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Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker

B&H # VIPST Mfr # 35505
In Stock
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Price: $399.00
Instant Savings: $50.00
You Pay: $349.00
Product Highlights
  • Compact Astrophotography Mount
  • Supports Camera Up To 4.4 lbs
  • Tracks with Star Motion
  • Eliminates Star Trails
  • Uses Two AA Batteries

The Polarie Star Tracker from Vixen Optics is an incredibly compact, motorized, tracking mount. The smooth and sleek, visually attractive Polarie attaches to a standard camera tripod with a ball head on one side and a DSLR or smaller camera on the other up to 4.4 lbs. Point the Polarie north with the integrated compass, use the alignment window by pointing it at Polaris, the North Star, or use an optional polar scope. Star trails and false fuzzies are eliminated in the time exposures of the attached camera as the Polarie tracks the motion of the stars across the celestial dome. Two user-supplied AA batteries can power the unit for ~4 hours or an optional external power supply (not included) can be used. Although, not waterproof, the Polarie is designed to function in most weather conditions. It weighs in at less than an incredible 1½ lbs and is about the size of a paperback book. This is one cool astrophotography star tracker.

Can support equipment weighing up to 4.4 lbs (2 kg)
Usable in both northern and southern hemispheres
Lightweight, compact with ~4 hours of tracking on 2 AA batteries (not included)
Simple polar alignment options allow camera movement in sync with the night sky
Tracking modes; Celestial tracking rate, 1/2 of the celestial tracking rate, Solar tracking rate (mean solar time) or Lunar tracking rate (mean lunar time)
The stepping pulse motor of the Polarie has an exceptionally precise movement utilizing a wheel gear of 57.6mm diameter aluminum alloy axis with a full-circle of 144-teeth. The worm gear has a 9mm diameter made from high tension brass and has 2-piece bearings.
Payload Capacity 4.4 lbs (2 kg)
Power Source 2 x AA batteries:DC2.4~3.0V
Optional external power supply:DC4.4~5.25V
Runtime ~4hours at 68°F/20°C with a 3.3 lbs/1.5kg load using alkaline batteries
Dimensions 5.4 x 3.7 x 2.3" / 137 x 95 × 58 mm
Weight 1.4 lbs / 635 g without batteries
Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker
  • One Year Limited Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    Vixen OpticsPolarie Star Tracker
     
    4.6

    (based on 12 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (7)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (5)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    100%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Compact (11)
    • Easy to use (11)
    • Strong construction (9)
    • Accurate (8)
    • Lightweight (3)

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Astronomy (10)
      • Travel (3)
        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Casual/ recreational (7), Avid adventurer (3)
        • Was this a gift?:
        • No (9), Yes (3)

      Reviewed by 12 customers

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      Displaying reviews 1-12

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      5.0

      Excellent results

      By fotosbyforgas

      from Bloomington, IN

      About Me Casual/ Recreational

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Compact
      • Easy to Use
      • Lightweight
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Astronomy

        Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

        I did a quick alignment to polar north ( Polaris ) with my Canon EOS M and 22mm M lens at f2 attached and took a 30 second bulb exposure. Stars were pin sharp. Increase aperture to f 2.8 and exposed for 60 seconds. Pin sharp. Went to f4 for 90 seconds-very slight blurring. Fine tuned polar alignment- pin sharp. The EOS M and this tracker are a great combo! Get an RC-6 remote shutter controller for bulb mode on the EOS M. Also worked well with my Canon 400mm f5.6 and the M.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Easy set, many options - great product

        By ijerry

        from Canberra, Australia

        About Me Casual/ Recreational

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Compact
        • Easy to Use
        • Strong Construction
        • Uses Just 2 Aaa Batteries
        • Versatile - Many Settings

        Cons

        • Adapter Screw Not Include
        • Heavy

        Best Uses

        • Astronomy
        • Time Lapse Panoramas
        • Travel
        • Wide Field Astronomy

        Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

        The Vixen Polarie star tracker is perfect for wide field astrophotography, but also works great for planetary objects too. Not having a bright pole star in the southern hemisphere I was expecting set-up to take some time, but actually it was easy following the included instructions.
        The polarie mounts onto a standard camera tripod. I had to get a 1/4-3/8 adapter screw (not included) to mount my spare ball head onto the Polarie, but otherwise it was very straightforward and I was up and running in about ten minutes. Once aligned I managed some great sharp 2-5 minute exposures of the milky way, then for a challenge I put on a long zoom and located Saturn. Normally I get maybe one or two shots before it precesses out of the frame, but with the Polarie tracker it just stayed in place and allowed me to take my time with focus and aperture settings. And that is with a rough alignment. I preferred this one over others I've seen because it is quite compact - about the size of a DSLR camera body, and because it has quite a range of settings - stars, moon, sun and half speed to enable you to keep the star field steady while maintaining a fairly sharp surrounding landscape. It is also reasonably priced compared with some other trackers.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        Share this review

        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Produced great results the first time

        By Frito Bandito

        from New York, NY

        About Me Professional Guide

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Compact
        • Easy to Use
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Astronomy

          Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

          I bought this for a professional gig to shoot a specific constellation for a television show. I had never done astrophotography before, but with a good bit of research and the Polarie the results were great. It worked right the first time. It does not come with batteries (2xAA). If you mount this to your regular tripod you WILL need a second head to orient your camera after you've oriented the Polarie to the North Star. I took off one star on this review because sometimes the North Star was diffult to line up through the finder, a problem that could probably be fixed by getting the precision finder accessory. I did not get this. If I could give it 4.5 stars, I would.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

           
          4.0

          I would buy this product again

          By sap

          from Aalborg Denmark

          About Me Avid Adventurer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Compact
          • Easy to Use
          • Lightweight

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Astronomy
            • Hiking/Backpacking
            • Travel

            Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

            I use it mostly on travel, easy to setup.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            A must have for astrophotography!

            By Extol Media

            from Moore, SC

            About Me Casual/ Recreational

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Accurate
            • Compact
            • Easy to Use
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Astronomy
              • Deep Space Photography
              • Lunar Photography
              • Planetary Photography
              • Star Scape Photography

              Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

              I read many reviews about the Polarie and never found complaints. After receiving the polarie, I took it out in the back yard to try it. I used the built in sight to align to Polaris and had great results with wide field 18mm shots. I then took out my compass and inclinometer and set it by placing the flat side of theses devices on the surface of the Polarie and adjusting the standard tripod head. I was able to shoot 2+ minuite exposures with a 200mm lens with no star trails. The design is rugged and able to handle the weight of longer lens. The Polarie addes some additional weight so make sure your tripod and head can handle all of your gear. The Polarie is compact and easily fits into you camera bag so it's easy to carry with you. I'm truly impressed with this device. I've actually been able to shoot deep space star clusters at magnitude 6.4 using a Canon EF-S 55-250mm lens aligning the polarie with a compass and inclinometer. If you like astrophotography, thie Vixen Polarie is a must have.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

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              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Does its job

              By Powder Hound

              from Santa Fe, NM

              About Me Casual/ Recreational

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Compact
              • Easy to Use

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

                  Polarie works quite well for its intended task. It is well constructed, although I do fear a little for the plastic battery door. Setup is straightforward, but I would recommend some practice in the back yard as it is also easy to screw up the alignment. I use mine with the optional polar scope as it has always been my intention to put some long lenses on this thing.

                  As well as the Polarie and your camera, you will need two ball heads and a tripod. They all need to be sturdy to prevent alignment drift, or camera drift during long exposures. I use a Manfrotto 410 geared head to mount the Polarie, and a Manfrotto 492 compact head for the camera. The latter is maybe a little too small, as it makes it hard to keep the camera body and lens clear of the Polarie unit while swiveling the camera to a point of interest. Patience is required, as any unexpected jolts may throw the alignment off.

                  Potential buyers may wish to note that the manufacturer (on their website) now claims that Polarie has a load limit of 7 lbs, rather than the 4.4 lbs advertised. This gives some headway for a larger ball head and / or lenses.

                  I haven't used it too much yet, but I've had some pretty nice results with 5-6 min exposures using lenses from 10 to 100 mm. No star trails. With the increased load limit, I'm planning to try up to 400 mm.

                  Not cheap, but works well. If it was cheaper and had an even greater load limit I'd probably give it 5/5.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Works as advertised

                  By Rick

                  from Lowell, MI

                  About Me Casual/ Recreational

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Compact
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

                      This device is generally easy to use and seems to do a good job tracking the earth's rotation. I was able to easily take photos lasting up to 8 minutes without star trails appearing in the image. That doesn't mean that the star images were always represented by single points of light, I had several photos with slight streaks behind the stars. I think that is because of my inexperince with the Polrie and some difficulties that I had with proper alignment. My only two complaints deal with alignment difficulties. The first is that, because it is night and there is little to no light, I found it difficult (not impossible) to center Polaris within the peep sight that is flush with the Polarie body. This peep sight is only about 5/16 inches in diameter. The second issue was the relatively small inclinometer on the side of the Polarie body; it's about the size of a nickel. The user is supposed to adjust the inclination of the Polarie to reflect the Latitude of the location at which you're taking a photograph. The inclinometer dial is marked with major increments of 10 degrees with a minor increment of 5 degrees, ranging from 0 to 70 degrees. The distance between 10 degree increments is about 0.1 inches, and 0.05 inches for the 5 degree tick marks. With such a small dial to look at, it is difficult to get within 1 degree of Latitude. A larger glow-in-the-dark dial with would have helped me. I suspect that any streaky star images I obtained stem from difficulties in properly aligning the Polarie. Vixen Optics makes two additional products that help improve alignment. These are the Polarie Polar Axis Scope [$] and the Polarie Polar Meter [$]. I will try to make due without these additional products for the time being. If I can't get the results I'm expecting I might have to spring for one or both of these add-ons in the future.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Great results for the price

                      By Kas

                      from Halifax, NS

                      About Me Avid Adventurer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Accurate
                      • Compact
                      • Easy to Use
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                      • A Bit Tricky To Aim

                      Best Uses

                      • Astronomy

                      Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

                      I've only had this out a few times thus far, but it's been quite impressive, especially given the cost vs most of the other star tracking mounts. Operation is smooth and quiet, no vibrations or anything to throw your camera off track. The build quality seems very good, it's much sturdier seeming than I'd envisioned. Sighting Polaris through the tiny viewfinder was a bit tricky, but works fine. I may try mounting a laser pointer to the hot shoe mount on top to make future sightings easier.Also note that you really do want a strong ball head mount, especially for the mount which sits on the tripod, as it's not only carrying the camera's weight, but the weight of another ball head and the Polarie as well, which isn't featherlight. Given the extreme angles which you sometimes want the camera to be on, the rotational force exerted by the whole thing can get pretty high, and I had to switch out my mount for a stronger one.Excellent system, looking forward to doing more, especially with the moon, and some with my telephoto lens.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      WOW!!!!

                      By Capt Reed

                      from Stuarts Draft, VA

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Accurate
                      • Compact
                      • Easy to Use
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Astronomy

                        Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

                        I am head over heels in love with this product!!!

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • Yes

                        Share this review

                        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Simple and effective

                        By SP

                        from Seal Beach, CA

                        About Me Avid Adventurer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Accurate
                        • Compact
                        • Easy to Use
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Astronomy

                          Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

                          Setup is easy and the results are good. I use it with a precision "slow motion" pan/tilt adapter, which makes the polar alignment very easy.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • Yes

                          Share this review

                          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Polarie Star Tracker by Vixen Optics

                          By Quasar

                          from Hong Kong

                          About Me Casual/ Recreational

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Compact
                          • Easy to Use
                          • Lightweight

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Astronomy
                            • Travel

                            Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

                            This lovely equipment helps me perform night sky shooting in a blink. Compare with other similar trackers, this is the smallest I ever use.
                            Wonderful.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Well Liked

                            By jubophoto's wife

                            from Boise, ID

                            About Me Casual/ Recreational

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Easy to Use
                            • Strong Construction

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Astronomy

                              Comments about Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker:

                              Bought this for my husband for his birthday. He immediately went out to take star pictures with his 5d 300 mm lens. Although this camera is slightly heavier than the Polarie recommends it still works wonderfully. My husband says it was well worth the money spent if you enjoy taking star pictures.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • Yes

                              Share this review

                              Batteries & Power Supply

                              Show more >

                              Required item: Always keep a spare batteries handy (2 required) so you won't get caught without power.

                              General Brand -  AA 1.5V Alkaline Battery (2 Pack)
                              • You Pay: $0.59
                               
                              Watson -  4-Hour Rapid Charger with 4 AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries (2300mAh)
                              • You Pay: $17.95
                               

                              Cleaning and Anti Fog

                              Show more >

                              Help keep your optics clean & fog free with these tools.

                              Pearstone -  Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, 18% Gray (7 x 7.9")
                              • You Pay: $4.99
                               

                              Tripods & Supports

                              Support your tracker with the support and stability you need.

                              Vixen Optics -  Polarie Tripod
                              • Price: $249.00
                               
                              View all Accessories
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