoothing function. This avoids overexposed or underexposed scenes when shooting time-lapse videos in manual mode. This function also avoids jitters in the brightness of timelapse videos due to exposure changes over time.
Fully Automatic Panoramas
Before the Benro Polaris, you’d need to take multiple photos by continuously turning the camera manually, unload the SD card, and then import the photos into the computer to load onto a stitching program. When shooting a large number of photos for a high-resolution panorama, this can be a heavy and time-consuming task. Plus, you won’t know the outcome of the pano until running them through the program. With the help of Polaris, automatic panoramic shooting can be realised and reviewed in near real-time. After the automatic shooting is completed, the stitched pano can be checked through the app on your phone.
Customise Your Panorama
The Benro Polaris supports automatic multi-line panoramic photo shooting, you can choose the number of rows and columns of the photo - everything else is done automatically. This mode also supports enhanced exposure. Polaris can take multiple exposures of each section of the panorama to avoid under or overexposure in any section of the synthetic panorama.
The Benro Polaris is more than just an electric tripod head or camera controller. Taking these concepts to the next-level, Polaris takes the rotation capabilities of geared heads and combines them with AI and the ability to remotely control and program shooting parameters. What does this mean? It means that movements can be preprogrammed, camera settings can be tuned and dialed-in during rotation to get the perfect shot, and AI can change exposure while capturing a full-day motion timelapse to make sure nothing is blown out. This not only brings convenience, but it can reduce your workload while trying to capture the ideal shot. What used to be complicated shots are now made much simpler thanks to Polaris.
Within the app, we have worked to make setting up the exact shot you want to capture quick and hassle-free. We did this by introducing an easy-to-use graphic interface with adjustable controls. Through this interface, you can add custom control nodes. Each control node can individually set the parameters of the camera, the time interval between each shot, and the precise angle of the camera, or the rotation speed of the head. By making setup stress-free, we put no limits on where your inspiration can take you.
Remote App Control
With the Benro Polaris, there is no need to be near the camera all the time. You can shoot the sunrise and sunset while staying warm in your car , and you can sit on your sofa and capture images of the starry sky. There are two versions of Polaris. One version has integrated Wi-Fi remote control. The other adds cellular capabilities to extend your control distance to any place within network coverage.
The supported frequency bands of Polaris Cellular version:
FDD: B1/3/5/8 TDD: B34/38/39/41 WCDMA: B1/8 EVDO: BC0
Every photographer wants to see their creation the second that shooting is completed. With Polaris’s wireless connection and app, you can transfer files right to your phone for preview and inspection without a card reader and computer. You can even process and send these shots to your favourite social platforms.
No Need To Wait
The Benro Polaris can remotely send images after they’re captured – you’ll even get a notification after the shot is complete.
Convenient Shooting in Harsh Environments
Since the Benro Polaris is mainly comprised of aluminium alloy and stainless steel, its ensured to work in even the harshest environments. Adding to this, Polaris has also rated to IPX6 water-resistant performance, allowing the head to work even in torrential downpours.
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