The Smartta SliderMini 2 is a pocket-sized, fully motorized slider that packs a large cinematic punch. And it's ideal if you're a stills photographer making the transition into videography, since one of the key skills to learn is introducing movement into your shot.
However, the Smartta SliderMini 2 isn't just for creatives starting out – this is a serious tool for vloggers, content creators, hobbyists, professionals and time-lapse shooters alike, and is definitely one of the best camera sliders for video around.
Sliders have been around for many years, slowly making the transition from 100- meter rail systems in Hollywood blockbusters, to 2-meter strips of metal with a tripod ball mounted on top, which you then had to manually push along.
And now we've come to this – an 8-inch fully motorized slider that gives you just enough length to introduce some beautifully subtle moments into your filmmaking. The obsession with having the longest slider in town quickly dwindled, once people realized how cumbersome they were and that you could pretty much gain the same aesthetic with something much smaller.
Let's see how the SliderMini 2 performs…
Smartta SliderMini 2: Key Features
Although a simple piece of gear, the Slider Mini 2 has some good features. You can link directly to your phone via Bluetooth, to operate the mechanism remotely. This might be of particular interest to vloggers wanting to record a piece to camera with some movement in the shot.
Without this option you would have to manually trigger the slider to begin moving, then run back into frame faster than Usain Bolt to deliver your content. You can also set the speed of the slider movement (0.1mm/s to 10mm/s within the app only), which is great for time-lapse videos.
Smartta SliderMini 2: Build and handling
It's always a balancing act with gear, especially here when you have to consider portability versus payload and stability. The Smartta SliderMini 2 is built using an aluminum alloy, with the entire unit feeling extremely strong and reliable and weighs just 0.57kg.
For such a small device, it offers a substantial 15kg payload – more than enough for the majority of people now shooting video primarily on mirrorless cameras. It will work right out of the box without the need to connect to a phone (although to get the most out of it, you might want to), with a physical button on the side where a double-click will set the slider in motion, then a triple-clicks bringing it back in the opposite direction (a quadruple-click re-centers it).
This physical button function was all we needed to make the example video below. The SliderMini 2 delivers a professional experience all round, with exceptional build quality, great portability and ultra-smooth movement. It mounts easily onto any tripod and can also be laid flat onto any surface, reducing the need to bring your tripod at all.
At such a small size, with obvious and immediate payoffs, the question really is why wouldn't you bring this along to every video shoot.
Watch video: Smartta SliderMini 2 sample footage
Smartta SliderMini 2: Performance
The visual rewards are easy to see right away here. And especially if you've never had the opportunity to use a slider before, you'll find yourself quickly engaged in a new style of filmmaking.
Videographers working with speech or other key audio are likely to be recording it separately using the best microphones to sync in post. However, if you record audio directly into your camera's built-in or top mic, then one thing to consider is the motorized noise as the slider is in motion. It's certainly not like an 18-wheeler going past your shot, but it is substantial enough that it may cause more than a little concern when recording audio.
At first glance you might be forgiven for thinking that the SliderMini 2 is aimed at very small compact cameras, or even just phones, but it's not. This really is a very strong piece of equipment – we've done absolutely zero motion smoothing in the example video. This is truly how the motor runs the slider, producing extremely smooth and reliable footage.
With the introduction of affordable gimbals we haven't used sliders as much of late, but it was nice to get that perfectly horizontal motion back in our footage – and this is something that gimbals just can't compete with.
Smartta SliderMini 2: Verdict
The Smartta SliderMini 2 isn't cheap, but it is affordable – and it's certainly not alone in its price bracket. If you own this slider, we honestly think that you would use it on every shoot you go on.
If we knew in advance what we would be shooting, we think this slider could easily make us leave the gimbal at home from time to time. Sure it won't give you five-minute-long tracking shots, but it is 'enough' – and that's all you need. Not a single shot in the sample video above shows the full length of the slider in motion, but the proof really is in the pudding.
The SliderMini 2 is solid, with great build quality a motor to match. It will elevate your filmmaking to the next level if you've never taken your camera off the tripod before, as a simple pan will never be quite as stylish as a sliding motion. This could potentially be the first and last slider you ever buy.