Marketed as a monopod meets slider, the Moza Slypod is unique. However, before we get started on what’s on offer, you need to set aside any thoughts that the Slypod is a traditional monopod, or, for that matter slider.
The internal motorised mechanism stops freehand sliding or quick monopod style extension; instead, the Slypod offers precision and professionalism.
Set up the shot, fire up the Slypod, and you’ll get cinematic-quality motion, shots that would be impossible manually. Likewise, being used as a motorised monopod enables a wide range of easy to position engaging vertical and angle shots.
Moza has developed an incredibly exciting product, and while there are areas for improvement, there’s no arguing about just how good this is.
- Simple to use
- Boosts cinematic video quality
- Fully featured App
- No clutch to disengage motors
- Still noisy even in quiet mode
What is Moza Slypod?
The Moza Slypod is, in theory, the meeting of two products; a monopod and slider, but in reality, it’s something new.
This device is designed to enhance your video shots by panning, zooming or elevating the camera to create engaging film. What it is not is a monopod for stills photographers or a video slider in the traditional sense.
Its design reflects a monopod with the motorised leg sections extending out to create the slider style motion.
The concept is relatively simple, but the resulting footage is incredible; it’s amazing how one small device can completely change and enhance footage.
While the basic zoom in and out offers plenty of potential, the App is where the magic truly happens. With pre-set speeds, acceleration, manual features and pre-sets, there’s a huge variety of shot types you can easily capture.
Further enhancing the use is the compatibility with Moza’s gimbal range. While we didn’t have a Moza gimbal to test with the Slypod, we utilised another gimbal, and we were blown away by the results.
Build and Handling
Surprisingly the fabric carry case doesn’t quite reflect the quality of the Slypod within. The case is decent enough with a heavyweight fabric used for the outer, but there’s something about it that instantly says free bag rather than high quality.
That aside, un-velcroing the Slypod and lifting it out and the size weight and design all matches up to the quality you expect. The Carbon tubes are nicely finished, and the metal lugs, head and tri foot are all well designed and solid.
Starting with the feet and working up. The tri foot screws directly to the base of the Slypod, or top, as there’s a thread at each end. The design of this foot is much the same as other video monopods, with a fold-up mechanism that enables the three small feet to wrap around the shaft.
To set up, each foot is pulled down and into place with a reassuring click from the silver lever locks. These lever locks can be pushed to release the feet so that they can be folded back into place after use, simple but effective.
A ball head is incorporated into the foot to enable some movement; this can be locked out completely if required. This is useful if you want to pan or need some side to side freedom of movement.
Moving up from the tri feet, you have the two-section shaft; unlike a standard monopod, this doesn’t feature a twist grip to release the two sections. Instead, the length adjustment is handled by internal motors.
To operate, there’s a small power button on the side; hold this down for a couple of seconds, and a green ring light appears at the top of the Slypod. Then by pushing the + button near the power button, the shaft starts to extend.
This is where the real interest of the Slypod lies, and with camera attached, you get 53cm of distance between the start and finish point. Roughly the same as many smaller portable sliders.
The speed of this extension can be altered in the App; I’ll come to that in a bit. After a few seconds, the Slypod reaches its full height of 1.38m, not hugely tall for a monopod. But, here’s where you start to see that this isn’t a monopod in the normal sense, although it might look like one.
Finishing off the Slypod is the head, this of medium weight and nicely designed. It’s very neat with a pan and tilt head. When we’re so used to ball heads being the standard, to be confronted with a pan and tilt head these days seems at first a bit odd, but again this is something that makes perfect sense once you start to use the Slypod out in the field.
There is one other small addition, although this will only ship with the first batch of monopod’s, after which it will be an optional extra. That addition is the wooden handle. From the images, it looks very nice, and after using the Slypod on several projects, I’d say a worthwhile addition.
When it comes to the build, the main Slypod monopod is exceptionally well finished and made. It feels robust and designed to meet the demands of professional photographers. It’s certainly one of the first bits of kit I have had for a while that everyone stops to have a look at.
The tri feet are pretty standard; nothing outstanding or innovative; they do the job intended and are again well made. Under the tri foot is a small knob that enables you to adjust the friction of the ball and the movement, then on top, there’s the quick release.
Moza has designed the foot, ball head to lock when in the vertical position, and you need to pull the column lock up to release. It works well once you get used to it and makes it easy to refind the vertical position.
Likewise, the pan-tilt head is small, neat and solid; it has all the adjustments you could need and is a perfect fit for the intended use of the Slypod.
It’s instantly apparent what the benefits of the motorised shaft are for filmmaking. Still, with the App, the Slypod goes from a monopod with an interesting trick or two to a truly powerful production tool.
Connect the App to the Slypod, available for iOS or Android, and you get access to full control of the Slypod from the UI. Need to extend or retract the length, then that’s all possible. And, like every gimbal these days, there is a set of pre-sets. These enable acceleration and other extension styles; it’s all very clever.
Using the App, you can also link the camera through USB into the Slypod so you can operate the shutter; this again makes sense and adds to the ease of use.
First, look, and you’d think the Slypod is a monopod, pick it up, power it on, and you’ll still think it’s a monopod. However, get it out in the field, and you quickly realise that while it can be used as a standard monopod, it’s not.
Waiting for those few, if brief, seconds for it to extend to its full height is just too long, and at 1.38cm, it’s not overly tall. However, let’s not dismiss it as a monopod, trackside sat watching the race or at a match with the tri foot released it’s work amicably if a bit slow to adjust and expensive.
Instead, what the Slypod is designed to do is add flare and excitement to your movie clips. With the camera mounted, the internal motors’ forward and backward motion has a powerful effect.
Starting to use the Slypod as a vertical monopod, you can quickly film riser shots of people sitting around a table or an individual working hard at this review. That motion adds intrigue compared with a static shot.
Having the camera rise vertically or horizontally in this fashion enables you to create fun additional B-Roll that can be dropped in.
What’s nice is that the design enables you to use the Slypod as standard solid video support for the main shoot, and then as people, scenes and equipment are being shifted around, you can capture a few bits of additional footage.
In this way, it can be used as standard mobile support for video and as well as one that adds a little bit more. It’s a nice addition but not the area where the Slypod excels.
The use of the Slypod starts to transform your video when it’s mounted onto a tripod using one or both of the mounting points on the main shaft.
These mounting points feature both 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch threads so that they will fit standard and large format camera tripods. Once attached horizontally, the Slypod becomes a motorised slider, and the inclusion of the pan and tilt head starts to make real sense.
Instantly the visual effect of using the Slypod is apparent; the footage, importantly, looks just as good as any other slider out there.
The App complements the speed and motion of the Slypod, and there’s a good amount of adjustment over the motion.
In use, the Slypod quickly establishes itself as a slider killer. Firstly the size and weight of the Slypod make it exceptionally easy to carry. That means that while I have to think about whether my slider will be beneficial in a shoot and I plan to take it or not, the Slypod is a size and weight that makes it worth taking whatever.
If it doesn’t get used for one reason or another, it can always double as a lighting or mic stand.
In reality, not being used is unlikely as it’s so quick and easy to set up. Using the App enables you to experiment with multiple movement options and shot ideas.
The single-pole design of the Slypod not only makes it easier to use and faster to set up than other sliders. Its design also enables you to take shots that would otherwise be impossible.
As the camera is the widest part of the setup, it’s possible to squeeze the motion through or around multiple different objects that larger sliders wouldn’t allow.
There is also the ability to film upwards, diagonally and almost any which way you want. There is no large or difficult to handle structure; everything can be easily set up and balanced on single or dual tripods.
While the Slypod is brilliant, one aspect is not so, and that’s the noise. The internal motors are by no means loud, but on a quiet set with dialogue, the verrr of the motors kicking into action is audible.
Through the App, there is a quiet mode; I tried this out on several occasions hoping that it would stay quiet, but I couldn’t hear any difference.
The noise is the only downside, and it is a biggy if you’re filming a scene where dialogue or the ambient noise is being recorded. I generally didn’t find this an issue in use as the shots being filmed with the Slypod were for B-Roll r would have audio dubbed over later.
The other slight niggles with the Slypod are the height, it’s an OK height for a standard monopod, but personally, I would like a little more so that the camera is brought to eye level. Or at least a level where I don’t have to crouch down a touch to look properly at the camera’s screen.
Then there’s the motorisation – which is the main selling point and feature of the Slypod. It would be a nice touch if a clutch mechanism could release and lock the extension of the two sections without using the motors, essentially so that the Slypod could be used manually and with the App. This would partially defeat the core use and Slypod, but at the same time would be a handy feature.
Technology is leaping forward with new functions and features enabling video and photographic products that we could only have dreamt of a few years ago.
The fact that the likes of the Slypod are now here and work so incredibly well is amazing. As a single device, the Slypod makes the same dramatic difference to your filming as a gimbal.
The motion enabled by the Slypod is smooth and accurate, instantly giving the footage a professional look difficult to simulate in any other way.
Compare the design of the Slypod to any other slider, and the difference is instantly apparent. It’s simple, a single column that’s easy to transport and equally easy to set up.
It’s multi-purpose and can be used as a slider, monopod, lighting, mic stand, and many other uses.
App wise, the extended features accessed through the App further elevate the use of the Slypod; selecting the different motion types can greatly enhance your footage.
The noise it creates, while not loud, can be an issue, but that is far outweighed by what it enables you to do and film.
There are few other products other than a gimbal that will immediately and dramatically affect your work in the way that the Slypod does. If you were thinking of investing in a gimbal, stop and look at the Moza Slypod; it too is well worth the investment.