I’m a big fan of time-lapse photography, although admittedly still not a master of it. We reviewed Alpine Labs Michron time-lapse device just a few months ago and it’s an excellent and affordable way to use your DSLR to take time-lapse photography. Well, Alpine Labs makes another time-lapse unit for DSLR cameras and this one has the addition of motion. This is the Radian Motion Time-Lapse review.
- Compatibility: Compatible with any camera that has a wired, remote shutter port. See here for a compatibility list.
- Dimensions: 4.57 x 1.77″ (116mm x 45mm)
- Weight: 15 oz (425g)
- Thread Size: Standard 1/4-20 thread is used in the top and bottom of Radian
- Panning Load: 15lbs (7kg)
- Tilt load: 4+ lbs
Tested with the following setup: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 LII, and Heavy Duty L-bracket
- Table Top load: Tested with Canon Rebel with 18-55 kit lens (Note: a heavy off-axis moment, caused by a large lens, will not allow Radian to balance on a table top unless an off-axis mount is used to shift the camera back)
- Angular Resolution: 0.0173°
Over 20,000 discrete positions per 360°. This allows for a shot every 3 seconds for a full revolution over 24hrs with actual movement between each shot
- Power Source: Internal Li-ion rechargeable battery gets 100+ hours in pan mode
Expandable battery life via external USB power packs through USB charging port
- Max timelapse speed: 1 degree/second
- Max continuous drive speed: 4.3 degrees/second
- Ports: 2.5mm (to camera), 3.5mm audio (smartphone, PC port syncing for Bramping), micro USB (charging, firmware)
- Indicators: Red/Green LED for battery/charging, Red/Green LED – on/off, shooting
The Raidian is not unlike its little brother the Michron, it allows you to capture time-lapse images with your high end DSLR camera. Where the big difference comes into play is in motion. The Radian allows you to capture a time-lapse with motion, in a full 360 degree radius, that’s not all though. Alpine Labs also sells a bracketing system that allows you to mount the Radian in the vertical position for even more versatility when capturing time-lapse motion photography.
I’ve had a few months to play with the Radian but being in the Chicago suburbs in the winter, it’s not been the most ideal of conditions to shoot time-lapses outdoors. Let’s face it, time-lapses are best enjoyed when the subject matter is interesting, watching a time-lapse of my living room where my kids are running around being nutty and watching the room go from clean to clutter is probably not very enjoyable.
To really get a good time-lapse you need patience and of course, time. You also need to put your gear where it won’t get stolen, if you plan on leaving it there for a bit. Fortunatley there have been a few souls on the Internet who have had the time to take a few time-lapse samples with the Radian and their DSLR’s, check out just a couple below.
The Radian is easy to use and simple to setup. As I said before, it’s not unlike its little brother the Michron. It has it’s own dedicated iOS and Android app which programs the device to rotate with whatever parameters you choose. The app is very simple and Alpine Labs also gives you many tips and suggestions on how to best use the Radian. One thing to note about the Radian is if you use it with the bracket in vertical mode, there is a weight limit to it and you should avoid putting too much weight on it.
Battery life is decent with about 6-8 hours of continued use before having to plug it in for more juice. Really, the hardest part of using the Radian is programming the parameters into the app and that’s not that difficult. Once you have your program set, the Radian and your camera do the rest. After all the images are captured, it is then up to you to plug-in those images into something like Photoshop or GIMP to put together your final presentation.
The Radian is an excellent choice for those of you who want to take time-lapse photography with your DSLR and not a smartphone camera. While smartphones have become better and better, in my opinion, they still don’t compare to a good DSLR with a great lens. There are other similar products on the market but the Radian is decently priced and delivers great performance for the money.
Unless you’re a full on professional who absolutely needs high end and high priced equipment, the Radian will do you just fine. Photography in general can become very expensive, saving a few dollars and still getting a piece of equipment that does an awesome job is something I’m all for doing. The Radian from Alpine Labs does exactly that, delivers great performance that won’t completely break the bank. I would recommend the Radian for those of you who want to do a lot of motion time-lapse photography. For those who just want basic static time-lapse, check out Alpine Labs Michron device. Check out Alpine Labs website to pick up the Radian ($249) or Michron ($59).
*We were sent a review unit of the Radian for the purposes of this review.
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