Those who know me, know i’ve been a Timelapse fanatic since the first time I got to hang out with Michael Shainblum in San Diego about 4 years ago. I’ve been even more addicted to the gear and gadgets that have come out since then to help artists create visually stunning and dynamic time-lapse films. There are a LOT of options out there from the higher end and expensive motion controllers and rails, to the super low budget and simple egg timer with small camera mounted to the top. So how do you know what’s right for you and at what price point? It’s a tough question with no simple answer, the good news is, there are a _lot_ of options out there for you, and the Cinetics Lynx comes in right in the middle.
Many full motion control systems for video and time-lapse start at a price tag of 2500-3500$ and go _WAY_ up depending on the level and quantity of accessories you want. The Lynx system however, starts at a price tag of just $2000, ($1500 if you got in on the kickstarter that ended in May), for everything including a soft carrying case for the rail system and small carry bags for the rest.
Recently, I was able to get hands on with the Cinetics Lynx Motion Control System and I can’t lie…after a few frustrating moments with a software problem (mostly user error), I fell in love with it. I discovered this whole system completely by accident when I ran into my friend, (and time-lapse guru), Joel Schat demoing the controller on the show floor of South by Southwest (SXSW) with his team. After a brief walkthrough of the system I was very intrigued…light weight, compact, quiet, smooth motion, and very powerful and seemingly super easy control system, with the added bonus of being able to control and program it from your phone via bluetooth! (YES, I am not pulling your leg, there’s a motion controller out there that has a iPhone app for you to control your slider!)
So when I say it was powerful, What i mean was the battery was TINY compared to what i was used too, (also, the battery is the controller!), and still, this rig could haul a full camera system on a vertical incline with next to no visible strain!?! So here we have this incredibly durable system that’s VERY easy to assemble and can handle some pretty crazy angles… It was time to get hands on. Out of the box(es), the system requires just a single hex key, (which is included), to put it all together. Yeah, it’s really that simple.
The slider comes with a 24″ set of carbon fiber rails with built-in legs, (expandable to 48″), and then each component, (Battery/Controller, 3-Axis Gimbal, and the motor), is completely enclosed and lightly weather sealed for added elemental protection coming in at just about 12 pounds total weight. Each component even has mounting guides so you are sure to always place the devices exactly where they should be. My only assembly suggestion is a simple design/graphics one; add printing on the cables from each component so you can easily match them to the controller when plugging them in. It’s not hard to figure out, but in a darker setting it can be a little frustrating. Especially since the team at Cinetics have also already added line guides on the legs to ensure a straight/balanced system, adding a little extra paint shouldn’t be that far out of reach.
If your new to time lapse, a system like this that adds complex motion to your shots can be quite intimidating, however, the cinetics team have designed their controller and app to take a lot of the guess work and calculations out of your hands and make it as simple as possible for you to get started creating incredible dynamic videos! The battery when full charged can allow you to shoot continuously for about 3 hours with approximately 24 hours in standby mode. One of the great things is you can also run this unit while it’s “charging” so you can plug it into a power source (outlet or portable battery) while you’re shooting for extended shots.
- Great battery life
- Ability to run with live or additional power sources
- Compact system that fits easily in a camera bag
- Rails come with a carry bag
- Light weight and Durable
- Components and cables are enclosed
- Setup is easy
- Tons of great features/settings in the system out of the box
- Ability to completely program your own defaults and presets
- Easy to learn app and menu systems
- Price point is great compared to others on the market
- The included bag/carry system is good, but not great.
- Firmware at the time of testing was still in beta and had a few bugs
The Cinetics Lynx system is a well thought out, sturdy, reliable system that is one of the most affordable AND powerful on the market today! If you’re interested in adding 3-axis motion to your time-lapse and video projects, you should do yourself a favor and check out what Cinetics has to offer with their Lynx system. At $2000, you really can’t go wrong.
Here’s a super quick video I assembled using the Cinetics Lynx at sunset in Las Vegas when I got the system and took it out for a test drive.
If you’re already familiar with Cinetics previous motion controller systems (the axis 360), be sure to check out their blog post here to see the differences and upgrades.