Nikon subsidiary MRMC’s SR-1 camera robot offers remote motion control for your camera

Sep 8, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Nikon subsidiary MRMC’s SR-1 camera robot offers remote motion control for your camera

Sep 8, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Motorised pan-tilt heads typically come in two flavours. They’re either fairly small and compact with a somewhat limited feature set, or they’re ridiculously huge, designed for broadcast cameras, costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Nikon subsidiary, the UK-based MRMC, is looking to bridge that gap. The MRMC SR-1 is a small robotic head providing pan and tilt control in a pretty compact form factor. You can even add roll control and focus motors.

YouTube video

Despite being a Nikon-owned company, MRMC says that it’s completely camera agnostic. So, it’s not limited to just Nikon DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Whatever you’ve got, just throw it on and away you go.

it does have some limitations, though. It has a maximum load capacity of 4kg. The unit itself also weighs 4.7kg, so, you’re going to need a pretty beefy tripod to hold this one steady. If you’ve got a half-decent video tripod, that should work, but I’d probably avoid most photography tripods.

Targeted at professional photographers and filmmakers

The MRMC SR-1 is designed to be used in conditions where it’s difficult or dangerous to have a human camera operator. As such, it potentially has a lot of uses in non-creative industries, too, where you simply want to be able to monitor and document something.

But the MRMC SR-1 primarily targets creatives such as photographers and filmmakers. The company hasn’t publicly announced a price for the unit yet, but given that they talk about its compatibility with cameras like the Nikon D6 (buy here) and Nikon Z9 (buy here), it’s not going to be cheap.

Pan-Tilt included, Roll is extra

As standard, the MRMC SR-1 supports motorised and automated pan and tilt. But you are also able to add roll axis control as an optional extra. It’s probably rare that most of us would need to adjust roll. Well, roll might be useful if you’re lazy and don’t want to level your tripod. But it’s nice that customers who don’t need roll aren’t charged for the privilege.

External motors to adjust your focus are also available as an optional extra. The images and video for the SR-1 show the Tilta Nucleus-M focus motor, so if you’ve already got one, you probably won’t need to buy another.

What is compatible with it, though, is MRMC’s Polymotion Chat system. This allows the camera, robot and computer to all talk to each other and provide you with subject tracking and follow capabilities.

If you’re recording a live event, for example, you can have it automatically follow the subject no matter how far you are from your camera. You’re also able to control it manually using the supplied software with a touchscreen interface.

Price and Availability

MRMC hasn’t released a price for the SR-1 publicly. So, it probably isn’t going to be all that cheap. It will, however, be massively less expensive than the company’s Bolt range of motion-control robot arms, used by the likes of Steve Giralt and the Slow Mo Guys.

I suspect that it will cost more than the Axibo motion control pan-tilt head we saw at NAB 2023 earlier in the year in Las Vegas. The MRMC SR-1, appears to be a much more capable system.

To find out more or to see about getting an MRMC SR-1 of your own, head on over to the MRMC website.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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