The Robot Photographer

As I worked away at the front of the stage for a recent dance show I speculated idly about the idea of a robot tripod head in those circumstances.

I had used a small tripod with a pan/tilt head years ago in similar circumstances when the camera system was operating at a much lower ISO and no image stabilisation. It meant a greater percentage of sharp pictures at the time, but has become redundant now that the IS system is so effective. I can hand-hold or use a monopod quite easily.

Yet, I was still having to twist the pod back and forth to keep the dancer in question in the centre of the frame while eyeing her over open sights to see when to fire the shutter. Sort of a pat your tummy and rub your head exercise. By and large it worked, but we are never satisfied with simple in the photo game – we always want more.

What if…you had a powered head on a tripod with some sort of tracking device in the viewfinder of the camera to tell it where to turn? You’d designate the target initially and then let the robot track it constantly, while you fired at the appropriate points.

I remember there was a novelty item sold in the camera shop some years ago that did exactly this, but required the target to be wearing a small radio transmitter that the seeker would home in on. It was a non-seller.

Time for the next novelty? Surely I cannot be the only person coping with rapid erratic movement in the field of view. On with the robots!

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