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The best budget motorized slider – Konova Motorized Slider Review

Konova S2 Motorized Slider Review in a Nutshell:

Easy to assemble and use and real money and time-saver, the Konova S2 motorized slider system is the most versatile, expandable, and inexpensive motorized slider option I know of. Highly recommended.

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Long long ago, on a galaxy pretty close, I was a fledgeling filmmaker on a mini-indie budget. OK: it was more like 5 years ago when I was started my journey into filmmaking and purchased my first slider: the Konova K3 80cm. A couple years later I added the optional Master Pan mechanical pan to my kit, and a few years after that I bought a couple of their tripod stability arms. Then the robots came and I was smitten by the possibilities a motorized slider brought to the table. I started small, buying Edelkrone’s SliderOne motorized slider and loved it. Perfect slides every time? Yes, please! Perhaps due to too much coffee (I’m not in denial, but unwilling to give up coffee), my manual slider technique was far from perfect, so multiple passes were always necessary to get a couple of seconds of usable footage. But motorized sliders were perfect every time. Just imagine what a full-size motorized slider could do!

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FULL DISCLOSURE

Konova was nice enough to reach out and send me their latest S2 motor add-on at no charge, but with no strings attached. Which means I can look you in the eye and give my unbiased opinion as always.

WHAT IS IT?

A belt, motor and control unit that can be added to all existing Konova sliders, giving you smooth, continuous slides for interviews, interiors, b-roll, timelapses and more.

WHY IT MATTERS:

I’m impressed Konova created a new motor that is quieter, cheaper and easier to attach and use than their previous offerings. Even more impressive is their decision to make it compatible with every Konova slider ever made. The fact Kovona left nobody behind In an increasingly throw-away world is truly extraordinary.

Even more best-part: This motor plays nice with all of Konova’s optional add-ons including the very-useful Master Pan. This mechanical auto-pan works great even with heavy loads without the need for additional motors or complicated setup.

The Konova system is an entirely modular system that grows with you as a filmmaker: buy the slider first and learn to do manual slides as best you can. When you make some money, pick up the motor. Then, to complete the system, add the Master Pan and supports and you’ll be fully kitted out – all on an indie-friendly budget.

WHO IT’S FOR:

  • YouTubers
  • filmmakers
  • solo interview shooters
  • all current Konova slider owners (at the asking price it’s a no-brainer purchase!)
  • anyone who shoots videos or timelapses

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST ME?

I’m all of the things above: a YouTuber, filmmaker, solo interview shooter and current Konova slider owner 🙂 I also own a Edelkrone SliderONE (original) motorized mini-slider, so am familiar with more expensive app-controlled motorized slider options.

REVIEW

Pros:

  • The Konova S2 motor can be added to every Konova slider ever made – making it the most flexible and modular way to add automated slides on Konova’s range of sliders from 30″ (80cm) all the way to 59″ (150cm)!!
  • Design & build quality: compact all-metal mounts, motor and control housing.
  • Quick and easy setup. I added the motor in less than 5 minutes and was quickly on my way to motorized slider bliss. Moving the motor to another Konova slider is a simple matter of thumb screws and one mildly-inconvenient hex screw.
  • Standard Ethernet cable connection from the controller to motor. Compared to some of the competition, I love the fact Konova chose to use this industry-standard cable to attach the control unit to the motor. It’s more secure, less prone to damage and easily replaced without expense or inconvenience. I can even replace the included cable with a super-long 100ft Cat6 cable to control it from a room away.
  • Two convenient power options: runs on industry-standard Sony FP batteries or Micro-USB power – add power at the controller and the one battery source feeds power to the motor too. The USB-power option is a great feature since USB power packs are so ubiquitous and USB outlets allow continuous power for endless slides. As a professional filmmaker, I love this redundant power option.
  • Dedicated controller with large joystick makes for easy setup and use. I was surprised I preferred a dedicated controller to a smartphone app necessary for my other motorized slider – not to mention no need to worry about the company continuing to update your app lest your motorized slider becomes a very awkward paper weight
  • Easy menu system – read the manual, try the various options out to understand them and you’re good to go
  • Accurate and repeatable A & B points – easy to setup and loop or for manual moves
  • Great battery management – over 10 hours of continuous use in the auto-loop mode with 3rd party NPF970 battery (my patience to test the battery time ran out before the battery did)
  • Compatible with Konova’s optionally available mechanical Auto-Pan – entirely mechanical auto-pan system requires no additional motor.
  • I don’t have an “official” weight limit, but the motor made easy work of my Sony A7iii with 24-70mm F2.8 G Master lens, monitor and wireless mic kit (even when I accidentally left the locking clamp on!)
  • Great Konova customer support. When I purchased my Master Pan years ago from B&H I received the wrong length (it was a packaging error from the factory). B&H told me to contact Konova directly and they quickly couriered the part from Korea. A couple of years ago I also inquired via email asking if their previous generation of motors was suitable for interview use. They were honest in saying, unlike this new S2 motor, the old motor would be too noisy for interview work. I was sad but happy with their honesty.

Cons:

  • No Ramp speed control – only ramp on/off option
  • No option to pause-at-end-points in Loop mode
  • Maximum speed of slider is not that fast. I sometimes found myself wanting a faster slide than the maximum speed would allow. To be fair, I don’t have competitive models to compare with, so this might just be par for the course for automated slides.
  • Slight jitter at beginning of the movement – more pronounced on my “A” side than “B” side, so not sure if it’s a defective unit, or within tolerance, but to be honest, it’s still far smoother than my handheld motions. To be fair, no motor I’ve used is ultimately smooth at the start/stop ends, but they’re way smoother than my manual slides. Just want to point this out so you don’t have expectations of infinitely-smooth slides at the end ranges.
  • Inelegant (but functional) printed manual – strangely I could not find a “back” option to return to a previous menu in the instructions, so found myself having to cycle the power off then on to switch modes. Konova has since updated the manual to instruct you to press and hold the joystick in for 2 seconds to return to the previous menu.
  • Timelapse Options – I admit I’m not a timelapse expert, so found the time-lapse setup options a bit cryptic. Thankfully the default options created great timelapse out of the box, and tweaking them was a simple way to figure things out.
  • Noise: the high-pitched whine of the motor is not obnoxious, but definitely noticeable (see the video for noise meter test). I haven’t critically used other motorized sliders this large or powerful (the NAMM show floor is no place for a sound test – it’s so loud in there a car can hardly be heard), but I assume all motorized sliders will generate some noise. The S2’s motor noise will definitely be picked up by on-camera mics and is not suitable for close-up work on really quiet sets. Knowing this, for average locations and at typical interview distances of 5-10 feet, it’s perfectly usable, but something to keep in mind as you set up your slides and microphones.
  • Not the motor’s fault, but with the additional Master Pan option, the Konova slider is by no means compact. My solution: I only pack the slider and motor for travel, and bring the fully kitted up Master Pan automated slider everywhere else.

Painless Slider Timelapse:

I’ve never been big on doing moving time-lapses on sliders (read: I’m lazy) and wasn’t planning to do one for this review. I’ve always thought I could just shoot hi-res stills on a tripod, then pan or “slide” by cropping in the edit. But setting up the Konova for time-lapses took no additional time (just attach one sync cable from your camera to the motor!) and I was surprised how easy it was, even using the default settings, to quickly make great looking timelapses. When framing foreground elements, the real movement of the slider gave a much more immersive experience than cropping in post, and the speed and ease of setup make this a technique I’ll definitely be doing more of on future projects. Colour me impressed.

  • Konova slider that fits your length and budget. I personally purchased the K3 80cm years ago, but the less expensive K2 100cm which they’ve bundled with the S2 motor is a great choice for those on a budget (I honestly can’t see any difference in the slides they produce). You can choose any length of slider from 80cm all the way to 150cm (!) and the same Konova S2 motor is compatible with them all. I love the flexibility of this modular system: Buy a 150cm slider for your studio, and an 80cm for travel, and quickly switch the same motor between them. Seriously versatile and inexpensive.
  • Konova Master-Pan mechanical pan – makes your entire slider even more useful and replaces a second shooter for interviews, b-roll and more. It has a limited range of rotation of 120 degrees but is perfect for the interview work I do. Just don’t expect it to be able to do the Beetlejuice head-spin.
  • Konova Tripod Stability Arms – it won’t make your slider as rock-solid as mounting atop 2 tripods, but I find the arms adds enough stability to be “good enough” most of the time and saves a tonne of space and setup time vs setting up and balancing multiple tripods or stands.
  • This inexpensive light stand travel bag makes my 80cm Konova S2 motorized slider kit much more portable – you can leave the motor AND Master Pan attached and it fits nicely in this padded case. It’s also the perfect size for transporting an arsenal of smaller light stands and tripods, making this bag useful for more than just carrying your slider.
  • Cautionary advice: I remove and roll up the gear belt for long-term storage. I’m admittedly OCD and do this to avoid producing kinks in the belt which can potentially create bumps during a slide and in the hope it will help prolongs the useful life of the belt. Thankfully, with a little practice, you can quickly and easily remove and replace the belt without detaching the motor.

CONCLUSION

I admit I don’t have the best manual slide technique and have to do several manual slide pushes to make sure I get some usable footage. With the addition of the Konova S2 motor I was not only impressed with the ease of getting perfect slides but was surprised how much time it saved in shoot and post since every slide was perfect every time. Having more usable footage to choose from in less time means less time shooting and in edit. Setup is a breeze, even in the freezing cold, and the speed and ease of getting great slider footage is appreciated whether you’re racing against hypothermia or a client deadline.

The Konova S2 motor is a no-brainer purchase for all existing Konova slider owners. Inexpensive, easy to assemble and use, and money and time-saver. This is the most versatile, expandable, and inexpensive motorized slider option I know of.

Even if you’re not a current Konova slider owner, The S2 motor and Konova K2 100CM slider kit is the slider to consider. At the asking price including a Konova K2 slider, it’s cheaper than the ball head I use on top of it and is a piece of filmmaking kit I plan to use for years to come. In spite of their incredible value, my Konova slider kit has become more and more useful over the years and I’ve come to trust not only their products but service and support.

There are a growing number of motorized sliders to consider, but most are many times more expensive or don’t have the service and support I’ve come to rely on as a professional filmmaker. And those requiring smartphone apps for control – while a good idea in theory – worry me if the company decides to stop updating the apps (planned obsolescence) or goes out of business, turning your motorized slider into a big and expensive paperweight.

Regardless of which option you look into, there’s no denying it’s an amazing time to be a creative.

The Bottom Line

Confession: As a long-time Konova owner, I’ve been drooling over other automated slider options for some time, so much so that I purchased the SliderOne which is the only option I could afford. I didn’t make a purchase of a larger motorized slider because I couldn’t justify the steep prices other companies were asking for, or risk budget options which offer little support or warranty. Konova’s new S2 motor is the perfect solution that fits my needs and existing kit, making my previous Konova purchases (made years ago) an even better investment. The Konova S2 motor literally breathes new life into my Kovona slider kit and is a welcome robotic update that gives me more creative options and saves me time and money in getting the perfect slide.

There might be smoother sliders that are more precise, quieter, with more programmability, but none can come close to the Konova S2’s value and compatibility with its optional upgrades and range of sliders from 80cm to 150cm.

Ultimately, the results speak for themselves, and I’ve been very impressed with the footage I’ve been able to capture effortlessly with the Konova S2. The Konova S2 motorized slider system is a great, inexpensive, easy-to-use automated slider option I highly recommend. If you’re a Konova slider owner, this is a no-brainer – buy the S2 motor and thank me later. If you’re in the market for an automated slider and can live with a little motor noise, Konova is a brand which has grown with me as a filmmaker and I definitely recommend looking at their ecosystem which has proven to continue to support their customers over the years. Highly recommended!

THANK YOU! + THE NotSo FINE PRINT

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