Mobile MoCo Part III: Panoramic Rotator


My first two attempts in motion control rigs were the Ikea kitchen timer and the Spinpod. While they can do the job, they are more of a toy. For those needing a more professional tool, the Monoprice Panoramic Rotator fills that role while maintaining a relatively small footprint.


Monoprice Panoramic Rotator, charger, and hard case.

The good:

  • Intuitive Interface.
  • Reliable professional tool.

The bad:

  • Hefty device and power suppy.
  • Short battery life.

The fuglee:

  • Not much.

Although I bought mine from Monoprice, the same device is sold under many different names. The Monoprice came in its own hard case with foam pre-cut to fit the device and power supply.  First impression is that it is bigger that I had imagined from the pictured.

The larger size and more powerful motor gives me more confidence for use with professional cameras and lenses. It is rated to support a maximum load of 52.9 oz at 0° and the lowest load capacity is 28.2 oz at 90°. As heavy as it may be, it is comparable to the size for a stout lens and should fit conveniently into a photographers bag when used without the included case.

Rotator support a 500mm mirror lens.

My favorite part are the physical buttons and led indicators for the settings. There are buttons for start/stop, duration, and time. Two sets of LEDs indicator corresponds to the duration and time from 15-360 degrees and 5-60 minutes, respectively. This combination of adjustment allows for a huge range of speeds. Just about anyone can pick this up and start using without any instructions.

There are room for improvement. I wish there was an option to continously loop the settings so it doesn’t have to stop once it reaches the time or duration limit. It is not a huge issue since the battery life is also fairly short too allowing for only a few timelapses before requiring to recharge.  I would have prefer user replaceable batteries so I can keep using it while another set of batteries are charging.

Ultimately this is the tool I would reach for in any serious shoot. It is not something I would want to carry all the time for impromptu shoots due to its weight. While it is not the lightest, the weight is a reasonable compromise for assurance that it will work.


Panoramic Rotator in action capturing the Seattle and Dallas skyline.

The ensuing timelapses:


Full resolution timelapses are available at pond5, shutterstock, and fotolia.

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