The Astro Rotator

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The Astro Rotator

PanoTools NG mailing list
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.


Roger W.